Bled: Emerald Oasis

In Northwest Slovenia, twenty minutes shy of the Austrian border, lies this little alpine town that plays base for tourists seeking adventure. At the foot of the Julian Alps, Bled is located in the northern Carniola region, which is also famous for the Slovenian sausage, Kranjska Klobasa. With its emerald lake, gorgeous church on the island, medieval castle and the Julian Alps, Bled is Slovenia’s most popular city, drawing everyone from lovers lured by the romantic setting to backpackers, who come for the hiking, biking, skiing and alpining possibilities.

After the expulsion of the Austro-Hungarians following World War I, the Yugoslav royal family set up a resort home bled riverfront, adventure, basein Bled. Tito followed suit after coming to power in the aftermath of World War II.  Seventy years down the road, people from all over Slovenia and abroad flock to Bled.

Landscape
Bled is situated among hills that were carved by the glaciers and tectonic activity which once covered the European continent. In Lake Bled rests the only natural island in Slovenia, Bled Island. The varied landscape stretches to the forest-covered slopes and reveal the jagged peaks of the Julian Alps, dominated by Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia. The landscape boasts an abundance of waters, characterized by the river channels of the Sava Bohinjka in the south and the Sava Dolinka in the north. Most of the area lies within Triglav National Park, the only national park in Slovenia, which is 20 minutes away, as well as the Ski Center for minimal cost for skiing and equipment rental.bled, slovenia, bled castleSweet and Savory
Bled’s kremšnita (cream slice) is undoubtedly still one of its best trademarks, using the original recipe from the years after the Second World War. For freshwater fish, the zlatovšica trout is a special delicacy. It can be prepared in a variety of ways, such as rolled in buckwheat flour and deep-fried. The other freshwater specialty is the Soča trout, which is rolled in corn flour and fried to a nice crisp.cream cake, Smon, Bled
Culture
Take a boat ride to Bled Island and enjoy a quiet, reflective view of Bled. Rightfully named after the town, the island is home to the Church of Assumption, built during the Baroque period, dates back to the 17th century. Bled Island has a history that goes even further back possibly to the 8th century BC. Upon arrival to Bled island, you will encounter 99 steps. These ascend up to the main area with the church, bell tower and reflections of bygone periods. The church is the setting for plenty of festivities including weddings. Tradition has it that for a couple to marry in the church, the groom must carry the bride up the 99 steps to the church. Once they arrive inside the church, they are to ring the wishing bell to bring good luck upon their new life together.
insidechurchThe boat ride costs around 12 euros per person with children under 3 free. There is a fee to go inside the church. The bell tower is free and offers an amazing view around the lake.

As a favorite summer destination, Bled stays busy in the fall and spring as well, but tapers off in the winter.  Being surrounded by mountains, adventure is always available. Hiking, alpining and mountain biking can be found in Bled, as well as history, culture and generous offerings of local fare. All of this combines to make Bled a must!

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