Lake Bled is a little piece of Slovenian magic nestled in the mountains a short drive over the boarder from Austria. The people, the mountains, the lake and the island will do nothing but charm its way into your heart, and i’m afraid there isn’t much you can do to stop it! A trip to Lake Bled with kids is simply unforgettable!
As a weekend away, a family holiday or part of a road trip heading further south, Lake Bled is well worth the visit. You may not know it yet, but Lake Bled should certainly be on your wanderlust bucket list!
The Legend of Lake Bled
Did you know, legend has it that the lake was made by aggrieved fairies!
Apparently, the lake used to be a valley of rich grasses that the fairies used to dance on at night and the local shepherds used to graze their sheep on in the day. Worried that the Shepherds flock would eat their dance floor, the fairies asked the shepherds to build a fence to protect some of the grass. The shepherds refused. As a result all the grass disappeared and so did their dance floor! Seeking revenge the fairies flooded the valley leaving only a small island in the middle where they could continue dance every night in peace.
Well, I think the fairies did Slovenia a huge favour!
First thing you should do is get yourself in or on the lake. Here are a couple of ways to do it:
Board a Traditional Pletna Boat
The boats can be found in a few places around the lake. They are most distinguishable by their colourful awnings and were first made in the 12th century. The boatmen charge around €15 per person for a trip on that lake. This includes some where between 25 and 45 minutes free time on the island.
Hire a Row Boat
If you fancy a little more freedom on the lake you can hire your own row boat. The cost of this is around £10 an hour. It doesn’t take long to row to the island and with your own row boat it might make the experience a little more exciting and a little more personal.
For families camping with kids, paddle boards are quickly becoming a necessary bit of holiday kit, and with good reason – they are brilliant fun!
Even we have our own paddle board now, and I used it to paddle over to the island. It’s a bit of a grey area as to whether paddle boards are allowed to be moored on the island and with no definitive answer either way I decided to go for it!
I went on a quiet day when the weather wasn’t at its best and spent about 40 minutes wandering around on my own with only a group of Japanese tourists for company.
I have to say, it was one of the best things I have done in a long while! I’m not sure if it’s because I was kid free or because I was out on the paddle board on my own, but I loved it! And another plus of my expedition is that it was completely free!
Swimming in Lake Bled with Kids
The lake is clean, clear and the temperature is fresh but comfortable. In the hot weather the water provides welcome relief from the heat. It also makes for a great playground for the kids.
The water is shallow enough for far enough to allow children to splash about in the water comfortably and there are plenty of small fish to chase in the shallows too.
There is also opportunity to go snorkelling to see some truly impressive catfish! I saw groups of them floating on the top of the water that must have measured 1 meter in length! They really are quite magnificent to see!
The island in the middle of Lake Bled is the only natural island in Slovenia and is home to the Church of the Mother of God on the Lake. The church is a 99 step climb from the waters edge and when you reach the top you will find a powder pink tower that is home to the wishing bell.
Legend as it…
There once lived a widow in Bled Castle. Her husband was killed by robbers and then his body thrown into the lake. Heartbroken, the widow sold all her riches and had a bell made in his honour for the church on the island. However, due to bad weather the bell never made it to the island and sank to the bottom of the lake. The widow left Bled and lived out the rest of her life as a nun in Rome. On her death the Pope heard of her story and commissioned a new bell to be put in the bell tower. He said that whoever rings the bell three times and believes in God will have their wish come true.
You can walk to Bled Castle from the banks of the lake by following signs for ‘GRAD’ behind the Vila Preseren restaurant. There is a fairly large set of stairs going up, so if you are walking in wet weather be sure to wear good shoes.
The entrance fee to the castle is €11 for adults and €5 for children aged 14 and under (2019). The best thing about the castle is of course the unrivalled views of the lake, which are simply breathtaking.
Walking Lake Bled with Kids
To walk all the way around Lake Bled with kids will most probably take 2 to 2 1/2 hours. This is of course after you have had a nosey around all the shops in Bled. Then taken around a hundred photos and then possibly stopped for an ice cream, beer or coffee. If you don’t do all these things, you will probably do it much faster.
The entire walk is pathed and is very buggy friendly.
Bled town is not very big, but it is incredibly cute. There are a few hotels and guest houses on the lake and a lovely high street of shops in the middle.
Here are a few of our must see places in Bled with kids:
- The Devil Cafe and Bar is a great place to grab a drink when the weather is a little drizzly.
- Zakladi Slovenije (Treasures of Slovenia) is the perfect place to pick up a Slovenian souvenir or two and the people are incredibly friendly.
- Bled has the best ice cream in the world! Seriously, it has the worlds best flavoured ice cream as voted for by an independent panel of expert ice cream judges! You’ll need to judge for yourself!
- Tourist Information to look into fishing licences and maps of the area
Bled Cream Cake
When in Bled you will need to try a piece of Bled cream cake. Super sweet, super gooey and super yummy!
Lake Bled Weather
In the summer the weather on the lake is generally beautiful – hot, sunny and skies of picture perfect blue. However, because of its position around the mountains, when wet or cloudy weather sets in it can stick around for a while and the temperatures can drop.
Even if you are visiting Lake Bled with kids in the summer, I would pack for any eventuality. So, remember to take a rain mack, a warm jumper and trainers or walking boots for everyone. Then at least you can enjoy the lake whatever the weather!