When I found out that Bled (you know the place with the island in the middle of the lake) was only 45 minutes from Ljubljana I became obsessed with visiting it during our trip. We looked into a number of options regarding how we would get there – renting a car seemed a bit over the top as we would only need it for that one day plus we didn’t know how to get there and neither of us have driven on the right before. Public transport seemed quite complicated (plus it would take a lot longer than 45 minutes) so we decided on an organised tour. Roundabout Travel ticked all the boxes for us – return transportation and commentary about what we were seeing/experiencing. So we chose to do the half day Bled Fairytale tour.
We were picked up in a minivan, therefore groups are restricted to 8 people meaning no big buses or groups making the service more personal. Our driver/tour guide was Peter – a great, friendly guy who was very knowledgeable about Ljubljana, as we drove out of the city he pointed out buildings and areas of interest. Also, he was a great driver as he navigated the roads to Bled. Peter explained that we were unable to visit the Vintgar Gorge as it did not open until the end of the month (April) therefore allowing us more time in Bled itself.
As we rounded the corner into Bled the view was spectacular and just as I hoped it would be, I couldn’t wait to get out of the minivan and explore. Peter gave us all the option of what we wanted to do making the tour completely flexible. So at this point we could choose to pay an additional €14 each and jump on a pletna boat (traditional row boat) across to the island in the middle of the lake or spend the time hiking around the lake. We (of course) chose to go to the island and visit the church. Our boatman made the journey look easy, although on a windy day like on the day we visited it must have been pretty hard work.
Peter came across to the island with us and once there gave us the low down on what was there – cafe, gift shop etc. The 17th Century church that stands on the island which is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary was under going renovations when we visited. We still had the option of going inside however decided against it meaning we didn’t ring the wishing bell that it houses. Legend has it that if you ring it and make a wish it will come true! We opted to walk round the island instead, taking in the views of the crystal blue waters and lush green scenery.
Once back on the mainland and back in the minivan we headed for our next stop – Bled Castle, set high in the hillside overlooking the island and the surrounding beauty. Again, Peter gave choices meaning people could utilise their time depending on what they wanted to see. The options here were to walk around the outside of the castle at no extra cost or go inside the castle and see what it has to offer and an additional cost of €10 each. We personally wanted to get the best views of the island as possible so there was no way we weren’t making the journey up there.
Once inside we were not disappointed with the views, we grabbed a table and a couple of beers and enjoyed the lunchtime sunshine. The backdrop of the church on the island was phenomenal. Whilst in the castle we also had a wander around the chapel, museum and gift shop. We then headed back down into the town of Bled via the hike trail, which is pretty steep but it was a nice day and offered nice views. From the castle to the town centre took approximately 15 minutes.
Unfortunately, we had not left ourselves enough time to sample the local delicacy of Bled Cream Cake (Blejska kremna rezina) very similar to a vanilla slice. However, as neither of us have an overly sweet tooth we weren’t too upset. Our morning had passed in the blink of an eye and it was time to leave the beautiful fairytale town of Bled. Thanks again to Peter for being a great tour guide, we had a great few hours on our Roundabout Travel tour and learnt a lot about Bled and the surrounding area.
Roundabout Travel offer a number of tours in Ljubljana, around Slovenia and to neighbouring countries. We only wish we had, had more time to undertake more of their very well organised tours.
FROM LJUBLJANA: 39 € / person
- Bled castle: 10 € / person,
- Vintgar gorge: 4 € / person
- Pletna boat ride: 14 € / person
• We visited Bled with Roundabout Travel on a complimentary basis (including all supplements) in exchange for honest review.