Today I’m sharing our Lake Bled travel guide and a big list of things to do in Lake Bled with kids.
My husband and I took our 2 and 4 year old daughters to Europe for three weeks last June. We spent 4 days in Paris before flying to Split where we kicked off a road trip through Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy. Check out an overview of our itinerary here.
Lake Bled has been on my bucket list for YEARS, and with its proximity to Croatia and Italy (there is a portion of Slovenia that is sandwiched between the two on the Adriatic coast!), it only made sense for us to include the area in this itinerary. We wanted to hit a little bit of everything on this trip: big cities, small cities, beaches, mountains. Lake Bled took the “mountains” role very seriously and totally blew us away.
Lake Bled sits at the base of the Julian Alps and is an easy 30 minute drive from Ljubljana, Slovenia’s charming and bustling capital city.
This was our first visit to Slovenia, and it won’t be our last. I loved the architecture, the pastries, and the landscaping (in June, every person’s yard was in full, swoon-worthy bloom). From my limited experience, the culture felt like a mix between Germany, Switzerland, and Croatia.
Since we had our two daughters with us, we tailored our Lake Bled itinerary around the girls. Our time in Lake Bled was intended to be CHILL. We wanted to just relax and enjoy the Alpine air and crystal blue views as we geared up to meet our friends in Tuscany for the next leg of the trip.
In today’s post, I’m sharing some planning logistics including how to get to Lake Bled, how many days to plan for, and where to stay. Then, I’ll share a list of things to do in Lake Bled with kids (although most of the list could apply to all ages!). At the end of the post, I’ll share a few of our favorite restaurants we ate at too.
Check out our Lake Bled travel guide.
With its proximity to Ljubljana, Lake Bled is fairly easy to get to. If you choose to fly into Ljubljana, you can rent a car or catch a bus to take you out to Lake Bled.
Our preference is usually to rent a car because it allows us to be on our own schedule (this is crucial with kids!). Before Slovenia, we were in Plitvice Lakes, Croatia, so the drive to Lake Bled took about 3.5 hours in total. Then, it took us about 7 hours to drive from Lake Bled to Montaione which is outside of Florence (this was the longest leg of our trip).
Three nights in Lake Bled was plenty. This gave us two very full days to explore the area and enjoy the lake. I could see wanting to stay longer if you are looking for a true mountain vacation and really want to RELAX. However, if you are planning a big trip and have other places to get to, 2-3 days is more than enough to fully experience the area.
We hit Ljubljana on the way in, as it was right on our way coming up from Croatia. We LOVED Ljubljana and can’t recommend it enough. I’d even venture to suggest spending 1-2 nights in Ljubljana before heading to Lake Bled, depending on your travel day getting to Slovenia. Read about how we spent our day in Ljubljana here.
We loved, loved, loved our Airbnb. Our apartment was SO spacious, by far the biggest of our whole trip. It was nice to just spread everything out for a few days. The girls each had their own bed and one room, and then Tyler and I had this huge room with an entire corner that I dedicated just to our suitcases. We did laundry and had plenty of space to lay everything out. There was a great kitchen and a beautiful patio outside of the living room. Tyler and I worked on the patio both days during naptime and had such a nice time. The property also had a sauna available for guests which Tyler was all over.
This was a guest unit in someone’s house, but there was a totally separate entrance and felt totally private. Our apartment was in the residential area near the lake but not right on the lake-a 5 minute drive and a 20 minute walk which we found totally doable. It was worth it for us to have to walk further in order to have some more space at that point in the trip.
We had an amazing pizza dinner at Pizzeria Rustika. We also really enjoyed our lunch at Spica and dinner at Restavracija Central Bled. As previously discussed, order the famous cream cake at Restavracija Penzion Mlino. We also loved all of the desserts we ordered at Confectionery Zima. And lastly, make sure to stop for bread and pastries at Pekarna Planika.
The answer to this question is yes but with just a few caveats. There weren’t many parks, and the streets weren’t super stroller friendly (especially in the areas close to the lake).
However, the lake is absolutely stunning, and the church on the island in the middle of the lake was a huge hit with our kids. They loved being able to spot it and point it out to us.
They loved the food: sausage, potatoes, grilled vegetables, and lots of fun pastries and desserts. Best of all, there are plenty of activities for kids to do that our kids were just old enough to experience.
As an orientation to the area, I suggest kicking your first day off with a walk around the lake. For fast walkers, this 6 km route will take about an hour and a half. It took us about 3 hours since we had to stop a million times to let the girls toss pebbles into the lake which was fine by us.
This walk is ridiculously pleasant. The views are stunning and there are plenty of spots to stop to rest and have a snack. The trail is mostly stroller friendly, but there were a few unpaved areas. We let the girls walk most of the way, and they’d hop in and out to rest as needed.
Okay, this was so fun and memorable. These historic wooden pletna boats are so charming and unique. You can catch a ride at Mlino Port but this spot was often crowded and had a wait. We went down a little further to Velika Zaka and were able to hop right on. The driver (captain?) seemed dead set on waiting for more people to take us since the boat seats up to 18, but Tyler pulled a Tyler and offered to pay him a bit more to just take us right away. We had the boat to ourselves and had so much fun.
You’ll want to leave plenty of time to explore the grounds and the Church of the Mother of God on the island. No trip to Lake Bled is complete without ringing the bell on the island. Don’t forget to make a wish.
I don’t make the rules. This is a Lake Bled rite of passage. We ordered a slice of the famous Lake Bled cream cake at Restavracija Penzion Mlino on the lake and loved it. You’ll also want to grab a second slice and some other treats at Confectionery Zima.
Doing the Vintnar Gorge trail was on our list for this trip, but we ended up nixing it once we lost half a day to the rain. The Vintnar Gorge is just a 15 minute drive from Bled. The walk takes about 30 minutes and seems like you’d definitely want to bring a carrier for small kids.
I never thought I’d say this, but I think I’m a Tourist Train Person? I cannot recommend this enough for kids and adults alike. This cute little open-air train goes all the way around the lake. It was the perfect way to spend our first morning in Lake Bled–it was raining out but the train ride allowed us to see the lake and surrounding scenery anyway. The girls thought it was magical. We jumped on at the stop here which is right in town and next to the lake.
After nap time one day, Tyler took the girls on an outing so I could work on my newsletter (sign up if you’re not already!). He took them to this incredible outdoor trampoline park next to the lake, and they were obsessed. They spent about an hour jumping, and it was the perfect way for the girls to let off some steam before our big drive the next morning.
Straza Bled wasn’t open yet when we got there on June 4th, despite everything online saying it was? This was disappointing, but I’m still including it on the list as I think it would have been so much fun to do with the kids.
Lake Bohinj is much bigger than Lake Bled and is known for its water and adventure sports scene. If you do go, don’t miss the Vogel cable car ride for sweeping views of the lake and the alps around it.
It’s a pre-weekend pick me up: just a little note with links to the latest blog posts, what I’m reading lately, and products I’m obsessed with. Think of it as a friend dropping off a surprise latte in the morning--you know?