The jewel in the Julian Alps – Lake Bled

The lake is pristine. Calm waters. Slow boats, upsetting the stillness. The motion of the oars and the movement of the pletna cuts across the lake’s surface. The pletna, a traditional wooden boat, has plied these waters from the 17th century. All you hear is the gentle lapping of waters on the hull. There is nothing else to focus on other than the scenery. You are lulled into a relaxing trance as you drink in your surrounds – the emerald waters of the lake and the verdant hills beyond.

What is there to say about Lake Bled that hasn’t already been said? Bodies of water simply don’t come more idyllic than this. The jagged mountains and daunting castle provide a stunning back drop to a lake with a focus on its iconic island and its church. Lake Bled deserves every single tourist it gets.

The island is crowned with the church, a small gothic styled structure with baroque interior, highly ornamented and guilded in golden colours. Standing on Lake Bled’s shore gives a peaceful sensation, the perfect landscape giving thought to a fairytale story. It is an inspirational location that is as romantic as it is awe inspiring.

You hear the church bell chime across the lake – not chiming the time, rather, visitors ringing the bell for luck. It is believed that if you pull the rope once and the bell rings three times, you can make a wish and it will come true. This church, Assumption of Mary, still has religious significance today with services and marriages held regularly. The only criteria on your wedding day is to carry your bride up the 99 stairs from the shore to the church.

And while you are enjoying this idyllic location, you may as well try the ‘blejski kremsnita’. This is a must! A kremsnite at Lake Bled is akin to a Rueben sandwich from Katz’s deli in NY…or a gelato in Rome. This is decadence on a plate – an inch of vanilla cream with an equal amount of fresh cream sandwiched between the lightest of mille feuille pastry, dusted with icing sugar. Unbelievably, it is lighter than one would expect, but the servings are large and the 6km walking circuit around the lake is a great way to offset the calorie intake…sort of. For something more substantial, a lakeside lunch at Vila Preseren will provide the most magnificent backdrop as you indulge in nicely prepared local fare.

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