Slovenia in central Europe is a spectacular country. With beaches, historic towns, cultural cities, vast national parks, and huge mountains, it can be hard to know where to begin! The country’s capital, Ljubljana, is a great starting place to explore the area around Bled.
Thanks to it’s location between Italy, Austria, Croatia, and Hungary, Slovenia is a true celebration of European culture. The capital city, Ljubljana, reflects this in both its buildings and cuisine. The typically Baroque architecture has a distinctly Austrian feel, and the city is watched over by the Ljubljana Castle. The castle can reached by hiking up the hillside it sits on, or by taking the funicular railway. Once there, be sure to climb to the top of the tower for magnificent views out over the capital and to the mountains beyond. For a more relaxing way to see Ljubljana, boat rides along the Ljubljanica river around which the city is based is a delightful excursion.
Less than half an hour’s drive from Ljubljana airport are the glacial waters of Lake Bled. Although by no means the largest lake in Europe, Slovenia’s Lake Bled is definitely amongst the most beautiful. Located beneath the towering Julian Alps, the lake has stunning surroundings. In the centre of the lake is Slovenia’s only island, host to a 9th Century church. The Pilgrimage Church has 99 steps leading up to it, and a picturesque tower. On one of the steep hillsides surrounding the lake is a medieval castle. The castle can be hiked to from the lakeside trail, although it is a steep climb! The medieval castle is perched on a precipice over the lake is believed to be the eldest in Slovenia, with a Romanesque tower and a drawbridge over its moat. The castle has a museum and nearby is the Castle Restaurant which is renowned for its fantastic views over the pine forested hills, mountains, and down over the lake and its island.
The lakeside location and surrounding mountainous landscapes of Lake Bled lends itself to outdoor activities. On the water itself, fishing, lake bathing, rafting, and rowing are all possible, plus tennis, golf, mini golf, horse riding, and bike hire at locations around the lake. Take a ‘pletna’ boat across the water for a traditionally Slovenian experience on the water. Walking too is a must; the lakeside path gives you views of the water from every angle, and heading up nearby hills offers even more awe-inspiring sights. The forested hills rise steeply from the water, with even bigger mountains looming over. If you are feeling adventurous, hikes up to Mt. Straza and in to the Triglav National Park offer more challenging terrain and equally rewarding views.
Beneath the waters of Lake Bled are thermal springs which have led to the development of a couple of spa resorts in Bled. Spa breaks to Lake Bled are available as package holidays and make a truly indulgent and relaxing base for discovering the area around Bled. At the end of a days exploring the picture-perfect scenery, what better way to unwind than with a swim and a sauna or spa treatment in a top hotel? The thermal waters are believed to have healing powers too, so provide the perfect setting for an escape focused on wellbeing.
About The Author: This article was shared by Tessa Bowles, an avid traveler. You can connect with Tessa via her Twitter address: TravelistaTess
Photo Credits: Flickr.com #1 maruiceb, #2 ScubaBeer, #3 29cm