Tucked away at the base of the Julian Alps in Slovenia, is a gorgeous glacial lake surrounded by a charming town. The town is called Bled, so the lake is Lake Bled. Although you may not have heard of this magical place, I am almost certain you have seen photos! This destination is screensaver worthy (I actually have seen images of it on TV screensavers).
Bled is a very romantic destination, so why not stay somewhere the oozes romance? Like the Grand Hotel Toplice.
The Grand Hotel Toplice, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, is located directly on the shore of Lake Bled. It boasts views of both the castle and island, the main two point of views on the lake.
This hotel is a great home base for your trip. Here are a few reasons why it is such a great choice.
- brunch buffet with champagne included
- spa with natural spring water, three different types of saunas, and pool
- best views of both the castle and island
- has rooms with lake and ‘mountain’ views – but choose lake
- some rooms have balconies
- multiple restaurants on site
- excellent service and location
- row boats available free of charge for guests
Tip: Make sure to get a room facing the lake side! Bonus if you get a balcony. Waking up to the sunrise with the view of the castle and the lake is absolutely breathtaking – a memory I will truly cherish forever.
Take the hike up to Bled Castle for unparalleled views of the lake and to explore the castle itself. I, personally, was terrified of getting too close to the edge and plummeting down the side of the cliff…. So I kept my distance and enjoyed the view from a safe way back. However, most people were getting right up to the ledge, some even sitting on it, just to get the perfect shot.
Take some time to walk around and explore the castle. It isn’t huge, but large enough to spend a few hours wandering. Our lunch reservation wasn’t until 3, so we got there in early afternoon with a bunch of tourist groups. Try to go early if you can! Tip: if you have a dining reservation your party gets free entry to the castle – simply tell them the reservation name at the ticket counter and you will be allowed right in.
The castle wine cellar is a great place to stop. The guys working there are great and an absolute delight to chat with them. Unfortunately, they do not do wine tastings. BUT, you can buy a bottle of wine and enjoy in the castle. We had ours in the wine cellar because Joe had such a nice time chatting with them, but feel free to take your glasses and bottles and sit somewhere with a nice view.
Restaurant review coming soon!
Be sure to make reservations well in advance, and request the best seats if available.
The Food: A-
The View: A+++
The Service: A
Bled Cream Cake
I cannot even describe just how delicious this yummy goodness is. Mouth-watering decadence in a perfect, powdered sugar topped square.
The small island in the center of Lake Bled is definitely what the area is most famous for. In order to get there, you have two options: rent your own boat and row yourself or ride with a group of people on a ‘pletna’. We opted to row our own boat (i.e. Joe rowing us) to Bled Island and the church there. It took about thirty minutes to get there and about an hour to get back. We may have had a little wine, and the wind was working against us! Rowing our own boat gave us enough time to enjoy the little island at our leisure.
The second option is to ride a ‘pletna’ with a group of people to the island. Basically the Slovenian version of a gondola, you get rowed to the island for a small fee of twelve euros. You get forty-five minutes to explore the island. You also have to wait for the pletna to fill up before it will depart for the island.
Once you arrive to the island, climb up the 99 steps to the Church of Acension. It is tradition for grooms to carry the bride up all 99 steps! We even saw a newlywed couple attempt it, and they made it all the way up. Once at the top, pay a small fee (I think 5 euros?) to enter the church and ring the bell. Be sure to ring the bell three times and make a wish!
All seasons in Lake Bled are said to be magical. Swimming is available in spring and summer, and there is snow in winter. I cannot wait to go back one day. It will always hold a very special place in our hearts.
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