Astonishing Lake Bled

Lake Bled regularly tops lists of the world’s most beautiful place – and it’s easy to see why.

We knew that the lake – in north-western Slovenia – would be something special, but that didn’t fully prepare us for the reality

Picture this : sitting among alpine meadows and pine forests under the snow-capped Julian Alps, is a mirror-like waterway.

At one end of Lake Bled, a medieval castle is perched high above the water on a 130-metre sheer rock cliff.

In the middle, bells regularly peal from a church on a tiny, lush green island.

Gondola-like traditional Pletna boats dot the lake, carrying people from the villas and towns around the shoreline.

Some of the rowing boats carry pilgrims making a visit to the island church of the Assumption of Mary. On arrival, they face a climb of 98 stone steps to reach the chapel on Slovenia’s only island.

The boat ride took us about 15 minutes and the views from the water were breath-taking.

Long believed to have healing properties, the water of Lake Bled glistens emerald-green when the sun shines.

The air is crisp and there are beds of flowers and carefully-tended parks everywhere you turn.

During our visit, in late Autumn, the trees were losing their leaves, but retained their colour.

If you desire, there is a six kilometre walk around the lake and the surrounding alpine areas are popular for kayaking and mountain biking.

The nearby Triglav National Park can easily be reached by bus from Lake Bled.

As we found throughout Slovenia, local wines and food specialties are served at the restaurants in the town of Bled.

This includes the famous Bled cake, the kremna rezina, which consists of a thick layer of cream and an even thicker layer of vanilla custard sandwiched between slices of thin crispy pastry.

It’s hard to look dignified while eating the cake, but we couldn’t fault the taste.

We also enjoyed Kranjska klobasa, a juicy pork sausage that is said to come from the nearby town of Kranj.

The sheer beauty of Lake Bled induces a relaxation that is rare during a hectic travel schedule.

Slovenia is widely being described as the undiscovered jewell of Europe.

We suggest that, for its sheer natural beauty alone, Lake Bled is one of the shiniest parts of that jewell.

Senior-friendly mark: 7/10 – It’s possible to drive to Bled Castle, although we easily negotiated the steep walking trails.  The town itself is flat, although there are a lot of steps to the island church. Bled is easily reached by train, bus and car,

Note: the writer flew to Europe courtesy of Scoot Airlines

Lake Bled Slovenia