The Best Activities for Lake Bled, Slovenia with kids
Updated: Mar 9, 2020
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Lake Bled is located in the Julian Alps of the Upper Carniolan region of Slovenia. It is 35 kilometers from the bustling city of Ljubljana and home to the turquoise lake waters that surround a tiny island. The lake is surrounded by forests and quaint cottages. High on the hill you can see the majestic Bled castle hanging above the lake, trying to share the limelight of the enchanting island lake. The entire lake is small and has a 6 km trail that goes around it.This lake is where you'll find the traditional Pletna boats rowing out to the island and the church bells tolling throughout the day (they literally ring all day... with no set schedule). Lake Bled is the perfect spot in Slovenia to relax and take in Slovenia's natural beauty. It is conveniently located, so day trips are very easy from this location.
Where we stayed
.If our accomodations aren't really anything to write home about (quite literally from Germany), then I won't write about them. We stayed at Sovica beach house in Lake Bled. I couldn't leave this house out of our experience. This cozy lake cottage is the most charming place I have ever stayed. The entire back of the house is windows overlooking Lake Bled. We woke up to the sound of church bells and camped out on the balcony to stare off into the distance. There's even a foot path off the back deck that leads right on to the lake's main path.
The house is full of personal touches that might need to be moved up high, away from small hands. I always take a few minutes at apartments where we are staying to find anything breakable. Often times your kids will find it before you do. Just move it up high so you don't have to worry about it. If you have little ones who still nap, this house is perfect. You can sit out on the balcony while they snooze and you won't feel like you are missing out on the fun. We ate every meal and played every board game out on the balcony over looking the lake.
Tops Activities for families
Take a Pletna boat out to Lake Bled Island
From the moment you arrive at Lake Bled, you will want to go explore that tiny island at the middle of the lake. You will immediately notice old wooden boats rowing around the lake called Pletna boats. These boats date back to 1590 and are run by Pletna Oarsman. This skill has been passed down from generation from generation. You can only be a Pletna Oarsman if you are born into a family of Pletna Oarsman.
You will also see many wooden rowboats and paddle boards to rent along the lake. Since I'm full of bright ideas, I thought we should get our own row boat and row across the lake ourselves...not easy folks. If you have a gaggle of kids and don't have a ton of experience with rowing, I'd go for the Pletna boat. The oars are extremely heavy and a bit hard to maneuver. At one point my 3 year old started crying because he thought we'd never get to the island and remain stranded in the middle of the lake for all eternity. Alas, we got to the gorgeous island, docked easily and went to explore at our own pace.
The benefits of rowing yourself is it's a little bit cheaper and you're not at the mercy of the Pletna oarsman's timetable for the return trip. We tend to let our kids explore as much as they want and I didn't want to feel rushed to make them leave.
*If you see a bunch of boats rowing past you, don't ask them for a ride. The individual rowing your boat (who shall remain nameless) will not think it's funny.
The return trip was much easier and we lived to tell the tale. My older kids thought the whole experience was hilarious.
Explore Bled Island
Church bells are one of my favorite sounds in Europe. Lake Bled has no shortage of bell tolls. The magical church bells stem from the "Church of the Mother of God on the Lake". The island also has a bell tower church you can climb up, chaplain's house, provost's house, cafe (with gelato stand), and if it's summer....usually a wedding. Legends say that the island was the works of fairies. People still say they see the twinkling of fairy lights out on the island in the evening. Have little kids? This is the stuff of fairy tales. This foresty island is full of tiny trails and cobblestoned paths leading to very old buildings.
We climbed up the clock tower, walked around the island and discovered why the church bells are always ringing. Another legend of the island is that the church is the guardian of the island. Anyone who rings the bell and makes a wish will have their wish come true. Anyone can walk into the church and ring the bell. The beautiful sound of church bells all day is really the sound of wishes being made....no wonder it is so pretty. Of course we had to give it a try.
The bell is so large and heavy, that it actually picks you up off the ground when you pull down on the rope . My 3 and 5 year old were picked straight up off the floor...that freaked them out a bit. A little bit of tears involved in making wishes come true.
You can walk around the island, grab some gelato, and probably catch a wedding. My kids loved watching the elevator attached to the backside of he island that the restaurant uses to get supplies from the boats. All in all, you probably will spend a max of an hour and a half on this island because it is quite mini.
Walk around Lake Bled
You can walk with kids along a pathed path around the lake. Total distance is 6 kilometers. The path is very easy for strollers, so little legs don't have to walk the entire way. There are a bunch of little trails in the surrounding woods that your kids might want to explore. My kids love getting off the beaten trail .There is no limit to the exploring that one can do. The lake path takes you by charming shops, shrines, cafes, beaches, and nature along the way.
We walked first around the lake in the morning. Things tend to come alive in Lake Bled somewhere between 10 and 11. Since my kids have already lived an entire lifetime most mornings before 10, we opted to explore around the lake first.
If you or your kids get tired of walking but want to go around the entire lake, they have little tourists trains that will take you. I was shocked we didn't end up on one of these adorable trains.
Visit Bled Castle
From the Lake Bled path, you will see a sign at the bottom of the castle for the trail that takes you to the castle grounds.The trail is short and sweet. Oh I mean, short and steep. My four kids were all able to walk up the hill. If you have any mobility issues there is a car path that leads to the castle on the backside.
Enjoy the beautiful views of the lake from the castle. Bled castle is 11 euros for adults and 5 euros for kids under 14 years old. We opted to just explore the outside on this trip. It's such an easy walk up to the castle, you'll enjoy the experience without even having to visit the castle. The path is not stroller friendly, so bring a baby carrier for small children.
Take a dip in the cool lake water
There are two main swimming beaches in Lake Bled: Grajsko beach and Velika Zaka Bathing area.
Grajsko beach has a playground, snack bar, water sports equipment and lounge chairs. It costs 7 euros per person. It is located right under the castle.
Velika Zaka Bathing Area is on the opposite side of the lake. We chose this one because it was close to our rental house. It has a floating dock in the middle. There are chairs and a grass area to lounge. There is a restaurant and mini convenient store here. We bought some groceries to bring back to our house. This beach is FREE! Depending on weather and kids activity level, you might not be swimming ALL day, so the free bathing area is a better option if you just want to take a quick dip.
The actual beach is quite rocky, so my 3 year old loved playing with his matchbox cars in the rocks. He also insisted on taking a large bucket of rocks back to our rental...fun walk home!
Lake Bled is refereshing, and by refreshing I mean quite chilly. My kids and I are part polar bear so a little chilly water doesn't stop us from enjoying aquatic fun. You have to at least dip your toes in this lake.
Try Bled Cake
Like all European cities, Bled has it's own signiture dessert. Bled cake is a cross between cake and a cream puff...delicious. You will find it in every cafe around the lake. It's fun to try the signature food in different places with kids. I find my kids often writing about trying different desserts in their travel journals.
Summer Toboggan on Bled's Alpine Coaster
At Straza Bled your family can toboggan down a beautiful mountain that overlooks Bled. Kids and adults alike are sure to enjoy this alpine coaster. Having been to many alpine coasters in Europe, I will say they are a mix of amusement and adreneline packed into a ride through nature. Your adrenaline levels will vary based on how well your children utilize the brakes. I have some daredevils in my family that think brakes are a suggestion. Rest assure. They still make it down alive every time.
This is the vacation attraction that your tween will brag to their friends about. I don't tell my kids about the alpine coaster until the end of the trip. I don't like to start my vacation with the alpine coasters because it's hard afterwards to get my kids excited about other vacation activities. "Ok kids after that fun Alpine coaster , let's go bird watching", said no smart mom ever.
Do not go to Lake Bled and not visit this gorge. This hike is very family friendly. All of my kids were able to walk the path quite easily. At one point my 3 year old went in the baby carrier because it was his nap time. Vitgar gorge is located 4 kilometers North West of Bled. It is a 1.6 kilometer trail on a wooden walkway that follows along this stunning gorge. Parking is free and admission is 5 euros for adults and 3 for kids. Your family will love gazing at beautiful waterfalls, rock formations, and starting into the turquoise water. It's hard to imagine that anything can truly be this beautiful.
This is an easy and fun hike for kids. My kids loved that the walkways are wood planks because they felt like they were walking on a bridge the whole time. What kid doesn't love to walk over a bridge?
Get to the gorge early before it fills up. Some of the walkways are narrow and we had to squeeze by some other tourists who were coming from the other direction on the way back. This isn't a loop, so at the end of trail, you stop and turn around.
Take a day trip to Postojna Cave
The Postojna Cave was created by the Pivka River and has been on my kids and my bucket list since before we lived in Europe. This is the second largest cave system in the country and the only cave in the world that you can ride a train through....What! The stalagmites and stalactites are breathtaking, and the baby dragons will fascinate the whole family. The postojna caves are a 40 minute drive from Lake Bled and well worth the detour.
In order to skip the line at the door, order tickets online in advance. I found the ticket options overwelming the first time I went. We did the entire experience with all of the separate musuems. This is not necessary. The cave tour is perfect for a family and you still get to see the famous olm fish (baby dragons). By the time we got to the other attractions, my kids were all scienced out. I do recommend getting the combined ticket of Postojna Caves with the Predjama castle.
Bring a sweatshirt and good walking shoes to the cave because the cave remains a constant 50 degrees fahrenheit throughout the year. If anyone in your group has mobility issues, the caves accompodates for this. There are english tours as well as other languages.
Take a day trip to Predjama Castle
During the summer at the Postonja Cave, they run a free shuttle service to the Predjama Castle. Make a day of it and do both. This medieval castle is the World's Largest cave castle in the world. Yay, it made it into the Guinness Book of World Records. My 12 year old loves when anything makes into the Guinness Book of World Records, so this was a huge score for him. It makes him feel like he made it into history.
The castle offers audio tours in English. This was my kids first experience with audio tours and headsets. It was a success. My three year old listened to every word. Be prepared to help your kids adjust the numbers on thier headset for different rooms.
*Predjama castle is only open during the summer. In the winter, the castle becomes a nesting/hibernation spot for bats.
What to bring
In general Lake Bled doesn't get past high 70s in the summer, which is also why the lake doesn't get a chance to warm up much. July is the warmest month so temps can get a little higher than 70s. Bring a sweatshirt for early mornings and evenings. This is an outdoor vacation, so bring good walking shoes like tevas or hiking shoes, bathing suits, rain coat (just incase), comfortable clothing, sunscreen, bug spray, mini backapcks, water bottles, and your adventurous attitude.
Lake Bled is not over run by tourists even in high season. Costs are cheaper then other famous European lakes. The town of Bled is small and charming so this destination will feel like your own magical spot, that not everybody knows about. Lake Bled is the perfect spot to enjoy the natural beauty of Slovenia and create some lasting memories with your sweet kids.
I hope you enjoyed this post about Lake Bled. I can't wait to go back to Slovenia. Have your been? Did you find this article helpful?
Hvala Vam in zbogom,