Day Trip from Ljubljana.
We went to Bled for the day. We took a bus from the main bus station in Ljubljana. I think the ticket was 7 Euros 60 per person. The bus took just over an hour and was very crowded with lots of people standing. The older I get, the less I am liking crowded, touristy places, so I was feeling negative even on the bus journey and could not help comparing it with our bus journey to Kranj the day before when we had almost a whole bus to ourselves. On arrival my mood did not improve. I wanted to go swimming and to walk around the lake. When we reached the lake, we saw lots of no swimming signs and when we went to the official swimming area, we found it was quite expensive with additional costs for everything. Now that may have been fine if we had intended to swim and sunbathe for several hours but we wanted a quick swim and then to go walking. I know I am sounding moany and negative, but as we started walking around the lake, I could not help but be charmed by the magical scenery: medieval castle perched on the hill, clear blue lake waters, island in the distance with tall church spire.
The further away we got from the main town of Bled, the happier I became. We found people swimming for free in the lake, sometimes next to the no swimming signs and I could not resist joining them, though my more law abiding husband did not. We found a Mercator Supermarket and bought a picnic to eat by the lakeside. When we had walked right round to the island, we found another swimming area where you could swim for free or just pay for sun bed and sun umbrella hire. I liked the far side of the lake much more than the town end. We realized then that we were near the Bled Jezero Train Station and decided to take a train back from there rather than travel back on a crowded bus again. This station was only about 10 minutes walk away from the swimming area at the island end of the lake, but trains from here are not frequent, so you do have to know the times. Also the train will take you to Jessenice and you have to change there. The train journey was slower than the bus, but it was not crowded and the scenery on both journeys: bus and train was lovely. Bled Jezero to Ljubljana on the faster train costs 8 Euros 39 and on the slower one 6 Euros 59. We treated our day in Bled differently from the nonstop sightseeing of our other days, as we wanted a change. We did not go to the castle, or take a boat to the island. It was a walking and swimming and enjoying the scenery laid back restful sort of day. For my husband Bled was the highlight of our whole holiday. It was certainly beautiful.
This stunning castle stands perched on a rock towering over Lake Bled. The castle looks different from different angles as you walk around the lake and in different weather conditions. On our one day visit we had brilliant sunshine, rolling clouds, heavy rain and actually the changes these brought to all the scenery was worth experiencing in itself. We did not climb up to the castle, but apparently there are three different paths to Bled Castle. All of these are sign posted Grad which means castle. The first walk begins in the car park behind Bledec Hostel; the second is a very steep path beginning at the Castle Baths; and the third starts near the Church of St Martin. Bled Castle was originally built in the early eleventh century, though much of the current castle was built in the sixteenth century after the castle was damaged in an earthquake in 1511. For eight hundred years Bled Castle was the seat of the Bishops of Brixen.Nowadays Bled Castle is a museum with a beautiful chapel and stunning views over Bled Lake and island.
The Church of St Martin.
In Bled town you can visit the Parish Church of St Martin, which was created by Friedrich von Schmidt in 1905. Von Schmidt also designed the town hall and the Votive Church in Vienna. We just looked at the church on our way past without going in as we had been doing day after day of nonstop sightseeing and wanted just to enjoy the natural scenery of Bled rather than the sights.
For us the main reason to go to Bled was to walk round the lake and go for a swim in it. It is a wonderful feeling to swim in clear blue waters and look up to see an ancient castle looming over you or a distant island with its tall church spire. It reminded me a little of swimming in the Alpsee with Neuschwanstein looming nearby. Bled Lake is 2km by 1.4km. It is a 6km walk to go right round with paths by the shore all the way. As you walk around, the castle and island look different from different angles. There are two officially designated swimming areas with other more expensive hotel owned ones. The swimming area in the main town near the castle is quite expensive but has facilities. At the swimming area near the island end you can swim free just paying for sun beds and umbrellas if you hire these. Swimming in clear blue waters next to a picturesque island with an ancient castle towering nearby. Just lovely! What an absolutely perfect way to spend a glorious sunfilled day. We later had a picnic by the lake, too. Directions: If you walk or drive around the lake, you will see where people swim.
You can hire a boat called a pletna to go out to Bled island. We did not; we just viewed it from the shore. Like the castle, the island looks very different when viewed from different sides. When you are right in front of it you can see the stairway leading up to the Church of the Assumption. The stairway dates from 1655.The lovely church dates from the seventeenth century. However there has been a church at this site since the ninth century. Inside the church there are fragments of frescoes and a wishing bell which you can ring to make your wish come true. While you are on the island, you can also visit the Chaplain's House and the Provost's House. The island was also a place of worship in ancient times when Ziva goddess of love and fertility was worshiped here.
Bled is famous for its mouth wateringly yummy cream cakes like this one. We did not actually try any but they certainly look good. I feel I was a very good girl for resisting the temptation to eat several of these.