Bled became a popular tourist resort in the 19th century when the Swiss doctor Arnold Rikli discovered the beneficial properties of the area’s natural resources and founded a health center there. Bled’s premier attractions are a lake of glacial origin with an island in the middle and a castle whose history dates back to the 11th century.
Lake Bled is a lake in the Julian Alps of the Upper Carniolan region of northwestern Slovenia, where it adjoins the town of Bled. The area is a tourist destination. The lake is 35 km (22 mi) from Ljubljana International Airport and 55 km (34 mi) from the capital city, Ljubljana. Lake Bled is 4.2 km (2.6 mi) from Lesce-Bled train station.
A faster but touristier alternative is to ride around it in the traditional horse and carriage known as a fijaker, as Agatha Christie did when she was a regular visitor.
The path circling the lake offers fantastic views of the island, the church, the castle and the town itself. It also gives you an opportunity to check the local gostilnas or restaurants that are scattered around the lake and make a decision on where to enjoy your evening meal.
Framed by the Julian Alps and home to Slovenia’s only island, the Blejski Otok is the perfect setting for a restful getaway.
The island can only be reached by gondola-style boats called “pletnas”.
Once you set foot there, 99 steps await to take you up to the Chapel of St Maria. It’s worth the climb and there’s a quaint cafe and terrace with amazing views of the lake – a reward for all that exercise!
The small Christian baroque church on the island was first consecrated in 1142, but the present building was built in the 17th century with a freestanding bell tower.
In the chapel, legend has it that if you can ring the bell just three times your wish will be answered. There are more great views from the dramatic Bled Castle perched even higher on a cliff above the lake’s edge.
There you can look down on the island and watch the boats – so small in the distance that they look like toys – heading back and forth to the mainland.