We departed Ljubljana in the morning and drove north for about an hour to Vintgar Gorge. The gorge was carved by the Radovna River, and the wooden tourist walkways were added originally in 1893. The walkways hug the walls of the canyon and occasionally cross the river. Thankfully, they’ve been renovated a few times since their original construction!
We parked in an outer parking lot – really someone renting their yard out for parking, and walked to the entrance to the gorge to pay the modest entry fee. We trekked the entire 1 mile length of the gorge…..and then realized we had to turn around and walk all the way back. It was stunning, very crowded with people, but absolutely worth it.
After a well earned sladoled (ice cream), we got back in the car for the quick drive to our next destination – Lake Bled.
We chose another AirBnb for our 1 night stay in Lake Bled, and after we checked in, we waked to the nearest restaurant for lunch. We were all VERY hungry after the Gorge trek. Finally, we were rewarded with our 1st view of the lake from Restavracija Sova Bled! She’s a stunner.
We had 3 options for our afternoon – walk around the lake, ride a boat out to the church in the center of the lake, and/or visit Bled Castle. With the girls’ already rather tired legs from the Gorge trek and their love of castles in mind, we chose the castle. Instead of walking around the lake, we waited at the closest stop for the tourist train. The train runs completely around the lake, and it was a nice way to get the lay of the land. We rode it about 3/4 of the way around and got off at the castle stop.
We should have realized that a castle so high up above the lake would require some effort to reach it. There were a LOT of steps. We reached deep into our parenting bag of games and tricks to pass the time while we ascended the very long switchback staircase. One of those tricks was the promise of a dessert at the top – the Bled Cream Cake for which Lake Bled is famous. Unfortunately, the Bled Cream Cake did not satisfy the discerning tastes of our 6 & 9 year old. J and I weren’t really all that impressed either.
We were, however, impressed by the spectacular views of the lake from the top! Finally, with our own eyes, that little church in the middle of the lake. The inspiration for this trip to Slovenia. I think J may have become a little weepy Clark W. Griswald style for just a moment or two.
Normally, we would have chosen another restaurant on the lake with beautiful views for dinner, but the reality is that we found Lake Bled to be VERY touristy. Beautiful without a doubt, but also too touristy for our taste. So instead, we drove a bit into the surrounding countryside to a restaurant recommended by a friend of ours with traditional food and live Slovenian music – Gostilna Avsenik.
This joint was a bit touristy too, but the girls really enjoyed themselves – until the end of the video – ha!
Lake Bled was the inspiration for this trip to Slovenia, and seeing this beautiful landscape in person was worth the visit for sure. However, I’m glad we only allotted a day here. Sights become touristy because all tourists want to see them, us included, but sometimes the tourism takes over, and this is what I feel like has happened in Lake Bled.
But still thankful for this great family pic!
What We Say About Vintgar Gorge and Lake Bled
The view alone was worth the tripMom
The water in the gorge was awesome – sometimes still and clear and sometimes fast and choppyBig Sis C
The lake was prettyLil Sis M
It was everything Windows told me it would beDad