Girl in Florence

A Tuscan Texan immersed in Florentine life

lake bled slovenia

Why you should visit Lake Bled, Slovenia


lake bled slovenia
We finally managed to revisit Slovenia when staying in Villach, Austria for a few nights this month. I first wrote about our trip in  2011 and me and t-man were both itching to come back since it really has a bewitching effect on those who visit. I don’t know what it is about this country but I really love it here. Pristine lakes, beautiful countryside, nice people, mountains and great food – at a much lower price than her European neighbors. We only visited Lake Bled –gateway to the famous Triglav National Park. 

Some fun facts about Slovenia:

  • Slovenia is bordered by four countries : Austria, Italy, Croatia and Hungary which is pretty darn cool to me! 
  • You can pay to stay in a former prison in capital city Ljubljana, Hostel Cellica is THE place to stay if you are looking for a ‘different’ kind of experience.
  • They have named one of their most famous festivals “Cow’s ball” celebrated annually in Lake Bohinj. This festival celebrates the return of cattle from the high pastures, back down to the valley. A colorful parade takes place close to the stunning lake of Bohinj in the heart of the Julian Alps with Slovenian folk music and dancing, as well log-sawing and horse-shoe casting. Sounds like a good time to me!
  • Slovenia has one of the largest brown bear populations in Europe.
  • Eating dormouse was [and is in some cases] considered a local traditional dish. A dormouse is a nocturnal rodent with a bushy tail that looks more like a squirrel than a mouse. yum?
  • Not just a land of lakes, mountains and charming towns but also very well-known for the Postojna Cave which has a network of 20 kilometres of passages, galleries and chambers, very popular with tourists. 
  • Some scenes from the film Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian were filmed in the Soča Valley
  • Bled island boasts a church where people can still be married. The only stipulation is the groom should [by tradition] carry his bride up 99 steps to ensure a happy marriage. 

Bled features a little white church on an island in the center of an emerald-green mountain glacier lake –  with Bled Castle perched high above, amidst the Julian Alps. 75 minutes by bus or train from capital city – Ljubljana and buses leave every half hour so you best be planning to visit this place if you visit Slovenia, Bohinj [another equally stunning lake] is also very much worth a visit!  To reach the island in the middle of the lake you take a traditional pletna boat that resembles a large wooden gondola.lake bled sloveniaThe drive from Villach to Lake Bled in Slovenia is quite easy. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that in order to drive in Slovenia, like Austria – you must buy a vignette {toll sticker} to place on your windshield. Otherwise you could get a 120 euro fine which we came to close to having to pay ourselves when forgetting to get one for Austria. [not fun]. The cheapest one you can buy is 15 euros and is valid for 10 days. If you are in Villach – just drive to the ARBO motor store to pick one up {at least one day before you plan to go}.

Parking was easy to find and we soon paid five euros at a random camping ground next to the lake for the whole day. We started by just walking and enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. Italians and locals were everywhere, jogging, picknicking, people-watching and we even met a very social “swan” that seem to love snapping at people and stealing all of the duck’s bread. He must have been the local mafia boss of local wildlife. T-man came close to losing a finger [jk] when he thought it would be funny to shake his gloves. We have a dubious past with birds – namely geese and he really should know better by now 😉. tsk tsk

la bled birdsDSCN7078lake bled slovenia

lake bled sloveniaI happened to also spot a really random christmas tree on a wooden platform in the middle of the lake. Who knows how it got there and who cares but I still thought it was pretty funny.

Though Bled is a small town, next time I would like to spend the night next time and explore the countryside and mountains. We also accidently-on-purpose ate at the same Mexican restaurant we came across in 2011. Really it was just market research to see if Slovenia still has what it takes to make me drool when it comes to missing this cusine which is impossible to find {good} in Italy. Guess what, it still rocks!

Chilli Restaurant and Bar: Cesta Svobode 9, Bled, Sloven

chiliWe also went on a drive through the Slovenian countryside and wow – I can totally understand how they could film scenes from the Chronicles of Narnia here. Pure paradiso. I dream about this place and I can’t wait until we come back for a third time, soon it will feel like yet another home for this semi-nomad. slovenialake bled

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10 Responses

  1. Like you, I fell in love with Bled the first time I went, on a day trip from Ljubljana, in 2009. I went back this year and spent 3 nights there – I’d definitely recommend staying overnight as all the daytrippers go home so you’ll have the place almost to yourself plus there are some great restaurants…

    1. I definitely plan to stay the night next time. If we weren’t short on time than we would have this trip but we did end up spending wayyyy more time than we planned to because the weather was so warm for January!

  2. I’d heard good things about Lake Bled before, and this post just cemented that praise even more.

    How funny that you guys stopped at a Mexican restaurant 🙂 This recently happened to us in Portugal; on Jan 1 we couldn’t find anywhere to eat until–hark, a Chinese restaurant!

    1. its such a nice place and I needed a rest from dumplings and heavier meals. I see fajitas on a menu – I go for it 😉

  3. Nice Post, I have seen Bled lake when first time I went to Slovenia in 2012. The festival was awesome on lake, lighting thousands of candles at the same moment and ends with lots of firework. And Ljubljana is such a nice place, Was amazing sitting along the river.

Georgette Jupe

Welcome to my personal blog by a curious American girl living and working between Zug, Switzerland and Florence, Italy with my husband Nico, our newborn Annabelle and Ginger the beagle. This space is primarily to share about my love for Italy (currently on a 13 year romance) with a fair amount of real talk, practical advice, travel suggestions and adjusting to a new culture (Switzerland). Find me on IG @girlinflorence @girlinzug

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