Lake Bled is undoubtedly one of the most visited nature attractions in Slovenia and one of the most charming European lakes. This beautiful lake is located 475 m above sea level in the Julian Alps, in the north-western part of Slovenia. Although the lake is not completely off the track in terms of access to public infrastructure, it requires a bit of planning getting there. Here we have listed various ways of how you can visit Lake Bled.
By car: Take the A2 highway northwest from Ljubljana and follow the signs for Kranj or Jesenice. The journey time is 40 minutes, but it can extend depending on the season. Once you’ve reached the town, there is parking available, but most of it is paid between 07:00-20:00, with prices ranging from €0.50-2 per hour or €3-10 per day.
For those with electric cars, there is a free charging station on the lower level of the parking garage at Hotel Krim near Bled Sports Hall – the key can be collected at the hotel’s reception. Do not forget that you need a vignette to drive on the highway in Slovenia, if you wish to avoid paying for the vignette you can also travel on country roads to the lake.
By train: There are two train station in the vicinity of Bled, the larger one is Lesce train station which has very frequent train connections to Ljubljana. Unfortunately the station is located about 4.5 km from Lake Bled which means you will have to catch a bus (see below) or taxi from the train station to the lake.
The other train station is the Jezero Bled train station which is located at the western end of the lake and provides up to five trains a day from the capital; from this station there are 3 km to the centre of town Bled and about 2.5 km to Bled Castle. The Bled Jezero station can be reached by train from Jezenice.
By bus: getting to Lake Bled by bus is quite easy, from about 06:00 (6 AM) to 22:00 (10 PM) you have hourly departures from the main bus station in Ljubljana. During winter season, there are fewer departures. As the buses are driving via the country route and stop in cities like Medno, Kranj and Lesce, they have a travel time of about 70 minutes.
In Bled the bus first stops at the Union bus stop which is about 300 meters from the lake; from here it continues to the bus station which is also located less then 300 metres from the lake, so both options are more than fine.
The bus station is closer to the Bled Castle. From the bus station all buses continue along Lake Bled towards Lake Bohinj and some even to Bohinj Zlatorog / Ukanc, so basically you could stay on the bus and get out at a later stop (there are several along the lake).
Returning buses to Ljubljana are as frequent as the buses to Lake Bled, so you can without any problem make a round trip within a day.
Ticket price for a one way ticket from Ljubljana to Lake Bled is about 7 Euro; discounts are available for children and a return ticket.
NOTE: Keep in mind that some of the buses driving from Ljubljana Central Station to Lake Bled are not intercity buses, but local buses instead, so there is no possibility to book a seat on the them, and you might have to stand during the trip.
NOTE: As mentioned under train travel option, the bus from the Lesce train station to Bled is the bus which comes from Ljubljana, so there is no point at all in taking the train from there unless you, for some reason, get it for free.
By bus from outside of Slovenia: unfortunately there are currently only few international buses driving to Lake Bled but, nevertheless, you can fairly easy reach the lake from several foreign cities. All you have to do is to travel to Ljubljana and then change to the frequent bus to Lake Bled.
From Croatia you have more than a handful of daily departures between Zagreb and Ljubljana. The first departure is around 05:00 (5 AM) and the travel time is about 2 hours and 15 minutes which means you can be at Lake Bled at 07:15. Getting back the same day is also possible as you have several evening buses from Ljubljana to Zagreb. The total cost of the self catering trip is around 35 Euro.
Summer lines: During summer season there is usually a line operating between Zagreb and Lake Bled, normally this line runs in the period from 15th June to 15th September. Here you can buy ticket from Zagreb to Lake Bled and here you can find tickets when travelling from Lake Bled to Zagreb.
Also in the summer season there is a there is a direct line from Munich to Bled, which is a trip of a bit more than 5 hours!
From Italian towns like Venice or Trieste you can also fairly easy get to Lake Bled. The bus trip from Venice to Ljubljana takes about 3 hours which means you can get to the lake in less than 5 hours. From Trieste the travel time is about 1 hour 45 minutes. Other cities in Italy which are also connected to Ljubljana include Padua, Brescia and Milan.
From Germany you have frequent buses between Munich and Ljubljana, which is a 5 hour drive, other cities like e.g. Frankfurt, Stuttgart also have direct bus connections to Ljubljana.
Excursion / day trip: If you do not want to hassle arranging a visit to Lake Bled on your own you have various half or full day trips to Lake Bled from Ljubljana. Prices range from about 40 to 80 Euro per person depending on what’s included in the trip. You also have excursions from Zagreb and Istrian towns during summer season.
What to see and do at Lake Bled
In general the beauty of the place is really the reason to go there, but there are other things which are really popular as well:
- A visit with Pletna boat to Slovenia’s largest (and only) island where you can walk the 90 stairs and visit the church of the Assumption. The Pletna boat (those which look a bit like Venetian gondolas) can be boarded on 5 locations around the lake. Depending on where you board the boat, it takes between 10 – 30 (from town Bled) minutes to get to the island; on the island you then have about 30 minutes to see the church and ring the bell for good luck. Alternatively to taking a Pletna boat, you can rent a rowing boat on several places around the lake.
- A visit to the Bled castle, the oldest castle in Slovenia, with a spectacular view on the Lake. If you are not much into looking at the castle you should at least go there to eat lunch in the excellent restaurant. The only drawback of getting to the castle is a quite steep climb – the castle is elevated about 135 metres above the lake.
- A walk around the lake is really something to recommend, the trips take from 1 – 2 hours depending on the speed and number of stops (for photo shooting). If you are not up for walking you can also rent a bike and cycle around the lake.
- Bring your swimsuit and take a refreshing swim in the lake, you could even swim to the island (but you can not enter the church on the island in a swimsuit)
- More thinks to do you can find on the official Bled website here.
Useful tips when visiting Lake Bled
Most people visit the lake as a one day trip, which is actually a pity because the area has much more to offer than just Lake Bled which is really a tourist location. If you love beautiful nature spots, you should continue from Lake Bled to Lake Bohinj which is the largest in Slovenia, can easily be reached by bus as mentioned earlier. Circling around the Lake Bohinj is a walk of about 12 km which takes about 4-5 hours.
Also highly recommendable is the Vintgar Gorge which is a 1600 m beautiful trail leading to the Sum Waterfalls. From town Bled it is about 4 km walking or biking distance. If you are not keen on walking there are also some buses driving in direction Vintgar Gorge from Bled.
We must mention that the main information centre for the Triglav National park, among the largest in Europe, is located in Bled; a visit there will give you an idea of what the park has to offer.
Staying overnight in the area
Around Lake Bled there are plenty of hotels, hostels and apartments to choose between, some of these like e.g. Grand Hotel Toplice have as fantastic view on the lake which you can enjoy from your room or the hotel terrace in the evening hours.
In you prefer staying overnight in nature surroundings, you should plan to sleep by Lake Bohinj. Here you have several smaller hotels / pensions and also smaller campsites.