Lakes Bled & Bohinj
Lakes Bled & Bohinj Introduction
Lake Bled is a world famous destination, named by Yahoo Travel as one of the World's 10 Most Beautiful Lakes and not without good reason – surrounded by mountains and with a fairytale castle perched on a crag overlooking a 17th century church on an island, it is an outstandingly beautiful place. The town at one end is fairly developed with lots of bars, restaurants, hotels and other tourist facilities, whilst at the other end it is quieter and generally less built up. Taking a “Pletna” boat out to the island is certainly one of the highlights of any trip to Slovenia.
Bohinj; less than half an hour’s drive west from Bled is located in the Triglav National Park and has an altogether more remote and tranquil feel – the serene lake, surrounded by beautiful mountains and quiet villages is a superb place to rest and unwind and is bursting with opportunities for outdoor activities from walking, mountain biking and boating / swimming in the lake in summer to skiing in winter.
The popular ski resort of Vogel is perched on a mountain overlooking Lake Bohinj. Bohinjska Bistrica is an attractive town which also features the excellent Bohinj Water Park. Bohinj is also a popular starting point for treks up to Slovenia’s highest mountain Triglav, past 7 smaller high altitude lakes.
Other attractions of the Lakes area include the charming medieval town of Radovljica 10km south of Bled, the lovely Vintgar Gorge, numerous waterfalls, the Sava Bohinjka River running down from Lake Bohinj which offers scope for fly-fishing, kayaking and swimming.
Overall the Lakes region is a wonderful area to enjoy Slovenia’s great outdoors all year round and a great place for a holiday.
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Getting on the water
Slovenia's Lakes region offers ample opportunities for getting onto the water with a wide range of lake and river activities. In Summer months both lakes are warm enough to swim and have a number of popular beach / swimming areas. Boating is possible on both lakes with hiring kayaks and rowing boats easy and relatively cheap. On Lake Bled a popular trip is to the island with a typical "pletna" boat which saves you doing the rowing! The Sava Bohinjka river running between the two lakes is a great place to try out kayaking or mini rafting down gentle rapids. For adrenaline junkies the many tributaries of the Sava Bohinjka in Bohinj are one of the best places in Slovenia to try out canyoning.
Bled Adventure Park
The Bled Adventure Park or Pustolovski Park is a fantastic day out for the family. Just a short walk from the lake shore and centre of Bled town is Straža hill which offers stunning views over the lake and surrounding mountains. Walk or take a chairlift to the top and you will find a superb adventure park with 5 rope courses between the trees with an imaginative range of zipwires, flying foxes, cargo nets, ladders and bridges. The lowest course is at 1-2m above the ground and suitable for kids of 4 upwards, each course gets progressively more difficult until reaching the most challenging and exciting course 10m high up in the trees. At the end of the day take the quick way down with the high adrenaline Summer sledging piste down.
TOP 10 MUST SEE
Lake Bled Island - possibly Slovenia's most photographed image and the country's only natural island. No trip to the region is complete without a boat trip to the island and ringing the bell of the 17th century church for good luck!
Lake Bohinj - a bigger but more peaceful and, if it is possible, more naturally scenic cousin to its better known neighbour 30 minutes drive up the road in Bled. Lake Bohinj is one of Slovenia's most astonishing sights and no visit it to the country is complete without seeing it!
Vintgar Gorge - one of the country's most impressive gorges with a very visitor friendly walkway taking you through it, is to be found a few kilometres north of Bled near the village of Gorje
The medieval old town of Radovljica10km from Bled is one of the country's best preserved medieval towns and well worth a visit.
The 7 Lakes ascent of Mount Triglav starting from Dom Savica at the Ukanc end of Lake Bohinj and taking in not just Slovenia's best known waterfall (Slap Savica) but 7 beautiful alpine lakes on the way to the country's highest mountain - Triglav.
The Sava Bohinjka River running between Bohinj and Bled and offering outstanding beginner - intermediate kayaking and rafting and some of Slovenia's most appealing fly-fishing
The forests and pastures of the Pokljuka plateaubetween Bled & Bohinj. The Pokljuka is a wonderful place for walking and cycling in Summer and one of Slovenia's most popular cross country ski centres in Winter not to mention host to World Cup Biathalon events.
Vogel - one of Slovenia's most popular and certainly amongst its most beautiful ski resorts. The gondola is also open in Summer giving easy access to some of the country's best high altitude walking
Bled Adventure Park- a fantastic high ropes adventure park for adults and kids alike in a spectacular location just a few minutes from the centre of Bled
The "back road" to Lake Bohinj from Pokljuka (or turning right from the main Bled - Bohinj road at Bitnje) takes you through scenic alpine countryside and a string of charming rural Bohinj villages between Jereka and Stara Fužina.
ACTIVITIES & THINGS TO DO AT LAKES BLED & BOHINJ
SKIING: At Vogel, Kobla & Soriska Planina. There is also a mini ski area in Bled itself called Straža, but unfortunately these days as it is quite low it is only open on exceptional snow years. From Bled it is a half hour drive to either Kranjska Gora, Krvavec or Arnoldstein / Gerlitzen in Austria.
CLICK here for more information on Skiing Vogel - Kobla
HIKING: There is outstanding hiking for all levels throughout the region. Highlights include tours of both lakes Bled & Bohinj & the Vintgar Gorge near Bled, the ascent of Triglav (Slovenia's highest peak) from Bohinj and a variety of walks from the the top of the Vogel gondola which runs in summer.
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MOUNTAIN BIKING: There are outstanding biking trails for all levels throughout the region. From easy Lake circuits / valley rides to all sorts of more demanding peaks and trails.
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KAYAKING: Lake Bohinj itself offers easy beginner kayaking, whilst there is excellent beginner - intermediate level on the Sava Bohinjka River which runs from Bohinj to Bled or the Sava River running south of Bled.
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RAFTING: There is easy rafting possible on the upper part of the Sava Bohinjka River which runs from Lake Bohinj towards Bled or the Sava River running south of Bled. More challenging is the section of the Sava Bohinjka between Soteska and Bohinjska Bela.
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PARAGLIDING: There are several paragliding points in the Bohinj region, which is recognised as one of Slovenia's most beautiful paragliding areas. The most recognised points are Vogel (home of Bohinj's main ski area), Vogar and Studor.
CANYONING: There are numerous options in the Lakes region, especially in the Bohinj area where many tributaries feed into the Sava Bohinjka River. There are canyons to suit all abilities, most popular of which are the Mostnica, Grmečica and Jerečica gorges.
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FLY FISHING: There is superb fishing on the Sava Bohinjka River running from Bohinj to Bled & also on the Sava River south of Bled & the Radovna River running between Bled and Mojstrana.
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SWIMMING: In summer it is possible to swim in both Lakes Bohinj & Bled, both of which have lots of "beach" areas to swim and sun bathe from. Water is usually fresh but perfectly OK in both lakes in high summer months. There is also an excellent spa / waterpark in the town of Bohinjska Bistrica and various hotels in the region also offer swimming / spa facilities.
HORSE RIDING: The lakes region offers wonderful horse riding country. The Mrčina Ranch in the village of Studor in Bohinj is amongst the best place to go to organise tuition / treks of the local countryside.
GOLF: Bled plays host to two golf courses; The Kings Golf Course and its adjoing Lakes Golf Course. Together these two courses cover more than 100 hectares with stunning views of the Julian Alps. Open during the season March to October.
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ADRENALINE PARKS: On Straža Hill overlooking Bled you will find the Bled Adventure Park nestled amongst the trees. With 81 attractions and challenges set to test your balance and skills up to 10m from the ground. Also on the hill is the summer toboggan run, some 520 metres of adrenaline based fun following the path of the chair lift. A great way to finish the day, after clambering through the tree tops on the ropes courses.
If you have ever wondered what it is like to play high above the ground. The high hopes course at Pac Sports Bohinj is just for you. It is an obstacle course built on wooden pillars 8 metres above the ground. As part of the course there is a giant swing that is bound to get the adrenaline flowing.
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ARCHITECTURE & HISTORICAL SITES: The most obvious historical sites of the Lakes region are Lake Bled Castle and Lake Bled island. The castle, dating back to the middle ages, is one of Slovenia's most impressively located and best preserved castles and offers spectacular views of the lake and the Karavanke mountains as well as an interesting museum about the history of Bled, a restaurant and wine cellars which can be visited and tastings arranged. Lake Bled Island is home to a number of beautiful old buildings at the top of a staircse of 99 stairs leading from the lake shore. Notable is the pilgrimage church of Mary of the Assumption which dates back to the 17th century in its current form but originally from the 15th century. Other sites of interst in the region include the charming medieval town of Radovljica and the characteristic Bohinj villages between Stara Fužina and Jereka.
FESTIVALS: Bohinj hosts an annual wild flower festival at the end of May / early June and a hiking festival in early September. Lake Bled plays host to an annual international rowing regatta now approaching its 60th year - usually taking place in May. Annual World Cup biathalon events are held during Winter on the Pokljuka Plateau between Bled & Bohinj.
FOOD & DRINK: The Lakes area being in the heart of Slovenia's alpine region offers a hearty alpine based cuisine. Like most of the country it is easy to find excellent value good quality eating out. Some of the region's highlights include the famous Lectar restaurant in Radovljica old town and Gostilna Rupa in the village of Srednja Vas in Bohinj.
MUSEUMS & GALLERIES: Bled Castle offers a permanent exhibition about the history of Bled. It also has a recreated (and slightly touristy) medieval printing press and wine cellar that can be visited.
Of interest to anyone interested in beekeeping will be the excellent museum of Apiculture in the town of Radovljica dating back to 1959 charting the history of beekeeping in Slovenia - which is a rich one given that there are still 4 beekeepers / 1000 people in Slovenia today, one of the highest in the world!
NATURAL ATTRACTIONS: The Lakes region is perhaps Slovenia's best known and richest area for natural attractions. The Lakes Bled & Bohinj, the Vintgar Gorge, the Sava Bohinjka river, Savica Waterfall and the very many beautiful peaks which can be scaled for stunning views of the region - most notable among which is probably the ascent of Slovenia's highest mountain Triglav via 7 beautiful alpine lakes.
SPA & WELLNESS: The thermal waters that rise on the banks of Lake Bled are shared by the elegant Studio Luisa Wellness Centre at the Grand Hotel Toplice dating back to 1925 and the modern Wellness Živa centre at Hotel Golf which offers 380m2 of water surface and a wide range of relaxation facilities and treatments as well as a beautiful terrace overlooking the Lake. The Bohinj areas offers the excellent Bohinj Aqua Park in the region's main town - Bohinjska Bistrica. The Aqua Park is a modern facility with a huge range of relaxation and beauty facilities and treatments, and a kid friendly environment with waterslides and kids pool. There is also a small wellness centre at the charming Kristal Hotel and the Jezero Hotel.
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SIGHTS & ATTRACTIONS AT LAKES BLED & BOHINJ