Lake Bled - Slovenia
Bled is a small town on the edge of Slovenia's Triglav National Park and set right on a 2km long lake. The scenery is amazing. The lake has it's own small island with a fairy tale church and there's a castle overlooking the water on a rocky outcrop. The whole area is surrounded by huge hills and the massive snowy mountains that form the border with Austria.
A fantastic lookout point can be reached by a steep path climbing 200m uphill from the western end of the lake. From here the lake is laid out right below with the mountains reaching up behind it and lush hills all the way around. This is the scenery at it's most dramatic, although from below the mountains seem even higher.
The footpaths extend right around the lake shores, always giving views of the castle or island. The area is incredibly beautiful with plenty of greenery and all but the snowy peaks covered in forests and meadows. It's a pleasant couple of hours walk around the shores, with another steep climb to the castle. This occupies a fantastic position and offers even more amazing views. If you're tired after all the hills, there's a mini tourist train or horse and cart that can be taken around the lake.
All around the shores are places where you can take a gondola ride to the island, although it's more fun to hire a rowing boat and make the journey yourself. The church on the island has a 'lucky' bell which is supposed to grant wishes when rang - the sound of this echoes across the valley almost constantly throughout the day.
For the more adventurous there's the summer toboggan run on Bled's ski slopes. The chairlift ride to the top makes an easy ascent to views almost rivalling the lookout points further around. After appreciating this, it's a speedy descent down on the track.
The town of Bled has many outside cafes and restaurants providing a wide choice of food and drink, always with a lake or mountain view.
Bled can make a great base for an active holiday, with plenty of activities such as kayaking, rafting and mountain biking easily organised with the many agencies within the town. There are also plenty of walking trails around the lake and leading right into the heart of the Julian Alps and the Triglav National Park.
Bled is a truly magical place, with such incredible surroundings. It look beautiful whatever the weather, but gains an extra something in the sun, with the blue of the sky reflected in the calm waters and the sound of people's wishes ringing across the lake.
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