If we thought we landed in a fairytale when we arrived in Ljubljana, Slovenia, we were in no way prepared for the captivating atmosphere of Lake Bled. Nestled amidst snow-capped mountains, the serene lake has one island, which is occupied by a church with a wish-granting bell, and a dramatic cliff-hanging castle along the shore. While the top things to do in Lake Bled are visiting the island and castle, we had different plans. We were putting some distance between us and the lake by hiking Ojstrica to the best Lake Bled scenic viewpoints.
First Glimpse of Lake Bled
We arrived via bus at the east end of the lake in the town of Bled, some of which seems way too modern for the tranquil setting. Our first glance over the water had us standing still in our tracks as a swan gracefully glided along the shore with the island in the background. We were ready to set off on the paved 6km walkway that hugs the shore, but detoured into the tourist center for a Lake Bled map and suggestions.
Lake Bled Hiking
Even though the popular things to do in Bled are hopping a boat to the island or touring the castle, we weren’t interested. What most intrigued us was Lake Bled hiking. The trail heads for the Ojstrica Bled hike and Osojnica Bled hike are at the west end of the lake, right off the paved path. The Bled hiking trails lead to lookout points that offer the best view of Lake Bled.
Lake Bled Walking Path
To get to the trail head for the Bled Ojstrica hike, we walked along the lakeside path (the most popular of Lake Bled walks). We used our Bled map and decided to walk along the southern shore, where we had the Bled Island in perfect sight.. We watched the Pletna boats being rowed from the shore to the island, touting loads of tourists to and from the shore. The Pletna boats are wooden and rowed from the back, much like the gondolas of Venice, but bigger.
Lake Bled Viewpoint from the Shore
At the western end of Lake Bled, the views looking east were stunning! From one point, we could see the island, Bled Castle, St. Martin’s Church and the soaring, snow-capped mountains in the distance. Before we started hiking Bled, Slovenia, we settled in on one of the many benches and lingered over a picnic lunch and the stellar views.
Hiking Ojstrica for Lake Bled Scenic Viewpoints
The trails for hiking in Bled, Slovenia have signs near the paved path. Following the signs for Trail 6 to Ojstrica and Osojnica viewpoints, we began the inclined trek. We passed a small farm and then were quickly enveloped in the forest. We steadily climbed the hillside, crunching leaves beneath our feet and stripping off our hats, gloves and jackets along the way. Although we were hiking near Lake Bled, we quickly felt far away.
After about 10 minutes, the trail split to the right for the first lookout point, Ojstrica, which made the initial steep climb pale in comparison. Intimidated, but determined, we made our way up the short set of steep switchbacks. In the last five steps to the top, the view began to emerge and I gained momentum in an attempt to see it all. Completely out of breath, I still managed to squeal with giddiness at the scene in front of us. I couldn’t imagine there being better Slovenia views than the one in front of us.
The Ojstrica lookout point features zero barriers. There are no fences, no railings. It was just us and the wind and the rocks and the magnificent scene. Once we felt confident that we had snapped way too many pictures, we relaxed on the single bench and soaked it in.
Hiking to Mala Osojnica Viewpoint
Although we were reluctant to leave the Ojstrica lookout, we were anticipating even better views from Mala Osojnica. We had a little skip in our step as we retraced our steps to the main trail. With few signs – and without an actual Lake Bled hiking map – we made our way through the forest. We followed the Lake Bled walking trails to a clearing at the edge of the cliff – Mala Osojnica – and we were left speechless by the breathtaking view. It was almost as if someone deliberately created the mountain we were standing on just for the sake of the view of Lake Bled and the mountains behind it.
We lingered at the Mala Osojnica Bled viewpoint in awe of the scene below us. We followed the Bled, Slovenia hiking trails back to the lake. As we hiked, it occurred to us that we passed no other hikers. At both lookout points, we had the area completely to ourselves and only passed a total of six other hikers during our time on the trails. We had just hiked to the best view of Lake Bled – one of the best things to do in Bled, Slovenia – and we had it all to ourselves. Just one of the perks of traveling in the off-season!
Once back at lake level, we completed the Lake Bled circuit, still finding the views to be astounding, but not nearly as breathtaking as from the Ojstrica and Mala Osojnica trail outlooks. Back in town, we found a local pub with outdoor seating and a view of the castle and St. Martin Church. After hiking in Lake Bled, we rewarded ourselves with a pint of local brew…but the Kremsnita Bled cake looked good, too!
Our top tips for your trip to Slovenia
- Stop by the tourist office to get a Lake Bled walking map
- You need appropriate shoes for hiking near Bled, Slovenia.
- I (Sarah) have traveled with these shoes by Columbia and Skechers. Kris prefers wearing these shoes by Merrell.
- The Ojstrica Bled and Osojnica Bled viewpoints are an ideal spot for a picnic lunch with a stellar view!
How to Get to Lake Bled, Slovenia from Ljubljana
For public transportation options, there is both a bus and a train from Ljubljana to Bled. The bus takes visitors to the Lake Bled bus station, which is just a short stroll to the lake. The train takes passengers to the town of Bled, which requires a taxi, bus or hike to get to the lake. Check the Ljubljana to Bled bus schedule and Bled to Ljubljana train schedule on Rome2Rio to plan your trip to Lake Bled.
Where To Stay in Slovenia
During our visit to Slovenia, we stayed in Ljubljana in the incredibly unique Hostel Celica and this awesome Airbnb Apartment. (Not already a member of Airbnb? Use this link to create an account and save money on your first stay!) However, for those who prefer staying in traditional accommodations, there are many hotels to choose from in – or close to – the city center. Check out these top-rated hotels (based on guest reviews!) for your upcoming trip:
Or These Hostels:
Before You Go
- We’re certain you’ll be snapping tons of photos during your trip. Rather than relying on your mobile phone to capture the sights, upgrade to an actual camera for higher quality photos. We travel with a Canon Rebel (which takes amazing photos, but can be a bit clunky) and a Canon PowerShot ELPH (which takes beautiful pictures, is slim and lightweight – and the new models are wifi enabled so you can share your trip pics to social media in real time!).
- It’s easy to get turned around or lost in any new city! Be sure to have a good city map and/or guidebook prior to arriving.
- We think travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel protected with World Nomads.
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