We spent our second day taking in the natural beauty of Bled. The lake is picturesque, nestled in the mountains with a church-topped island in the middle, all overlooked by a castle high on a cliff. We had originally planned to cycle around the lake but ended up walking instead. In the end we actually preferred this as it allowed us to take things slowly and stop and wander as needed without having to worry about lugging around bikes.
Our first stop along the walk was Bled Castle. The medieval castle has looked over the lake and its environs for hundreds of years and is one of, if not the, oldest castle in the country. The hike up to the top was steep but quick and much more fun than driving and parking in the lot right outside the entrance! We spent most of our time up there sitting and admiring the views. Eventually we made our way back down to lake level and continued on our walk.
We knew we wanted to get out to the island and check out the church. There are boats that will take you out there all around the edge of the lake, but your time is limited and the rides are relatively expensive. We went for the more fun option—renting our own private rowboat! Rowing our way to the island and back (and the adventure that was trying to dock on the island’s small and crowded pier) ended up being one of the highlights of our entire trip.
Once on the island, we made our way toward the Church of the Assumption. It’s considered good luck to ring the bell inside the church three times so we obliged (though the rope is more difficult to pull than it looks!). To recover from all the hard work we sat and enjoyed some gelato in the shade. After another stroll around the small island, we got back in our boat, returned safely to shore, and set back out on our walk, stopping at Odmeve for some of the best pizzas we’ve ever had (spicy pepperoni and veggie).
Once we got back to the center of Bled we got in the car and drove to Vintgar Gorge. It was one of the most beautiful gorges we’ve ever seen and the park made it very easy to enjoy with sturdy paths and easy access to the natural wonder. You pass a couple of powerful waterfalls along the paths which adds to the beauty and makes it difficult to not stop and appreciate it.
Our host had recommended Lake Bohinjsko to us as one that was equally as beautiful as Bled with not as much of a crowd, so we set off in that direction. The drive was nice as it offered us the chance to see more of the alps and the lake itself was stunning. We even got to dip our feet in! It was great to sit and enjoy the calmness of the lake.
After a long day we got back to Bled, picked up the local delight creme cake from Rikli (allegedly the best), and shared some leftover pizza and the dessert in our apartment. Come morning, we would finally be on our way to Croatia after a stop in Piran.