Bled

Overview

Introduction

The alpine village of Bled, Slovenia, has been the country's most visited attraction for more than a century. Located about 30 mi/50 km northwest of Ljubljana, Bled is among Europe's most beautiful mountain resorts. Imagine a castle set on a cliff and overlooking a small blue lake that rests in a valley below snowcapped mountains. In the center of the lake, like something from a children's storybook, the white tower and red-tiled roof of a medieval church poke above the trees on a tiny, wooded island. The only thing that might spoil the view is the crowds of tour groups. Still, the town is so attractive it should not be missed.

First, tour Bled Castle, which features a museum, chapel, old printing press exhibition, herb gallery, wine cellar and restaurant (http://www.blejski-grad.si). Next, rent a rowboat or hire a gondolier to take you out to Bled Island. Local legend says that visitors who ring the bell in the church will have their wishes granted. (Not surprisingly, the bell gets rung quite a lot.) The two-hour walking trail around Bled Lake is scenic and worth the time and exercise. A tourist train also travels around the lake in nice weather.

Another attractive spot for hiking is nearby Lake Bohinj. Shimmering among the towering Alps, Lake Bohinj is a trekker's paradise. Nearby peaks include Mount Triglav (at 9,400 ft/2,900 m, it's Slovenia's highest) and Mount Vogel, with its winter ski resort. The cable car up Mount Vogel also operates in summer for climbers and sightseers. If you are not up to the challenge of trekking on Mount Triglav, take a short hike to view the Savica Waterfall.

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