Asia & Middle East
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Perhaps the most iconic image of Slovenia is the picturesque vision of a lone island with a spired church surrounded by a tranquil blue lake edged with dense alpine forests and a mountainous backdrop. This is Lake Bled and its famous island. A visit to Slovenia would not be complete without a stop at this lake and its pilgrimage Church of the Assumption.
Located a short 40 minute drive to the north of Ljubljana Airport, Lake Bled is found in the heart of the Julian Alps and is the perfect location to start exploring Slovenia in unspoilt mountain scenery. The 15th century church can be visited by taking a traditional Pletna style boat (similar to the Venetian Gondola) to tiny Lake Bled Island. The area also boasts a multitude of scenic walks around the lake itself and the foothills of the encircling mountains. Bled Castle, perched atop a scraggy bluff, affords incredible views of the lake and the unfolding landscape of Triglav National Park in the distance.
Lake Bled is a glacial lake formed by the meltwater from the surrounding mountains. This meltwater creates tributaries of varying hues of blue-green along the Vintgar Gorge that lead towards the lake. Here, wooden walkways that cling to the rocky banks have been constructed that offer captivating walks along these meandering waterways and allow you to explore the natural beauty of the region.
It is possible to walk around the entire lake in just over an hour as a paved path hugs the shores of the lake, offering a variety of different yet remarkable views of Bled Island, Bled Castle and Julian Alps backdrop. If you’re a keen walker, be sure to factor in time to reach the Mala Osojnica viewpoint located on the west side of the lake. The ascent covers fairly uneven terrain but there is a clear path that winds up to 685m offering unparalleled views. During the climb, there are glimpses of Bled Island that give you a taste of what’s to come further up. Once you reach the summit, gaze down on the stunning blue waters and vast surrounding landscape.
Both Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj showcase the stunning landscapes of Slovenia and aside from the highlights, the town of Bled has many restaurants and cafés to relax in and enjoy the gastronomy of Slovenia. Bled is renowned for its ‘Cremeschnitte’ or cream cake which was designated a dish of protected origin in 2016.