Bled Castle, Slovenia

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Sitting at the foothills of the Julian Alps, Bled is a small town just south of the Austrian border in the beautiful country of Slovenia. Perched on top of a steep cliff is Bled Castle, which is considered the oldest castle in Slovenia and one of the most visited attractions in the country. It made perfect sense for us to swing by and visit this Slovenian gem because of its proximity to our accommodation in Austria and only a short detour during our route to Florence.

Getting to Bled

The view from the castle looking onto the city of Bled.

As we made our way across the border into Slovenia, the landscape became more mountainous and low hanging clouds filled the valleys. We didn’t need to show any documentation at the toll when entering the country and only had to pay a small fee. The rest of the drive was fairly easy, although I do think there was probably a more direct route from the highway.

Another view from the castle looking onto the city of Bled.

We weaved our way through small mountain towns and skinny roads until we reached a steep hill that led up to the castle’s parking lot. If you are driving, hopefully, you are well versed in driving on hills with a clutch. I currently live in Florida and have not had to drive on an incline with a manual in a couple years so I was a bit nervous. Once you reach the parking lot, an attendant will ask for a couple euros for a pass that is good for a few hours. The parking lot is very cramped and if you want a spot close to the castle, arrive early since this is a popular destination.

The Bled Castle

A view of the Bled castle.

As you walk up the steep hill to Bled Castle, you’ll arrive at the ticket booth where you’ll purchase tickets for 11 euros per adult which is a bit much since you are really just paying for the views. We took our time exploring the castle and even grabbed some coffee and a bite to eat inside so we felt it was worth the money. Some people mention that the entrance fee isn’t worth it, but if this is the only castle on your itinerary or you’ve never been to a castle then I recommend it.

There are many places to explore inside the Bled castle.

Inside the castle, there is a small gift shop and museum as well as a cafe that you’ll receive a discount when you present your entrance ticket. Another cool nook of the castle is a honeycomb room right next to the cafe where local honey is produced. Be careful as there are a few bees flying around this part, but it’s a pretty interesting room and you can even purchase various honey products.

The views from the Bled castle are amazing!

As you climb higher into the castle there are plenty of opportunities for panoramic photos of Lake Bled and the mountains in the background. Unfortunately for us, there were low lying clouds that covered up the peaks in the distance. I was very much looking forward to seeing these views, but the clouds didn’t take away from the overall experience.  Arrive early for a chance to grab some pictures without other tourists in the frame. All year round, the castle opens at 8:00 AM and has different closing hours depending on the time of the year. As we were leaving, the line to get in was much longer so I can imagine the castle gets pretty crowded later in the day.

Lake Bled

Walking around Lake Bled.

Definitely allot some time to take a stroll around Lake Bled after visiting the castle. It’s a short drive down the mountain into the quaint town of Bled. Peering up you get a whole different perspective of the castle as well as the rest of the beautiful landscape. Parking in this area will cost a few euros and can be hard to come by especially during busy times. Take your time and be cautious of all the pedestrians especially if you are unfamiliar with the signage or driving in Europe.

Looking up at Bled castle from below.

Once you secure your parking spot, you can take a walk along the 6km trail around the lake and take in all the views of the castle, mountains, and churches that make up this small town. Unfortunately, we didn’t stop to eat in Bled, but there were a ton of options along the lakefront for a meal. Though a small and quiet town, there seemed to be plenty to do and this is yet another location I’d love to visit again in the future.

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