A typical postcard sent from Bled would show Lake Bled with the island, and a white cliff rising above them.
That cliff is crowned with a medieval castle that has been standing atop of it for more than thousand years!
From there you can enjoy breathtaking view of the lake and its surroundings.
The cliff after which the town got its name
The white cliff with the castle – that you can see very well when walking by Lake Bled – is the reason behind the town’s name that evolved through the centuries.
The town of Bled was once known as “Veldes” (that is its German name) which was derived from the word “fels”, meaning “cliff” in German. Why German, you might ask.
Well, Bled was under the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1918, and in that empire German was one of the two official languages.
The cliff has been home to the medieval castle for hundreds of years. From Bled Castle that is probably the oldest castle in Slovenia you can admire the view of Lake Bled from above.
At the castle – that is a popular tourist and wedding destination today – you can also learn about the history of Bled (in the castle’s museum), dine at a high-end restaurant, try Slovenian wine, taste Slovenian honey and buy honey products, have your name printed on an old press, and so on.
One of the viewpoints over Lake Bled
The white cliff is one of the viewpoints from which you will see the lake with the island from a bird’s eye view. However, you will need to enter the castle to be able to truly embrace the beauty of the scenery below.
Visiting the old village beneath the cliff
Many years ago, that is in the Middle Ages, people lived on the white cliff. They built their homes there because the cliff offered them good protection from invaders.
When the cliff’s inhabitants did not feel endangered any more, they started to settle in an area beneath the cliff and soon formed a village called “Grad” that would literally translate as “Castle”.
The settlement of Grad still exists today and you may take a walk there after getting back from the white cliff. It is one of the oldest settlements within Bled, having a plenty of charm.
The white cliff with Bled Castle that you can see from almost every corner of Bled is one of the viewpoints that you can climb in order to see Lake Bled and surroundings from a different perspective.
- PRACTICAL INFORMATION -
LOCATION: The cliff with Bled Castle rises above the northern side of Lake Bled and is easily accessible on foot from Bled’s centre. If you decide to walk around Lake Bled, you can walk up to the cliff just in the meanwhile. Look for the walking paths in the forest below the cliff going up.
The cliff with Bled Castle
WALKING PATHS: The walking paths (there are several) leading from above Lake Bled to Bled Castle are well-arranged and mostly shaded. Along the paths, there are wooden benches where you can rest if you feel the need.
You will need approximately 15-20 minutes to get to the castle’s entrance. Just before reaching the top, there are some steps to conquer.
One of the walking paths running towards the castle starts at Slovenian Square (“Slovenski trg”), close to St. Martin’s church that lies below the castle. That is actually the oldest path to the castle.
WALKING PATH TO BLED CASTLE IN PICTURES (starting above Lake Bled)
BLED CASTLE: There is an entrance fee for the castle (11 EUR). During spring and summer months (high season), the area of the castle is normally very busy. The castle is open every day while the opening hours vary according to the time of the year.
SHUTTLE BUS: From mid-June until mid-September you can take a shuttle bus to get to various natural and cultural attractions in Bled and nearby, including Bled Castle.
The shuttle bus stops at various locations in Bled (main bus station, Bled Union bus stop etc.) and costs 1 EUR. There are two different bus routes. You can download the shuttle bus timetable here.
CARS AND PARKING: You can drive to Bled Castle. The road for cars and buses (“Grajska cesta”) runs on the other side of the cliff than the walking paths. That means that you will not be disturbed by the traffic while walking up to the castle from above Lake Bled.
Right below the castle there is a parking area where you can leave your car. You need to purchase the parking ticket.