Lake Bled, Slovenia

Lake Locations:

Slovenia - Julian Alps -

Also known as:  Bled Lake

Lake Bled, in the majestic Julian Alps, is a fairytale vision come to life. This small glacial lake, crowned with a picture-book island, is a vacation destination worth planning for. The jewels in its crown are Bled Castle, overlooking the turquoise lake from a craggy cliff, and the Church of the Assumption, commanding the island. These well restored medieval edifices anchor the City of Bled midway between past and present. For Bled has a long and colorful history in what is now preset-day Slovenia: Within documented history, Bled has been part of the Austria-Hungary Empire, a possession of France under Napoleon, and a region of Yugoslavia. The first written records of Castle Bled date from 1004 when German king Henry II transferred the estate to Bishop Albuin of Brixen and his church. These records give claim to its title as oldest documented castle in Slovenia. Archeological finds on the Island are thought to date from about 700 BC, with a cemetery found in conjunction with a presumed Slavic temple dating to 700-600 AD or earlier. Clearly, the allure of Lake Bled is timeless, appealing to something in man’s basic nature.

Located less than an hour from the capital city of Ljubljana, Lake Bled is usually reached by bus. Its easy-to-reach location makes both Bled Castle and the Church of the Assumption favored locations for the perfect wedding ceremony. The island can only be reached by boat, usually the colorful local Pletnas or water taxis — flat-bottomed gondolas are unique to Lake Bled — powered by two oars and one muscular Bled man. To reach the church, one must climb 99 steps. Local legend has it that the man who can carry his bride up the steep steps will have a long and happy marriage. Bride or not, most visitors climb them to ring the the church tower’s “Wishing Bell.” Folklore says that the widow of Bled Castle had all of her late husband’s gold and silver melted and cast into a bell for the church. However, while being rowed across the lake, a storm caused the boat to capsize, sending the precious bell to the bottom. Broken-hearted, the widow Poliksena left the castle and went to a convent in Rome. When the Pope heard her sad story, he had a new bell made and sent it to the island. On rare occasions, it is said some can hear the sunken bell ringing out from the mud at the bottom of the lake. On December 25th, Bled holds a ceremony commemorating the sinking of the bell and sinks a symbolic Christmas tree into the lake. The Church is decorated with inspiring original artwork and paintings.

No gasoline motors are allowed on Lake Bled. Besides the Plenta water taxis, rowboats and kayaks can be rented at several areas along the shore. This is the only way to see much of the shoreline, as there are few roads leading to the shore. Fishing is allowed for catfish, pike, carp and lake trout and is regulated by the local fishing clubs that stock and maintain the lake. Despite large numbers of visitors each year, the lake is exceptionally clean. Run-off and storm sewers divert possible contamination away from the lake and a recirculation pump system keeps the water from eutrophication. Josip Broz Tito, President of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, had a summer home here, as did other dignitaries over the ages. Very little development has been allowed along the shore since the second World War, leaving the shoreline tree-covered and natural.

Lake Bled is a world class rowing center and has hosted three world championships. In the summer months the lake is also available to swimmers, with a large swim area beneath the castle. In addition to changing rooms and lockers, the swimming area includes two waterslides, a trampoline, a climbing wall, four outdoor swimming pools, a jump board as well as climbers, swings and a sandbox for children, table tennis and chess. Near the entrance, there is a boathouse where row boats can be rented. Diving is also provided for; check with the local fishing club for information. Although ice skating is sometimes possible in winter, often the lake does not freeze completely. An Ice Hall is available for skating and curling.

A walking path circles the entire shore of Lake Bled. The path is relatively flat and should take two to 2.5 hours to complete the circuit. Both bike and car rentals are available, with horseback riding nearby. Carriage rides are offered as is a local tour bus/train. Winter sports are popular, with groomed cross-country ski trails leading from Bled to nearby villages. Straza, an easily accessible ski-slope with artificial snow and lighting in the center of Bled, is available for night skiing. The area is famous for more extreme sports and facilities abound for such adventures as mountain biking, rafting, canyoning, fishing, climbing, riding, panoramic flights, tandem paragliding and adrenaline parks. One interesting adventure is a summertime toboggan running on a rail.

The entrance to Triglav National Park in the Julian Alps lies just outside of Bled. It’s an easy hike to spectacular Vintgar Gorge which features a wooden footbridge path (dating to 1893) that runs for 1600 meters along the Radovna River, terminating at the Sum waterfall. Many adventurous visitors opt to climb the mountain itself. Triglav is the mountain depicted on the Slovenian flag and seal; at almost 9,400 feet, it will take most of a day and the climber needs to be in reasonably good condition. Camping is not permitted in Triglav National Park.

Those less inclined to strenuous outdoor activity can partake of indoor swimming pools with thermal water, saunas, massages, baths, fitness studios, cultural performances and entertainment. Bled Castle in one of the highlights of any trip to Lake Bled. The oldest part of the castle is the Romanesque tower. Other buildings, constructed in the Baroque period, are arranged around two courtyards connected by a staircase. The chapel on the upper courtyard was built in the 16th century, and renovated around 1700, when it was decorated with illusionist frescoes. The castle also has a drawbridge over a moat. Some of the highlights of a Castle visit include the museum, restaurant, documentary movies about Bled in Knight’s Hall, and the Castle printing works with a restored Gutenberg wooden printing press. A theatre group produces medieval dances, knight duels, fire spitting and eating shows and replications of medieval Castle life. Bled Castle is another favored location for weddings overlooking Lake Bled.

One hundred and fifty years as a prime tourism destination means that the Lake Bled area is well-supplied with a choice of lodgings, either for a single night or as vacation rentals. Its proximity to the Julian Alps promises there are plenty of hotels, youth hostels, backpacker lodgings, bed-and-breakfasts and private homes and villas for lease or as short-term rentals. Real estate opportunities in the the city of Bled are primarily restricted to existing structures as new development is being limited to protect the remaining open spaces — everyone wants to live in the village with a medieval castle overlooking a fairytale lake with its own magical island. Schedule a visit soon to picturesque Lake Bled and enjoy the Alpine view. You’ll wonder why you didn’t arrive years sooner. If you listen closely in the evening’s twilight, you may hear a bell…

Things to do at Lake Bled

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Swimming Pool
  • Kayaking
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Biking
  • Tobogganing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Waterfall
  • National Park
  • Museum

Fish species found at Lake Bled

  • Carp
  • Catfish
  • Lake Trout
  • Pike
  • Trout

Lake Bled Photo Gallery

Lake Bled Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 358 acres

Shoreline Length: 4 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,558 feet

Maximum Depth: 101 feet

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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