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The town of Bled (the town adjacent to Lake Bled) is not the most charming place I've ever been.
It is a town that completely caters to tourists. The shops sell tourist trinkets and there are several high-rise hotels. However, as soon as you have the town of Bled at your back and are facing the lake, none of that matters. The best parts of Bled have nothing to do with the town, and everything to do with the surrounding nature.
If you're traveling to Lake Bled, here are...
The Best Things to do in Lake Bled, Slovenia:
1. Cream Cake
I love that I'm like, "The best part is the nature," and then immediately recommend cream cake. Getting the cream cake was the first thing we did in Bled, so I figured it should be yours too.
The cake is in every guidebook and every local will insist you try it. The town likes to pretend they are famous for this cake. Bled, you are famous for being beautiful, but I will eat your cream cake anyways.
If you are wondering if it is good... please stop. Cream. Cake. Cream Cake. Need I say more?
Soak it up, because food in Bled is kinda... eh (unless you want to dine at the literal castle). For the duration of our stay we never ate at any spectacular restaurant, just the touristy places.
2. CASTLE HOSTEL:
Great location, crazy amazing views, a huge deck, nice social spaces, beds with personal outlets, public computers.... these are some top hostel qualities, and Castle Hostel had all of them! We met an awesome crew that we spent our time with in Bled, so Castle Hostel holds a special place in my heart.
When we stayed there they had a "Stay 3 nights, get the 4th free," deal, and connections to many excursions. PLUS free trip to Vintgar Gorge! I endorse this hostel.
3. VINTGAR GORGE:
Yes, yes, 100, 100, must see. Our hostel (see above) took groups there every morning for free (minus admissions to the park - there is a student discount). Vintgar Gorge is BEAUTIFUL rain or shine. Look at these pictures and you will understand.
4. BIKING LAKE BOHINJ:
This will forever go down as one of the most epic days on our entire trip. As per the suggestion of our hostel, we took a bus from Bled to Lake Bohinj, rented bikes, and spent the day exploring.
It was a crisp, clear, fall day. Once again, look at these pictures and you will understand.
We were dropped off at the east end of the lake and rented bikes at a shop across the street from the bus stop. They gave us a group discount (because there were like 8 of us).
I still smile when I think of this day.
The restaurant "Gostilna Mihovc," just outside of Bohinj, is supposed to have good and authentic Slovenian food.
5. Mt. Vogel
When at Lake Bohinj we paid to take a gondola up to the top Mt. Vogel. The view was MORE than worth the trivial amount of money it cost to get to the top.
Once at the top you can hike even further up the mountain for a true panorama view - I highly recommend doing this. Can I have a crush on the Julian Alps? Because they are beautiful.
6. Savica Waterfall
We also biked to an area where you could pay to hike up to a waterfall.
This was by far the most strenuous part of our bike ride, and it made me realize how inadequate I am on a bike. I'm just proud that I'm here today to talk about it.
The waterfall wasn't that impressive, but the hike up to it was very pretty. Actually... the waterfall was very nice, but compared to everything else we had seen that day, it wasn't the best part.
7. Viewpoint Ojstrica Bled
Whatever picture you saw of Lake Bled prior to arriving, it was probably taken at Ojstrica Bled. This viewpoint is probably one of the most photographed parts of Bled (and that is saying something).
A worthwhile hike for a great (but cliche) Instagram. Don't expect to be the only tourist there.
8. Viewpoint by the Castle
The better (and more private) viewpoint is on the western side of the castle wall. It's pretty hard to find, but you basically drive up to the castle, park, and then sneak around the side. I have no clue how to explain this, so look at the photo below. Also, I am not liable if you get hurt/in trouble.
9. Walk a lap around the lake
Just do it.
Bonus waste of time: Rowing out to the island
It is not necessary to visit the island. Honestly, there is not much to see, and it is prettier from afar.
When Jane and I arrived in Bled we decided we needed to make very strong friends to row us out to the island... and we actually succeeded in this! We paid to rent a rowboat for two hours from one of the many vendors around the lake. We brought lunch and ate it on the famous steps of the island (ruining a lot of people's pictures).
We had a great time but I think it had to do more with the company than anything spectacular on the island. More impressive than the island itself was watching the men who have the job of single handedly rowing giant boats of 20+ tourists out to the island. I am still confused how they manage this. It is seriously 1 guy rowing the weight of a giant boat and 2000+ lbs of human. I wanted to help them? It was crazy.
To close, my feelings about Bled can best be described as the exact opposite of what my face indicates in the photo below.
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