The Perfect Summer Day at Lake Bled

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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

Lake Bled Sunrise

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.

Vintgar Gorge

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

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?

Lake Bled

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.

Lake Bohinj

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!

Beach near Camping Bled

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)!

Swan at Lake Bled

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!

Bled Cake

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.

Pletna Boat Lake Bled

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.

Row Boat Lake Bled

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.

Church of the Assumption Lake Bled

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.

Church of the Assumption Lake Bled

Row Boat Lake Bled

Row Boat Lake Bled

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).

Bled Castle

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.

Trail near Bled Castle Lake Bled

Bled Castle

A short 2-minute walk and a few steep steps will take you to a location with breathtaking views over Lake Bled.

View of Lake Bled from near Bled Castle

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?

Discover Slovenia, a nature lover’s paradise in our video of this beautiful country:

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  1. What a beautiful looking place! I had never heard of Lake Bled, I sure like the way it looks though. Good on you to go at off times during high season, that’s usually the way we do things if we have to go somewhere in high season. Really nice photos too.

    • Thank you! Yea, sometimes you can’t avoid visiting popular places during popular times, but we’ve learned to plan around the crowds, so we don’t miss out! They’re obviously popular for a reason and Lake Bled is certainly no exception!

  2. Love love love your pics! I haven’t been to Slovenia but I’ve heard so many great things about it, and this area just looks stunning. One more place added to the bucket list!

    • Everywhere we visited in Slovenia was stunning- mountains, lakes, gorges, seaside, wine regions, and so much more, waiting to be discovered! Definitely a country to add, then quickly check off your bucket list!

  3. I haven’t been to slovenia – but I have heard it is beautiful and unspoilt. Lake Bled certainly looks that way

  4. Your photos are stunning especially that first sunrise one. I have a thing for castles so that hike up to the castle on the hill would be a must for me.

  5. Wow, Slovenia wasn’t on my list, but it’s SO beautiful!

    Your pictures are amazing.

    That cake looks intense!

  6. We didn’t realize how absolutely gorgeous Slovenia is!! And that bled cake looks dangerous!! Great tip about the (semi) secret path – always love finding those routes that few people know about but provide some of the most amazing views!

  7. I have not been to Slovenia. I keep thinking one day when I’m in Italy I’ll just head that way. Lake Bled looks beautiful but I’d be with you on avoiding the crowds. Good tips for seeing this tourist area.

  8. Amazing! Love your photos! I so want to get to Lake Bled – it’s one of the highest spots on my bucketlist right now – looks so ridiculously beautiful! I just read your post on Lake Bohinj too, and I think it’s a great idea to book accommodation there so thanks for that tip.

    And duly noted that early rising beats the tourists – 7am it is!

  9. Wow – I love your pictures. I haven’t been to Slovenia yet but you make me think I should consider a visit. A day at the lake does look like a perfectly relaxing way to spend the day.

  10. The Bled cake looks soo good! I want to visit Slovenia now so I can eat that cake. We always do walking food tours on our vacations to learn a little about the history and food in a region. I will be looking into something like this in Slovenia but I’ll make sure to stop by Lake Bled to get some of that cake!

  11. I’ve been wanting to visit Lake Bled for ages, it looks so beautiful!

  12. Very helpful posts and beautiful photos, but I have may missed it in one of the posts – when in the summer was it that you were in Slovenia? The crowds look quite significant indeed!

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