Lake Bled In Winter Is Glorious
Lake Bled is unashamedly picturesque, flaunting itself brazenly to the admiring visitors it attracts through its scenic lure and Alpine splendour. Forest covered mountain slopes encircle the beautiful calm waters, and it’s beautiful all year round, but travel to Lake Bled in Winter, when the snow is falling, when the frost sticks to the ground and the water is icy cold, and Lake Bled truly is glorious.
This might be one of the most visited tourist attractions in Slovenia, but visit in the colder months and you will find that Lake Bled in Winter is actually a rather quiet affair.
Winter might just be the best time to visit Lake Bled in Slovenia!
A Tourist Attraction Good enough For A Dictator
Lake Bled has over the years had more than its fair share of admirers, from swarming tour groups looking for that picture perfect postcard selfie to dictators holding tea parties on the banks of the lake.
Josip Broz Tito, Yugoslavia’s benevolent dictator had a lakeside residence here and this you can now not only visit, but also spend the night in, as his former Slovenian holiday home is now open for bookings to the general public – most of the year anyway.
Lake Bled is the place to holiday like a dictator would.
Visit Lake Bled In Winter To Avoid The Crowds
The real question though, is did Tito visit in Lake Bled in Winter?
I hope so. Because Winter is when the crowds dissipate – not that a dictator would have to worry about this! – and the walks around the lake can be quiet, relaxing and peaceful.
Visit Lake Bled in the height of winter and you’ll find a pleasant Slovenian town, surrounded by imposing, snow capped mountains, just quietly getting on with its slow paced life.
In hibernation from the mania of its summer high season, this is the most supreme time of year to pay this place a visit.
Lake Bled Has Been A Popular Tourist Destination For Centuries
A popular tourist destination for centuries, Lake Bled knows how good it looks, and certainly knows what it has to offer too.
A classic medieval castle overlooks the waters, offering views of the mountain peaks and local country villages, while a church is seemingly superimposed in the middle of the lake, painstakingly constructed upon an island in the centre.
This Catholic Church has stood on the island for centuries, in various shape and form. The only way to reach it is by boat, or to swim- or in the real, dark depths of winter, if the lake freezes over, you could even walk if you were brave enough.
Lake Bled Castle
The cold wind rushing down from the mountains was biting in December, but I could stand on the castle ramparts without another soul to disturb me.
Bled Castle cuts an iconic and imposing figure atop a sheer vertical cliff that rises abruptly over the lake. It’s been here for almost a thousand years, ad for centuries t has stood watch over the lake.
For centuries, travellers and locals alike will have stood where I was high above Lake Bled admiring the vast beauty arrayed before them, the sweeping views of the Julien Alps all around, the shimmering still water of the lake below and the stark silhouette of the Church on Lake Bled framed in the centre by its beautiful surroundings.
Travel To Lake Bled In Winter To See Glorious Sunsets!
Winter in Lake Bled is cold and frosty. I visited in early December, and didn’t even witness the real depths of winter, when the lake can freeze and the snow is heavy. January I was told by the locals, is when Lake Bled looks like a winter wonderland, when a layer of snow covers everything, and when- the locals also informed- the lake is just cold enough for a ‘real’ swim…
Even at the start of Winter in Lake Bled though, I saw firsthand the beginning of this beautiful part of the year here, when the sun sets are absolutely glorious across the water.
As I stood in the evening chill, the sun set behind the snow capped peaks surrounding me and the scene across Lake Bled just kept looking better and better in that golden, purple and red hour of the day.
The Town Of Bled
In the colder months the town of Bled seems to simply close down, things pick up again when the snow settles, and the skiers and winter sports enthusiasts come out, but in the transition period, when there’s no snow and it’s still icy cold, everyone just seem to pack up and stay indoors, sipping on hot chocolates and coffees and lighting log fires.
But this is just another compelling reason to visit Lake Bled in Winter in my opinion, when it gets too chilly simply jump inside a lakeside cafe or restaurant, sample some of the local Bled Cake– a local creamy delicacy! – and enjoy a warming, hot drink before heading out again to experience the lake.
Row Your Boat Across To Bled Island
You can take a boat out across the still waters to Bled Island, the beautifully picturesque island that sits in the middle of the still waters, and that has made this such a famous setting. In the cold though, there was nobody out to take over the motor boats, so instead I opted for a row boat, providing the manpower myself- warming up in the process!- and edging my way out across the lake.
The water was calm, still and peaceful, with just a few other boats making the slow journey over as well. I moored the small wooden row boat by the island and went on foot to explore the small church that forms such an impressive picture from afar before rowing back to the mainland to continue my journey around Lake Bled on foot.
A Dictator’s Villa
That magnificent building on the right below is actually Josip Broz Tito, the former Yugoslavian dictator’s, summer getaway. The one I was talking about earlier.
Like the man himself, it seemed that everyone prefers a visit to the lake in summer. The roads may have started to ice over, but I was quite content that the tourists stayed away over winter. Thanks to Mr Tito for setting that precedent at least.
The only downside was Tito’s mansion was actually closed. Because it was winter. Obviously. This was the closest I could get to visiting a former communist dictator’s holiday home.
It’s easy to see why Tito fell in love with Lake Bled.
And Lake Bled in Winter is truly glorious.
Top Travel Tips For Visiting Lake Bled In Winter!
Only an hour from Slovenia’s quaint capital, Ljubljana, despite its highly touristic status Lake Bled’s pure scenic beauty simply means it should be an indulgence for even the most adventurous traveller. And make sure you go and see Lake Bled in Winter and you won’t even need to worry about the tour buses.
- In case you hadn’t guessed, I really like visiting Lake Bled in winter. It really is an inspiring time of year to visit. The crowds aren’t there, the hotels are cheaper, the flights are great value and there’s almost no one else around the lake.
- This is the real shoulder season, before the snow fall. things are quieter than summer, and quieter than January when the winter sports action is in full swing.
- Hotels can be much cheaper! I got an excellent deal at the Hotel Park Bled that ordinarily I could never have afforded.
- Hotel Park Bled, incidentally, also offer the best Bled Cake, and supposedly this is where the original recipe for this creamy and delicious treat was concocted. There cafe is just across the road from the hotel itself, facing right over the lake.
- Lake Bled in Winter can get really cold, especially at night, so make sure you dress and pack accordingly for frigid, freezing weather. It’s totally worth the numbing cold though.
- The closest airport to Bled is actually Ljubljana International Airport, only 36 kilometres away. There are direct shuttle busses running from the airport to Bled very frequently.
- Busses also run regularly to Ljubljana from Bled, and it’s a beautifully scenic drive.
- If you need accommodation in Bled, then follow this link HERE and you will receive a 10% discount from Booking.com
All Photos and Words by Richard Collett
Travelling to Lake Bled in Winter? Sign up for Air BnB to book your accommodation using this link HERE and you’ll get £25 free credit towards your first booking!
If you’d rather stay in a hotel, then never fear. Lake Bled has plenty of accommodation options. If you use this link, then as an awesome gift to you, Booking.com will apply a 10% discount on your hotel booking!
We spent a few days in Lake Bled last winter and loved it! Like you said, there weren’t many people, which was great. We lucked out and got to ice skate on the lake, which was so fun. And of course, the Bled Cream Cake was delicious; even better than I expected. I’d love to go back and see it in another season.
Oh wow ice skating on the lake sounds fantastic! I had to row across, wasn’t quite frozen enough when I visited!!