Lucky Lake Bled, getting a third visit from me inside of 9 months. One of my favourite spots from my Summer 2013 Eurotrip, I was eager beaver to revisit the area from my new Central European home, just one country away. Paige had never been to Bled or even Slovenia before, and I was initially fearful that I’d built up expectations unnecessarily. Of course this wasn’t the case. Lake Bled is still up there with my top European travel destinations, and I will continue to constantly recommend it to anyone and everyone!
Bearing in mind THIS…
…was taken the last time I was at Bled, complete with bikini, sun lotion and masses of Cola Light, our April adventure was a different kind of visit; much more trainers, umbrella, cappuccinos. Along those lines. That said, there were now very few people around the lake, surprisingly few for a Spring weekend, and things were on the whole a little cheaper.
Last Summer I stayed at Bledec Hostel and Traveler’s Haven, (as detailed here) but this time our priority was well and truly on saving the pennies. On this basis, we booked Hostel Bled, accepting it’s slightly out-of-the-way location but very much welcoming the bargain price of €10 a night. I must say, however great the travel destination, a weekend away really can be made by great accommodation, and for me, feeling welcome is one of the most important things. The owner, Maja, came to pick us up at 6 in the morning, and on top of that, she left us bananas out for breakfast as the local bakery was closed! Talk about great service! The place was spotless, the beds were super comfortable, and the little village location was in fact a benefit, as we felt as though we were staying in the stunning green Slovenian countryside, as opposed to being on the edge of a tourist hotspot.
I was so impressed with Hostel Bled that I created a TripAdvisor account especially and left a 5 star review. That says it all really!
And on with our agenda… Waking up at 1pm after our long journey, we spent our first day at Bled admiring the view, taking a casual walk around the lake, and getting caught up in a little rain shower. We drank coffees, shocked by the low price (well under half of what we are used to paying in Salzburg) and ended our peaceful day with a food shop, dinner, a bottle of wine and an early night. I was relieved, despite the mission it was to get here, and the weather not being perfect; Lake Bled really was as beautiful as I remembered it. It didn’t disappoint.
Something I hadn’t paid much attention to before was St. Martin’s church, which sits just above the lake on the edge of Bled village. Travelling through European cities and seeing one after the other, it can be hard to get excited about cathedrals, churches and chapels, but this unassuming building had a charming modern interior that I was really taken by. The influence was strangely Islamic, the artwork bold, and feeling the warmth as the sun was setting through the stained glass windows was a really calm moment. I didn’t take any photos, so you’re going to have to trust me on this one. On the Sunday, we borrowed the hostel’s bikes (€5 for the day) and went for a ride, surprised to find a coffee shop open, this time just down from the main bus station in the village of Bled with a view over the lake. After returning the bikes to the hostel, Maja gave us a lift to the bus station in Bled ready for a bus back to Lecse-Bled station and we said our goodbyes, both to Maja and to each other, as Paige was now continuing South to Ljubljana and I was heading back up to Salzburg. Needless to say I was very jealous, but excited for her continuing her Slovenian adventure all the same.
I must say, I really did fall in love with Lake Bled all over again, amazed by the beauty from all angles, and overcome by the serenity and the peace. Slovenia, as little-known as it is, is an unspoiled country, with a rich culture, thoroughly lovely people and perfect green yet mountainous landscape. This weekend escape of mine turned out to be exactly what I needed, and it is hard to believe that we were only 20 or so kilometers from the Austrian border.
I took the train back to Villach, waited for a couple of hours in an ice cream cafe by the river, and took a train directly back to Salzburg. Total travel spend: €29, total accommodation spend: €10. Can’t argue with that!