In this blog post, I’m going to be taking you on a trip through Bled, Slovenia. In fact, we’ll spend 48 hours in Bled, Slovenia together. And I can’t wait to show you more of one of my favorite countries in the world. My trip was with Lake View Villas Bled, you can learn more about my stay with them here. If you’re ready to spend 48 hours in Bled, let’s go!
Slovenia is one of my favorite countries in the world. My partner is Slovene and we’re lucky to be able to spend a lot of time together there. On this trip, my friend and fellow blogger, Rachel Bowler was able to come out and visit.
If you’ve ever heard of ‘where to go in Slovenia’ or the ‘top destinations in Slovenia’, Bled is probably at the top of that list. This quaint Slovene town gained internet fame a few years back when its church on the lake and castle of the cliffs became Instagram Famous. People ‘discovered’ Bled (for lack of a better term) and now people come from all over Europe to take a rowboat out onto the lake in the summer.
However, if you’ve ever been to Slovenia in the Spring, Fall or Winter, you know that there is definitely an ‘on’ and ‘offseason’ for Slovenia and Bled. I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s more beautiful in the Fall than any other time of year, but also gorgeous in the Winter AND Spring. And a lot less busy…
So let’s jump right in, how to spend 48 hours in Bled (in the Fall!)
Table of Contents | How to Spend 48 Hours in Bled, Slovenia
About Bled, Slovenia
Bled is a small town in Slovenia, set in a valley below the Julian Alps. Bled Lake is the feature of Bled, with a small island and church set on the island. Overlooking Bled is an amazing 11th-century castle built on the cliffs above the lake.
Bled is also home to the famous Bled Cream Cake which was originally made in 1953. Ištvan Lukačevič, the former manager of Park Hotel patisserie, tested the recipes and various combinations of ingredients for a long time, before finding the right one. That same cake is now made fresh and served around Bled every day.
How to get to Bled
Once you’re in Slovenia you can get to Bled in a variety of ways. My top suggestion would be to drive. Having a car in Slovenia will really help you explore more of the country. But if driving isn’t an option, don’t worry! You can still explore Bled with me. Simply decide whether you’d like to take the train or bus from Ljubljana.
Driving to Bled: Bled is 47 km away from the Austrian border (Wurzenpaß) or Italy (Fusine Laghi – Rateče). To reach Bled you can take the highway (direction Ljubljana) and then the exit toward Lipce or Bled.
Bled is 50 km away from Ljubljana. The easiest access is the highway toward Jesenice, which you leave at the exit toward Bled or Lipce. The other option is to drive on the regional road, passing by Medvode, Kranj, Naklo, and Radovljica.
When driving in Ljubljana you’ll need to purchase a vignette. You can purchase vignettes at service stations near the border with Slovenia or once you’re in Slovenia. Vignettes must be attached to the windscreen from the inside (the exact location is indicated on the vignette) before driving on highways.
*If you’re driving a rental car - picked UP in Slovenia, you should already have a vignette. We’ve never had to purchase one when driving a rental car.
Taking the Train: You have two options for train stations in Bled. You can get a train to The railway station Lesce-Bled which is 4km from the city center of Bled and can be reached from the line Münich – Salzburg – Villach – Ljubljana – Belgrade – Istanbul – Athens (aren’t trains so cool!).
You have a second train station option in Bled though! You can also take a train to the Bled Jezero railway station. This station lies along the railway line Villach – Jesenice – Nova Gorica – Koper or Gorizia (Italy). The Bled Jezero railway station is only 1.5km from the city center.
Getting to Bled by Bus: Bled is connected with regular bus lines with the immediate surroundings and all larger cities of Slovenia. There are regular bus rides from Ljubljana going through Kranj and Radovljica. Buses also operate from the direction of Bohinj and Jesenice.
The central Bled bus station is located on the northeast part of the lake, 3 minutes walking distance from the lake, at the cross-section of the roads Cesta svobode and Grajska cesta.
The Bled Union bus station is located at the entrance to Bled, 5 minutes walking distance from the lake.
Buses run all year round, but keep in mind that in the off-season you might have to wait a bit longer for a bus! Don’t worry, they’ll always come through.
Once you’re in Bled, walking is fairly easy. During the winter you won’t have many choices for public transportation, but Bled is small and walking is easy! In the summer though you’ll have plenty of tourists buses, taxis, and hop on - hop off options for exploring the city and lake.
Where to stay in Bled
I recommend that you spend your time in Bled with Lakeview Villa. Honestly, you won't find better accommodation to spend 48 hours in Bled. You can read all about my stay with Lakeview Villa here. But just know that they’re going to be my go-to accommodation in Bled anytime I come back. I loved the huge windows, kitchen, balcony, and sauna! You won’t find a better place to stay in Bled, especially if you’re in a group. This Villa sleeps up to 6. Take your friends, take your family, and enjoy an amazing couple of days in Bled.
If you’re visiting Bled in the summer, make sure you book your accommodation well in advance. Places will get books up and be more expensive. Consider visiting in the off-season when you can get a better deal and enjoy having a quieter trip to Bled.
What to do in 48 Hours in Bled, Slovenia
Alright, now on to the fun stuff! You know how to get to Bled, and you hopefully know where you’re going to stay. Let’s talk about how you should spend your 48 hours in Bled.
Walk around the Lake
Depending on the time of year you’re visiting, you can also swim in the lake! But no matter what time of year you’re visiting, make sure you wrap up and walk around the lake. The full distance around the lake is 6km. All around the lake are benches and beaches where you can hang out, take pictures, and enjoy the picturesque views.
Visit the Island on the Lake
Ride to the island on pletna boat or rent a boat and paddle. The pletna are the famous covered boats that take tourists out to the island, or there are plenty of options where you can rent you’re own boat and row out. One summer I rented a paddleboard and swam/paddled out to the lake!
Here’s a fun fact I recently learned about the church on the Island of Bled - Before the church was built on the island, a temple dedicated to the pagan goddess of life and fertility stood at the same place.
Make sure while you’re on the island you ring the wishing bell. While you ring the bell, you’re meant to make a wish to the Mother of God. I won’t tell you what my wish was but I can tell you it involved me spending a lot more time in Slovenia 😉.
Hike to Ojstrica
Ojstrica means Sharp Peak in Slovene, so it literally means the point above the lake. This is one of the most famous viewpoints in Bled. Make sure that you pack some snacks and water, and make the 20-minute climb up. The trail starts behind the Zaka Campsite, on the left side. It’s 611 meters, so it’s not long, but it is steep.
Once at the top take a romantic minute or two sitting on the bench overlooking the lake.
I say a minute or two because depending on the time of year, this can be VERY busy. If you go in the winter like I did, you can take your book, a thermos of tea and take your time enjoying the view.
*This is also one of the BEST sunset spots in Bled!
Visit Straža Sports Center
Straža features plenty of activities for people of every sport level and age. You can walk up (an easy walk up using the Bled Fitness Trail) or you can take the lift up. In the summer you’ll be able to climb, explore and ride adrenaline tobogganing along the 520 meters long track down the hill! I did this in the summer, the first time I visited Bled and can confirm, it’s amazing!
In the winter, if Bled gets enough snow it turns into a skiing track. That’s something I haven’t done but I can imagine it would be a lot of fun. Slovenians are very ‘outdoorsy’ people so you can imagine they make the most of all seasons!
Visit Bled Castle
The castle's history dates back to 1004 when the German king Henry II conferred the estate of Bled on Bishop Albuin of Brixen! Back then it was essentially just a Romanesque tower protected by the wall where the entire castle now sits. I love exploring castles and imagining what life was like for the people who lived in them. I think it’s one of the things that truly drew me into Europe. The castles, something we simply don’t have in America.
The most beautiful part of the castle is the castle chapel. It was built in the 16th century and is perfectly preserved! You’ll have to pay an entrance fee to visit the castle, but it also overlooks Bled and offers amazing views of the lake. So in my opinion, well worth the price you’ll pay to explore.
The walk up to the castle is also a treat. (You can drive up to the castle, there’s a parking lot just below the hill it sits on) But if you can and want to, make sure you walk up the castle. It’ll probably take you about 20 minutes and you can start the walk at multiple points along the lake path.
Alright now that I’ve shared plenty of things for you to do in Bled, let’s walk through my actual itinerary! YUP. I’m sharing exactly how you can spend your 48 hours in Bled without missing a thing.
Explore Vintgar Gorge
Slovenia is famous for its gorges. There’s something so special about the color of the water in these gorges. Most of the time I’m just walking around, dragging my jaw off the floor because I can’t get over water that is so clear and blue.
Luckily, if you’re just visiting Bled for 48 hours, you’ll still have time to visit one of these famous Slovene Gorges! You can hire bikes and ride the 4km to Vintgar Gorge (alternatively you can walk but who doesn’t like a bike ride through the forest?!)
A trail runs across the gorge and the wooden bridges as well as Žumer galleries, which ends with the mighty 13 meters high Šum river waterfall, one of the three river waterfalls in Slovenia. The Gorge is 1.6km in length, so once you’re there you’ll have some more walking to do (hence the bike’s suggestion).
Hike Mala and Velika Osojnica
This is the last hike I’ll be sharing with you around Bled because our time in Bled is coming to an end! Climbing the Mala Osojnica (685 meters) will take about 45 minutes along a steep forest path, then you need 20 minutes to get to the top of 756 meters high Velika Osojnica.
This is where you will have the most beautiful panoramic view over Bled (and it’s where we’ll be starting our 48 hours in Bled together!)
My 48 Hour Lake Bled Itinerary
DAY #1 | Lake Bled Itinerary
Listen, I am not a sunrise chaser. While I’d like to be… I just can’t drag myself out of bed before the sun. I just can’t. That being said, I do recommend starting strong with your 48 hours in Bled, by waking up early and hiking to the famous views Mala Osojnica.
Luckily this is one place that you’ll have virtually to yourself if you go during the sunrise! You’ll be able to enjoy peace, sunrise, and beautiful views over all of Bled and the Julian Alps beyond. Keep in mind that this hike is pretty steep, and if you’re trying to make it up for sunrise you’re going to want flashlights and head torches. Plan for this walk to take you around 60 minutes.
If you’re not up for the hike, head to Ojstrica for more amazing views and photos!
After you’ve enjoyed the sunrise, you can continue on the path around the lake towards the Bled castle. This walk is flat and fairly easy and it will give you more opportunities to admire the surroundings around Bled. Luckily it’ll still be quite early in the morning, the lake should be fairly quiet and peaceful. Make sure to take LOTS of pictures because things will pick up as people wake up and start their days.
As you walk around the lake choose one of the multiple cafes for your morning coffee. For my nonmilk drinkers, Art Cafe has soya and rice milk alternatives for your latte! (A must if you ask me!) This can also be a great chance to enjoy a famous Bled Cream Cake!
If you’re staying with Lakeview Villa (highly recommended!), I’d head home and make an easy lunch to eat and relax with on the balcony. It’s a great chance to take a break, make sure you have comfy shoes on and change clothes from your hike this morning if you need.
After that, spend the afternoon exploring the lake itself! Now is the perfect time to hire a rowboat or catch a ride on a Pletna cruise. Now you can explore Bled Island and the Church of the Mother of God (€6pp entry).
You’re going to be finishing Bled strong with a final hike up to the historic Bled Castle for Sunset. Once here, enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine overlooking the lake before dinner! While there’s a lot to explore around the castle, also leave yourself plenty of time to take in the views as the sunsets.
To get to the summit, the hike trailhead commences near Villa Prešeren at the base of the hill. Follow the signs up the path until you get to Grajski vrt, then turn left to arrive at the summit. The hike should take around 20 mins or so, depending on how quickly you walk and how many times you stop to take in the view!
Once the sunsets you can choose one of the amazing Bled restaurants for dinner. Slovenian food is very meat and cheese heavy, so if you’re veggie or vegan like me, try this amazing Thai Restaurant! I had the green curry and it was flavorful and delicious.
DAY #2 | Lake Bled Itinerary
Don’t worry! I’m not dragging you out for sunrise today. After a sleep-in, you can actually rent some bikes in Bled to ride out to the Vintgar Gorge. Like I said above, the Gorge is 4km from the city, and since you’ll want to walk along the gorge while you’re there, renting bikes will really get you there quicker!
If you’re visiting in the summer there’s also a shuttle bus that can take you back and from for only 1€ pp.
The ride to Vintgar is super easy, and passes through many smaller villages and farms, showcasing Slovenia’s beautiful, rustic countryside, with views overlooking the Julian Alps.
The gorge itself is stunning! Gorges are such an iconic and gorgeous natural site in Slovenia, you really need to visit at least once while you’re here. Trust me, the color of the water will blow you away! I highly recommend that you get out to the gorge before 9am - that’s when the daytrippers arrive. So you’re much more likely to have the gorge to yourself if you get there a bit early.
Eventually, you’ll arrive at Sûm Waterfall and cafe, which denotes the end of the gorge. Instead of retracing your steps along the gorge, we recommend hiking back through the woodlands to Sveta Katerina (St. Catherine Church), near the village of Zasip. It’s a peaceful hike that most tourists ignore, and on a nice day is wonderful.
The complete hike takes around 2 hours and is around 6km.
Take a leisurely ride back into town, stopping along the way for a coffee!
For lunch, you have to try Tavci Vegan Cafe. It’s on the outskirts of town, so it’ll be helpful if you do have a car, but you can also walk or ride your bikes. Trust me, it’s worth the journey. With a full vegan menu, they serve tasty breakfasts and lunches with cakes, alternative milk for coffees, and my favorite - kava smetana. This is a famous way to drink coffee in Slovenia which is really just a shot of espresso with a spoonful of whip cream on top! Sometimes they even have vegan Bled Cream Cake that you can enjoy!
After a very filling lunch, I recommend that you stay in Bled for the afternoon and relax on the shores of Lake Bled, resting your aching muscles with a swim in the lake (if you’re visiting in the right season for that). If it’s too cold for a swim take your book around the lake and drink hot wine and relax.
In the later afternoon, head to Straža for an adrenaline fix riding down the toboggan run. Fly down the 500m run, dropping over 100m in elevation and reaching a top speed of 40km/h, then jump aboard the chairlift and do it all again (€8 pp, per run).
Once again, if you’re visiting in the winter, you can try skiing around the run! It’s well organized and you’ll be able to rent everything that you need to enjoy the winter activities.
As it’s your last night in Bled I recommend wandering around picking whatever restaurant tickles your fancy. Keep in mind what I said before about Slovenian food lacking in veggie options. If you want to eat some traditional Slovene food, there will be plenty of choices! If you’re looking for something veggie, pizzerias all over Bled will have great options and Art Cafe has a Beyond Vegan burger that was quite good!
Your go-to 48 Hours in Bled Budget
So let’s face it, Bled is touristy. And with that comes more expensive tourist prices. Another bright side to Bled though is that if you do visit in the off-season or during the week, you’ll save money on accommodation! So with everything considered, let’s break down how much money you’ll likely spend on your trip to Bled.
For those traveling cheap (like me usually!), I suggest a daily budget of ~€125 per person, per day, including accommodation, food, and activities (most of the activities all listed above will help you stick to that budget!)
Here’s a breakdown of what I spent in Bled (in November!)
Accommodation | €70/night - per person!
Food and drink | €35 - to save money on food and drink you can always cook at home more. Slovenia is one of the cheaper countries in Central Europe for buying groceries.
Activities + parking | €25
Of course, if you have a bit more budget €250 per person, per day will help you splurge on nice dinners and an even fancier hotel! But if you’re anything like me, you’ll go Airbnb simply because it’s more local.
Travel Insurance | Stay Safe in Slovenia
If I’m being honest, I traveled for years without Insurance. Literally for years. And for the most part, I never felt like I needed it. COVID has changed all of that. I now stay insured all year long with Safety Wing. They cover everything from quarantine costs if you get sick with COVID, theft, and loss. I’m also extra covered with my credit card. But I’ve learned that you shouldn’t take any chances when it comes to your insurance!
So many things can happen that are out of your control. Check out the plans you can purchase with Safety Wing here. They offer AMAZING insurance for Americans who spend most of the year living outside of America, just like me!
Slovenia Travel Essentials | Packing for your Trip to Slovenia
Traveling through Slovenia comes with a unique set of needs. To help you have a comfortable, happy journey, we recommend bringing the following items with you:
Reusable water bottle | I don’t go anywhere without my water bottle! I have a Hydroflask which I LOVE. You can change the top to match your specific drinking needs and refill at any tap in Slovenia. Trust me, the drinking water is safe and delicious!
Biodegradable Wet Wipes | Keep clean on hikes without destroying the planet! And you’ll be doing a LOT of hiking in Slovenia.
Hand sanitizer | something you simply shouldn’t leave the house without in 2022. (and don’t forget your mask!)
Hiking Boots | A must in Slovenia. Make sure you have a comfortable pair of hiking boots for all of the adventures you’re about to get up to!
A lightweight jacket | Even in the summer the mountains can cool down at night. I recommend carrying a lightweight jacket if you’re visiting Slovenia in any season but winter. In winter, you’ll need a coat.
Planning a trip to Slovenia?
I hope this guide to spending 48 hours in Bled helps you plan your trip. You can also find me over on Instagram where I've shared plenty of tips to have the best trip to Bled and Slovenia.
Chat with me on Instagram about your trip to Slovenia. As I mentioned, it’s one of my favorite countries in the world and I can’t wait to help you explore! Find me @justynjen.
Keep an eye out for more posts about Slovenia, incoming soon! If there's more that you want to know about Slovenia, make sure to ask away.
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