Horseriding, hiking, mountain biking, white rafting, swimming…the list of activities to experience in Lake Bled is endless. My friend Chloe and I recently stayed in Lake Bled for four incredibly wholesome nights without a hangover in sight! It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to in Eastern Europe and it lends itself to an active weekend filled with adventurous activities, lovely (and cheap!) wine and tasty cake…what more could you want from a weekend escape from London?
What to do over a weekend?
1. Visit the Castle
Our first stop was to the Castle, which dates back to the 11th century and sits perched dramatically on a steep cliff overlooking the lake. This medieval fortress is just a short 15 minute walk from the Jazz Hostel we were staying in. The Hostel Manager, Jani, gave us the excellent tip to not pay to actually go into the castle itself but to turn to the right just as you come to the entrance, as you walk around there are some of the best views of the town and lake. After exploring around the castle walls and taking in the sweeping views we then went on an enjoyable downhill hike through the forest, coming out by the lake.
2. Biking around the lake and taking a dip
A really nice way to explore the crystal clear blue-green lake, the jewel of Bled, is to hire bikes to cycle around the 6 km shoreline. There are plenty of bike rental shops and it is very reasonable to hire good quality bikes for a couple of hours.
We zoomed around breathing in the fresh mountain air and regularly stopping to take multiple photos of the iconic church on the little island surrounded by emerald waters. There are plenty of nice little coves or wooden decks to choose from to have a rest, enjoy a picnic and have a dip in the refreshing water. For those who don’t fancy biking, it takes around two hours to walk the circular route, but I would recommend spending at least half a day making the most of it.
3. Hike to Vintgar Gorge
The guide book may say it is an easy walk from town to the Gorge but as Chloe and I are notoriously bad at map reading we somehow got hopelessly lost and wandered around the countryside for a good couple of hours trying to find it.
Do not fear, we made a rather simple mistake and it really isn’t that hard to find, it is also really beautiful and definitely worth the trip. When you arrive at the gorge, there is a wooden walkway which leads you from the entrance over rapids, waterfalls and pools before reaching the Sum Waterfall at the end. Entrance costs 4 Euros and for lazy travellers there is a shuttle bus service from the main bus station in town (if you are also bad at map reading…this is recommended!)
4. Emerald Lake Day Trip & White Water Rafting
A must do during your time in Bled is to get out of town and head to Triglav National Park. Roundabout Travel offers a fantastic one day Emerald River adventure including a two-hour white water rafting excursion on the Soca River. We had an excellent guide who took us and about five others out in a mini bus.
We stopped at viewpoints, did some light walking and had lunch before embarking on an afternoon of adrenaline-pumping white water rafting. The river was a nice level and suitable for everyone (we had a real mix of ages in our group). The guides are fantastic and talk you through everything to make you feel completely safe. At one of the stops along the river they also created a slide from one of the boats for us to elegantly slide down into the water. We had no unintentional fall outs of the boat and everyone made it back to the bus in one piece and in high spirits, just a little damp! The warm weather adventures run from April – October and cost 90 Euros (including the rafting).
5. Horse riding and visit to Lake Bohinj
I usually take advantage of every opportunity to hop on a horse on holiday; it is usually cheaper than home and it is an amazing way to see a country’s landscape and wildlife from a different perspective. There are a few horseriding options in Bled but we decided to jump on a bus to Bohinj to go riding there. Bohinj is an easy bus ride away, located just 26 km to the southwest of Bled. The lake with crystal-clear blue water is arguably more beautiful than Bled as it is much-less well known, with none of the crowds of tourists and shops, cafes and bars lining the shore. You really feel like you are visiting the untouched side of Slovenia.
We got picked up by a man who works at the stables and taken just ten minutes up the road. We commenced our two-hour trek with just one another Slovenian girl and the instructor, who can only be described as a Slovenian goddess with long blonde hair and golden tanned skin. Chloe and I never felt so un-glamorous as we clambered on to the back of our horses (or in Chloe’s case rather tubby pony) and made our way into the Slovenian forest. As we were such a small group it was a really great opportunity to do some galloping along the paths. We booked this through Mamut Slovenia (right next to the bus station in Bled) and I would definitely recommend it for horse lovers or those who want to try something new.
6. Top Tip – Eat as much Bled Cake as possible…
I can’t recommend highly enough the wonders of the legendary Bled Cake. A heavenly sweet custard topping over a thin bottom of pastry topped with cream. It may look sickly sweet but is light as air and gloriously flavoursome. Chloe and I averaged sharing one a day (Chloe may have snuck in a couple of extras). Cream cake washed down with a cold Somersby’s apple cider was the perfect end to a long hike…