Lake Bled is one of the most photographed places in Europe, with a fairytale castle and a quaint island slap bang in the middle of the lake. But did you know that there are other treasures to explore on a day trip? Vintgar Gorge and Lake Bohinj are waiting to be discovered and are not too far from Lake Bled.
In this short guide, I will explain how to plan a trip from Ljubljana to visit Lake Bled, Vintgar Gorge and Lake Bohinj in 1 day. If you haven't seen my Ljubljana Travel guide check it out now.
You have a couple of options. We drove from Ljubljana to Lake Bled which took less than an hour it was a really simple drive. There are parking spaces on the road by Lake Bled so you can park here it's €2 for 2 hours, however, in the Summer this could be problematic as the crowds descend. I did notice that some areas were charging €10 an hour, so be careful.
If you are hiring a car in Slovenia you need a Vignette for Motorways and crossing any borders, most hire companies include this but make sure you check. If not, you can buy at petrol stations.
You can also take the bus from Ljubljana which takes about an hour, there are hourly departures from the main bus station in Ljubljana and Bled. A one way ticket costs €7.
Things to do at Lake Bled
Explore Lake Bled
I was going to walk around Lake Bled but decided to hire a bike instead, as I wanted to visit Vintgar Gorge, Lake Bohinj and Triglav National Park. Hire a bike to get around Lake Bled. It costs €3 per hour. You could walk but it will probably take 1.5 hours to walk.
Head to Lake Bled Island
On the quaint island in the middle of the lake is a medieval church that you can explore. You can row a Pletna over, costing €14.
Take it all in
Have a drink at the Innerview bar half way round the lake and take it all in. It's a great place to get a lovely shot of Lake Bled in the background.
I visited Lake Bled in the Spring so it was too early for watersports, however, if you are planning on going in the Summer months then you can get involved.
Visit Bled Castle
I didn't visit the castle as I wanted to head straight to Vintgar Gorge. It's €10 to get in but I have heard mixed reviews. The views are spectacular but the castle itself is disappointing. Have a look for yourself and see what you think. Personally it depends how much time you want to spend there but after 3 hours in the morning, we fancied moving on.
Where to Eat & Drink
An absolute must, the home of the famous Bled Cake. You cannot visit Bled and not indulge yourself. A huge piece of cake is €4 and a wine is around €4 too so the prices are fair. I have to say Bled cake is delicious and there are days I look back wishing I could stuff my face with multiple pieces. It really is THAT good.
A cute restaurant a little walk up into Bled town which was an absolute gem for lunch. Pizza's are no more than €10, cheeseburger is €8, a wine is €2 (I recommend the Domaće belo vino) and a beer is €3.
Fancy a drink? Take a seat outside this picturesque pub and soak up the local life.
After spending lunch time at Lake Bled, it's now time to make your way to Vintgar Gorge to walk off those pizza calories. Vintgar is a short but breathtaking drive, taking around 15 minutes.
Vintgar is open 8am-7pm daily throughout the Summer and closed during Winter. Entrance costs 5 per adult and you can park for free. Be warned there is a lot of walking involved and in some areas of the walkway it's a tight squeeze so avoid big bags if you can.
It took me 1hr 20 mins to walk to the waterfall as I was clearly snapping everything in sight! How can you not? It took us less than 30 minutes to walk back though. There are no toilets on route so make sure you go before you start or at the cafe at the end of the trail.
Our finally stop, took us directly through the Triglav National Park. We got lost a lot and ended up at a military base (we think), we soon scarpered I've watched too many horror films! Needless to say the Sat Nav is not your friend, so follow the 905 to Bohinj if you want to go through the park, if not, 209.
It took us an hour to drive there, again we did stop a few times for pictures. I loved Bohinj as it was so peaceful compared to the bustle of Bled. We had the whole lake to ourselves, well, except the lone canoe. Bohinj is unspoilt, rugged and lusciously green; it is the largest natural lake in Europe. I would love to visit in the Summer as it would be wonderful to camp and spend your days, hiking, and enjoying watersports.
You can now head back to Ljubljana for a lovely evening meal and a few drinks by the river. I hope you found this useful and please get in touch if you would like any additional information.