Lake Bled#6 in Best Things To Do in Ljubljana
Though you may be tempted to stick to Ljubljana's city limits, you'd miss seeing one of Slovenia's most breathtaking natural wonders: Lake Bled. Located about 35 miles northwest of Ljubljana, this Alpine lake is home to the country's only island, where the quaint Assumption of Mary Church resides. On the lake's shoreline, you'll discover the 12th-century Bled Castle, a few cafes and shops, multiple thermal springs, a beach and a nearly 4-mile-long walking and bike trail.
Recent visitors said Lake Bled is just as beautiful as it appears in pictures. Many were left in awe of the lake's gorgeous setting, citing the vistas from the walking path and castle as highlights. On warm, sunny days, a few past travelers suggest grabbing a coffee or bite to eat from one of several lakefront eateries. Some also recommend hiring a rowboat or a guided pletna (a traditional wooden boat) to visit the island; however, others cautioned that pletna rides are expensive.
Getting to Lake Bled requires hiring a car or signing up for a guided bus tour that departs from Ljubljana. Tours generally start at 59 euros (less than $67) per person and last at least five hours. Fees typically cover round-trip transfers, narration from an English-speaking guide and admissions to Bled Castle and/or boat rides to the lake's island. Keep in mind, some tour companies only offer Lake Bled excursions on select days. Traveler-approved operators include Slovenia Explorer, ljubljana.today and Nature Adventures. Tours are also bookable on Viator's Lake Bled Tours page.
If you drive to Lake Bled, you'll incur fees to park on-site, hire a boat and enter the lake's castle and church. Charges also apply for items purchased at the lakefront souvenir shops and cafes. The lake itself is free to explore 24 hours a day. Visit the Slovenia Tourist Board's Bled page to find out more.
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#1 Ljubljana Old Town (Staro mesto)
Ljubljana's past is hard to miss in its historical city center. Home to must-see sights like Prešeren Square, the Triple Bridge and Ljubljana Castle, the Ljubljana Old Town area features a mix of Gothic, Baroque and art nouveau architecture. Throughout the neighborhood, you'll find colorful buildings, pedestrian-only thoroughfares, ample shops and charming open-air cafes that overlook the Ljubljanica river. Plus, several of Slovenian architect Jože Plecnik's most iconic structures reside in this part of town. Don't miss the Plecnik-designed Central Market, which hosts a popular food market (Open Kitchen) every Friday from mid-March through October.
Travelers rave about the Ljubljana Old Town region, saying it offers a perfect blend of old and new. Though many suggest a summer visit so you can attend the weekly food market and people-watch while sipping a coffee outdoors, others highly recommend arriving in December to enjoy the city's festive Christmas decorations and holiday markets. No matter when you visit, vacationers say you'll discover well-maintained buildings, friendly locals and a great selection of eateries and watering holes.
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