A short drive and we were at Lake Bled with a slow crawl the last few kilometres. Lake Bled is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Slovenia and during high season is literally seething with people. But – it is still incredibly beautiful! Our campground was about 4 km out of town, across the road from a reserve and beach that was packed with people as you can only find in Europe. But the water is really clear and warm so why not join them. With temperatures well over 30 degrees some days the water was so good.
Lake Bled is the scene for some of the most iconic photos of Slovenia as it has a magnificent castle high on a cliff overlooking the town and lake and a pretty church and other buildings on the only island on the lake – near where we were staying.
It was aperitif time by the time we reached the town of Bled (under half way unfortunately ) and we were lucky enough to find some musicians playing violin and keyboard at the place we stopped at. They were great and played all the old favourites, classical and more recent. The violinist reminded us of the stereotype of a crazy professor. They were playing as part of a music festival in the town.
Our way back down led to this high valley where we spied a summer cabin where we saw some people eating. The owner provides freshly made traditional foods based around the milk from the small cow herd. You can buy yoghurt and cheese too.
The people eating there spoke good English and convinced us to try skutini struklji- a type of rolled soft cheese strudel but made with thin dough and served sweet with local honey or savoury with more cheese. Apparently the owner is well known for it. We opted for the sweet one – it was so good, freshly made for us and hot from the oven that even Richard liked it (no chocolate options).
By the time we left the farmhouse it was 5.30 and we still had a long walk ahead of us- thankfully the couple we met showed us a short cut through the forest back to our car. As it was we didn’t finish our hike until nearly 7pm and then had a 45 minute drive back.
Another day we visited Lake Bohinj which competes with Lake Bled on the ‘beautiful’ stakes. We took the Vogel gondola up to a high point with wonderful views of the lake and valley.
Most of the hikes from the gondola involved rough gravel roads used in winter as ski trails so we decided not to do any major hiking. Instead we did a hike up along a gorge just out of Bohinj – very pretty.
We have been pleasantly surprised at some of the restaurants we have found in Slovenia and this one in Bled was no exception – a beautiful garden setting with live music and excellent food at reasonable prices.
Another place tried a little bit too hard with its decorative touches.
We also visited the Vintgar Gorge – supposed to be one of ‘the’ things to see around Bled. It is a classic case of a place that has been spoilt by its own popularity. We had to walk along the narrow trail and boardwalks in a constant queue of people most of the time – while it was pretty we have seen gorges that are far more impressive. Definitely not a place to visit in high season.
We can highly recommend Slovenia for a visit. The west is the most interesting area from our point of view. We found the people really friendly and open – perhaps something to do with being a small country with a small population. Prices were very reasonable especially for food and restaurants. Our only negative was the cost of motorway tolls for our motorhome with trailer – I worked out it was costing us about 1 Euro per kilometre!! Lucky the distances were short. And the roads were good. Much cheaper for a car or smaller motor home though – you can buy a prepaid vignette. We had to pay truck rates being over 3.5 tonnes.
We would have stayed in Slovenia longer but wanted spend time in Austria before we had to be in southern Germany at the Hymer factory.
Next blog – around Salzburg, Austria