Lake Bled is becoming one of the most well-known destinations in Europe. A stunning church on an island in the middle of turquoise blue waters and a medieval castle overlooking the lake that serves a fantastic tasting menu, there are many reasons that Lake Bled should be on your Slovenia itinerary.
However, the lake, the church, the castle, all of that can be done in a day or so. What do you do with the rest of your time? We went down for a long weekend away from Ljubljana and found plenty of things to keep us busy:
The Vintgar Gorge
Only four kilometers from Lake Bled, it’s an easy drive over the mountain to get to Vintgar Gorge for a cooling nature walk through some amazing scenery. The Radovna river cuts through the Hom and Bort Hills, and through the centuries has carved a deep cleft. A wooden walkway, which was first built in the late 1800s, allows the visitor to safely and comfortably meander down the 1.6 kilometer gorge marveling at the beautiful trees, flowers, and waterfalls. To walk both ways, about three kilometers will easily take a couple of hours, especially if you take as many photos as I do.
Unfortunately the Vintgar gorge is not an undiscovered gem, and tour buses will bring plenty of people vying for those premium photo spots along the path. Our advice is to go early or late. The park is officially open during the main tourist season, April to November, and the hours are 8:00 AM until 7:00 PM. Not many people get there before 9:30, and most have left by 5:30 so if you go early or late, you should be able to avoid the majority of people. In winter, the walk is officially closed due to ice.
Vintgar Gorge Practical Information:
- Location: about four kilometers north west of Bled. Driving time is about 10 minutes.
- Entrance cost is 5 Euros for adults, 3 for children, dogs and parking are free.
- Taxi-Bled will take you to the gorge (round trip) for 15-20 euros (depending on number of people in your party).
- All ages would enjoy this walk, but I would not bring a stroller. The walkway is narrow with stairs.
- You’ll need about 2 hours for the Vintgar Gorge.
Another excursion full of natural beauty is to head to Slovenia’s largest lake, Lake Bohinj. It’s only a 26 kilometer drive from Bled, and it will get you out of the congested tourist town. Here you’ll find yourself in the heart of the pristine Triglav National Park, a sport and outdoor enthusiast paradise.
There is plenty to do at Lake Bohinj, whether you want to swim, boat, or hike. Bikes, canoes, and kayaks, and other boats can be rented by the half hour or the day right here at the lake’s edge. There is a 12 kilometer trail around the lake which you can walk in about 5 hours, or you can just choose to buy a ticket on one of the two boats that will take you leisurely around the lake.
No matter what, you can visit the church, eat lunch in an outdoor café, or take a picnic and dip your toes in the cool water.
Practical Information for Visiting Lake Bohinj
- Lake Bohinj is about 30 kilometers and a 30 minute drive from Lake Bled.
- Bus between Bled and Bohinj takes about 50 minutes and costs around 10 euros per person.
- Water sports available include kayaking, row boats, paddle boards, small sail boats, and canoes; all and can be rented at the lakes edge, but arrive early as it is first come first serve.
Vogel Cable Car – Ukanc
The same day you visit Lake Bohinj, you might want to take the cable car from Ukanc to the top of the mountain for a great view. Vogel is one of the main skiing centers during winter, but luckily they do not shut the cable car down and the views and clean air at the top of the mountain are incredible. We bought the round trip ticket and took the car up to the top. We hung out right there in the café and enjoyed a cup of coffee with some traditional Slovenian dumplings (štruklji) filled with sour cream and blueberries. It was a great start to our day before we hiked around the lake! If you want to try some high octane activities, you can also try para-gliding or mountain biking.
Practical information For Vogel
- Cost: Adults 14 Euros, Children 9 Euros, but there is a family ticket for 12 Euros for adults with children living in the same house.
- Parking is free and available at the base of the cable car.
- The cable car runs every thirty minutes between 8:00 A.M. until 6:00 P.M.
- The Vihranik Café at the top of the car is open with homemade snacks, meals, and hot drinks from 8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.
Still haven’t decided on your Lake Bled Hotel? Take a look and stir your imagination….