We arrived into Bled late in the afternoon after arriving into Ljubljana airport to be greeted by smoking trees, seriously, I’ve never seen anything like it. We descended down toward the runway and could just see forests of trees with plumes of mist rising up from them, actually magical. We’d booked a taxi transfer to Bled which made getting there super easy and quick. We checked into our fantastic Airbnb property and once we were settled headed out to Pizza Rustika for a first night dinner before catching the stunning view above.
The next morning we woke early in our amazing lakeside Airbnb and while a minor electricity problem was being fixed we headed out for a walk around the lake to explore and get our bearings in the daylight. Located within a pedestrianised zone, our Airbnb was perfectly placed for a wander.
After catching glimpses of the view from between the lakeside trees, we emerged from the tree-lined path by the Bled rowing club and got to see the full expanse of the lake in front of us. Although the morning was slightly overcast it was so beautiful to see the rolling hills (mountains?) around the lake.
As we continued around the lake, we were afforded views of Bled castle perched high above the lake and also beautiful views across to the island in the lake. The most stunning thing about the lake is just how clear the water is, which might be partly due to the fact that motor boats aren’t allowed and so there’s no pollution from them. If you stand at the edge you can see right down to the bottom of the lake and once you’ve started looking you realise that it’s teeming with fish, which is probably why the banks of the lake are dotted with anglers and their kit.
Although motorised boats aren’t permitted on the lake, it isn’t devoid of activity and ‘Pletna’ boats (wooden flat-bottomed boats propelled by oars) regularly traverse the lake, transporting up to 20 tourists at a time to and from the island.
We had five nights in Bled which allowed us four full days there. At first I was concerned that I’d booked too much time there but knew that it would be nice for both us of to just have some time chilling out and if nothing else, just catching up on some reading. As it turn out, it was the perfect amount of time for us (and we could have even done another day and made a trip out to Lake Bohinj), we took things easy and at our own pace. We woke in the morning and enjoyed a leisurely cup of tea out on the terrace looking out over the lake and watching the various birds that flitted from tree to tree. The tree across from the terrace was also frequented on a daily basis by a tiny black squirrel, unfortunately he was always far too quick for my camera.
When we weren’t out exploring the surrounding area (including Vintgar Gorge), kayaking or clambering up hills just to see the view (more on that to come) we spent our time playing some of the games in our Airbnb, reading or eating. Bled is famous for its cream cakes and although they originated at the Park Hotel, they can be found everywhere – ours came from the Mercator. Perfect vanilla morsels for elevensies.
In the afternoons we headed down to our own private jetty to sit out on loungers and read or watch the world going by. I must admit that although our Airbnb wasn’t particularly cheap, sitting out on our own private dock drinking wine in the late afternoon and watching the tourist boats go by left us with a really smug feeling. I hate myself, but it’s true. It reminded me of why I work so hard, to be able to just be at peace and enjoy moments like that in phenomenal locations.
Seriously, this was a view from our jetty – amazing, right?
Our first two days in Slovenia were a little grey and overcast, but the second two days were gloriously sunny and beautiful, which really brought out the beauty of the water and the lake, particularly the greens in the shallows. Around the west side of the lake near the rowing club is a gorgeous wooden boulevard which allows you to get close up to the water (not that we needed it with our lovely jetty). It’s a great place to view the island from.
Not only did we have direct access to the water on our jetty but, in addition to a rope swing (yes, I did brave a swim in the lake one day) we also had access to two kayaks so we could get out onto the water whenever we wanted. We definitely took advantage of the kayaks and at least took one trip out and around the island every day.
Although we mostly took a daily lap around the island, we did one day decide to paddle over to the island and explore. We left it a day or two before going as I needed to master my getting out of the kayak skills. It sounds like it should be easy but honestly there were about two days where my method of getting out of the kayak mostly involved my boyfriend holding onto the kayak while I sort of army rolled myself out of the kayak onto dry land (seriously not graceful and not very much beached whale) which was not helped by my boyfriend laughing at me which immediately rendered me unable to do anything other than lie half on the jetty and half still in the kayak in fits of giggles. Not elegant but ultimately fine in the privacy of our own property, not something I could do in front of other people on the island though. So, after a few days of practice getting out of the kayak, we headed over to the island.
It’s just a small island that mostly plays home to a church that dates back to the 17th century. It’s biggest feature is the bell tower which houses, in particular, a ‘wishing bell’ which dates from 1534 and whoever rings this bell gets their wish come true. Needless to say, the bell can be heard regularly ringing out across the lake.
We stopped for ice cream (make sure you take some cash) and sat enjoying it on the steps of the island, looking down towards the Pletna boats.
On our first trip out in the kayak we returned back to the house to find that our jetty had become a little suntrap for a few snoozing ducks. We felt bad about disturbing them but we did have to dock somehow and as we got closer they did get the hint and jumped into the lake and swam off, leaving me to roll out of the kayak without judgmental duck stares.
Remember that I said the water was clear? Well that water in the shot below was at least 7 feet deep and it’s clear right to the bottom – perfection.
We loved our Airbnb, it was the perfect base for our Bled break. It offered a fabulous traditional Slovenian-style getaway and could not have been more perfectly located. It sits in the ground of a larger private property and the grounds of the property are dotted with sculptures and large scale art pieces. It’s seconds from the pedestrianised road but is very private and from the water you have complete privacy.
We fell in love with Bled entirely and it was partly due to the great place we stayed, although I have some breathtaking views of Bled to share in another post.
If you haven’t stayed with Airbnb before and fancy it, I have a referral link which will give you (and me) account credit – just click here.