The castle overlooking Lake Bled. (Photo: Junkii)
Rather than spend our entire time in Ljubljana, Junkii and I decided we would do a couple of day trips. Slovenia is small enough and has good enough highways that you can get anywhere in a matter of a few hours.
On our first full day in Slovenia, we rented a car and headed off into the countryside to visit two major tourist attractions: Lake Bled – with its picturesque setting that includes a castle on a cliff and a church on an island in the middle of the lake – and Lake Bohinj, about 30 minutes further than Bled.
Bled is probably Slovenia’s most famous attraction. The locals had warned us that it is a tourist-heavy place. And it is, but don’t forget that we just arrived from Venice. Bled had nowhere NEAR those kinds of crowds, so for Junkii and I, it felt absolutely peaceful by comparison. It wasn’t hard to enjoy the place.
The setting made for some spectacular photos, especially later in the day as the sun was setting. And as you can see below, the fall colors really added to the ambiance.
Social media in the making – the castle at Lake Bled was definitely a tourist hot spot. (Photo: Junkii)
We also walked up to the castle overlooking the lake, and spent a bit of time there. The castle was pleasant enough, but it’s really the splendor of the natural landscape that’s the star. If you plan on going, you wouldn’t be missing much if you were to skip the castle – but the fact that it’s high up does provide a nice vantage point from which to take it all in.
Someone had been doing some yarn-bombing around Bled.
The church on the island is the star of the setting. (Photo: Junkii)
Plenty of tourists.
…Including ourselves! (Photo: Junkii)
A view of the town below. (Photo: Junkii)
There’s a pathway that runs all the way around the lake. We didn’t have time to do the entire thing. (Photo: Junkii)
We went back later in the day to get some sunset shots.
It’s hard to take a bad photo. (Photo: Junkii)
At play in Lake Bohinj.
We had heard from several locals, including our GoOpti driver, that Bohinj is even more spectacular than Bled. I think that appreciation stems form the fact that it’s less developed and less spoilt. As a result, it’s also far less touristy, and that might be what local people like about it.
As for me, I agree Bohinj is spectacular, with a gorgeous little village nearby and a beautiful, unspoiled lake stretching out between mountains, but I preferred Bled and the almost fairytale image of the church in the middle of the lake.
Bohinj was beautiful, but I could have easily been in part of Canada – it felt that familiar.
In fact, if you take castles out of the equation, our drive across Slovenia that first day really did feel like exploring some of the best parts of Canada… just in a lot more condensed space.
Magnificent mountains, beautiful boreal forests, and lovely lakes – it’s like someone took Ontario, Alberta and BC and smooshed them together. The result is Slovenia, and it’s gorgeous!
Unspoiled Lake Bohinj. (Photo: Junkii)
The little village that overlooks the lake.
A little farm and church on the way between Bled and Bohinj. (Photo: Junkii)