12 Hour Destination Guide to Bled, Slovenia
A city surrounded by the Julian Alps, small neighborhoods, homemade stews and wine, and with a stunning lake in the center – the Slovenian city of Bled is the perfect “off the beaten track” day trip to add to your itinerary.
While Slovenia is commonly overlooked in European vacations, it is one of the most beautiful countries. Not only is the food amazing and the people friendly, the country never feels tourist heavy. No matter the restaurant, bar or museum, it feels as if you are always surrounded by locals.
The city of Bled is the perfect glimpse of Slovenian culture. Here’s a 12 hour guide to make the most of your trip.
10AM: Whether you spent the night in the capital of Ljubljana or booked a hotel room in Bled, grab a hearty breakfast to fuel your adventurous day. The Vila Ajda in Bled is the perfect restaurant to grab a Slovenian brunch with a view. Whether you sit inside or on the summer patio, you will have an incredible panoramic view of Lake Bled and the surrounding mountains. Plus, you’ll get an authentic Slovenian meal! Opt for the bread with fresh marmalade to blend in with the locals.
11AM: Grab a taxi and head over to Bled Castle. The narrow and winding road may be a bit daunting but the view at the top makes it worth the nerves. The castle itself has a small museum, printing press, winery and smithery. After an hour exploring the grounds and the history of Bled, grab a bottle of wine from the winery. For €10, you can fill and cork your own bottle! Enjoy yourself while drinking in the view, and your wine.
12PM: Take another taxi to the other side of the lake. Just tell the taxi driver you want to take a boat to Bled Island, which is at the center of the lake. For €8, a man will row you across the lake, and tell you a little about the history of the island. Fun fact: The steep steps leading from the waterfront to the church at the top are a hard climb for most soon-to-be husbands. Why? Because it’s urban legend that when a couple is married in the church, the husband has to carry her up all 99 steps to have a blessed marriage.
1PM: After exploring the island, and probably buying a few souvenirs, head into town to eat lunch. Golstina Murka has an incredible selection of lunch food and is known for being the best traditional restaurant in Bled. If you’re still feeling pretty satisfied from breakfast but know you have a long day ahead, order one of the stews. They are full of vegetables and pasta, and taste wonderful.
2PM: By now, you’ll have realized just how stunning Slovenia’s landscape is. Take a 10 minute taxi from the restaurant to Vintgar Gorge, a natural gorge running through the forest. The walk through the gorge takes about 45 minutes and really emphasizes Slovenia’s natural beauty. Look forward to the waterfall at the end!
3PM: After your walk through the gorge, stop for an ice cream cone at the end. There is a little stand that sells various treats. You deserve a reward!
3PM-6PM: Celebrate your walk by heading over to Grajska Beach, right by Bled Castle. Packed with water slides, a rock climbing wall, and thermal pools, it’s the perfect way to cool off after your long day. Admission is only €5 per adult!
6PM: At this point, you’re probably feeling exhausted and ready to shower. Head to your hostel to clean off and check-in, if you haven’t already. Hostel Bled is only 2 km outside the city and is the perfect price for the amenities. If you flew into Ljubljana or trained to the main station, the woman who works there will shuttle you to and from the hostel. Also, the beds are super comfortable and the Wi-Fi is free. Check it out on Hostelworld to see more reviews.
7PM: Time to eat! At this point, you’ve eaten your fair share of authentic Slovenian food. Switch things up and head to Pizzeria Rustika for a cheap, GOOD pizza. For less than €9, you can choose from a large list of toppings.
8-10PM: While Bled isn’t known for its nightlife, there are a couple of bars you can head to for a good glass of wine. Apropos Cocktail bar is the perfect spot for a hot summer night. Order a bottle of wine for you and your friend and enjoy the live music on the terrace. Wander the main shopping area after your drinks, you never know what you’ll find!
You did it! 12 hours in Bled, Slovenia. After experiencing just what makes this city so postcard perfect, I’m sure you’ll be ready to come back soon.