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BLED, SLOVENIA


We spent 2 nights in Bled in June 2007 and really enjoyed it. It's a beautiful town with a romantic setting - a gorgeous blue-green crystal-clear lake with an island in the middle of the lake with a little white church. Bled Castle is overlooking the lake and all around are the spectacular Julian Alps. It is breathtakingly beautiful and picture postcard stuff without a doubt. For a place with such natural beauty it's surprising that so few people have even heard of it. If you're thinking of visiting Slovenia and Lake Bled, go soon before the hoards of tourists appear!

Transport

If you're coming to Bled straight from the airport you can get the bus via Kranj. Just check the bus timetable and be aware that at certain times of year (eg school holidays), some of the services don't run. There is currently* one direct bus per day, so you may be in luck if it times well with your flight! The bus was comfortable and ran exactly on time. Visit the bus company's website for more information. A taxi from Bled to the airport cost around €40*.

 

Penzion Mayer


We stayed at the Penzion Mayer which is about 10 minutes walk from the bus station, up the hill next to the montrosity that is the Golf Hotel (seemingly a nice 4* hotel that gets mostly good reviews, but just looks so hideous from the outside and spoils the beauty of the area). Penzion Mayer is a cute little hotel, in a gorgeous alpine style building with a lovely garden and outside highly rated restaurant (there's also an inside restaurant for winter).The rooms are spotlessly clean and pleasant without being luxurious and many rooms have views of the lake and castle. Breakfasts are very nice - a selection of fresh fruit, delicious fresh rolls, cheese, ham, etc. If the weather's good you can eat breakfast outside, if not there's a room inside. We'd happily stay at the Penzion Mayer again. Click here to visit Penzion Mayer's website. If you book a room at Penzion Mayer after reading this review, we'd appreciate if you'd let them know you found them on Travel Jimmy.





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Lake Bled

Lake Bled
Penzion Mayer, Bled
City of Arts & Science
Lake Bled
Penzion Mayer, Bled
Penzion Mayer, Bled
Room, Penzion Mayer, Bled
Room, Penzion Mayer Bled
View of lake and castle from Room
Room, Penzion Mayer
Room, Penzion Mayer
View of lake and castle from Room
Lake Bled
Lake Bled
Lake Bled
Lake Bled
Lake Bled
Lake Bled
Lake Bled
Beautiful house on outskirts of Bled
Beautiful houses on outskirts of Bled
Lake Bled
Beautiful house on outskirts of Bled
Beautiful houses on outskirts of Bled
 
Vintgar Gorge
Vintgar Gorge
Pizzeria Rikli
 
Vintgar Gorge
Vintgar Gorge
Pizzeria Rikli

Things to see and do in Bled

 

An absolutely must-do is take a boat over to the island on the lake. It's lovely to be on the lake and the views are amazing. We took one of the 'pletnas' or rowing boats that row groups of around a dozen over to the island (you may have to wait till the boat is full). Cutty Sark Pub It cost €10 each. You are allowed about 1/2 an hour on the island which is quite long enough to have a look in the church, ring the bell (for good luck) and take some photos. You can also rent rowing boats and row yourself out there.


We'd recommend hiring bikes (around €11 per day for a good quality mountain bike - or less if you don't need it for a whole day) and exploring the area. The centre of Bled is the only place you'll encounter much traffic but drivers in Slovenia are used to cyclists and the traffic is generally quite slow. If you just want a gentle cycle ride, you can ride round the lake (about 5 miles) as there's a path the whole way round. If you're looking for more of a work-out, you can cycle to Vintgar Gorge. On a hot day the uphill journey there is hard work, although it's not a long journey. The mostly downhill journey back to Bled is much easier though! It's a very scenic journey though, through some really cute little villages, past some lovely alpine type houses with flowers everywhere.

 

Vintgar Gorge, about 4km north-west of Bled is a popular tourist attraction. It's a spectacular 1.6 km gorge with a wooden walkway the whole way round which leads you over bridges, and through waterfalls, pools and rapids, ending with a bridge overlooking the Šum waterfall. Due to its natural beauty, Vintgar has been classified among the more important tourist sights in Slovenia and the number of visitors increases every year.


Bled Castle is worth a visit for some spectacular views over the city. It's quite a climb up there (we found it too hard to cycle up and it was even quite hard work to push the bikes up the hill - but great coming back down!!). There's also a bus that goes to the castle from Bled - check with the tourist office for times.

 

If you're not going to be staying in Ljubljana as part of your trip, it's worth going there for the day. Get the bus which runs hourly and takes around 1-1½ hours (it's probably a shorter trip usually, but there were road works when we were there). Every bus we took in Slovenia left bang on time - we were very impressed. It's a very nice city, very walkable or cyclable with lots of nice riverside cafes, a colourful market and a castle. Click here for more information about Ljubljana.

 

There isn't a huge selection of shops in Bled and the ones there aren't great to be honest. There's a jewellery shop, one selling speciality teas, a branch of L'Occitane, a couple of shops selling touristy things - and that's about it. We expected lots of places selling paintings and artwork with it being such a beautiful place, but there was nothing like that. There was a little market just back from the lake off the road leading to the bus station, but there wasn't a great selection of stuff and what there was seemed overpriced.

 

Bars and Restaurants in Bled

 

The restaurant at Penzion Mayer is a very popular place. Although we'd booked a table we landed up sitting in the outdoor covered area, right at the back, so we felt it lacked a bit of ambiance. It'd have been nicer either sitting outside or at the front of the covered area. The food, traditional Slovenian fare, was nice, but we found it a bit heavy. For starters, we weren't too keen on the potato dumplings but were glad we'd tried them, and the Vol-au-vents served with ragout (just like beef stew) weren't really our thing. The beef was delicious - incredibly tender with absolutely no fat on it whatsoever. The pork with gnocchi was a bit heavy going. We maybe just chose the wrong dishes because the restaurant was packed and we spoke to an English couple who had eaten there every night and said they'd been told it was by far the best place to eat in Bled.

 

We had a nice lunch at the popular Pizzeria Rikli which is just next to the Park Hotel, opposite the lake and the casino. It's Gostilna Pri Panincu a nice place to sit outside and watch the world go by and the pizzas are very nice and there's a large selection of flavours. They're also huge so one pizza is enough for 2 people, although we had a nice Greek salad with ours. Reasonable prices too.


To be honest, we were a bit disappointed with the poor selection of restaurants in Bled. Perhaps a lot of people stay there on a half board basis and therefore eat at their hotel (there seemed to be a lot of people at Penzion Mayer on a package deal with dinner included). A place that was recommended to us and always seemed busy was the little restaurant next to Pub Bled. We looked at a menu and it was mostly seafood, so we decided to give it a miss, but if you like seafood it's probably worth a try. Another popular place is the cute pub Pri Planincu near the bus station. We just had a drink there, but it has a good reputation for food too.


Bled isn't exactly a lively place as far as nightlife is concerned, but a nice place to go for a drink is the Devil Pub just along from the Park Hotel. With seating inside and out it was one of the busiest places, and had a nice ambiance. There are a few bars next to each other in the shopping centre just up from the casino, but to be honest it's not the most appealing place to sit and have a drink. The centre there is a bit of an eyesore and none of the bars are particularly appealing.

Some useful sites about Bled:

Bled Tourism - Lots of useful information about Ljubljana here including tours, accommodation and maps
Trip Advisor - Reviews from other travellers and a useful forum
Hotels in Bled - Book hotels in Bled , view photos and read reviews by other travellers.

 

*Note: Information quoted above was accurate in 2007