Backed by the rugged peaks of the Julian Alps, Lake Bled is a glacial-carved lake in northwest Slovenia. It’s one of the country’s most popular destinations and has long been revered for its medicinal benefits, with a castle built by Emperor Henry II watching over its waters.
In the middle of Lake Bled is Blejski Otok, a small island dominated by the 17th-century Assumption of Maria Church. Decorated with Gothic frescoes and topped by a 52-metre-high tower, it can be reached aboard traditional wooden boats, followed by a steep climb up its 99 stone steps.
In addition to exploring Lake Bled by boat, you can also follow the six-kilometre-long trail that hugs its shores. There are scenic viewpoints along the way and plenty of places to stop for a refreshing swim. Sweeping panoramas across the lake are on offer from the Renaissance-style Bled Castle, which houses a regional history museum.
Lake Bled is around 40 minutes’ drive from Ljubljana and 30 minutes from Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe. Regular trains connect to the Lesce-Bled railway station, with buses continuing on from here to Lake Bled.