Bled Slovenia: Straight Out Of A Fairy Tale

We knew little to nothing about Slovenia before starting the Europe Train Challenge. It was like a country which had been left in the shade between Austria and Croatia.

But very soon all of that changed, and we went from not knowing anything about it to absolutely adoring it!

Bled, the small town we went to in Slovenia, was almost too good to be true. It was one of those places you didn’t really think could actually exist, other than in Disney movies.

The lake was unlike anything I have ever seen; bright turquoise from a distance, but when you went closer the water was so clear that you could see fish swimming 2 meters below the surface.

The wild animals were more curious than afraid of people; swans and ducks swimming closer to get a better look, curious of you and your camera.

Lake Bled Slovania, the small town we went

Lake Bled Slovania, the small town we went

Coming to Bled felt as though you had entered a book of fairy tales – thick green forest, old traditional cottages, an abundance of animals, a castle perched on the edge of a cliff and a church on a tiny island in the middle of a turqoise lake – with a wishing bell…

I mean seriously, the wishing bell just takes the prize! – this place cannot be for real?!

There are a lot of legends about Bled, with the one about the wishing bell being the most famous.

The story goes that if you make a wish and ring the bell three times your dream will come true, and many people say that they actually do come true.

The only thing missing from the story would be Rapunzel’s hair hanging down from the Castle’s tower…

Lake Bled Slovania castle

Lake Bled Slovania castle

But what made our visit even more memorable were the people we met in the town – they were all so friendly.

Tourism is finally catching up here since the Yugoslav war (although Slovenia was never really in war, except for 10 brief days, tourists were afraid of going there for many years).

And unlike some other places we’ve been to, the people there seemed very grateful we were there and instead of wanting to keep Bled for themselves, they were very proud and wanted to share this little gem with the whole world.

So if you’re around Croatia or Austria, please do take the time to visit Bled in Slovenia as well, it really is such a special place! See our Bled Slovenia travel video

Slovenia Secret Getaway Hotspot

Before I went to Slovenia I knew absolutely nothing about it. This was partly down to my ashamedly poor general knowledge but, in my defense, Slovenia also seems to be bizarrely far off the tourist radar.

Slovenia Secret Getaway Hotspot

Slovenia Secret Getaway Hotspot

My friend Sally and I decided to go because we had both been to Croatia and Italy before, but neither of us had ever even considered Slovenia and from all the photos it looked pretty stunning.

We arrived with no place to stay (very disorganized) but luckily found somewhere almost immediately, although they called it a hotel, it is more like a cosy guesthouse.

The outside was beautifully decorated with hundreds of colourful potted plants growing on the yellow painted window sills, I felt as if I was stepping into a doll’s house! Inside was equally as vibrant with a beautifully tiled entrance hall and lots of wooden furnishings.

However, the thing I really loved was that they had hundreds of bikes (fully equipped with helmets and locks) that you could borrow, so it was really easy to get around.

We soon discovered that we were only five minutes from Lake Bled so we peddled there in the early hours of the morning and got there just in time to see the sunrise on the Lake, I felt as if we had cycled straight onto a postcard, it was o picturesque!

Lake Bled Enchanting Church

Lake Bled Enchanting Church

We then walked around the Lake, which can take up to two hours, but it was incredibly relaxing.

I would recommend taking the boat to the island on the lake as there are some beautiful old steps there that lead to a lovely church. To top it all off there is a beautiful view once you reach the top, so make sure to bring a camera, as I completely forgot!

For the last few days we decided to travel to Ljubljana (the capital of Slovenia) and treat ourselves by staying in the fantastically luxurious Antiq Palace Hotel.

Originally for the aristocracy, we felt very posh (and slightly out of place) as we walked in. The room was absolutely beautiful, we got a suite (I know really pushing the boat out!)  which had a Jacuzzi in it.

Ljubljana castle

Ljubljana castle

Naturally we spent the next two days acting like celebrities. They also have a Spa that offers great massages that had us floating on cloud 9, I felt more relaxed then I had been in years. Plus there is a relatively large gym, which kept the holiday weight off, just!

Although not as beautiful as Bled, Ljubljana has a great deal of character and loads to do! I would recommend the walking tour and ride to Ljubljana castle.

I learnt so much about the history of the city, the buildings were a mixture of Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture, I was in complete awe and this time I had my camera.

I would highly recommend this beautiful place to anyone considering an adventure. Slovenia Hotels are full of character and charm and there is so much to see and do.

(photo credits: Nigel’s Europe – mirci)

14 Responses to Bled Slovenia: Straight Out Of A Fairy Tale

  1. Sophie July 31, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    Very pretty. Haven’t been in Slovenia since it was called Yugoslavia. Really have to get back… and see Bled.

    • Sofia - As We Travel August 1, 2011 at 8:53 am #

      Yeah I really recommend it, it’s amazing now so I’m sure it’s just as beautiful as it was back then.

  2. Linda July 31, 2011 at 6:58 am #

    What gorgeous photos and a description to match.  I went to Bled to ski back in the days when it was Yugoslavia, so, of course, seeing it in winter is different, but I was struck by its beauty and by how unspoiled it was.  It’s so nice to know that it’s still that way, even though maybe for the wrong reasons.  Like you, my overwhelming memory now (and it must have been the late 70s when I went) is the warmth of the people.  

    It strikes me that the less developed touristic-ally a place is the more open and friendly the people are. Just yesterday I went to the north of Tenerife, and was, as always struck by the warmth and friendliness of everyone I met, yet here, where I live in the south, the people are far more wary and closed.  I guess the more tourism the more local people resent it, and in a way I can’t say I blame them.

    • Sofia - As We Travel August 1, 2011 at 8:49 am #

      Nice to hear that it’s always been that way in Bled. I agree, we’ve also found that in the smaller places people are generally friendlier than in bigger cities, and tourism is definitely a factor.

      So which place in Tenerife would you recommend visiting?

      • Linda August 1, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

        LOL! I tried to answer your question (without sounding like an advert) and it was way too long, easier to say, more or less, stay away from the area between Los Gigantes in the West and Los Cristianos, the south west coast basically, it’s all purpose-built resorts (and even a bit inland is ok). Otherwise you can choose from volcanoes, lush forests, historic buildings, quaint villages, fiestas and carnavals (depending on when you come). 

  3. Natalie T. August 1, 2011 at 1:30 am #

    LOVE LOVE LOVE Bled! Do not have enough words with how beautiful that town was and getting into the mountains. I miss it. So glad you enjoyed it! 

    • Sofia - As We Travel August 1, 2011 at 8:57 am #

      Yeah I really loved it too, would have loved to see more of the surroundings, so we’ll probably be back for more soon! 😉

  4. Sofia - As We Travel August 1, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    Thanks for sharing your post about Bled Lavinia :)

  5. Anonymous August 2, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    Wow this looks gorgeous. I’m very jealous!

  6. Anonymous August 2, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    Wow this looks gorgeous. I’m very jealous!

    • Sofia - As We Travel August 5, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

      It’s even more beautiful in real life, if you’re ever in Slovenia you MUST check this place out!

  7. Isabelle & Melvin August 7, 2011 at 10:20 pm #

    Bled is really a nice spot! We got their just by luck on our way to Croatia. We stayed at the lake further south, which I even liked more, as it was more peaceful than Lake Bled.

    • Sofia - As We Travel August 8, 2011 at 8:11 am #

      That sounds lovely, what a great stopover on your way to Croatia. Did you travel by car?

  8. eileenludwig August 9, 2011 at 2:27 am #

    Nice place sounds Like Brigadoon (movie)