Bled is famous for its beautiful lake, the castle throning above it and has a lot of interesting sights in its vicinity. We saved the lake for later and started our sightseeing with a hike to a nearby major attraction, the Vintgar Gorge. The gorge offers a hike of about 2 kilometers along the Radovna River, along canyons, rapids, pools and across wooden bridges. The walking path through the gorge leads directly to the most significant river waterfall in Slovenia, the Šum Falls.
While it was busy, the path mostly had enough space to make a stop for a photo without stopping everyone else behind you. The further we walked, the fewer people shared the path.
When you love to photograph like I do, the Vintgar Gorge is a feast. You go a few steps, and there’s one dramatic look after another. It is stunning with the turquoise water, the canyons and the wooden paths leading through the gorge. We took our time and slowly progressed until we reached the end of the trail at the waterfall.
The trail ended at a little cafe above the waterfall, and we were looking for a way to see the waterfall from below. After considering crossing the bridge to the left and following the path upwards, we instead decided to walk straight past the cafe, where we came to a street, where a way leading down to the impressive waterfall.
I love waterfalls, and it made me remember the Busay Falls in the Philippines and more recently the Kulen Waterfall in Cambodia. Of course, Iceland is still my favorite “waterfall destination” with the Dettifoss and the Skogafoss. After seeing the vast Taroko Gorge in Taiwan last year and now the Vintgar Gorge, I think I might get addicted to gorges too…
Back in Bled, we stopped at a supermarket for some grocery shopping, before we went back to the hotel to finally check-in. We had chosen the Hotel Astoria Bled because it looked nice but also is ideally located, just a short walk from the lake, the castle and even just a few steps from the central bus station. Our room was decent and thankfully offered air condition, as it was getting hot in Slovenia. The only letdown was that the spa of the hotel is not included for hotel guests, so we skipped that.
We didn’t have time to relax just yet anyway, as the lake waited for us. It is a picture perfect scenery in Bled with the lake, the castle and the little island inside the lake. The significant number of international tourists, visible everywhere, indicated, that Bled is indeed a major international travel destination. While I didn’t see other Filipinos, there were actually many Asian tourists.
We decided to take a “Pletna Boat” to the little island on the lake. It was rather expensive, but when you’re in Bled, you can’t just skip this tour. The Pletna oarsman told us that he will only leave when the boat is full, and so far, there seemed to be no one else to go. We still decided to go in, waited and then it filled actually relatively quickly. It takes about 30 minutes with the boat to the island and there we were told when to return to the boat for the ride back after another 40 minutes (the stay at the island might be shorter in busier periods, earlier in the day).
On the beautiful island, we visited the church and just walked around, before we had to return. Back on the boat, we got to chat a bit with some young women from South Korea, who were on an Eastern European tour. It was interesting, as we hope to visit South Korea in the (very) near future.
It was getting late, but of course, we also had to visit Bled Castle. Fortunately, the castle is open to visitors in summertime up until the evening, and we found a walking path upwards to it at the Parish Church of St. Martin, starting just a few steps from the lake. It was a bit exhausting to walk up, given that we had been walking already the whole day. But it just took about 15 minutes, and it was well worth the effort.
The view from the castle is just magnificent. It also was not that crowded this late in the day, which made it even more relaxing.