My first contact with the lake was at night and very impressive, due to a clever illumination.
By the day it confirmed all the expectations, but I didn't cross it to the island - the time was short, and the weather unstable. It's beautiful, yes it is, and... it's beautiful. OK.
It´s nice, the island in the lake, but weighting everything (the announced poor attractions in the island, the cost of the boat, the rainy day, and our scheduling) we didn't go there.
Yes, there's a church... but no shopping, so...
If for some reason you don't feel like walking around the lake, then you can take the tourist train. You can get off at the other end of the lake or do the round trip which seems to cost Euro 3.00. There is a timetable at each station.
Another option would be to hire a horse-drawn carriage for a ride. The prices for those start at Euro 40.00.
Lake Bled is one of those Glacial Lakes that are a pretty blue/green colour, that I think are rather pretty.
It came about when the Bohinj Glacier melted and filled the basin with water, hence making Lake Bled.
The Lake can heat to 25°C in the summer and be ice-covered in Winter!
Tourist Boats [Pletna] will ferry you over and back to the Island [for a fee] where the ancient Slavs worshipped Ziva, goddess of love and fertility. Pilgrims later came to the church of St Mary on the island.
To access the island in 2011, was another 3 euros.
Please check the website for opening hours, as they vary through-out the year. It will also give you the time, Mass is held.
The little tourist train also stops at where the Boats depart from
On a fine day, there are few nicer prospects in Bled than to catch a boat over to the island - preferably letting some willing boatman take the strain!
But what do you do when you get on the tiny island? Well, by far the noisiest option is to ring the church bell.
This is not a particularly cheap exercise, but, as this is not an opportunity that is usually afforded to most of us, it's a tempting proposition. And for children who are used to being hushed into silence when visiting churches on holiday, well, the prospect to make an almighty racket is a heavensent opportunity (but enough of the self-indulgent ecclesiastical puns ...)
Ringing a church bell turns out to be surprisingly hard work. It's OK once you have a rhythm going, but getting the blasted thing to swing sufficiently so that the clanger hits the bell (if those are the correct terms?) requires a good deal of brute force. The backlash as the rope yanked upwards on the counterswing can also take you by surprise if you're not expecting it.
At least the church is separated from areas of habitation by a significant expanse of water, so even repeated bell ringing is unlikely to cause a major nuisance, and even if it does get irritating, those affected should just give thanks that it's not bagpipes!
Here is the Lido, birds eye view from the castle. This offers slides and diving platforms. Note the water is very deep here and no possibility of standing up. Younger children where wearing some inflatables to help. A cafe and snack bar are available. There are some large grass areas to pitch down and a bit of shade to hide under.
There are a number of other spots to swim in the lake with a more adhoc feel. The largest 'beach' appeared to be near the camping ground which also had a few platforms to enjoy jumping in and diving from.
Eventually, you will most likely want to stop looking at that cute island in the middle of the lake and actually go out to it. Or at least your wife will. ;)
Should you give in to the temptation/spousal inquiries, there are plentiful "pletna" (flat-bottomed boats) to take you out there. You can kind of think of them as Venetian gondolas... except you generally have to share the ride with about a dozen others. Fun, but slightly less romantic. Also quite a bit cheaper.
Anyway, all you need to do is walk up to a pletna driver, get in the boat, wait for the boat to fill, and go on your way. The driver will usually not say much on the journey out. Once you arrive at the island, he will announce in Slovene, English, French, German, and Italian that he will wait 30 minutes and then depart. After exploring the island, you get back on your pletna... after paying EUR 10-12 per person to the driver... and you are silently returned to the shore.
On the island, there are lots of places and buildings to explore, though you're expected to pay an extra EUR 3 per person to enter the island (exceptions: locals, guided tour groups, and wedding parties). And speaking of weddings, of special interest to some is the long stone staircase up which many grooms will carry their brides.
Beautiful lake Bled is absolute paradise to swim in the summer months, with an optimum water temperature of about 27oC:)) The best place to while away an afternoon is on the slightly hidden away beach, away from the tourist crowds of the main town. Here you can catch some rays and gaze upon the tourquoise waters, island, and alps, in a state of pure bliss! Then take a leisurely swim to the island (about 20minutes) and explore it's banks, and rope-swing over the crystal clear waters.
Rowing boats are about €10 an hour and a plug for our hosts at Pletna Bled, use their boat hire facilities on the jetty outside the accommodation which are closer to the island than those at the major hotels. Of course, you need not go to the island at all but it gave me a welcome rest. The warning I would be wary of is making sure you find a safe spot to disembark at the island. Bee Ted thoughtfully stated, "Stopping at the island gives the rowing ample opportunity to relax the muscles ready for the voyage back to the mainland."
The word 'divine' was invented for the Bled Cake. This cake was created by the chef at Hotel Park many years ago as a signature dish for everyone to indulge and indulge I did. Similar to a Bavarian slices that we buy in the UK, a delicious and girdle busting slice of cream and custard style filling. We indulged at the Kaverna Park terrace for this which was very good with views of the lake and shade if needed.
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