A 3 Minute Video Tourist Guide to Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Bled


Lake Bled is approximately 45 minutes’ drive from Ljubljana. The lake has become internationally recognisable for its small island on top of which sits the Church of Assumption. I’ve been to Bled many times, both on day trips while staying in Kranjska Gora, as well as staying at the Grand Hotel Toplice, which overlooks the glorious lake, on three occasions.

Lake Bled Otok (Island)
Lake Bled Otok (Island)


I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Grand Hotel Toplice in three stages of its life. The first was some 15 years ago, prior to its renovation. The hotel was tired but there was no getting over the fact it benefited from the most superior view in town. Just over a decade ago the hotel was renovated. Everything was in keeping with the style of the hotel but its glamour had been well and truly restored. Unfortunately, my most recent visit, last year, found that some of the furniture had seen better days and wallpaper was peeling off the walls in parts. However, what hasn’t changed is that fantastic view. Free parking for guests is a great bonus and means you can take day trips to the likes of Postojna, Bohinj and Ljubljana.

Bled Castle
Bled Castle


The breakfast at the hotel is excellent too and will set you up for a day of sightseeing, particularly if you’re planning on doing some hiking. You can choose from various types of fresh bread rolls, cheeses including skuta (similar to cottage cheese but better), hot dishes like scrambled eggs, multiple types of sausages and very garlicky and crispy bacon. There’s even a waffle station. The fine dining restaurant is worth checking out one night too. Though there’s some excellent restaurants nearby. Restaurant Ajda does some wonderful traditional dishes included Strukli. While a visit to Bled is not complete without popping into Hotel Park for a slice of kremšnita – a layer of flaky pastry, topped with a layer of cream, a layer of custard and more flaky pastry, with a liberal shaking of icing sugar on top.

St Martin's Church Lake Bled
St Martin’s Church Lake Bled


In terms of weather, if you go in the winter, expect snow and there’s potential for the lake to freeze over. In the summer days are generally warm, while nights cool down a little, so it’s good to pack a sweater. Be aware there can be some epic thunderstorms; the last time I visited one knocked the power out to part of the town. Always be prepared and carry a raincoat and umbrella. Don’t go walking in the mountains during a thunderstorm.

If you only have a couple of days, or even just a day to visit Bled, you must try to cram the following in:

1) Walk to Bled Castle and on route, stop off at St Martin’s Church

2) Take a Pletna boat to the island, climb the 99 steps and ring the bell of the Church of Assumption

3) Visit Restaurant Ajda and try their savoury strukli

4) Pop into Hotel Park for an afternoon snack and feast on the kremšnita

5) Walk around the lake (9km) and enjoy the beautiful architecture and fresh air

Useful websites for planning your trip:

Balkan Holidays

Slovenia Tourist Board

Grand Hotel Toplice

Hotel Park

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Pampering Post-Slovenia’s Kurent Festival

Fancy experiencing some traditional Slovene culture?  Then why not head to the Kurent Festival in Ptuj this spring?  The festival is held between the 26th February and 8th March.  This annual event is one of the most significant of the calendar of Slovenia; it banishes winter and embraces spring.
Kurent Festival
This year, specialist tour operator, Just Slovenia is offering a five-night trip incorporating Ptuj during the annual Kurent Festival, followed by a luxury spa break in Bled’s Grand Toplice Hotel – one of Slovenia’s most grand venues which has welcomed international figureheads including, Prince Charles and President Clinton.

What happens at the festival?  Kurenti, dressed in distinctive sheepskin costumes adorned with feathers, horns ribbons and cow bells, parade through the streets, clanging instruments to ward off evil spirits.  Many musical and artistic events, street theatre, a masked ball and weekend carnival parades take place, with revellers smashing clay pots on the ground to bring good luck and health.

After all the excitement in Ptuj, visitors will then travel to the beautiful alpine town of Lake Bled to stay at the luxury Grand Toplice Hotel, where they will enjoy a two-day spa-package.  This comprises four treatments: a massage bath plus a glass of sparkling wine; a whole-body massage with the addition of warm herbs; exfoliation and facial massage; reflexology foot massage, plus use of swimming pool and saunas.

Just Slovenia

Tel: 01373 814230


Based on travel in late February or early March, the Kurent break includes two nights’ accommodation at the Garni Mitra Hotel in the centre of historic Ptuj, followed by three nights at the Grand Toplice Hotel overlooking Lake Bled.  The price of £755 per person, based on two sharing, includes return flights from Stansted, car hire, five nights’ bed and breakfast, plus the two-day spa package.

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Slovenia – Be In It To Win It: Holiday Offer for British Tourists

Slovenia Ambassador to London Launches Slovenia...
Iztok Jarc, Slovenia Ambassador to Great Britiain Launches Slovenia… Bet You’ll Love It Campaign, The Colonies Pub, London

I would normally shy away from discussing all things sport related (certainly football related) but last week I was invited to The Colonies pub in Victoria, London to celebrate the launch of Slovenia’s goals for hols promotion.  Slovenia’s World Cup footballers have set a goal of attracting thousands of British fans with the kick-off of a holiday giveaway campaign.

Drawn in the same tournament group as England, the plucky Slovenian squad wants to encourage British holidaymakers to head for their home country in this unique promotion. Travellers will be given back part of the cost of their planned trip as Slovenia progress in South Africa – culminating in a full refund if the side carries off the trophy.

Under the Slovenia… Bet You’ll Love It campaign, travellers booking Slovenia holidays between 10 March and 10 June with participating holiday companies and travelling before June 2011 qualify for the cash-back offer.  Should Slovenia reach the quarter finals, those with qualifying bookings get back 25 per cent of the cost of their holiday. If the team gets to the semi-finals, a 50 per cent refund is paid.  Should the Slovenia team win the World Cup final the full cost of the holiday is paid back!

Captained by West Bromwich Albion midfielder Robert Koren, Slovenia have been drawn in the tournament’s Group C, together with England, USA and Algeria. Slovenia’s opening match is against Algeria on 13 June and they play England on 23 June.

Read more…

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