Are you visiting Slovenia during Fall season and not sure what to expect? Well one of the best things to do is to visit lake Bled during Autumn! This famous lake is beautiful year round but to me the best time to visit lake Bled is definitely when all of the leaves are changing color. It adds a magical atmosphere to the already scenic place and it also doesn’t hurt that you’re visiting during shoulder season.
Lake Bled is one of the most picturesque places and one of the best places to visit during Fall in Europe. This crystal clear lake is probably one of the most photographed place in the entire country and it’s not hard to see why.
I always thought that lake Bled was a little overdone and that people were exaggerating about its beauty. But I was dead wrong. Lake Bled is even more stunning in real life than on the photos and in this travel guide I will tell you everything you need to know to plan the perfect visit.
In my travel guides I always speak from personal experience cause I find that that way I can give you the best information and you’ll be able to have the best experience yourself!
📖 Make sure to also read my 8 Day Slovenia Road Trip Guide
The Best Things To Do In Lake Bled In Slovenia In Autumn
Lake Bled is one of the most charming places in Europe and is located 475 meters above sea level in the Slovenian Alps, in the north-western part of Slovenia. Most people visit lake Bled as part of a day trip and honestly, that’s a pity. This area has so much more to offer than just the lake itself. But more on that later!
🗺 How to reach Lake Bled in Slovenia
Lake Bled is located in the north-western part of Slovenia and is easy to access both by car or public transportation.
If you’re flying into Slovenia you’ll land in the main capital of Ljubljiana and since a lot of people love visiting this city as well the travel descriptions below will focus on travel from Ljubljiana to lake Bled.
🚘 BY CAR
Take the A2 highway northwest from Ljubljana and follow the signs for Kranj or Jesenice. The journey time is 40 minutes, but it can extend depending on the season. Once you’ve reached the town, there is parking available, but most of it is paid between 07:00-20:00, with prices ranging from €0.50-2 per hour or €3-10 per day.
Don’t forget to buy a vignette cause you will need it or driving on the highway in Slovenia. You can buy one at every local gas station and for 1 week you pay €7.5.
If you’re staying overnight in Bled you can simply park your car at your hotel. The biggest tip I can give you here is to stay at Vila Bled. This is by far the best hotel to stay at when visiting lake Bled due to its location and spectacular view over the lake. But more on that later!
For booking a rental car I highly recommend you to check out SunnyCars. Their service is impeccable and for Autumn season next year you can already rent a car for as little as €37 per day. They also include all of the “hidden costs” in their total price so you don’t have to worry about unexpected add ons.
🚂 BY TRAIN
There are two train station in the vicinity of Bled, the larger one is Lesce train station which has very frequent train connections to Ljubljana. Unfortunately the station is located about 4.5 km from Lake Bled which means you will have to catch a bus or taxi from the train station to the lake.
The other train station is the Jezero Bled train station which is located at the western end of the lake and provides up to five trains a day from the capital. From this station it’s 3 km to the centre of town Bled and about 2.5 km to Bled Castle. But for instance, it’s only 30 minutes walking from Jezero Bled to hotel Vila Bled and while doing so you’ll already get to admire the most beautiful views over lake Bled.
🚌 BY BUS
Getting to Lake Bled by bus is quite easy, from about 6AM to 10 PM you have hourly departures from the main bus station in Ljubljana. As the buses are driving via the country route and stop in cities like Medno, Kranj and Lesce, they have a travel time of about 70 minutes.
The bus station is close to the Bled Castle and from here all buses continue along Lake Bled towards Lake Bohinj and some even to Bohinj Zlatorog / Ukanc. So basically you could stay on the bus and get out at a later stop (there are several along the lake).
Returning buses to Ljubljana are as frequent as the buses to Lake Bled, so you can without any problem make a round trip within a day.
Ticket price for a one way ticket from Ljubljana to Lake Bled is about €7.
🏨 Where to stay in Lake Bled
During my stay in Lake Bled I had the absolute pleasure to spend 2 nights at the wonderful Vila Bled. This former summer residence of president Tito, has been rearranged into a charming historic hotel, infused with artwork of famous Slovenian painters.
It’s located on the Western bank of lake Bled and as you can see below has the most iconic view over Bled island.
And on top of that it’s only 10 minutes walking from the hotel to the best viewpoint along the lake and to the start of several hiking trails. All you have to do is walk down the stairs behind the terrace and you’ll already find yourself at the lake!
Vila Bled is the synonym for top cuisine, its restaurant has been ranked in top culinary guidebooks such as Gault & Millau.
The hotel has a wide variety of rooms and suites, furnished in the original style of the 1950s.
How many days in Lake Bled
A lot of people tend to visit Lake Bled as part of a day trip from Ljubljiana but I highly recommend you to stay at least 2 nights. If you’re interested in doing one of the many hiking trails in the nearby lake Bohinj then you should definitely opt for 3 or 4 nights.
Popular Day Trip to Lake Bled
These are some of my favorite day trips to Lake Bled if you don’t have time to spend the night here:
- From Ljubljiana – A one day tour to Lake Bled and other top attractions in Slovenia
- From Zagreb – A Lake Bled and Ljubljiana tour
- From Ljubljiana. -A day tour to Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj
The Best Day tours from Lake Bled
🕰 The Best time to visit Lake Bled
Lake Bled is one of the most popular places to visit both by tourists and the locals. So while planning your trip it would be very good to plan visiting Bled during the weekdays and to avoid the weekends.
🍁 8 Best Things To Do in Lake Bled in Autumn
1. Take a stroll around Lake Bled
Walking around lake Bled is one of the most popular things to do. The total distance is 6km and it will take you around 1,5 hour to complete the entire loop.
Along the way there are several beautiful places to stop and take in the view. One of the best photography spots is located on the west side of lake Bled and you can find it here.
2. Hike to Mala Osojnica
One of the most beautiful viewpoints of lake Bled is Mala Osojnica. It’s a bit of a hike to get here but the views that you’ll get in return are absolutely worth it!
The trail to Mala Osojnica starts at the westside of lake Bled. Just walk a little bit further passed the previous viewpoint and you’ll see the first trail markers on your left side.
The hike goes up the mountain and for most part you’re walking underneath the tree covers. At times the ground can be slippery due to rocks and tree roots so make sure to wear proper hiking shoes. I’ve seen people saying you can also wear regular trainers but I don’t recommend it. When I visited during autumn I “quickly” walked up wearing my regular boots and honestly the struggle was real. I was lucky to find a big stick to help me get back down or otherwise I would probably still be up there. So make sure to wear proper hiking shoes! I always swear by these from Danner since they are both pretty and functional!
The hike itself is on the strenuous side and it will take around 30 minutes to reach the top.At one point there’s also a metal chain for you to hold onto and you know you’ve almost reached the top when you see a giant steel stair case.
Once you’ve climbed these you’ll see a wooden bench where you can take a breather. The final viewpoint is just a little further and here you’ll also find a bench. Both of these viewpoints are fully gated. I guess in the past people weren’t always careful enough.
The total hiking time will be around 50 minutes.
Mala Osojnica is less frequently visited than Ojstrica so you can easily do this hike in the middle of the day without being bothered too much by big crowds.
3. Hike to Ojstrica
If you only have time or you only want to hike up to one viewpoint then let it be this one. While the previous viewpoint certainly is stunning I found it a bit disappointing when it came to photography options.
At the Ojstrica viewpoint you’ll also find a wooden bench but here there aren’t any fences blocking parts of the view. And on the plus side, this hike is also a little shorter. it isn’t however less strenuous and at times it can also be very slippery so make sure to put on those hiking shoes again!
The hike up to the Ojstrica viewpoint takes around 20 minutes and can be best done during the early morning. This is one of the most popular things to do and when I visited I made the mistake of going around 2pm. There isn’t a lot of room at the viewpoint and there were more than 30 other people there and all of them were pretty loud and blocking the view.
It took me a lot of waiting to finally be able to take a few photos while if you go during sunrise you can actually sit on this bench alone and truly enjoy the magical view over lake Bled.
4. Visit Bled Island
Bled Island is the centerpiece of Lake Bled and you can actually visit this small island in the middle of the lake. There are several ways to reach it and I’ll list all them for you below.
Visit Bled Island by rowboat
Renting a rowboat is one of the most popular things to do in Lake Bled. There are a bunch of shops located around the lake that will rent out rowboats by the hour and the average price is €20/hour. It takes around 15 minutes to row from the shore of lake Bled to the island and you don’t need any prior experience.
Do know that these rowboats can feel wobbly and rather unstable in the beginning so take your time and definitely hold on to your peddles!
Visit Bled island by Pletna
If you don’t want to do the rowing yourself and you still want to visit Bled Island you can also opt for tagging along on one of the many Pletna’s. These larger boats hold up to 20 people and a ride will cost you €12 per person.
5. Visit Bled Castle
From the west side of lake Bled you can already admire Bled castle from afar. It’s the oldest castle in Slovenia and dates back to 1011. Perched on top of one of the many hills it also offers a spectacular view over the lake and Bled island.
You can go on a tour of the castle, go wine testing or simply have lunch or dinner at the Bled Castle restaurant.
You can even buy your tickets online and they remain valid for one entire year after purchase.
Opening hours – November to March from 8am until 6pm, April to June from 9am to 6pm and July to October from 9am to 7pm.
Price – €13 for adults and €5 for children
6. Visit the nearby Lake Bohinj
If you’re traveling around Slovenia by car then this is especially easy! Lake Bohinj is located in the Triglav National Park, the only one in entire Slovenia, and is a true hikers paradise. Especially during Autumn this place is absolutely beautiful.
You can simply enjoy a stroll alongside the lake or go on one of the more adventurous hikes in the national park.
There are several paid parking options alongside the lake. Keep in mind that it’s not allowed to park alongside the road.
Lake Bohinj is only 20 minutes driving from Lake Bled.
7. Watch the sunrise over Lake Bled
The best time to take photos of Lake Bled is definitely during sunrise. It’s during this time that chances are the highest that water will be still and perfectly reflecting Bled island. And if you’re really lucky you can also see mist rising up from the water or some cloud inversions around the mountains.
During my stay at Vila Bled I watched the sunrise two times simply cause it looked so magical. During. the night both Bled castle and Bled island are lit up and it honestly felt like I was in a fairytale.
8. Hike in the Vintgar Gorge
Visiting the Vintgar Gorge truly is a must when you’re in Bled since it’s only 10 minutes driving to reach this spectacular place.
It’s a 1.6km hike up an elevated boardwalk through a beautiful gorge.
Charlotte Lint is the founder of Charlies Wanderings.
Charlotte has traveled all over the world and is based in Belgium where she also owns her very own dental practice.
She is an expert on writing efficient travel guides and finding unique places to stay.
Every month she helps over 134.000 people discover the most beautiful places in the world through her detailed travel guides.