Fairy tales are real in Slovenia. Bled is an incredible destination, a hidden gem in the heart of the Slovenian Alps. Lake Bled is famous for its clear blue-turquoise water and has some incredible views, especially from the magical Bled Island (Blejski Otok in Slovene). Lake Bled is surrounded by tall mountains and it even has a tiny castle, which is the oldest castle in Slovenia.
While Lake Bled is extremely picturesque with its tiny island and castle, Lake Bohinj is Slovenia’s most beautiful lake, located just a few kilometers to the southwest of Bled.
Blejski Otok and the Legend
Bled is famous for its magical, tiny island in the middle of the lake. It takes a traditional boat ride to get there. The boats are called pletna. An interesting fact about Blejski Otok is that it is the only naturally-formed island in Slovenia.
It is the image of a small church on the island that attracts so many tourists to Bled every year. It is the most iconic feature of the most iconic attraction in Slovenia. The church began as a ancient site of worship before turning into a small chapel and then expanding into a church and renovated on many occasions through the centuries.
The Wishing Bell is a special sight on the island, which was built in the 16th century. According to a legend, a lady, who lived in the small castle of Bled, had the bell made from her jewellery after the violent death of her husband by the local bandits. However, as the bell was being rowed out from the shore, a storm hit causing the boat with crew and the bell to sink to the bottom of the lake. Locals in Bled say that they can still hear the bell, with voices rising from the depths of the lake.
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After the widow’s death, the Pope was so devastated that he ordered the building of another bell to be sent to Bled. The fact is that the bell that rings out from the island today was made in Rome. According to the legend, those who ring the bell and announce their wish, they have the opportunity to be heard by the widow of the lake and therefore their wishes will be fulfilled.
Kremšnita, Bled’s Cream Cake
Although a cream cake is not the only reason Bled is such a popular destination, it is fair to say that it would not be the same without the taste of the kremšnita. The journey of this humble dessert began in the Park Hotel restaurant in 1953, when the pastry chef started experimenting with puff pastry, butter, egg custard and vanilla cream until he hit upon something so irrestistibly good. Kremšnita has been for decades the true symbol of Bled.
Bohinj, the Natural Beauty
Bohinj is a basin in the Slovenian Alps. Its main natural feature is Lake Bohinj, surrounded by thick forests and the Alps, it is expansive and peaceful. Cowbells can be heard ringing out across the mountains. The manner of life there is in many ways tied to old Slovenian traditions that stretch back hundreds of years. The architectural heritage of old Bohinj is still visible in many of the well-preserved alpine cottages.
Containing some of the oldest frescoes in the entire Slovenia, the small medieval Church of St. John the Baptist over a stone bridge at Bohinj is a monument of national importance built in the Middle Ages. The church spans a number of different architectural periods from the Romanesque all the way to the Baroque.
Hiking to Slap Savica is an adventure in itself, with a rewarding view in the end. A slap in Slovene means a waterfall and Slap Savica is the best in the area. The waterfall is really impressing. The walk up is beautiful and boasts some of incredible views of the Bohinj Glacier Valley.