I was looking for secret islands and hidden lakes in Europe, and when I found several fun things to do in Bled Slovenia, I realized that it wasn’t as touristy as other destinations I’d recently visited, such as Greece. So, I decided this was a must-see spot!
In actuality, my entire stay in Bled was memorable because I managed to make great friends along the way, ate delicious food, and now have awesome photos to share.
But, a little more on this beautiful location as well as the fun things to do in Bled Slovenia:
Lake Bled is one of the most picturesque fairytale places in Europe. The lake is encompassed by mountains, its water is a brilliant blue, and the centerpiece is a lone island with a small church.
It is considered a hidden lake in Europe because it is harder to get to and Slovenia isn’t as popular a tourist destination as Spain, Greece, or Italy. The sheer magnificence of the views and the lake itself are just worth the visit. I had seen photos of the saturated crystal blue lake surrounding its small island, and knew right away that I had to see it in person.
How to get to Lake Bled
I was traveling from outside of Slovenia and to get to Lake Bled was a little more complicated for me. My friend and I wanted to use Blablacar, a very convenient and cheap way to carpool anywhere in Europe, but our plans fell through. The plane tickets were too expensive and we did not want to hitchhike (although another popular European option), so we went by train instead.
The overnight train wasn’t the most comfortable, but I was so excited to visit this hidden lake that I could have stood the whole way on an overnight bus and would have been fine. The ride was smooth except for the unexpected border checks at 3 a.m. by the Czech and Polish border controllers (make sure to always have your passport!). We had a quick transfer in Vienna, Austria and then took the train to Slovenia.
Once at the train station in Ljubljana, we bought tickets from the driver and were on our way to the hidden lake I was so anticipated on seeing.
Useful tip: large coach buses leave regularly from the train/bus station in Ljubljana and the trip from the capital to Bled took around an hour.
Where to stay in Bled
I have done a lot of traveling and have stayed in many an airbnb, hotel, and hostel. I’ve used couchsurfing on the odd occasion, and believe it or not, have even slept outside in some unknown locations.
And for this trip, I didn’t want to spend too much on my stay in Bled because I knew I would be outside most of the time exploring. I had also spent a lot of money on my train ticket and wanted to save for souvenirs.
So, I decided to stay in hostel Castle Hostel 1004, and what’s cool about this place is, the location is prime! We had a three-minute walk to the lake and a small grocery store nearby. It was very clean, chill, and the atmosphere was nice. I met a ton of other travelers from Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Everyone had heard rumors of this hidden lake and each wanted to see it for themselves.
I really recommend this hostel.
Useful tip: One good thing about staying in a hostel is that usually everyone is there to meet new people. I’ve managed to make a lot of friends this way in Europe and shared cool travel adventures.
Things to do in Bled
My friend and I had spent four days in Bled, and each morning we would wake up early and walk down to a cafe owned by one of the locals. His coffee was amazing and he would always give us a few extra baked goods on the house.
The first day or two we walked around the lake just to take in the exquisite views. I started to understand why people referred to Lake Bled as a real gem in Europe. Standing in the midst of it all and turning around only to be surrounded by more mountain tops. I felt somehow covered up or hidden from the rest of the world too, just like the lake.
There is also a castle that we visited, that was exceptional. It is an upward walk, but it’s not rigorous at all and the views from above are just spectacular! Whilst at the top, we stopped at a restaurant to try the famous Slovenian cream cake. Delicious!
Hiking in Bled
The other thing to do in Bled Slovenia is to hike! And luckily, our hostel was able to arrange a few small hiking tours for us. We walked on trails and passed a beautiful gorge where we took photos of the bright blue and green water. Our guide also took us to another location above the lake for us to take more photos of the stunning view.
We then decided to rent a boat and visit the island in the middle of the lake. It was possible to have someone row the boat for us, but the weather was just so great that we decided to row the boat ourselves, and it made it even more special.
When we got to the island in the center of the lake, we explored the church and walked around. I took some more breathtaking photos, but this time from the perspective of the island. What a precious moment it was!
The weather was quite fickle during my trip and we only managed to enjoy two sunny days. This is not really good news for those who want to hike on a rainy day, as the lake tends to get very foggy.
Alas, we had went hiking again despite the rain, and took the advice of one of our hostel workers who recommended a waterfall and a cave with nice hiking trails.
I remember walking through small Slovenian villages. The style of the homes, the small churches each with their own history, and the rivers that flowed through the villages all screamed fairy tale.
The locals we passed would say hello to us and everyone was super friendly. We had been hiking for about an hour until we finally found the waterfall. We also had time to visit a small cave where we went inside and explored for a bit before it started to rain even harder.
In short, I just loved walking through these villages. It mades me feel so invigorated and alive that, in my opinion, it is the best remedy for any problem in the world.
Useful tip: You may need to rely heavily on GPS while hiking in Bled, as some of the trails were not clear on the map and we didn’t know any Slovenian.
The last few days my friend and I spent exploring the outskirts of Bled. That meant leaving the lake and venturing further out. It was equally as fascinating, and I really encourage anyone and everyone to see this beautiful location as there are so many things to do in Bled Slovenia that it makes for an amazing adventure.
Useful tip: Here are 10 essential apps for traveling Europe
This blog was guest written by Amanda Machnik