One of the most amazing sites in all of Slovenia, and one of our new favourite places, is the beautiful Lake Bled. This lake is just as postcard-perfect in person as it looks in the photos, and it’s a place we weren’t in any rush to leave.
At the centre of the picturesque lake is a small island adorned with a pretty little church at its peak. The lake is overlooked by Bled Castle, a fortress built up into the cliffs, with a backdrop of the Julian Alps in the distance.
You’d think Lake Bled might be there just for the looks, but there’s so much to appreciate beyond that. The turquoise waters, coming straight from the mountains, are clean and crystal clear. And, given the regional thermal hot springs, the water is a warm 26 degrees making it a delight to jump into!
Every evening we would find a quiet dock to sit on and enjoy the changing colors of the sky as the lake gets even more beautiful at sunset.
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
We enjoyed the lake in every possible way. The still water was perfect for swimming, and you could traverse half the lake before you even realized it. We made good use of paddle boards, appreciating the lack of motorized vehicles on the water. We also took a ride on a pletna, a traditional Slovenian wooden boat.
We floated on the calm waters in our boat, briefly visiting the centre island, and eventually finding a quiet spot to share a bottle of wine for two. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon!
For Those Who Can’t Swim
If water sports aren’t your thing, there are many great hikes and other adventurous activities in the area. We chose to climb up to Mala Osojnica near sunset, a short hike offering great views of the lake.
If you care to venture a little further, Lake Bled is located just outside of Triglav National Park, a hotspot for hikes, waterfalls, gorges, and more. Our post about this is coming soon!
Sleeping With Krushchev: Vila Bled
As you’d suspect, we aren’t the only ones to discover Lake Bled’s perfection. This makes Lake Bled a popular summer destination for both locals and tourists (particularly those from neighbouring countries, such as Germany and Poland). This means the small town can get busy, noisy, and heavy on traffic in the summer months.
I think part of what contributed to our fondness of the area so much was that we stayed further down the lake, separate from Bled town, at a multi-acre property called Vila Bled. Vila Bled used to be the summer residence of previous Yugoslavian President Tito, and has now been converted into a historic hotel. This basically means we were hanging with Nikita Khrushchev and Emperor Akihito of Japan, previous guests of the vila.
Since the interior of the vila hasn’t been changed since its glory days, it has a vintage (and mildly rundown) feel with the original furniture and flooring. However, the selling feature is the property it sits on – peaceful, full of flowering bushes and trees, and with its own dock and beach.
Breakfast every day was on a terrace overlooking the lake and its island. One rainy evening we relished in a tasty multi-course dinner under the stone arches, sheltered from the rain yet able to watch the thunderstorm light up the skies before us. No matter what the weather, every meal is a treat with views like that!
The Vila is also the place to try traditional Bled Cream Cake (“Kremšnita”), a delicious cake of custard and vanilla. We accidentally ended up eating two huge pieces of this cake in one day…