Last week, together with Natalia we’ve spent couple days in Slovenia. This short trip was very pleasant, calm and subtle experience. I really recommend to visit lake Bled and enjoy some quality time there.
Ever heard of Bled?
I didn’t. We’ve been to Slovenia couple times, but only as a stopover or even just passed by on highway during our two trips to Croatia in the summer, couple years ago. So it definitely wasn’t on my bucket list. But couple weeks ago before Easter we’re looking for some place for our short holiday. Maybe thinking about Norway, but didn’t found any interesting (and not overwhelmingly expensive) options.
Some time earlier, I’ve stumbled on 500px blog post about some nice looking castles (actually I hate this kind of list blog posts). One of the photos was beautiful, looking lake with "castle" on the island. Later it turned out that it was not a castle, but a church on the small island. The castle was located elsewhere, on the side of the Bled’s lake. But this is how I learned about this place. And later, we’ve decided to go there.
The Trip & Stay
Slovenia is not that far away. Only about 700km from the Polish border, so it’s about 8-9 hours of smooth & easy drive through Slovakia and Austria. I don’t mind driving, so it was okay. We’ve departed early on Friday and late afternoon we’ve arrived on the spot.
Bled appeared to be very small town. It’s population is about 5k residents and according to Wikipedia it hosts about the same number of tourists during peak time. We’ve stayed in small B&B apartments just couple minutes from the town center. Our hosts were very friendly and helpful so we had absolutely no issues with our stay.
Sightseeing in the Bled Town
Obviously the main attraction of Bled is the Bled lake. It’s famous because of an iconic small island in the middle with a church and a castle build on the big rocks on the side of the lake. Those two locations look very beautiful.
One day we’ve rented the boat and I rowed to the isle. It was my first time :-) so in the beginning I had some problems with orientation but after some adjustments it went fine. We’ve did quick tour on the island, its quite small so you can walk around in like 10 minutes.
The church on the island has some bell that is tied to some tragic legend. You can read about it on official Bled’s website - which I can truly recommend, because it's well written, has lot of great content to help you plan around your trip.
In Bled, we’ve also enjoyed session of mini-golf, there was nice course just near the main street.
The castle was looking great from different points of the path around the lake. Unfortunately we didn’t somehow have enough time, or feel to visit the castle so we’ve only did the photos from the lake level.
Bled location is nice because of neighbourhood of the Julian Alps. You can enjoy more than 2000 meter high peaks from your window (like we did). I really liked the view of big mountains, with tops covered with snow and clouds.
Slovenia has lots parks, landmarks, mountains and natural sights to visit.
One afternoon we’ve did a trip to Savica Waterfall. It's located about one hour drive from Bled, near Bohinj Lake.
After 15 minutes hike we’ve discovered amazing view, with huge 20+ meters waterfall. The water, rocks and sounds were creating great experience. Also the views of the canyon, gorge were very nice. Te view on the valley, with the lake down below and steep walls on the side was breathtaking.
On Sunday we’ve visited [Postojna Cave](http://www.postojnska-jama.eu/en/. Wow! I didn’t expect that. Boy, that caves were huge! Huge, I mean really huge! First you ride small train, down, deep inside around 2-3 kilometers. Then there is 2km guided walk, through different caves, rooms, grottos where you can enjoy stalactites, stalagmites and lots of different rock formations. If you ever have chance to visit Slovenia, you must go visit this place. You won’t regret it. The only thing I didn’t like, was that it was too crowded. The tour is done in multiple groups and kinda feel that there are too many people around, especially in the beginning.
On the way back, we’ve extended our roadtrip by visiting Italy. The weather wasn’t very pleasant that day, so we just only drove through Trieste, stopping briefly on the seaside to enjoy the view.
Our GPS led us through smaller road, through the mountains. We’ve headed to Tolmin and then up the mountains to Bohinjska Bistrica, through the pass as hight as something around 1400 meters. The road was very winding. But it was really worth it.
First, on the side we’ve got the Soca river. It has amazing blue / emerald water color. It was something I’ve seen the first time in my life. I’ve learned later that the color of the river is because of the dissolved particles of limestone, bending the light rays inside water. Such beauty!
Then green. Forests everywhere. Beauty hills covered with trees, with different shades of green. It was very calm and refreshing to observe the sights during the way.
Along the road, we’ve also discovered rails route that connects Bled with Nova Gorica. And we’ve immediately knew what we’ll do next day.
The Rail Trip
Next day we boarded train in Lake Bled Train Station and for ~9EUR we’ve did round trip through beautifully looking, green valleys. The route was full of tunnels - we’ve counted more than 30! Our destination: Nova Gorica.
It’s interesting feature is that it a has border with Italy in the middle, just outside the train station. So we left Slovenia again for a short walk in Gorizia, Italy. Unfortunately it was raining heavily, so we’ve got to hide in some pizzeria for small lunch there and headed back to catch the train back.
We have to go back
The train trip was the last attraction. Next day we headed back home.
Slovenia is much more beautiful country than I thought. It has great hiking potential with lots of mountains, access to Alps, scenic views, rivers, lakes and caves. And the south areas, with the access to the sea looks also very inviting. I’d love to go back here at some point. During our 5 days we’ve only touched the experience and there is definitely more to do.
Few useful resources:
- http://www.bled.si/en/ - useful informations about Bled
- http://www.slovenia.info - lots of informations about Slovenia
- http://www.slo-zeleznice.si/en/passengers/slovenia/timetable - Rails timetable
- My photo album on Flickr