Followers of my site will know that in September of 2016, I travelled to Slovenia for the first time where I stayed at Big Berry Luxury Landscape Resort and explored the Lahinja Krajinski Park. I was also lucky enough to be afforded the chance to explore a bucket list dream destination of mine: a day trip to the the fairytale Lake Bled, and afterwards a city that was relatively unknown to me: Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Let’s take a look at my Day Trip to Lake Bled and Ljubljana.
**My Day Trip to Lake Bled and Ljubljana was courtesy of Big Berry. All thoughts and opinions remain my own**
Located between a 2.5 and three hours drive from the Big Berry resort (depending on traffic and route you take), the landscape as you traverse the route is magnificent. As you approach Bled, located in northwestern Slovenia, you’ll see the Julian Alps in the background and as you finally make the twist to the lake itself, you’ll see it magnificently framed against the Alps backdrop.
Where and what is Lake Bled
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve seen many picture of Bled as my travel adventures grow – so my appetite has really been whetted. Bled is actually a small town, and the Lake is a tourist attraction. It’s 34 miles (55km) from Ljubljana.
The lake itself didn’t disappoint. Rarely do I visit a place and feel the reality is better than the pictures…not so at Lake Bled. The waters were a bluey/green hue – this is probably due to the glacial waters. It’s 6,950 ft (1,380 m) long and 4,530 ft (1,380 m) wide and has a depth of 97 ft (29.5m). Is there a Bled Ness like at Loch Ness? Not that I’ve heard of!
It’s surrounded by forest and mountains, and the medieval Bled Castle – one of the oldest in Slovenia dating back to the year 1011, sits atop the north shore, whilst Bled island in the centre accommodates the 17th Century pilgrimage church of the Assumption of Mary. The church frequently hosts weddings and with its 171 ft (52 m) tower and 99 stone steps in a baroque stairway leading up to it, tradition says that if the groom can carry the bride up the steps on the day of their wedding and ring the bell, he may make a wish inside the church.
It’s possible to hire canoes, swim and there’s a campground on one side of the Lake. Take a look at the pictures to give you an idea just how beautiful Lake Bled is.
About half an hour later (just under), we arrived in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. For a city relatively unknown to tourists, it has a lot to offer.
Ljubljana Castle has sat for approx. 900 years, silently watching over the city and offers amazing views, houses a puppet museum and museum exhibition of Slovenian history. There are two restaurants where you can eat and a cafe, plus a nightclub! Reached on foot or funicular railway, this is one attraction not to miss.
The Dragon Bridge is a landmark in the town, spanning the Ljubljanica River. A non-pedestrian bridge, its iconic dragons stand out and the bridge itself has a particular art nouveau look to it.
There are many sights to experience in Ljubljana, one afternoon wasn’t enough…but check the Tourism Board’s website here to get more ideas.
This is a MUST visit to anyone coming to Ljubljana – but maybe prepare yourself. In the centre of the city sits a former army barracks, harking back to the days when Ljubljana was part of the former Yugoslavia. Then a squat, but now a hub for alternative music, art, clubs and bars, it’s a haven for alternative types. The day we visited, extremely heavy rock music blared from one of the buildings…but the people milling around were incredibly friendly – as most artistic people are.
Distinctive art work and street art adorns the walls, and Metelkova has been a cultural hub since 1993, when 200 volunteers initially set themselves up to transform the place, to stop it being demolished. I have to be honest, despite feeling a little overwhelmed, it’s an interesting place and I would highly recommend popping in there, to find out for yourself (as you can see).
I wish I had more than a day to explore Lake Bled and Ljubljana. I intend to go back one day to explore more. Have you been to either places? What’s your impression?
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This post was originally written in OCT16. It has been revised and updated in JAN18.