When you think about mountain towns in the summer, your brain fills with images of outdoorsy people – gearing up for hiking, biking, rafting, etc. When you think of Europeans, a few other stereotypes that might overlap come to mind: they are slower paced and enjoy some of the simpler things in life just a little bit more than us Americans do. When these two thoughts cross, you are met with the Alpine paradise that is the lakefront town of Bled.
To say that Bled is an active and outdoors loving town would be an understatement. Our AirBnB host, for example, said that he runs the three mile trip around the lake daily. Seemingly everyone in town is either cruising around the beautiful boardwalk that spans the entire lake, or gearing up for an even bigger adventure. The lake is a destination for world-class rowing teams, as motorized boats are banned from the lake. Whitewater kayakers, road bikers, and backpackers all make Bled their home base. But this isn’t just a scruffy town full of outdoor junkies – Bled lights up at night with great restaurants and pubs, with international travelers spilling out onto the town’s compact and easily walkable streets.
For those more interested in cultural pursuits rather than outdoors activities, Bled doesn’t disappoint either. The church on Bled Island, circa the 1600’s, is easily accessible by boat. We rented our own rowboat, but Gondolas rowed by a local are also an option. If you’re inclined, the rowboat is the most entertaining option, just be prepared to race the clock like I did if you do the hour and a half rental!
The big do-not-miss attraction in Bled is Vintgar Gorge, a canyon filled with neon-blue rapids raging over beautiful granite rock. Rather than a trail, you view all this from a boardwalk that spans the entire length of the gorge, as the canyon walls are to steep to allow a trail to be carved.
If you dabble in any of these outdoor pursuits, you’ll probably be ready for a snack when you return to your accommodations along the lake. Hop over to any restaurant and enjoy a slice of Bled Cream Cake, a classic all around Slovenia.
If you ever make it to Slovenia, Lake Bled is a must on any itinerary, even if you only have a day for the whole country.