Please sign in to post.

To Lake Bled or not to Lake Bled

We did a great road trip through Croatia and Slovenia. Yes, we did go to Lake Bled. The good news: It is a lovely view. The bad: even in May the massive tour busses rolled in, the people emerged, getting on the boats to the island, and back. Repeat. What is never shown in the idyllic images of the church on the island, is just to the right on the other side of the lake, is the massive hotel complexes that have sprung up, built just out of view from the photos of the castle and the island. The world has discovered Lake Bled. I can recommend walking around the lake. Its an easy 6k-+/-4 miles.

We stayed at Villa Alpina and it was quite nice. The desk clerk when we arrived was very informative-but I’d recommend skipping the brekkie at the Green Restaurant. For the price-go to the grocery store instead. The breakfast basket option became that and our lunch as we drove to the next lake over and hiked up to the Savica waterfall. Quite nice mushroom soup at the lodge at the start-end of the hike. Good photo ops on the drive there. If we ever go back to Slovenia, that would be where I would return to explore the hiking in the area. There is a ski-gondola lift that goes way high up, but wasn’t operating while we were there. The view should be magnificent.

Posted by
4293 posts

Good review and sad about tour busses. Makes me even happier for my 3 nights there in Sept. 2021 with not a tour bus anywhere and few people on the island.

Posted by
9787 posts

Goodness. I am SO lucky to have first gone there in 1999!!! And then again in 2001. It doesn't sound like it would be much of a treat now. A shame, because it is/was uncommonly beautiful.

Posted by
809 posts

Went there recently on our own just for the day. Arranged a ride to Vintgar gorge. Walked a bit along lakeshore path. It is a wide walking path, not a hike trail. In the woods. Not with lake views. Took trail up to Castle.
Was not impressed with the lake. Maybe I am spoiled by various lake views here in Colorado.

However Vintgar gorge is real nice. Was a weekday and rainy so not many people.

Bus tours destroy much ambiance of any place that show up. But, sometimes I have been a participant.

Posted by
1793 posts

I was in Lake Bled in June/2018 and did not observe too many tourists actually at the lake. There were many up at the Castle. I agree the walk around the lake was a very nice. It sounds like Lake Bled has joined the likes of Hallstatt, Rothenberg and other small idyllic places where early morning and later in the day is the time to enjoy when busses are gone. However, I would never skip these spots because of other tourists. You just have to work around them.

Posted by
8544 posts

It is always the cruise ship, the bus tour, the (fill in the blank). Rarely do visitors acknowledge that independent visitors add to the numbers. Fifty people arriving by car add to the crowd the same way fifty people arriving by bus do. I think it is the visual of seeing them arrive all at once before they disperse out around an area that gives the idea that they have suddenly made an area crowded.

I was at Lake Bled in September 2022. I arrived ( the horror) on a bus tour. We were dropped off at the bus station and walked down a hill to the lake shore where, after a brief orientation, we all went our separate ways for the next 3 hours. Some went to the luge. Some went straight to the boats that go out to the island, other began a pleasant walk around the lake, while still others found a comfortable cafe table. I didn’t feel it was all that crowded, but then I was out walking or taking a boat to the island.

All of us at a certain age remember favorite places that are now more crowded or changed so dramatically from our recollections that we hardly recognize them or long for less crowded times. Travel numbers are up by all modalities. Expect more people. Expect more change. Just keep traveling…..

Posted by
4293 posts

While there is definitely validity to the point that we all in our various ways contribute to the crowds at popular sites, when 3 bus tours arrive and each bus tour group of 40-45 people stays together to follow their tour group leader, in a more confined space, then the space implications are not the same. Think of the Alhambra where a group of necessity must cluster close to their guide in order to hear and see - and thus takes up a whole room by staying in the same spot to listen. 40 people arriving individually move more fluidly through a given spot and do not as often clog it. And, of course, a group that does NOT need to stay together will not have the same effect as a group that does need to stay together.

Tour groups are perfectly valid - equally as valid as independent travelers - but it’s silly to pretend that the effect is the same.

Posted by
9787 posts

Yeah, when i arrived on the train, I was one of the only people -- not arriving with 40 or 50 people. Sorry but bus tours do indeed shovel way more people simultaneously to these areas.

Posted by
7404 posts

The effect of a bus tour and a small quantity of toilets has a big impact! ; )

Thanks for the heads up of the entire visual of the Lake Bled area, so it won’t be a disappointment. I think I’m going to have a difficult time deciding among all of the nice choices of using the time there!

Posted by
4441 posts

When we were there in Sept 2019, we were the only tour group I saw-and we were spending the night. We went out to the island and the wait for the boats was minimal. My husband enjoyed his walk around the lake.

Posted by
5687 posts

I was last at Lake Bled last October, and my experience (not my first time there) was quite different. The weather was good - the fall colors were nice - but it was not busy at all. I don't recall seeing any tour buses to be honest, certainly no crowds. I imagine tours may not arrive every day, and if you are unlucky enough to visit the lake on a day when there are a lot of groups, I am sure it could e unpleasant.

I don't recall even noticing more hotels than my first visit in 2011. Lake Bled has been a popular tourist attraction for a long time - the most visited in Slovenia I think. Lake Bohinj is much less developed area, much more "back to nature," and much bigger.

I don't think much of the town of Bled itself - it's a convenient place to base if visiting the area and there's nothing wrong with spending a night or two there, but Lake Bled could easily be done as a day trip from Ljubljana or even Bohinj if you choose to stay there instead. (The nearby town of Radovljica is a nice old town to base in as well - an easy bus to/from the lake if you don't want to drive there, plus, plus it's easy to get to Radovljica by train from Ljubljana.) I think Lake Bled is beautiful and definitely worth seeing. You can walk around the lake and hike up to the castle if you like; I have never taken a pletna boat out to the island to be honest. You need not spend even a whole day there.