One of the most beautiful Slovenian towns
Bled (pronounced as ) is one Slovenia's most picturesque towns and together with Piran, it's one of our top tourist destinations. Located at the glacial Lake Bled (Slovenian Blejsko jezero), that lays in the Slovenian Julian Alps (Slovenian Julijske Alpe), it attracts masses of tourists, who seek relaxation or want to go fishing, rowing, hiking, golfing and much more. The whole area along the lake is a park combined with many hotels along the way. Bled is also one of the oldest tourist destinations in Slovenia, health tourism started here already in the 19th century. However, Bled is not an old Slovenian town like Kranj, Škofja Loka or Piran, that's why you won't find a medieval center like it's common in most Slovenian towns.
✰ Why is Bled so beautiful?
What makes Bled beautiful is of course the Lake Bled (Slovenian Blejsko jezero), the Bled island (Slovenian Blejski otok) with the Baroque church of Mary's Assumption (Slovenian Cerkev Marijinega Vnebovzetja), the old Bled castle (Slovenian Blejski grad) built on a 130m tall cliff overlooking the lake and a neo-Gothic parish church of Saint Martin right below the castle (Slovenian Cerkev Sv. Martina). Bled is also famous for a delicious cake named kremna rezina, a vanilla and custard cream cake, probably the creamiest cake of this sort in the world.
✰ Our Bled
Parked the car near the lake, I was lucky (1eur for an hour). And I could already see the amazing St. Martin's church and the Bled castle. Walking around the lake, we saw the famous Bled castle on the cliff above the lake.
We came to Bled after having our lunch and a tour around Kranj. Time was really short for us, because we wanted to see so much that day: From Ljubljana to Škofja Loka, Kranj, Bled, Bohinj and then return to Maribor, my hometown. That's over 200km in one day, plus hours of sightseeing or walking around. And the heat was scorching that day (it was August). So it was truly a day to remember. And we really looked forward to come to finally see Bled. This is what we saw:
This is the famous pletna, which brings you to the island on the lake.
The rower named pletnar will bring you there (and back) for 12 Eur per person, if you want to visit the church on the lake, you have to pay 3 Eur. The ticket for the Bled castle cost us 7 Eur per person. For further info see Pletna.net.
✰ Interesting interracial couple
There were many people in the park around the lake, most of them sitting on benches or the grass, resting and relaxing. We saw lovers, families, elderly. Most of them were German and Italian tourists. I guess my girlfriend and I caught the attention from many passers-by, I noticed they were looking at us. I guess they did not see many interracial couples before.
✰ Bled island brings good luck to newlyweds
The Bled island (Slovenian Blejski otok) was already inhabited in the neolithic era (end of Stone age), but mostly used for fishing. The first settlers date to 7th century BC, the first sanctuary was built in the 8th century. The church of Mary's Assumption (Slovenian Cerkev Marijinega Vnebovzetja) was first mentioned in the 12th century, but was probably built earlier. The Old Slovenians (before they were Christianized) used to worship the Slavic goddess Živa on the island. There are 99 stairs leading up to the church and there's a custom for the groom to carry the bride upstairs, while she has to be silent. There is also a bell on the island which is said to "grant all the wishes" to the one who rings it. Usually newly married couples end their official wedding procedure by ringing the bell. Read more about: The Bled Island.
The lake Bled in its full glory.
Fun fact: The origin of the name Bled is unknown. The modern word is a homonym with the Slovenian adjective bled which means "pale", but nobody connects it with the origin of the settlement's name. Bled was first mentioned in 1011 in Castellum Veldes ("fort Bled"), which meant the original castle. Throughout the middle ages, Bled's documented name was the German version Veldes, which does not have any meaning in modern German. Some see the origin the name Bled from German "Fels", which means "rock, cliff", but I disagree. The common name for rock in German is "Stein". German "Fels" (or "Felsen", Old German "fällis") is related to Norwegian "fjell" which means "mountain", but it was not used a lot in the early middle ages, it became more common in the German language since Luther on (16th century). And it would still be a big enigma to find out how would Old German "fällis" get transformed into "veldes". That's why the name Bled will always remain a mistery. I guess some things are not meant to be known.
✰ Kremna rezina: The creamiest cake ever
We decided to try the famous kremna rezina (or commonly Blejska kremšnita), a yummy vanilla and custard cream cake. I wanted to see, if it was really that yummy as they say. You can buy the cake around Slovenia, but the original one is from Bled. So we went to Kavarna Park.
It does cost a bit more than usual cakes of this sort (2.90 eur), but the taste is divine! I never ate a cake as creamy as this one. If you go to Bled, you have to try it. And go to this place, because they sell the original ones. A coffee will cost you around 2 euros. The service is top notch, they change the table cloths for every new customer. We were purely satisfied with the taste and the service.
Look at the dog. He surely had fun on the lake Bled, don't you think? :-)
One of my favorite photos: My girlfriend in Kavarna Park. We went for a stroll on the other side of the lake. I couldn't stop taking photos of the lovely island. Another photo of the castle and the St. Martin's church. The ducks were everywhere.
✰ Bled was the highlight of our Slovenia trip
Bled is truly a beautiful town and not only one of the most beautiful Slovenian resorts, it's a European pearl. If you imagine the perfect postcard, Bled would probably be the no one image for that. Bled is good for those who seek peace, who are into photography and hiking, who love nature and want to escape the hustle and bustle of a big city. Bled has on average more tourists than other Slovenian towns, however, it's still not as packed with them like places in Austria and Italy, so you can really spend a some quality time here. The best thing is, if you can visit Bled with your loved one, the whole area around the lake is very romantic. Bled, together with Piran, was one of the highlights of our trip. We were vary happy that day.
See also: My best Bled 2010 photos>>
My rating of Bled:
Great place for photos ✰✰✰✰✰
Great place for photos ✰✰✰✰✰
Well preserved and clean ✰✰✰✰✰
Toilets, parking, souvenirs ✰✰✰✰✰