8 Best Things to Do in Lake Bled: Not Another Generic List!
Do you crave fresh farm-to-table ingredients? Do you love finding that little culinary gem that is unique to a country? What about hiking to that epic viewpoint that literally melts all your stress away? Let me introduce you to my top 8 things to do in Lake Bled, Slovenia that are actually worth doing!
In This List
Climb Ojstrica for Killer Lake Bled Views
Lake Bled as seen from the Ojstrica viewpoint
If you want some of the best views of Lake Bled, climb Ojstrica! It requires about a 20-30 minute steep hike. Once we got to the top, I was blown away by the panoramic views of Lake Bled, Lake Bled Castle, and the Julian Alps. Absolutely stunning.
You can hike even higher to the Osojnica viewpoint for even more incredible views.
All hiking details are in my article below.
Savor the Decadent Bled Cream Cake
Bled cream cake at Hotel Park in Slovenia
I always seek out culinary creations specific to a certain country. The Bled cream cake is worthy of your search! Known as kremna rezina, this decadent dessert is made of a buttery crispy crust on the top and bottom and layers of whipped cream, light vanilla cream, and egg custard, all topped with powder sugar. Food textures are so important to me, and this cake hits the right balance.
Many restaurants throughout Slovenia will offer their version of the dessert, but you must try it at the original source, Hotel Park in Lake Bled. Several countries such as Austria, Slovakia, and Poland make their own versions. However, pastry chef Ištvan Lukačević from Hotel Park created one of the best recipes in 1953 and to this day his original recipe continues to be served in massive quantities (up to 3,500 slices per day!).
THE Slovenian version of this cake has even been granted protected designation of origin status, which means you can only name it Bled Cream Cake if it originates from a patisserie in Lake Bled. Slovenia even holds an annual festival celebrating this glorious creation! It is one of Slovenia’s most famous dishes and is truly a culinary gem.
Too busy to sit down and enjoy? They even have a drive-thru to take a piece of this heaven to-go.
The lucky number 7 is critical in the creation of this celebrated dessert. The butter dough is kneaded by hand 7 times and then left to rest overnight, The egg custard is cooked for not 5 or 10 minutes but exactly 7 minutes. How big of a piece are you served? Exactly 7 cm wide x 7 cm long x 7 cm tall (although I didn’t measure to verify!). The Lake Bled cream cakes are guaranteed to be always served fresh.
I was in heaven! It was super light and fluffy with just the right amount of crispy crust. We only got one to share because I wasn’t sure if it was going to be too sweet. I instantly regretted not ordering two when I took that first bite. Pair that with an epic view of Lake Bled nestled against the Julian Alps, and it does not get much better than that!
Walk the Full Circle around Lake Bled
Map of Lake Bled walk
We drove 30 minutes from Lake Bohinj and arrived at Lake Bled. After briefly checking in at Penzion Berc, our charming hotel that looked like it came out of a storybook, we enjoyed a very leisurely 2-hour walk (6 km or 3.7 miles) around the absolutely beautiful Lake Bled. You can also rent bikes if you prefer.
Assumption of Mary Church as seen on the Lake Bled walk
Lake Bled has the only island in Slovenia. It is home to the adorable church seen in all of the photos, Assumption of Mary Church. Many tourists choose to hire a pletna, a wooden, flat-bottomed boat, to take them to the island to ring the church bell. This bell is said to be given by the Pope himself and will supposedly make your wishes come true.
Rent a Rowboat or Hire a Pletna
Row boat in Lake Bled, Slovenia
You can rent a rowboat and paddle out to the little church on the island in the middle of Lake Bled to ring the bell. Alternatively, save the effort and hire a pletna (wooden boat) to take you instead.
We decided to skip this activity and opted to take advantage of all the walking and hiking around the lake to savor the views.
Explore the Mesmerizing Vintgar Gorge
Walking wooden walkways at Vintgar Gorge
Vintgar Gorge consists of waterfalls, pools, and the Radovna River. A series of wooden bridges and walkways crisscross the crystal clear river and ends at the Sum Waterfall. This easy walk takes roughly 2 hours roundtrip.
You can bike or cycle to the entrance from Lake Bled. We were on a time crunch because we wanted to get back to Ljubljana for the Open Market, so we just drove and parked at the entrance.
Also, this amazing natural attraction is only open from April – November. Go as close to opening time as possible because it gets busy quickly especially when the day-trippers start to arrive from Ljubljana!
If you want to know more, check out my full guide below.
Tour the Lake Bled Castle
Lake Bled Castle in Slovenia
Towering above the alpine lake, Bled Castle is the oldest castle in Slovenia and has survived 2 earthquakes and a peasant uprising.
We were able to walk right up to the castle and around the perimeter, but we did not pay the entrance fee of 13 euros to walk inside. The grounds include a modern restaurant overlooking the lake, a museum, a chapel, a unique boutique shop called Castle Beehouse that offers honey products and souvenirs, and a wine cellar.
If you walk around the perimeter of Bled Castle (without paying the entrance fee to go inside), there are some pretty decent views of Lake Bled.
Dine at One of the Top Restaurants
Buckwheat gnocchi with truffles at Penzion Berc
As you may have noticed in my blog posts, my husband and I are huge foodies and enjoy everything from local street food to the best Michelin-starred restaurants. Food a lot of times drives our destination choices. For example, in this case, we developed this Slovenia itinerary all because we were able to secure a reservation at one of the top restaurants in the WORLD, Hisa Franko.
If you are intrigued, read my article below.
I digress, back to Lake Bled. We chose our lovely accommodation, Penzion Berc, for two reasons: amazing reviews and also it is home to one of the top restaurants in Lake Bled. BOOK IN ADVANCE! The restaurant is housed in an over 150-year-old farmhouse and is known for its classic Slovenian dishes using fresh and local ingredients. Right up my alley.
After we finished our sweaty hike, we walked back to our hotel (just right off the Lake Bled pathway) and showered up. We made the long 2-minute walk over to the restaurant on-site and had an amazing well-executed meal, which included favorites such as the buckwheat gnocchi with truffles, lamb chops, and a local specialty called zlikrofi (Slovenian stuffed dumplings) that was served with a lamb ragout. The perfect end to a jam-packed day.
Check out my Slovenian foodie guide below if you want to know more about what foods to seek out on your vacation.
Check out Nearby Lake Bohinj
Lake Bohinj in Slovenia
Just 30 minutes outside of Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj is the less touristy undeveloped sister of Lake Bled. Many blogs will say it is better than Lake Bled because there are fewer tourists. I’m not sure if I agree, but no doubt Lake Bohinj is simply stunning with its blue-green waters flanked by towering mountains as the backdrop.
When we were there, it was raining, which created this mystical, moody ambiance with low-lying clouds.
One of the most well-known sites to photograph is the Church of St. John the Baptist, where some of the oldest frescoes in Slovenia are found.
Zlatorog at Lake Bohinj in Slovenia
The other iconic landmark is the Zlatorog. As the story goes, this mythical chamois (goat-antelope) with golden horns was the key to securing a treasure covered up in Mt. Triglav. This image is well known around Slovenia since it is on the country’s most well-known beer label.
If you park right near Hotel Jezero near the bridge, both the Zlatorog and the Church of St. John the Baptist can be easily accessed right off the edge of the lake.
Lake Bohinj from Vogel cable car top station
If you want some epic views of the lake and surrounding mountains, ride the Vogel Cable Car. It is only a 3-4 minute ride. It departs every 30 minutes. Once at the top, there are several hiking trails you can take advantage of. You can also take a chairlift to an even higher viewpoint. Due to our crunch on time, we sadly had to skip this adventure. You always have to leave a reason to come back. Next time!
Best Time To Go To Lake Bled
We love to travel during a country’s shoulder season when the weather is still pleasant but the crowds are less. The best time to visit Lake Bled is April/May and September/October.
Try to avoid the summer (June-August) when it is the hottest and busiest. However, if swimming is your main priority, summer is the ideal time since the water is warm.
Also, try to avoid weekends in general when there are more crowds.
Where to Stay in Lake Bled
Penzion Berc in Lake Bled, Slovenia
I am not going to give you a list of options. Instead, I’m giving you one.
We stayed at this charming accommodation that has been in the family since 1908, over 100 years! Originally the property was a farm, which was then turned into a modern boutique hotel.
We chose the hotel for the following reasons:
- It is situated in a quiet location but is only a short walk away from Lake Bled.
- The hotel has one of the top restaurants in Lake Bled. The cuisine is amazing!
- It has both traditional charm and a modern interior.
- You will not find warmer hospitality! The reviews on TripAdvisor speak for themselves.
Car Rental and How To Get Around Lake Bled
We found it incredibly easy to drive around Slovenia. I would highly recommend the local company, Atet. The company was very responsive to all of my emails, and the rental car we were given was in great condition.
Our hotel, Penzion Berc, offered free parking on-site.
Once at Lake Bled, there is no car needed. You can easily walk or bike to everything you need. It is truly a walking town!
Without a doubt, Lake Bled is one of the most beautiful destinations we have visited. Yes, you will read some blogs that feel it is “too touristy,” but there is a reason why we, as travelers, want to visit certain locations. Some places are just that stunning and are worth our attention and a visit. Lake Bled is one of them. Enjoy exploring your way via nature and the food of one of the world’s most picturesque places!
Looking for other great ideas on what to do in Slovenia? Check out my Slovenia itinerary below.
Questions about the fun things to do in Lake Bled?
Let me know in the comments below!