Bled, Slovenia – A fairy tale town!
A whimsical castle perched high up in the rocks reminds me the tale of Rapunzel and Prince charming. An emerald green glacial lake that stretches for miles, a proud church sitting in the middle of the island that embraces the lake, and the lake itself in the middle of lush green woods that is host to a pretty town. Isn’t this scene just out of a movie? That is Bled in Slovenia for you!
Bled is a tiny picturesque town, tucked away in the Julian Alps of Slovenia. Bled has it all – an idyllic lake with swans swimming around, a perfectly looking island right in the middle of the lake which is home to a 17th century Church, a medieval castle hugging a rocky cliff, fresh snow snuggling the rugged Julian Alps in the background. Ah! The feeling of being at Bled is second to none and is blissful, to say the least.
This romantic town is a haven for honeymooners and couples alike. Bled attracts people like a lovely scented flower attracts the bee. Your eyes can never go sore in this picture-perfect postcard town of Bled. Towns like these inspire fairy tales and it’s easy to get lost in thoughts when at Bled.
Lake Bled, Slovenia:
Lake Bled is an emerald green glacial lake stretching across the horizon until your eye can see. This lake steals the show. It is home to an island with a quaint church with a wishing bell. Adjoining the lake is a castle that is centuries old hanging from the cliff, graceful swans ambling the lake as the pletna boats row towards the island. A walk around the Lake Bled can soothe your nerves and bring back a thousand memories and create a million new ones!
Bled Island or the Blejski otok is embraced by Lake Bled and hands down, it is one of the prettiest islands I’ve even seen till date. The glistening waters of Lake Bled reflect the image of the tall church surrounded by lavish green vegetation, easily making it resemble a scene flicked from a fictional tale.
Inside the Bled island is ‘The Assumption of Mary Church’, a coffee and souvenir shop and an ice cream outlet. There is small place near the church, with a couple of benches and different types of rose plants adorning the edge of the walls, offering the best views of Bled town, the Castle and the Julian Alps – all in one frame. And there cannot be a perfect place than this for a small picnic party! I still remember the cherries we ate at that spot – still contemplating if the cherries were sweeter or the views!
The Assumption of Mary Church:
The church is the jewel of the Island as well as to the town of Bled in Slovenia. It is the focal point of the whole surroundings and probably one of the foremost contributing factors for Bled to be such an attractive town and major a crowd puller. The Assumption of Mary Church was built in the end of 17th century and boasts of well-preserved frescos that depict the scenes from the life of Virgin Mary. There was some restoration work going on to those, while we were there.
The specialty of this church is the Baroque stairway from 1655 with 99 stone steps leading up to the church. Weddings are held regularly at this church and it is regarded to be very blessed to wed here. Our pletna boat oarsman told that weddings here are pre-booked 3-4 years ahead! Also, it is considered to be lucky for the groom to carry the bride up the steps on the day of their wedding before ringing the bell and making a wish inside the church. Neetan was lucky that I did not know about this when we were at Bled!!
But, what we definitely knew was that there is a wishing bell inside the church, which when made a wish and rang the bell 3 times and abracadabra – it would come true! Yes, we too made a wish, waiting for it come true!
Bled Castle or the Blejski grad is a medieval castle perched on a steep cliff rising 130 meters above the shimmering waters of Lake Bled. This orange-ish white castle has been around over a thousand years since 1004 AD !! According to written documents, Bled Castle is the oldest Castle in Slovenia. Castle terraces offer spectacular views of the lake and the island on one side and the mountain ranges of the Karavanke and the Julian Alps on the other.
If you have read this article carefully, I have been talking about Pletna boat from the start. So, what are these pletna boats?? Pletna boats resemble a huge gondola and are primarily made of wood. Pletna boats derived its name from the German ‘plateboot’, meaning flat-bottomed boat. A visit to Bled is really incomplete without a ride in traditional Pletna boats!
The respected profession of oarsman of Pletna boats has been handed down through generations, with a special technique of standing rowing mastered by only a few. It requires sheer effort and skill to row a boat with more than 10 people on board and that too standing!! And they do it with so ease and make it look really simple. But, trust me, it isn’t!!
Where is Bled in Slovenia??
Bled is located in the northwestern part of Slovenia in the lap of Julian Alps and Karavanke mountain ranges. The lake is 35 km from Ljubljana International Airport and 55 km from the capital city, Ljubljana. It approximately takes 45 – 50 minutes from Ljubljana city center to Bled by car.
How to get to Bled Castle, Slovenia?
The A2/E61 highway is crisp and swift with views of large stretches of green lands coupled with wheat cultivations where tiny villages of the countryside make an appearance now and then. The houses have a unique and traditional construction pattern with roofs slanting down to almost 1/4th the height of the house and they are really beautiful! In Slovenia, when on a road trip, you can see that every hillock has a castle at its peak. Isn’t that just lovely??
For the Bled Castle: 10 EUR for Adults, 7 EUR for Students and 5 EUR for children aged 14 and below.
For the Church in Bled Island: 6 EUR for Adults, 4 EUR for Students and Seniors and 1 EUR for children.
Pletna boat: the ride from Bled town to the Bled Island costs about 15 EUR per person for a round trip with 45 minutes time to spend on the island.
Bled, Slovenia is special. A ride in the pletna boat to the islet in the middle of Lake Bled is special. The Church of Assumption in the middle of the islet is special. The wishing bell in the church is special. The Bled Castle perched on the edge of the cliff adjacent to the lake is special. The Bled town with a backdrop of the gorgeous Julian Alps hugging the dark clouds is special.
I’ve not only lost to Bled, I’ve been captivated by it. I’ve been attracted to Bled more now than when I hadn’t visited it! I so want to visit Bled again in winter to witness the snow-capped Julian Alps and the bejeweled Bled castle in the foreground. It’s not long since we came back from our first ever self-planned Europe trip and I’m already thinking to go back again! While I was penning this down, I just told this to Neetan that we shall go to Bled and then visit Plitvice once again in winter. Neetan was just about to faint listening to this!! 😉
Been to Bled? Or planning to? Would love to hear from you! Scribble your thoughts in the comment section below! 🙂