With its emerald-green lake, picture-postcard church on an islet, a medieval castle clinging to a rocky cliff and some of the highest peaks of the Julian Alps and the Karavanke as backdrops, Bled is Slovenia’s most popular resort, drawing everyone from honeymooners lured by the over-the-top romantic setting to backpackers who just look for a beautiful relaxed place to spend a few days.
After leaving the bags in our hostel, we walked up the hill to visit the Castle on top of the hill. The hike up was moderately hard and it takes around 45 min to get to the castle gates.
It is the oldest Slovenian castle and is currently one of the most visited tourist attractions in Slovenia. The history of the castle reaches back to 1004 when the German Emperor Henry II gave his estate at Bled to Bishop Albuin of Brixen. At that time, only a Romanesque tower protected by walls stood in the place of the present day castle. The first castle was built in approximately 1011 but the Bishops of Brixen never resided there. This is precisely why the castle has no luxurious halls as the greater emphasis was placed on the defence system.
The views from the top of the castle are spectacular even though my camera didn’t focus on the background.
The castle offers many attractions and exhibitions, from a wine cellar where you can “manufacture” your own wine by creating a customized label and bottling it straight from the barrels.
They also had a medieval printing center full of movable type pieces than can be placed on a printing press.
We left the castle to walk around the lake. We noticed there were a lot of couples renting row boats to go to the island where the church is located.
After walking around half the lake and the weather clearing out from our cloudy morning, we finally decided it was time for Eitan to do some chest exercises while princess Sarah enjoyed the scenery. We rented one of these boats for 1 hour, enough to visit the island and back.
The brave and charming Eitan rowed princess Sarah to the island. It took around 20 minutes to get there as the wind was blowing against us.
The lake is 2,120 m (6,960 ft) long and 1,380 m (4,530 ft) wide, with a maximum depth of 29.5 m (97 ft) and has a small island (Bled Island). The lake is situated in a picturesque environment, surrounded by mountains and forests. The medieval-era Bled Castle stands above the lake on the north shore. The Zaka Valley lies at the west end of the lake.
The lake surrounds Bled Island. The island has several buildings, the main one being the pilgrimage church dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, built in its current form near the end of the 17th century.
The church has a 52 m (171 ft) tower and there is a Baroque stairway from 1655 with 99 stone steps leading up to the building. The church is frequently visited and weddings are held there regularly. Traditionally it is considered good luck for the groom to carry his bride up the steps on the day of their wedding before ringing the bell and making a wish inside the church.
They charge you a fortune to go inside the church so we skipped it unanimously. Instead, we rowed back to mainland and decided to finish the walking circuit around the lake.
It takes around 3 hours to walk around the whole lake. Few walks are as beautiful as this one.
This place is just taken straight out of a fairy tale.
More photos of the walk around the lake. The perimeter of the lake is 6 km (3.7 miles).
The only thing we were missing was the famous hike from where the postcard photos are taken. The next morning, before we headed out from Bled, we hiked Velika Osojnica mountain. Only around 800 meters high, it takes around 1 hour to get to the top and be rewarded with one of the most famous viewpoints.
One last photo because it was breathtaking.
Bonus Pic Of The Day: Lake Bled has been featured many times by the media all over the world and it was also nominated for one of the new seven natural wonders of the world. It would only be fair to show a photo of lake bled in winter obviously not taken by me.