Lake Bled and Ljubljana, Slovenia

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: the fairytale Lake Bled, and afterwards a city that was relatively unknown to me: Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.

**My trip to Lake Bled and Ljubljana was courtesy of Big Berry.  All thoughts and opinions remain my own**

Lake Bled

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.

Big Berry to Lake Bled, Slovenia
Big Berry to Lake Bled, Slovenia
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.

Sitting at Lake Bled castle, looking down to the Lake Bled island
Sitting at Lake Bled castle, looking down to the Lake Bled island

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.

Canoes for hire, the beautiful view and gorgeous fresco on the ceiling of the chapel in Bled Castle
Canoes for hire, the beautiful view and gorgeous fresco on the ceiling of the chapel in Bled Castle

Ljubljana

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 - Slovenia
Ljubljana – Slovenia

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.

Ljubljana Castle
Ljubljana Castle

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; let’s not forget the Cat Cafe!  One afternoon wasn’t enough…but check the Tourism Board’s website here to get more ideas.

Dragon Bridge - Ljubljana
Dragon Bridge – Ljubljana
Metelkova

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).

Metelkova district of Ljubljana - with its random street art and eclecticness
Metelkova district of Ljubljana – with its random street art and eclecticness

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?

Check out discounted flights to Ljubljana here:

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39 COMMENTS

  1. Lade Bled looks absolutely beautiful. I love the castle on the island. And Ljubljana looks like a charming and interesting city to visit. I’ve not read much about travel in Slovenia – it looks worth adding to travel lists.

  2. I’ve heard about Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, but not read much about it. It looks like a fascinating city and not too touristy (yet). Bled Castle is incredible – it’s hard to imagine it dates to 1011! The frescoes within are so beautiful!

  3. I have seen many pics of Lake Bled and I am convinced but first time to really look at pics of Ljubljana. Those murals are awesome!

  4. I haven’t explored Ljubljana yet, but we spent a week at Lake Bled perhaps 15 years ago that I remember very clearly. So breathtakingly beautiful! There’s another lovely lake whose name I can’t remember just up the road which, at the time at least, had absolutely no buildings around it at all: just nature! We stayed in the campground right on the lake. Perfect!
    Rachel Heller recently posted…Baix Empordà villages: a photo essayMy Profile

    • Maybe the Valley of Triglav Lakes is what you’re referring to. I wish I had longer in the region…maybe one day soon!

  5. We visited those areas last year too and enjoyed them all…I only hope we can get back and spend more time as always we feel we did not do it justice. Your photos are stunning

  6. What a great time to visit especially after the crush of summer. When I visited in fall time, it was perfect with no crowds, sunny weather and gorgeous fall colors – it really is a beautiful country.

  7. I have to get to Lake Bled and to Slovenia. Your post reminded me of the various comments I heard in Eastern Europe which essentially pointed to Slovenia as a vacation destination of choice. Thankfully, we have a trip to Slovenia planned for 2017! Thank you for a very informative posting!

  8. Did you happen to travel with Claudia from My Adventures Across the World? She was also at Big Berry in September! I just am so madly in love with Slovenia. Ljubljana is such a great city for people and the country has everything I could want – coast, good food, and outdoor culture.

    • Hello!

      No, but there has been a big drive of late to market Big Berry this summer, and the surrounding areas…so she may have been on a separate trip.
      I can see the appeal of Slovenia after my brief visit.

  9. I love Slovenia and have been to Lake Bled three times. It’s absolutely beautiful and one of my favourite places to visit. There’s a festival towards the end of July each year where they light candles on the lake and there’s a market and fireworks and a laser show up by the castle. And the toboggan run is so much fun! Nearby Lake Bohinj and Kranjska Gora are also gorgeous and I enjoyed my time in Llubljana too.

    I can’t wait to return sometime soon!

    • Thanks for all the added info Jo. I’ll try and see if I can make a trip back at this time of the year to enjoy the festivities.

  10. I still have not visited any of the countries of the former Yugoslavia, but I have been very tempted by your photos and those of other friends who have, especially photos of Lake Bled. It sounds as though Ljubljana would also be interesting and pretty. So much world. So little time.

  11. What a beautiful place and I would gather one of those towns that is still somewhat “undiscovered” by the hoards of tourists. I think it would be a perfect place to visit in combination with Croatia. As for pronouncing Ljubljana, I give up!

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