There’s no better way to start the day than with a picture perfect sunrise! Getting up ridiculously early was totally worth it in the end. We watched the sun peek up from behind the Julian Alps from the southwest side of the lake.
Start by Watching the Sunrise at Lake Bled
Take a GORGE-ous Detour
Following a glorious sunrise, we quickly made our way to Vintgar Gorge, located just over 3 miles (5.4 km) from the lake. By arriving just after 7 am, we had the place to ourselves for a little over an hour before the crowds started to arrive.
Lake Bled… In a Whole New Light
After the gorge, it was back to the lake to enjoy the beautiful scenery once more… this time, in a different light!
Lake Bled is pretty much THE destination that most people visit when making a trip to Slovenia. With its vibrant turquoise waters, cliff-side castle, and picturesque island, what’s not to love?
Well, if we’re being honest- the traffic, the parking, and the overly-crowded shorelines, particularly in the summer months… is what’s not to love. For this reason, because our visit unfortunately coincided with the busiest time of year, we strategically planned for the best possible experience. For example, rather than staying in Bled, we booked accommodations 45-minutes away near the equally beautiful Bohinj (pictured below). Of course, renting a car in this scenario is a must.
But, I digress… back to Lake Bled, as this post is titled, ‘The Perfect Summer Day at Lake Bled‘. If you arrive early enough, you will probably have good luck finding a parking spot. We ended up paying 10 Euros for all-day parking near Camping Bled. It was a little pricey, but we didn’t want to drive around for 30 minutes searching for a spot or have to park ridiculously far away. If you arrive any time late morning or in the afternoon, you might spend much of the day driving around just looking at the lake. (Again, this is during the busy summer months. Parking is probably not as much of an issue in the off-season.) And here’s an added warning for you: Don’t just park your car anywhere and think you’re safe because other cars are parked there. We saw plenty of cars parked on the side of the road… with tickets on their windshield. So, in order to have the perfect day in Bled, don’t get a parking ticket!
The beach near Camping Bled, though a little crowded, was a nice place to relax by the water. The water temps in the summer months are perfect for swimming, splashing around, or even trying a SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard)!
When at Lake Bled, You Must Try…
Most would consider it a sin to visit Lake Bled without trying the deliciously famous bled cake. What is bled cake, you ask?! It’s a scrumptious vanilla cream and whipped cream cake sandwiched between two layers of a crispy golden crust made from butter dough, topped with a nice dusting of icing sugar. Completely divine!
Get Out on the Lake
One of the best ways to experience Lake Bled is to get out on the water. One option is to go for a ride on a traditional Pletna boat. These boats date back to the late 1500s and are recognizable by their colorful awnings. You simply sit back and let the oarsman do the work.
Or you can do as we did and rent a rowboat. For us, renting our own rowboat for an hour was the perfect (and romantic) way to explore this enchanting lake.
For 10 Euros an hour, you can row around the lake, stopping off at the Church of the Assumption on the island in the middle, if you choose.
We didn’t end up docking our rowboat, but rather enjoyed the hour circumnavigating the island and just taking in the beautiful surroundings. A two-hour rental would probably be more realistic for visiting the church and seeing more of the lake. It was just a little too hot for us to be out on the water for any longer than an hour without some sort of shade.
We also wanted to get a closer look at Bled Castle, the oldest castle in Slovenia, which sits perched atop a steep cliff rising 426 ft (130 m) on the northeast side of the lake. If you want to go inside the castle, it opens at 8:00 am every day. Closing times vary throughout the year (9:00 pm in the summer months). The cost is 9 Euros per adult and half price for kids (as of August 2015).
A Secret Path to Perfect Views
We didn’t end up going into the castle. Instead, we enjoyed the views over the lake from a semi-secret walkway to the right of the parking lot near the castle entrance.
A short 2-minute walk and a few steep steps will take you to a location with breathtaking views over Lake Bled.
A beautiful sunrise, clear skies, a peaceful boat ride, and gorgeous panoramic views made for our perfect day at Lake Bled.
Have you visited Lake Bled? Got anything to add to our tips on having the perfect day?
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