Where: Lake Bled, Slovenia
When: April 2015
Hotel: Hotel Kompas
Why Lake Bled: Like Cesky Krumlov, Lake Bled was one of those under-the-radar places that John and I wanted to visit before we left. We had one weekend where we cancelled another trip and woke up with nothing to do…so we looked at each other and said, “What about Slovenia?” A quick hotel booking on my favorite, booking.com, and even faster packing and we were off!
The Trip: Lake Bled is an easy 6-hour drive through Bavaria and Austria before we hit Slovenia. My first impression was that Slovenia is a beautiful country, an observation that was further amplified when we hit Lake Bled…it was even better than the pictures. Now, the town of Bled itself has its cute qualities, but is also mixed with 1970s, communism-era buildings…however, the lake and the castle and the island with the church make you completely overlook some of the more ugly parts. (Don’t confuse ugly with dirty…this place is pristine!)
We arrived just in time for sunset over the lake and a great dinner at a cute little Italian place, Ostarija Peglez’n (try pronouncing that!) for a perfect, laid-back night.
The next day we decided to walk around Lake Bled, which is outlined with an easy, 4-mile path. It’s partially paved, some dirt, some dock-like over water. It’s absolutely relaxing – and only time-consuming because you stop so much to take pictures. We talked about taking a boat out to the island in the middle of the lake, but neither of us felt like rowing a canoe over to it and each ferry boat stop was full of tourists – waiting in line among a hoard of tourists was not in line with the relaxing weekend, so we just enjoyed the island from the walking path. It was definitely the right decision!
Speaking of the former Yugoslav president – thanks to him, there is such a thing as “Blejska Kremna Rezina,” or Bled Creme Cake. A must-try (and easy to find – it is everywhere). The former president requested his personal chef make a dessert for one of his summer celebrations, and this was what was created!
That afternoon we decided to head to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, which is only about 45 minutes away from Lake Bled. Ljubljana is easy to navigate, and we just wandered through the streets with no real plan and a map I picked up from one of the hotels. (Travel tip – if you ever forget your map, always go to a hotel to get one. They are usually free and really well-marked!)
We made it back to Lake Bled in time for dinner, where we surprisingly had the best Mexican we have had in Europe. If you make it there, check out Chilli’s (NOT the Chili’s in the states!)…really good food!
On our way out of town we stopped by the Bled Castle, but the admission fee was a bit too steep for something neither of us felt strongly about one way or another, so we passed and headed back to Germany!
Final Impressions: Lake Bled is perfect for a relaxing weekend getaway. We had no plans, no ideas on what to do and ended up having a really great weekend. It was awesome.