The most common questions tourists have when coming to Slovenia are probably ‘Can I do a day trip from Ljubljana to Lake Bled?” or “How can I get from Ljubljana to Bled without a car?”.
The answers are, yes and easy! Let me show you how!
This article will share everything you need to know about how to get from Ljubljana to Bled for the perfect day trip as well as some options of other places to see close to Bled.
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How to get from Ljubljana to Lake Bled
If you want to rent a car there are many companies to choose from depending where you pick up your car (Ljubljana airport or center). I personally suggest getting quotes from Atet, Sixt, and Enterprise. They are often the cheapest in my experience.
The drive from Ljubljana to Bled is around 54 km and takes around 40 minutes. It is a very easy drive mainly on the highway.
This is the cheapest way – by far! Buses run from Ljubljana to Bled around 2-4 times an hour. You can check the schedule here in English. One way is 7.80 € and round trip for 12.84 € with the ability to return up to 30 days later.
The bus stops just a few minutes from the lake.
Note that some of the routes have a lot of stops and some are more direct. If you click ‘Details’ you will see each stop and here you can also see the Route Name. This route name is what you want to look for on the front of the bus before boarding.
Trains run from Ljubljana to Jesenice then you change trains to Bled. There are limited trains each day and it costs between 8€ and 12€ (depending on the ticket) and takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes each way.
Carpooling is another very inexpensive way to travel in Slovenia. Prevoz.si is how you can find a ride. The site is only in Slovene but it is very straight forward. You can see below how I filled in the boxes. The downside is that there might not be any rides and it is usually best for last-minute planning. But the cost can be as low as 3€ one way! Also, a chance to speak with a local is an added bonus.
GoOpti is a great resource when traveling in Slovenia. They offer the most affordable rides from nearby airports (Venice, Zagreb, Trieste). They do run shuttles between Ljubljana and Bled, but it will be a bit more costly than the previous suggestions. Probably a perfect option for large groups or families. If you use this option the further in advance you book, usually the cheapest.
Bled is famous for Lake Bled. A glacial lake with a small island in the middle and a huge cliff with a castle perched on top, overlooking the town. It is located in the Gorenjska region of Slovenia known for the Alps. Bled sits right between the Julian Alps, Karavanka Mountains, and Pokljuka forest (a personal favorite).
Settlements have been recorded at Bled since the Mesolithic (middle stone age). It was later settled by early Slavic groups, then Frankish forces, then it was under Bavarian rule, then the Holy Roman Empire for 800 years! As Europe goes, Bled was bounced between Austrians and French, then was part of Yugoslavia, and finally back to Slovenia in the present day.
I really enjoy learning the histories of various European towns and they are almost always complicated, but the value in it is connecting the pieces of influence. Whether it is in cuisine, language, architecture, art, customs, or just about anything. It is fascinating what individuals and communities decide what to keep with them culturally and what to pass on.
Tourism began in Bled because of pilgrimages to the Assumption of Mary Pilgrimage Church, and by 1855 it took off due to natural health spas. Today these health spas are located in several hotels (listed below).
Things to do in Lake Bled
Bled Castle (Blejski Grad) is a medieval castle that is built on top of a cliff overlooking Lake Bled. Some historians think it is the oldest castle in Slovenia. Inside there is a museum, restaurant, wine cellar, and a very cool castle forge I highly suggest visiting. The museum itself is very underwhelming but you have to pay to access the castle grounds and get amazing views from above Lake Bled.
Hours: Nov-March 8:00 – 18:00 / April-June + Sept-Oct 8:00-20:00 / July-Aug 8:00-21:00
Tickets: Adults 11 € / Children 5 €
Lake Bled Island
Assumption of Mary Pilgrimage Church sits on the island in Lake Bled. It is customary to take traditional boats called pletna to the island and ring the bell for good luck. Do note that there are 99 steps to get to the church! Pre-Christianity there was a temple in its place dedicated to Živa (Slavic goddess of love and fertility).
Ojstrica and Mala Osojnica
A small hike to Ojstrica or Mala Osojnica will give you incredible views of Lake Bled. Both hikes are not far from one another, as shown on the map. It is about a 25-minute easy hike to Ojstrica and if you want to continue even higher it is an additional 20 minutes. Do be mindful about footwear as it can be a bit steep and rocky.
Church of St. Martin
Just below the castle is the neo-Gothic Church of St. Martin (Župnijska cerkev sv. Martina). Built in the early 1900s this church has beautiful frescos from famous Slovenian painters. It is small and quiet so you can just pop in on your way up to Bled Castle.
Swim in Lake Bled
You can swim in Lake Bled. While it is a glacial lake there are thermal springs below so the water reaches 23 C during the summer. During the winter it freezes over and you can ice skate!
Walk around Lake Bled
There is a 6 km long trail that goes around the lake and is the perfect walk for some once in a lifetime views. There are also other paths around the region.
Try the famous Kremšnita
If you don’t try a slice of kremšnita at Bled, did you really go? This famous custard and cream cake is one of Slovenia’s most famous desserts aside from potica. You can try a slice at the cafe opposite of Hotel Park where the original was first made.
Take an E-Bike Tour
You can take a self-guided 4-hour tour via electric bike around Bled including food and beverage tastings. This tour has the option of going to Ojstrica hill which comes highly recommended as the best spot for photos of Lake Bled.
Try some adventure and sport
You can do just about anything in Bled. From ziplines to hydrospeed, from adventure parks to canyoning.
Relax at the Thermal Springs
Visit Grand Hotel Toplice, Hotel Park, and Hotel Rikli Balance to benefit from the natural thermal springs in Bled.
Places of Interest Near Bled
Fly Over Bled
Lesce is a small airport that is near Bled. This airport services small private planes and it is also here that you can take off and fly over all the amazing sights of Slovenia, including Lake Bled. I did this myself and it was incredible.
Vintgar Gorge (soteska Vintgar) Is only 4km from Bled and is a fairly easy (~26 min) walk through the 1.6 km long gorge. At the end of the route is Šum Waterfall. Do note that it can get very crowded here during the summer so try to go early. Buses run from Bled Castle to Vintgar Gorge for only 1€ during the summer. Click here to download the schedule.
Here is a little video I shot from visiting before.
Radovljica is only 7 km away from Bled and has regular buses between the two towns. Radovljica is a medieval town with a lot of history and culture to explore. It is primarily known for its beekeeping and yearly chocolate festival in April.
In Radovljica, you can visit the Beekeeping Museum (Čebelarski muzej). Beekeeping is one of Slovenia’s oldest traditions and dates back to the 16th century! At the museum, you can learn about the history and influence apiculture had on the region.
Next door to here is Gostilna Lectar which houses a restaurant, hotel, Gingerbread museum, and workshops. It is here that you can learn about the famous ginger and honey heart-shaped cookies with intricate decorations. They are still produced by hand in the traditional way during the late Middle Ages.
Kropa is not far from Bled and just 10 km from Radovljica, but the roads are always scenic in Slovenia so while locations look close on a map check the routes for time. The small town (pop. 839) is famous for traditional blacksmiths. It is said that the traditions go back to the Celtic times with the furnaces dating from the 14th century. They even produced the nails that are holding Venice together. In my article about Kras, I discussed how Venice is literally held up by Slovenian wood!
Hop on Hop off Bus
There are Hop on Hop off buses that run between Bled and nearby towns during July and August on Tuesday through Friday. For more info check here.
Lake Bohinj is Slovenia’s largest permanent lake and is about a 40-minute drive or bus ride from Bled. Another glacial lake but this time instead of an island and a castle its backdrop are the incredible Julian Alps. Read: Two Days in Triglav National Park to see what else there is to do in the area.
Map of Bled and surroundings
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Thank you as always for taking the time to read and if you have any spots you love to visit around Bled share them in the comments!