. Lake Bled, Slovenia - a photo essay : Budget Travel Adventures

Lake Bled, Slovenia – a photo essay

Lake Bled island Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of MaryFor any visitor to Slovenia, Lake Bled is a “must see” destination.  While Ljubljana is the charming capital of this country, less than an hour away is a picturesque glacial lake nestled at the foot of the Alps.

Lake Bled has a number of interesting features aside from its natural beauty.  The lake doesn’t allow any motorized traffic or boats.  Getting to and from the island church, Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary, takes place on a pletna.  A pletna is a wooden boat crafted in Slovenia.  It is steered by a single oar and manned by a single rower (an occupation that is passed down in the family).  Think of it as a Slovenian gondola – just much bigger and much more affordable.

After arriving on the island, take a walk around the area with its gardens or take the 99 steps to the top of the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary.  Many weddings are held here throughout the summer.  The groom carries his bride up the 99 steps and those who make it to the top will enjoy a long marriage.

The lake also has a number of different things for travelers of all types.  Enjoy a stroll along the lake with a path that circles the entire lake.  For the best views of the area, hike to the top of Bled castle where you can tour the ruins which has been around since 1000 AD.  For those who aren’t quite as adventurous, there are other transportation options to the castle as well.

Around the lake, you can enjoy the gardens, the views of the Alps, and even a view of the symbol of Slovenia – Triglav mountain.  It’s the highest peak in all of Slovenia and even is pictured on the Slovenian flag.

For those who enjoy adventure travel, there are no shortage of options for exercise and fun.  In winter, there are a number of ski slopes near the lake while you can enjoy a ride on a luge in the summer.  For those who want to spend time on the lake, try your hand at rowing.  After all, it’s the place where the Slovenian rowing team practices (and they are pretty good at it too).

If relaxation is your thing, there are a number of spas, shops, restaurants, and enjoy ways to be pampered and just enjoy the view.

If Slovenia and Lake Bled aren’t on your list of places to visit, maybe these photos will change your mind.

If you love these photos, check out the ultimate travel guide to Slovenia to learn more about what this country has to offer!  It’s a great introduction to the country with places to see and interesting facts and photos!

Lake Bled Slovenia photo essay

Lake Bled island church view of Bled castle and Alps

A view of Lake Bled, Bled Castle, and the Alps from the island church

Lake Bled island church and pletna from Bled Castle

A view of the pletna boats and the island church from Bled Castle

Slovenia Alps Lake Bled island church and a swan

A swan swims through Lake Bled

Lake Bled Slovenia town hotels shopping

The town of Lake Bled

Bled castle view from the island church gardens

A view of Bled Castle from the island church

Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary Lake Bled island

Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary

Lake Bled Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary Lake Bled island and Bled Castle

Lake Bled Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary and Bled Castle

Bled Castle Lake Bled Slovenia

Bled Castle

pletna on Lake Bled Slovenia

A Slovenian pletna boat – similar, but bigger than a gondola

99 steps of the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary Lake Bled

Carrying your loved one up the 99 steps of the Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary

Oars of a pletna boat Lake Bled island

The oar of a pletna boat and the island on Lake Bled

gardens and flowers around Lake Bled

gardens and flowers around Lake Bled

Mount Triglav and Lake Bled countryside

Mount Triglav and Lake Bled countryside

Daydreaming at Lake Bled

Daydreaming at Lake Bled

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Filed Under: DestinationsEuropeFeaturedSlovenia


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  1. amazing pics jeremy! what if you dont make the 99 steps? ive heard so many good things about this country and wonder why it isnt more popular as a tourist destination. like so many other places, its definitely on the list!

  2. Jenna says:

    So pretty! I haven’t been to Slovenia…someday I’ll get there!

  3. Tran says:

    Have always wanted to watch a regatta on Lake Bled. Great photos!

  4. I am kicking myself right now! I really, really wanted to go to Lake Bled (as well as Ljubljana) when I was in the region last year. We just ran out of time. Your photos are gorgeous–National Geographic worthy :) The one of you carrying your wife up the steps is so cute.

  5. Raymond says:

    Did she get to carry you up the steps as well? Hee hee…

    The lake and that whole are looks so beautiful…stellar pics!

  6. Lauren says:

    Fantastic photos! Slovenia and Lake Bled are the second stop on my RTW trip… I can’t wait to get there and your photos have made me all the more excited! :)

  7. Andrew says:

    What a neat looking place. I had no clue that was even there. I went through Ljubljana on the train, but didn’t stop. Maybe I will indeed have to add this area to my list.

    I assume an hour away is by train?

  8. I loved Bled, your photos are awesome and really brought it back for me! Did you go on the ‘Fun Bob’?

  9. Andrea says:

    Very picturesque – did you make it up all the steps? =)

  10. Ruth says:

    Very beautiful place. Thanks for sharing. Loved the one where you are going up the steps with your darling.

  11. My husband and I are planning a trip to Eastern Europe in the next year or so and Slovenia is on our list. I was thinking of including Lake Bled but now it is a must! Beautiful pictures.

  12. jade says:

    Gorgeous shots, Jeremy! I love castle photos because they always take me back in time!

    • Jeremy says:

      Honestly Jade, the castle is probably the least appealing thing. I did visit and it has the best views of the entire area. It looks great in the backdrop but with the lake and the island, you can forget the castle is there. How great is a place when it has a castle and you can forget it’s even there? :)

  13. Lisa says:

    Jeremy, these are gorgeous! I will be in Europe in the fall and hope to make it to Lake Bled. It looks beautiful.

    • Jeremy says:

      Lisa, where are you going in Europe? These photos of Lake Bled were actually taken in September. It’s beautiful that time of year!

  14. Rebecca says:

    Wow, every photo looks like a postcard! What a gorgeous place.

  15. I’m not carrying my loved one up the steps, haha!

    • Jeremy says:

      Don’t worry Ben – I didn’t carry mine either! The way I look at it, I was already married and I am not Slovenian! :)

  16. Serena says:

    that place looks so bright and colofull! i wish i was there :)

  17. Did you really carry your loved one up those 99 steps? I’m impressed! :)
    That area of Europe is definitely on our list of must-sees. If we drove from Turkey back to the UK, we could take in all of these places. So beautiful – and great trekking areas.

    • Jeremy says:

      Sorry Julia, I didn’t. Just did the photo op! If you get through that area, make sure you stop and visit!

  18. Laurel says:

    Beautiful photos! I haven’t been to Slovenia yet, but I keep hearing how gorgeous it is and it’s only a 6 hour drive from where I live.

    • Jeremy says:

      Laurel, if you get a chance to go this summer, do it! It’s not far and it’s definitely worth a weekend. It’s a good place to get pampered and relax if you are looking for a nice, quiet getaway.

  19. Amanda says:

    Gorgeous photos. Makes me want to visit ASAP! (Except, I don’t think I could carry my loved one up those 99 steps…)

  20. Jeremy says:

    Since so many people asked – did I carry my wife up the 99 steps? No, it was purely for purposes of a photo op! So sorry to disappoint. It’s not that I couldn’t have you know… :)

    @Jamie – I love Slovenia and really want to go back. Frankly, I am glad it’s not a big tourist destination. I hope that promoting it doesn’t ruin it now! :)

    @Jenna – so close to the Czech Republic! It’s worth the visit but then again, I like quieter, more unique places.

    @Tran – they actually have rowing lanes set up there for races. I took photos of them but they didn’t turn out well. This is where they trained for the Olympics and will probably do so again.

    @Michael – definitely worth a stop. Slovenia isn’t very big but a lot to offer there. There are also some great caves to check out as well, like Skocjan and Postojna.

    @Raymond – the lake is beautiful. Couldn’t have asked for better weather!

    @Lauren – have an awesome trip and enjoy Lake Bled. Check out Ljubljana as well (wish I had spent more time there) as well as the caves. There is also a small coastline as well.

    @Andrew – I think it is about 55 km from Ljubljana. That is by car. I am sure there are bus options as well but you can probably get there in 45 minutes or so. I said an hour to be safe.

    @Tom – what is the Fun Bob? I did do a luge there and had a lot of fun. Is this what you are talking about or is it something else?

    @Andrea, @Ruth – a lot of people asked me about the steps so I addressed that question for everyone above. :)

    @Debbie, @Lisa – Lake Bled is a must! If I could, I think I would buy a house there although I wouldn’t use it much! :)

    @Jade – The castle above the lake is a great photo. It also gives the best views of the entire area. You can tour it as well.

    @Rebecca – thanks. Maybe I can sell these as postcards! :)

    @Ben – see above. I didn’t carry mine either! :)

    @Serena – it is definitely worth a visit. If you check on the web, there are some winter photos of Bled that are just as beautiful with all of the snow.

    @Julia – don’t miss it! I love that area! As for the 99 steps, well…don’t believe what you see!

    @Laurel – with you being so close, it’s a trip you have to make. I love Slovenia but try and keep it a secret! :)

  21. Tijmen says:

    That looks like quite a challenge having carrying someone up there for 99 steps :) That island looks like a great place to visit, never heard of this place before to be honest. But looks like its worth to visit.

  22. Blaz says:

    Slovenia is a great country indeed. Bled is gorgeous. It’s just like on the photos. I guess you’ll not regret visiting Slovenia….don’t stop only at Bled.

  23. Suzy says:

    I have always wanted to go to Slovenia. I can’t believe I haven’t been given that it is so close to Italy and I always find myself there. Did you carry your wife up the 99 steps? I would think that would be difficult! Gorgeous photos as well!

  24. Norbert says:

    Whoa, lake Bled looks really beautiful. Great pictures. Um, I think carrying someone up those 99 steps is not in my bucket list… but the rest is cool! lol

  25. This looks like such a peaceful lake and travel destination – I’d love to visit here and just lazily float around in a boat all day. :-)

  26. Ted Nelson says:

    Wow, what a beautiful lake. I would love to get a kayak and cruise around for a day or two. Nice to know there is skiing there too.

  27. What time of year would you recommend for visiting?

    • Jeremy says:

      Ian, I went in late summer/early Fall. I like that time of year because the crowds are fewer and the weather is still good. Any time of year for Lake Bled would be fabulous as it offers something for every type of traveler. In the winter, the snow is beautiful and there are a lot of options for skiing. In the summer, it would be warmer and you have more opportunities to hike and do other things. It’s really a matter of preference based on what you like to do and your budget.

      One other thing – Winter and Fall will have cheaper airfares and hotels if you want to go then. Some hotels might be higher in the peak of winter for ski season but offseason will save you money. As a budget traveler, had to throw that in there! :)

  28. Wow, that is so amazing! They’re great photos – I kinda like the contemplative one of you looking over the lake to the church. When will I go here? MMmm will work something out!

  29. That’s a breathtaking lake! It reminds me of Bariloche in Southern Argentina, though I’m sure Lake Bled is even more peaceful. I could really use some of that natural silence!

    • Jeremy says:

      You and me both! I think that is part of the beauty of Bled – the silence. No motorized craft on the water and no high end resorts cluttering the place with tourists and tacky souvenirs. There are some great places to stay for sure but you can also enjoy the silence as well! :)

  30. Slovenia looks beautiful :) You need to get a press trip to Slovenia, you are its biggest promoter!

  31. Odysseus says:

    No, I didn’t want to see all these gorgeous photos. Now I’ll have to add Slovenia to my list of places to see. Ahh, too many places I want to go! :)

    • Jeremy says:

      Thanks for the comment! You should check out my newest post on Slovenia – a visitor’s guide to Slovenia – with the help of the Slovenia Tourist Board. You will be even more excited about going now!

  32. robin says:

    Frankly I’m worried – it isn’t going to be easy for my girlfriend to carry me up all those steps.

    • Jeremy says:

      Just do what I did – do the photo op and skip the steps. After all, only the grooms have to do this so you don’t have to do the 99 steps until you tie the knot. That’s the tradition! :)

  33. The Dropout says:

    Wow, it looks absolutely stunny, a fairytale kind of place.
    It’s now on my list. But, like Robin, I think we’re going to have to role reversal up those steps. I don’t want to break my Darling Man!

    • Jeremy says:

      Well skip the 99 steps and just take the photo! :)It’s what I did. Plus, I am not sure if the tradition applies if you are not Slovenian! That’s my excuse!

  34. Ayngelina says:

    99 steps? It must be love!

  35. Wow, what a beautiful place. Love your photos — they really do make me want to visit Bled. Pretty impressive carrying your loved one up those 99 steps!

    • Jeremy says:

      Cathy, I have to confess it was only a photo op. However, all of Slovenia is beautiful. If you haven’t done so, check out my comprehensive visitor’s guide to Slovenia in partnership with the Slovenia Tourist Board.

  36. Great photos! One more destination to add to my list :-)

    • Jeremy says:

      Thanks Stephanie! If you haven’t done so, check out my essential guide to Slovenia as it has a lot of information about Slovenia and other places to see besides Bled. It definitely must be a place you visit if you get to Slovenia!

  37. Lisa says:

    You’re right this is a beautiful one. I love it just as much now as when I first read it.

  38. Urška says:

    You’ve done our Bled justice, let me say that. Great pictures.

    There’s an ever larger lake Bohinj an hour drive away from Bled, also nice, but doesn’t have that uau factor (no little island, no castle), but is also much less crowded. Bohinj is also considered to be te starting point for many hikes in the slovenian Alps.

    It’s always nice to read that someone had a good time in our country and even better when other people say “now I want to go to” :)

    Urška from Slovenija

    • I’ve heard of Bohinj but have not had a chance to visit. In research Slovenia, there is so much to see and do there. I love the diversity of the country and feel like it has something for everyone. Can’t wait to go back and explore more!

  39. Eileen says:

    Just come back from a tour of Slovenia and I loved it. The people were fantastic and the scenery is beautiful. Loved Lake Bled, just wish we could have spent more time there. The silence on the lake is special as is the trip on the pletna boat. It was 100 degrees when we were there, so after ringing the bell in the Church of the Assumption and coming down the 99 steps, a cool off in the lake was a must. Looking forward to a return trip.

    • What a great trip to Slovenia! Definitely seems a little hot but you are right about one thing – the silence on the lake is one of the most peaceful things about it! I never got to take a dip when I was there though. It was a little too cold – maybe next time! And I look forward to exploring Slovenia even more!

  40. Denise says:

    lovely photo. The swan one is my favourite

  41. Shameme Adams says:

    Hi gang,
    Sprry to butt in but yes it looks a very nice place. I am trying to find a couple called Lisa and Julian Betta who live near Lake Bled, Slovenia. Lisa has a Facebook but it won’t allow me to send her a message, it will only allow report/block……….don’t you just hate it when it does that??!! ha ha. But I just wonder if anyone knows them?,, if so PLEASE let them know I’m looking for them. It’s Shameme Adams, email address shameme.adams@gmail.com.


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