Those of us who were children in the pre-digital era will remember fondly the magic invoked by reading fairytales, illustrated with pristine lakes, grassy meadows, and Sleeping Beauty castles – the kind of havens which seemed so enchanting that we believed they only came to life in fairytales. When I caught a cursory glimpse of Lake Bled, its emerald sheen creeping into view on our short journey from Ljiubljana, it became clearer than the first winter dew that those picture perfect scenes occur in real life as well.
Lake Bled and Bled Castle
The medieval Bled castle provides an ideal clifftop vantage point from where to absorb the picturesque view of the lake, which is named after the island it surrounds and despite my apprehensions about the weather, no amount of grey cloud dampened the experience. There is a small cafe and a museum on the castle grounds but we were too enamoured by this Slovenian jewel to avert our eyes from the lake. I was falling for Bled. I couldn’t help myself.
The Churches of Bled
The beautiful church of the Assumption casts a proud silhouette on the island of Bled and for a fee, you can ring the bell and make a wish. With its tapering spire and Gothic design, it is this monument that hallmarks the island of Bled.
What I found charming was that aside from being a dreamy but secret European gem for tourists, this lake very much belongs to Slovenia’s community. Rather like its sister Lake Bohinj, the tranquil waters of Lake Bled are full of frolicking locals in the summer, relieving themselves of the midday sun with a rejuvenating swim. The government has taken active steps to preserve and respect this area of natural beauty that has come to mean so much to Slovenia’s tourism industry by prohibiting hotel construction at the waterside.
The Bled Cream Cake
And of course, how could anyone leave Bled without pausing for cake at the Bled Park Hotel, famed for its Kremsnita cake, known commonly as the Bled cream cake – with layers of creamy custard enveloped between filo pastry sheets.
I had read about this time and again when planning my Slovenia trip and for those of you who know me well and are wondering – no, I did not choose Slovenia purely to try out the Kremsnita. It’s a classic recipe, timeless and in no need of redesign. It is a less is more cake. And how I wish I could sample some more. I have eaten cake at many places in my life but never with a backdrop as idyllic as this. Bled is serenity. Bled is perfection and Bled is the stuff of dreams and imagination.
Numerous tour operators offer both half and full day guided trips to Lake Bled including Roundabout Travel with whom we travelled. If you are freestyling your visit, then you may want to allocate a little bit more time to walk around the circumference of the lake or to wait until twilight to see how the waters evolve under the dusky glow.
Part of a monthly travel blog link up. This month’s fantastic theme was “Room with a View” so check out some other inspiring views from my fabulous fellow travel bloggers.
Disclaimer : I was a guest of Roundabout Travel Slovenia on their Alpine Fairytale Tour, which was a full day excursion including a visit to Bled but I am opinionated, little lady and all views, good or bad, are entirely my own.