18 – 21 July: Lake Bled woos us with its loveliness

Author: Mrs A

Location: Lake Bled, Slovenia

We had driven past Lake Bled on our way to Bohinj and it looked lovely, but totally booked out in terms of camping opportunities. We could have done a day trip, but were really keen to see it in depth, so instead booked a hotel room for a couple of nights.

We selected the Grand Hotel Toplice, one of the oldest and most spectacular hotels on the lake’s edge, with fabulous view across to Bled Castle and Bled Island. We have our 17 year wedding anniversary coming up next month and I will be in London for my next hospital appointment, meaning we won’t be together. So, what better excuse for a few days of luxury?

Breakfast at the hotel was an event in iteself, with the best spread of food either of us have seen in many years of staying in hotels.

Delicious breakfast of poached egg with avocado and salmon, with an amazing view

DIY museli with fresh nuts, seeds and fruit, cold meats and juices, cooked eggs, sausages and vegetables, cakes, buns and yoghurts – the choice was endless and meant there was no need for lunch! All this while sat on a balcony with arguably one of the best views in the world.

We set off after breakfast to Bled Island on which stands the Church of the Mother of God, Mr A valiantly rowing us over in a wooden boat.

Getting a post breakfast workout
Lady muck

No motorised boats are allowed on the lake, keeping it serene. The church date back to the introduction of Christianity in this area (the year 745), with many adjustments over the years – mostly in the mid 1400s. Before this, there was a temple on the island dedicated to the Slavic goddess of love, Ziva.

Traditionally the groom has to carry the bride up these 99 steps before they can marry at the church!
Looking back towards Bled Castle
The church as we approach the island
A shoal of fish under one of the rowing boats
Very fit rowers paddle boatloads of people to the island all day long

Humans have been settled in this area since the Stone Age, with numerous artefacts found and displayed in the Castle, which we walked up to on our return from the island. There we enjoyed more amazing views, and saw our first little Slovenian red squirrel.

A well deserved shady break after the climb up
Impossible to do these views any justice…looking down towards Bled Island
Breathtaking…but breathing well (still hobbling with injured toes though)
Looking east towards the Karawanks…some big hikes through here

After an hour or so enjoying the hotel’s spa we went back to the room to get ready for dinner…Mr A decided to see whether we could get an upgrade. Well, he was very successful – managing to get us room 501, the best lake view room in the hotel!

A room with a view – cheers! 17 years of marriage coming up on 16 August…
Our hotel and new room as seen from the opposite shore, beneath the castle
Yet another photo of our ever changing view to the castle and island

Truffy was parked nearby so we picked up a bottle from our champagne stocks and cracked it open to celebrate with a glass of bubbles before going to dinner.

Dinner was at Restaurant Sova, which we had booked because of its fabulous reputation for both modern and delicious Slovenian food as well as having a wide selection of local wines and highly trained sommeliers. We were not disappointed.

Delicious local wines sampled
They allowed us to split a glass into two glasses to widen the sample tasted
We enjoyed a bottle of the middle wine – Starà Brajda Old Vineyard Red 2015
Food was amazing too – this seafood risotto with a scallop with champagne foam
Mr A enjoyed a pasta with cheese and truffles

Our evening finished off with a free live concert as part of the ‘Taste Bled’ weekend event. A great band called Lumberjack entertained us with covers from Kings of Leon, Lenny Kravitz and Dire Straits among others, before a ‘famous in Slovenia’ band headlined playing their own music (which was great for the locals especially). A perfect end to a perfect celebration!

After sunset – the view out towards Bled Island, the church all lit up
The castle floodlights stay alight all night
The twinkling lights of the township

I really did not expect to like Lake Bled as much as I have done. After Lake Bohinj, seeing big hotels, restaurants and a casino it all felt a little commercial. But in reality it has been far from it. The local people have been so friendly and welcoming, the hotel staff excellent, and everyone clearly loves Slovenia and is full of recommendations of what to see next. It has been more like being welcomed into a small town. This area will always have a place in our hearts.

Sunrise this morning

It’s so hard not keep looking at this ever changing scene, the chiming of church bells around the water (especially now as I write on Sunday morning, calling people to service). With a late checkout today I think we will treat ourselves to this view just a little bit longer before we jump back into our camper and continue our journey in Slovenia.

4 Replies to “18 – 21 July: Lake Bled woos us with its loveliness”

  1. So glad you went back to enjoy Lake Bled more fully. It’s such a special place! Love the room upgrade – only the best!!

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