Lake Bled is found in Slovenia and it is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular tourist attractions in the region. This picturesque lake draws millions of tourists from all over the world every year. Most visitors choose to visit Lake Bled in the spring and summer months, however, the landscape of Lake Bled in winter is a must see. There’s also an array of Lake Bled winter activities to be enjoyed as well as some festive ones. Starting your Slovenian adventure in Ljubljana? Here’s our city guide.
Things To Do At Lake Bled During Winter
Winter is quite the romantic time to visit Bled. There is snow on the Alp mountains, Lake Bled freezes over and festive events bring the sleepy town to life. Photographers will be taken away by the winter landscape and winter sports lovers can choose from skating, skiing and sledding.
Ice Skating at Bled
Lake Bled offers the perfect spot for ice skating during winter if the lake freezes over. Unfortunately, it isn’t every year that the lake freezes enough for visitors to skate on it and authorities dictate what is safe but there are other options. A man-made pop-up ice rink is built overlooking the lake and the inside sports arena has a rink big enough of skating discos, ice hockey, curling and ice bowls!
Skiing on Straža Hill
You don’t have to walk far from Lake Bled to experience skiing in Slovenia! Straža Hill is home to an organised ski school and equipment rental. The hill’s altitude is 503-634 metres above sea level so not the most challenging of hills but decent enough to stretch the legs and a great starting place for beginner skiers. More advanced skiers might want to check out Vogel Ski Resort below.
Straža Hill has two runs, a chairlift and night time skiing opportunities. The real beauty of this compact ski resort is the views of Lake Bled during winter. Straža is open every weekend then every day during the Christmas holidays. During spring, summer and autumn Straža Hill becomes a playground without the snow – toboggan rides at their Adventure Park! Do remember to book your insurance for winter sports before you travel. We use True Traveller, I claimed when I was sick in Vancouver with no issues.
Sledding at Bled
Throwback to your childhood years and hit the slopes for some sledging. No specific skills required like skiing or boarding so a fun winter opportunity for everyone! Wrap up and sledge down.
Snowshoe at Pokljuka
One of the most popular winter things to do at Bled is snowshoeing. Snowshoeing involves strapping clamp-like guards to your waterproof hiking boots and walking through, yes you guessed, snow. It’s a great activity to get you out and about in the forest of Pokljuka regardless of the weather. You just can’t beat that fresh feeling of being out in the snow for a couple of hours!
Guided tours usually last around four hours and provide walking sticks and snowshoe guards. Visitors must dress warmly and wear waterproof hiking boots to stay dry. This activity is suitable for adults and children.
Snowboard Lessons at Vogel
Vogel is one of the southern Julian Alps mountains located at Triglav National Park. The mountain itself is 1922 metres high making it one of the biggest ski resorts in Slovenia. For ease, cable cars run from Lake Bohinj.
Naturally, you can ski and board at Vogel Ski Resort independently but if you would like to learn to snowboard during your trip to Bled you can! Small group tours are picked up at Bled and driven to Vogel where equipment is then collected after the cable car ride. The half-day lessons last around three hours and are suitable for all levels from beginner through to advanced, just advise OUTdoor Slovenia of your level you are booking. Freestyle technique lessons can also be thrown into the mix for the daredevils!
Ski Lesson at Vogel
Just like with snowboarding, you can book half day ski lessons at Vogel too. The ski groups are no bigger than four skiers per guide to ensure that you get the maximum attention during your lesson. Like with boarding, equipment can be hired at Vogel Sky Resort. New ski techniques are also taught on request. Alternatively, check out the full day ski lessons.
Tour Bled Castle
Bled Castle is built on a high rocky prominence towering over the lake. This castle was built in the 12th century. Today, the castle welcomes thousands of visitors every winter. The fortress offers the most amazing views over the lake. Inside Castle Bled, there is a restaurant, a blacksmith’s shop, wine cellar, printing works and museum. Sticking around for Christmas dinner? Dine overlooking Lake Bled at the Castle Restaurant.
Visit Lake Bled Church
Lake Bled Church, also known as the Church of the Assumption of Mary, is a popular destination in Lake Bled during winter. There are 99 steps to get to the church and it is believed that if a groom carries his bride all the way to the top they will have a happy marriage. The church also has a bell and it is believed that if one rings it three times after making a wish it will come true. If the lake is frozen you can skate to the church, if not then there are boats to paddle there (or let someone else do the paddling).
Legend of the Sunken Bell
Lake Bled in December is the best time to experience a local tradition. On the 25th of December, locals gather around Lake Bled to watch divers recover a lit up bell which sinks into the lake in honour of a Slovenian tale. The story goes that Bled Castle was robbed and during the robbery, and Hartman Kreigh was murdered and thrown into the lake. His widow, Poliksena, was distraught, naturally, and in her grief gave all of her gold away in exchange for a bell. The bell would be awarded to the chapel on the island to commemorate her husband.
However, the bell was never to make the chapel. The boatman, the boat and the bell all sunk. In response, the widow gave up everything and joined a monastery. Once she passed, the Pope heard her story and commissioned a bell for the chapel.
Today, visitors ring the bell three times while making a wish in the hope that it will come true and those who visit on Christmas Day can see the bell sink and divers recovery it.
Get the Guides
How To Get To Lake Bled
Accessing Lake Bled is fairly simple since Slovenia has a very good transport network. Tourists from neighbouring countries can also get to Lake Bled using rail transport, buses and cars. Once you get to Lake Bled, there are a number of great hotels one can stay at.
Ljubljana to Lake Bled
There is a 75-minute bus trip to Bled from Bled is best reached by bus from Ljubljana (€13 euros return, can use for 30 days). Ljubljana’s bus station is next to the train station in the middle of Ljubljana. Click here to check the timetable. The bus drops you off three minutes away from Lake Bled. Coming to Slovenia from Hungary? The train is the most efficient way, you can read about the journey here.
Bled to Ljubljana
Buses going back to Ljubljana from Bled leave the bus station at Glavno Postajališče (where it drops you off) hourly during the day.
Where to Stay in Lake Bled
The family-run Guest House Mlino offers an Alpine-feel stay overlooking Lake Bled. Breakfast gets a thumbs up from users too. The on-site restaurant also comes to highlight rated. Check Booking or TripAdvisor for availability.
Location, location, location is what the super modern Penzion Vila Prešeren is all about. The 19th-century villa is situated on the shores of Lake Bled, and the terrace views are commended. See if your dates are free at Booking or TripAdvisor.
Both hotels have parking and free WiFi.
Bled’s Best Hostels
There are seven hostels in Bled which offer dorm style beds for under €10. We stayed at the Ace of Spades Hostel at the top of the hill. The room was cosy and there are communal kitchens and a common room with a TV for those looking for a social stay in Bled. Backpacking around the continent? Here’s our guide which details how much travelling in Europe costs.
Winter in Bled Packing List
Europe gets cold, layers are essential!
- A waterproof coat like my Mountain Equipment Rupal.
- A padded down jacket like my North Face coat.
- Merino wool base layers like Icebreaker’s rage.
- Cute hat, gloves and scarf.
- Comfortable waterproof boots (I love Salomon).
- Eco water bottle (heaps of places to fill up for free) like the practical TreeTribe.
Lake Bled is especially magically during winter and it’s not just your camera that will get a workout. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy skating, skiing and snowshoeing. Visitors looking for a bit of relaxed fun can sledge too! Stick around for festivities and join in the cultural event on December 25th in the search for the sunken bell of Slovenia. If Bled still doesn’t quite tick the festive box, click here click here to read our guide to 15+ European winter breaks, tried and tested by travel experts.