Greetings Internet Stranger and welcome to a perfect Lake Bled Day Trip. Slovenia is a smallish but beautiful country, and as nice as its capital city, Ljubljana, is, you should spend some time in the Slovenian countryside. How does the medieval town of Skofja Loka sound? Then we’ll head to the flabbergastingly pretty Lake Bled, and finally feast on pizza and ice cream in Ljubljana. Follow me!
I am utterly unable to drive, and I was coming from Zagreb, in the north of Croatia, so I chose to use a company called My Day Trip to hire a private driver to take me on this Lake Bled day trip. That way I could get from Croatia to Slovenia and see tons of sights along the way. I loved My Day Trip, but you could just as easily see all these places with a car of your own. Totally up to you!
Lake Bled Day Trip
Where to Stay
I’m assuming that you’ll end the Lake Bled day trip in Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital. That means we’ll want a convenient, affordable, and pleasant hotel right in Ljubjana’s City Center.
I recommend the City Hotel Ljubljana. The staff is extremely friendly, and the breakfast included every morning is quite tasty. The hotel organizes tours and events as well, which is very helpful. Plus their rates for doing laundry were reasonable, which is important to someone who is traveling all around Europe for several weeks, like I was.
Lake Bled Day Trip
What to Pack
You’ll need comfy shoes for all the walking we’re going to do today on our Lake Bled Day trip. If it’s summertime, I love my special pink Birkenstocks. These aren’t your grandpappy’s Birkenstocks anymore. They come in every shade, and I always get compliments on my electric magenta shoes.
Slovenia is hot in the summer, so don’t forget the sunscreen. My favorite is the Neutrogena spray bottle because it’s so easy to apply. And as a solo traveler, I can actually use it myself on my own back. I just put it in my purse and re-apply throughout the day.
Finally, if you’re American, you need a universal adapter if you’re going to plug in electronics. European electrical outlets don’t work with American plugs. I suggest the NEWVANGA travel adapter. It’s usable with any electrical outlet in the world, so you won’t need to keep buying new adapters. I always carry two with me, just in case something happens to one.
Lake Bled Day Trip
Morning: Skofja Loka
Skofja Loka is the kind of adorable European town that it’s easy to miss if you travel by bus or train. That’s why it’s so convenient that we have our own car today! The town dates all the way back to the 10th century (!!!!) which for an American like me is so old, it might as well be a setting on Game of Thrones. We don’t have time on this Lake Bled day trip to see everything Skofja Loka has, but we do have time for…
Three Fun Facts: Skofja Loka
1) What’s the Most Famous Sight in Skofja Loka?
That would almost definitely be Loka Castle. There has been a castle on this spot since at least the 12th century, but this castle only dates back to the 16th century. So basically it’s just a baby castle. It’s home to a Slovenian history museum, so please do check that out if you have the time.
You might not have time to tour the castle because we only have enough hours to spend the morning here before continuing on our Lake Bled day trip. Also, you might visit on a Monday, as I did, in which case the castle will be closed.
2) Is There Anything to Do Near the Castle?
Yes! Even if the Loka Castle is closed or you don’t have enough time to go, you should still walk up to the castle for the amazing views of Skofja Loka. Plus there are lots of fun little attractions near Loka Castle and they are free of charge. I especially recommend the little wooden houses that cottagers would have lived in. Let’s not only remember the kings and queens, Internet Stranger!
There’s also a playground near the Loka Castle called Igrisce Zamorc. This playground has a sign that explains why there is a Black man on the Skofja Loka coat of arms. According to the legend, this man helped a bishop when he was being attacked by a bear. In thanks, the bishop told him that he would be famous and future generations would remember him. And now we’ve made that prophecy come true on this blog because you and I both know the story! Although if I ever rescue a bishop from a bear, I hope he rewards me with money, not fame.
3) Does Skofja Loka have a real town part?
Of course! We’ve been up above by the castle, but please don’t forget about the actual town, which houses more than 10,000 Slovenians. In fact, the entire Old Town has been preserved as a cultural monument since 1987. So visiting here is like seeing a museum that people actually live in.
You can’t visit Skofja Loka without stopping at the Cappuchin Bridge. This is the oldest bridge in Slovenia, so when you walk across it, you’re stepping across history! Don’t miss the lovely St. Jacob’s church, right near the Cappuchin Bridge. People can get “churched out” touring Europe, but how many Slovenian churches have you seen? Probably none, right? So get excited about this one!
There’s one reason to be grateful for modern amenities in this historic Old Town: clean public toilets! You can tell Skofja Loka is ready and willing to welcome tourists. There are signs for the toilets, so you won’t have to look hard to find them.
Lake Bled Day Trip
Afternoon: Lake Bled
All right, now it’s time for the star of the show: Lake Bled! Once you arrive, you’ll see why people call it one of the most beautiful lakes in all Europe. Visiting Slovenia without seeing it is just sick and wrong. But there’s more to do in Lake Bled than just stare at some water. I’ll point you in the right direction with…
Approximately Top 5: Lake Bled
1) Bled Castle Exteriors
There’s two ways to see Lake Bled and you’re going to want to experience both of them. The first way is from the high-up vantage point of Bled Castle. If you take My Day Trip, your driver can drop you off and set you down here for an hour or so. When I went, admission was 11 Euros, which was definitely worth it. Bled Castle itself is beautiful, but the most beautiful part is the views of Lake Bled below. Observe:
See what I mean, or do you still need to be convinced?
Pretty enough for you, or do you need one more?
There. If you’re not convinced now, you’re truly dead to all feeling. Even my stoic Slovenian driver kept babbling to me about how special Lake Bled was, and now that I’ve stared into its blueberry-blue waters, I understand where he was coming from. There are several floors to Bled Castle, so try to take pictures on each floor.
2) Bled Castle Interior
But you don’t want to spend your entire time at Bled Castle taking pictures! You paid admission, and gosh dang it, you should get your money’s worth. That means exploring the castle’s interior, like this lovely chapel, which I assume was dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Cupcakes.
This chapel used to be done in the Gothic style, but after an earthquake it was renovated in the Baroque style. I didn’t need a pamphlet to tell me that. Anything this pink and gold has got to be Baroque. But as Cogsworth from Beauty and the Beast says, “If it’s not Baroque, don’t fix it!”
The other can’t miss sight at the castle is the vine, which they claim is the oldest vine in the world. If you’re in Slovenia in the fall, you just might be lucky enough to see them harvest the grapes. If you want some cheese to go with that wine, you can also get a snack at the castle restaurant. But save room for dessert…
3) Cream Cake at Zima
This baby above is the reason I told you to save room for dessert. My driver dropped me off here and told me that Bled was famous for cream cake and this place Slascicarna Zima had the best one in Bled. Normally when a driver does something like that, I assume he is being paid in under the counter cake money, but this cream cake, known in Slovenian as kremna rezina, is actually completely divine.
In fact, technically you are not allowed to call cakes outside of Lake Bled kremna rezina. It’s like Champagne, only cake. Well, one bite of this cake and you’ll want to snarfle the whole thing down. You’ll feel like this should have been your only meal for the day. (But don’t worry! We will still have dinner.
4) Take a Stroll Around Lake Bled
Ugh, look at that water. It’s as blue as the eyes of my 7th grade crush. Perhaps the water is so blue because we are in the Alps and melted glaciers are involved? I wish I knew for sure, but I am not a lake water scientist. What I do know is that even with summertime crowds, this is a beautiful and peaceful place to go for an afternoon walk.
Really, when you look at this photo, you can imagine that you are completely alone at Lake Bled. Just you, the Alpine Waters, and Heidi yodeling the background.
One popular activity at Lake Bled is renting a boat and going for a spin for an hour or so. I met a fellow solo female traveler who invited me to rent a boat with her. Sadly I did not have enough time, but if I did, I would have been happy to join her. So if you are an avid boatist, keep that in mind when planning your itinerary.
Lake Bled Day Trip
Evening: Pinsa and Ice Cream in Ljubljana
In the late afternoon, your driver will drop you off at your hotel in Ljubljana and after a little freshening up and digesting of cream cake, you’ll be ready for dinner! Fortunately I know a wonderful place where we can get a tasty light dinner: Pinsa Rustika.
Pinsa is a kind of Roman style pizza with a crust as fluffy as an infant cloud’s hair. I chose to have mine topped with fresh tomatoes and a spicy bresaola. The ladies at Pinsa explained to me that bresaola is like proscuitto with beef. But we don’t need to be told what bresaola is, do we, Internet Stranger?
Part of the Very Difficult work I do for the loyal readers of this blog is to test out as many different ice cream shops all around the world to find the best. And from what I could see, the favorites in Ljubljana are Vigo and Cacao. We will hit up Cacao another day, but for now we stop at Vigo. Get ready to wait on line but it will be worth it.
They have plenty of flavors, but I chose the Vigo flavor because I always get the house flavor because I saw Ocean’s Eleven and I know the house always wins. It was the best I am sure because it had tons of Nutella in it. That’s just science.
That’s a Perfect Lake Bled Day Trip!
What would you do on a Lake Bled Day Trip? Did I convince you how beautiful Lake Bled truly is or do you need more photos? And can I get my grandmother’s chocolate cake recipe trademarked and make it international law that you can only sell it in her home in Dalton, Georgia? Please leave your thoughts below!
Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend one day on your Lake Bled day trip.