Before we departed for our European van life adventure we were asking our friends & family back home for any hot tips or recommendations on places we must see. One of our best friends said Lake Bled was an absolute must. He hadn’t got the chance to go there himself but had heard only great things and urged us to go.
We were making our way to Croatia from Venice but decided to take a slight detour to Lake Bled to break up the drive & check it out for ourselves so we could report back first hand.
Turns out we’re in agreeance with everyone else! The place is like no other I’ve seen before. As we first drove around the lake I couldn’t help but wind down the window & yell “WOW!” like an excited kid.
The clear water & turqouise colour of the glacial lake is contrasted by the luscious greenery of the surrounding forests. There’s plenty to look at whether it be the infamous island church, cliffside castle or the jagged mountain ranges which act as a stunning backdrop. There’s also plenty of activity on and around the lake with row boats, the authentic pletna boats, swimming, fishing, hiking & more.
Although it’s the main tourist destination in Slovenia it’s natural charm hasn’t been lost and somehow (thankfully) the atmosphere around the lake remains peaceful and serene. At sunset it also feels incredibly romantic!
Back in the olden days there was a guy from Switzerland called Arnold Rikli who became ill after exposure to chemicals as a result of his occupation in leather dye works. He started researching places where he could go to recover, stumbled upon Lake Bled and then later moved there.
He considered himself as a pioneer and natural healer, curing himself of disease with the help of nature, sunbathing and swimming in the lake.
I highly doubt there’s any evidence to support his method curing serious illnesses however I’m sure it works wonders for improving physical, mental & emotional wellbeing!
We certainly felt great spending two days amongst nature, doing little but his “prescription”. The Rikli hiking path (named after him) which is still around today was apparently part of his and his cult’s daily routine – they walked up each morning on an empty stomach, bare foot and often nude!
Today there are a number of upmarket hotels that offer tourists health and wealth ness retreats and spa packages. Unlike Riklis I’m pretty sure they come at an exorbitant price and your clothing remains on, although I can’t be certain.
THINGS TO DO:
- Walk the 6 km track around the perimeter of the lake. The entire circuit is beautiful with plenty of places to stop & take in the picturesque scenery.
- Seek out one of the many hiking trails which will lead to spectacular view points overlooking Lake Bled & the surrounding mountains.
- Go for a swim. I felt courageous enough to go for a dip despite the freezing outside temperatures. After getting out of the water Blake took a look at me and said I could take someone out with my nipples. Apparently I wasn’t tricking anyone into thinking it was warm! Freezing but very refreshing and recommended.
- Try the famous cream cake, a speciality that originated in Bled. We shared one between two & after about one minute there was little left on the plate! It certainly lived up to expectations.
- For the best vantage point over Lake Bled take the Ojstrica trail. It’s only a short 20 minutes up hill through the forest to get to the top & the views are well worth it.
- Head to the campsite mini market for the cheapest beer. A cold can of Slovenian Laško is only 0.99 euros!
- Van life: we paid for parking next to the campsite and were able to stay the night for just 5 euros. There’s no services but the position is perfect being directly opposite Lake Bled!
- Make sure you pack your joggers & plenty of warm clothes. We visited at the end of September and although sunny throughout the day, the wind was freezing & the temperatures ranged from a chilly 1 – 16 degrees.
- We arrived on Sunday afternoon & left on Tuesday & as always the weekdays are noticeably less crowded than weekends.