Visiting Lake Bled in Winter: Activities not to be missed
Visiting Lake Bled in winter is an excellent item to add to your European bucket list. In this guide, we unpack some incredible sights to see and fun Lake Bled winter activities that you cannot miss out on.
The scenic Lake Bled is one of the most beautiful places in Slovenia and a popular tourist destination year-round. But the town’s winter landscape is especially magical. From the stunning snow capped mountains to relaxing thermal pools and epic winter activities, you won’t be short of amazing things to do and see.
So let’s jump right in.
Why visit Lake Bled in winter?
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During winter, Lake Bled’s fresh snow brings picturesque views of the surrounding hills. You’ll find plenty of winter sports to do, like cross country skiing, ice skating, and mountain climbing.
Winter time in Lake Bled can get bitterly cold. The daytime temperatures from December to February typically hover around 28°F and 47°F. But the town’s lively Christmas markets, warm mulled wines, and guided tours make for an unforgettable winter holiday in Europe.
23 Amazing Lake Bled winter activities
Lake Bled winter activities attract loads of tourists. Get ahead of your planning with this guide. From accommodation to packing for the snow, this guide covers all you need to know for a memorable time in Lake Bled.
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Here’s our list of the ultimate attractions and must-do winter activities in Lake Bled,
Go on the 7 Alpine Wonders tour
A Lake Bled in winter trip is never complete without a 7 Alpine Wonders tour. Marvel at the breathtaking winter landscape as you travel through the Julian Alps. This is a great day trip if you’re in Lake Bled for a limited time.
The tour covers many popular attractions near Lake Bled, including the enchanting Peričnik waterfall in all its splendor, and the giant wall of icicles and floes. You’ll also stop by Triglav National Park, where you can do plenty of winter sports and stay overnight.
You may like this half-day Winter Triglav National Park Adventure
Visit a Lake Bled Christmas market
Lake Bled is one of Europe’s most incredible places to spend Christmas. Located along the shores of the lake, near the Bled Heart, this annual Christmas market lights up the town.
The Bled Winter Fairytale transforms the lakeside promenade into a winter wonderworld bedazzled with fairy lights, a gigantic Christmas tree, and a life-size nativity set.
Spend your day strolling under the vibrant Christmas stalls, eat local delicacies, taste some mulled wine, and buy gifts for your friends and family.
Lake Bled Christmas markets start on the 29th of November and run daily to the 5th of January. From Mondays through Thursdays, the market hours are 3 pm until 7 pm. On Fridays through Sundays, they run a bit longer, from 11 am until 9 pm.
Go ski touring at the Pokljuka Plateau
Pokljuka Plateau is located at the foothills of Triglav National Park. The backdrops of surrounding mountains and idyllic Alpine villages make for great Instagram snaps.
This forested karst plateau is also the best place to kick off your skiing tour. The 4,593-feet elevation will give you just enough momentum to glide down the slopes with nothing but finesse. Pokljuka Plateau is quite popular among biathlon athletes, hosting an annual Biathlon World Cup.
Remember that ski touring entails skiing in the outback, often on unmarked terrains. You can also do some ski mountaineering if you’re up for the challenge (and a good skier).
You may like to try Day Skiing with an Instructor before tackling the Julian Alps’ countryside.
Visit Bled Island
The famous Bled Island is popular among visitors, and for a good reason. Back in the day, the frozen lake would attract large crowds who would ski, sled, walk, or bike across the island. Nowadays, it’s pretty rare that Lake Bled freezes.
To get to Bled Island, rent a row boat and paddle across, or opt for a shuttle service on a traditional pletna boat. The boat will drop you off at the iconic 99 steps, which will lead you to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary church.
The pilgrimage church attracts many visitors annually. This is thanks to its striking architecture, symbolized by the colossal church tower. On your visit, don’t forget to ring the legendary bell of desire three times and make a wish.
Catch the sunset from Bled Castle
Put your ice skates down for a moment and take a trip to the medieval Bled Castle. This fairytale-like castle sits atop a towering 427-foot cliff overlooking the pristine Lake Bled. The 11th-century fortress boasts a wine cellar, museum, and restaurant for fine dining.
But before we get carried away, let’s talk about the sunset. Views from Bled Castle are already spectacular. Throw in a sunset, and the scene is elevated with stunning mountain backdrops and kaleidoscopic orange and purple hues.
Tip: Bled Castle is a popular attraction in Lake Bled, so make sure to purchase tickets in advance and book a reservation if you want to dine at the castle restaurant.
Go winter hiking in Triglav National Park
We’ll start by saying that this national park has many things to do. From hiking and biking to swimming, rafting, and fishing — it’s safe to say you’ll be spoilt for choice. But there’s something unique about winter hiking in Triglav National Park.
The park’s snow-covered trees, glacial valleys, and rows of quaint mountain huts make it a winter wonderland. So get your waterproof hiking boots on and explore some popular trails like the Soča Trail, the Mostnica Gorge, and the Pokljuka Plateau.
You might even spot some wildlife during your trek. Also, keep your eyes peeled for endemic plants like the Julian Poppy, but don’t pick them.
Note: Hiking in winter is a bit challenging, requiring you to be somewhat of an experienced climber. We highly encourage beginners to opt for a guided tour.
Go ice skating at the Park Café Ice Rink
Ice skating enthusiasts may be disappointed that Lake Bled hasn’t frozen solid in a while. But all is not lost. You can enjoy some fun on the ice at Hotel Park. In winter, the hotel’s cafe terrace is transformed into an ice rink for both kids and adults.
Rent ice skates and spend the day skating under the overhung fairy lights, immersed in the aromas of freshly brewed coffee and cream cake. In addition to general skating, Hotel Park also hosts events like ice curling and ice dancing to pop music.
The Park Café also arranges ice skating lessons and torch-lit hikes by the lake, which are a truly magical way to experience Lake Bled in winter.
Warm up with mulled wine
Drinking mulled wine is a quintessential winter tradition. It’s usually enjoyed during Christmas in Europe. The warm beverage comprises red wine and mulling spices like cinnamon, cloves, and star anise.
You won’t miss it, as it’s sold in every bar and restaurant and is a prominent feature at Christmas markets. Sipping and keeping warm while shopping — what’s not to love?
Go snowshoeing in Lake Bohinj
Bled in winter attracts quite a few tourists, but escaping the crowds is a breeze thanks to the plenty of nearby attractions. One of these is the pristine Lake Bohinj. In the summer months, the lake‘s emerald waters sparkle with bright green reflections of the surrounding hills.
In winter, Lake Bohinj is just as captivating. Snowshoeing is a great way to explore the snowy valleys and mountain hut villages. You’ll come across frozen waterfalls and gorges.
If you’re a budding photographer, Lake Bohinj is where you’ll find some of the best and most unexpected photography spots in the country.
Explore the ski slopes at Straža Hill | Ski Resort
Straža Hill is the perfect place to spend a winter day. Its position overlooking Lake Bled gives you incredible views of the beautiful lake, and the amenities are just as excellent. The ski center provides several hiking paths, coffee shops, and a cable car up the hill.
The resort also has a ski school and equipment rental facilities, and you’ll get to go nighttime skiing if that’s your kind of thing. This Lake Bled hill has easy to moderate slopes, so beginners will love skiing here. The center also has indoor ice rinks.
In summer, the resort’s ski slopes are turned into an adventure park filled with adrenaline slides and a kid’s playground.
Go wine tasting
If the mulled wine whets your tastebuds for more local wine, visit a traditional wine cellar in Lake Bled for an interactive wine tasting experience. Learn about Slovenian wine during an expert-led wine tasting.
You’ll taste several wines from different regions in Slovenia, followed by interactive games and wine-themed challenges.
You may like to try this two-hour Interactive Wine Tasting Experience in Lake Bled.
Take a dip in the thermal pools
When it’s below freezing temperatures outside, there’s no better and faster way of warming up than bathing in a relaxing thermal pool. Lake Bled is home to plenty of wellness centers and spas that provide these tranquility havens.
Živa Wellness Spa is the most popular and the most stunning. This center has a series of saunas and outdoor and indoor pools with waterfalls, greenery, and unspoiled Alpine views. The warm water can help ease pain, reduce stress, and treat skin problems.
After relaxing in the thermal waters, try the warm honey massage or honey exfoliation treatment. Slovenia has a reputation as the “land of beekeeping”. It’s home to the Carniolan honey bee, a gentle bee species that appeals to many beekeepers.
The health benefits of honey are relatively known across the world. So why not get a honey treatment and reap the rewards in the beekeeping capital of Europe?
Try the traditional Bled cream cake
Cream cake is the symbol of Bled. And no, we’re not exaggerating. The original Bled cream cake was first made in 1953 by Chef Ištvan Lukačević at the one and only Park Café. Since then, the café has served over 15 million of these delicious treats.
The Bled cream cake features layers of puff pastry, custard, whipped cream, puff pastry (again), and icing sugar from the bottom to the top. To distinguish it from the rest, the entire cream cake must sway back and forth when placed on a plate.
If you’re a dessert lover, you’ll enjoy this local delicacy so much that you may keep visiting Lake Bled just to have a slice.
Go winter horse riding
If you don’t feel like cross country skiing or snowshoeing, venture into the Julian Alps on horseback for a unique experience of the outback.
A guided tour through the valley villages and the snow-covered Julian Alps is a great way to learn more about the environment and possibly do some bear spotting.
Skilled riders are often grouped and ride through trails curated for their skill level. At the same time, beginners go on a more laidback path filled with gorgeous Alpine scenery and Bled landmarks.
You may like this Horseback Riding In Bled tour.
Hike up to the Mala Osojnica Viewpoint
Another view of Lake Bled in winter that will blow your mind is the scenery from Mala Osojnica. The hike to this popular spot will take you about 45 minutes of walking up a steep hill — and it’s absolutely worth it!
Many Lake Bled winter snaps have been photographed from this viewpoint, and it’s easy to see why. The outlook gives you sweeping views of the lake, Bled Island with its towering medieval clifftop castle, and backdrops of the snow capped Karawanks mountain range.
If you’re not up for a 45-minute hike, you can go to another popular spot, Ojstrica Viewpoint, along the same trail. Getting to this viewpoint will only take you about 20 minutes.
Explore the Postojna Cave system
While most of Slovenia’s attractions, like the Julian Alps, can be easily spotted without much trouble, you’ll have to go underground to see this one. The Postojna cave system is the second-longest in the country, stretching for about 15 miles.
The karst cave system is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country and a must-do in every Slovenia itinerary.
The Pivka River carved its intricate passages, caverns, and halls, along with the mysterious and other-worldly karst formations that date back about three million years.
During winter, a “tableau of the nativity” Christmas exhibition is set in Postojna Cave. You’ll walk through three miles of 150 actors, musicians, and performers who bring the nativity story to life.
Visit Predjama Castle
Fifteen minutes away from the Postojna Cave is a stunning Renaissance castle. The Predjama Castle is uniquely built in a cave. It’s aptly tucked under a stone archway and lies against a cliff.
The fairytale castle was home to Knight Erazem Lueger, who was known as the local Robin Hood. You can explore the castle with an audio tour that tells you all about the history of the cave castle and Lueger’s life.
Tip: Pair your Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle tours and hear about the history of these two Slovenian landmarks on a combined guided tour.
You may also like this Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle Tour.
Watch an ice hockey match at Bled Sports Hall
Bled in winter boasts an excellent climate for winter sports and a mesmerizing frozen landscape. The well-built tourist landscape attracts tons of athletes. Bled Sports Hall hosts several ice hockey matches at the professional and recreational levels.
Catch a live match and immerse yourself in one of Lake Bled’s most endeared winter activities. You can also watch ice skating and curling at the center or enjoy events for non-ice sports like chess and taekwondo.
Climb Mount Triglav
If you’re up for an epic Lake Bled in winter experience, hike up Slovenia’s highest mountain. While ascending Mount Triglav, you’ll see the best Alpine views from the tallest peak in the Julian Alps.
There are different paths to hike up Mount Triglav. The most suitable route is to start from the Valley of Krma to Kredarica hut, and then head to the summit of Mount Triglav.
The mountain is situated in the heart of Triglav National Park, where you can participate in other Lake Bled winter activities. You can also book a mountain hut to be close to attractions like Viewpoint Supca and the Seven Lakes valley.
You may like this Triglav winter edition tour if you’re short on time.
Walk around Lake Bled
Walking the lake’s circumference is the best way to get acquainted with Lake Bled and take in the scenery from every angle. This 3.7-mile stroll takes about an hour and a half to complete (longer if you stop frequently) and gives you 360-degree views of Bled Island.
It will take you about an hour and a half to two hours of walking to complete the loop. The well-maintained walking path is suitable for light exercise, hiking, and jogging. It also has plenty of benches to sit on and admire the breathtaking surroundings.
You may like this best of Bled walking tour.
Taste Lake Bled’s traditional cuisine
Food is a big part of every country’s culture. While delicacies like cream cake and traditional Slovenian mulled wine dominate the local cuisine, Lake Bled has other treats you must try.
Popular in Christmas markets, the potica, a nut roll pastry, goes well with mulled wine — which you can also pair with the medenjaki, a Slovenian gingerbread. Take a food tour in Lake Bled and get educated on local ingredients and those from nearby regions while your taste buds go on a rollercoaster of flavors.
You may like this Food Tour in Bled to experience some of Slovenia’s best dishes.
Go on a day trip to Ljubljana
Ljubljana is Slovenia’s capital and largest city. The commercial hub is characterized by university students, Baroque-style architecture, and verdant scenery. Ljubljana is even more stunning in winter, with snowy blankets over the roofs and Christmas lights decorating the streets.
You’ll find plenty of museums and historic exhibitions displaying centuries-old Slovene paintings and sculptures. Christmas markets light up the squares, and winter activities like hiking to St. Katarina are at your fingertips.
Check out our one-day Ljubljana itinerary to find more attractions and tours to explore on your day trip.
Tip: If you’re based in the capital, this Ljubljana to Lake Bled guide gives you some travel tips, transportation, and hotel options for your day trips to Lake Bled.
Take a freezing dip in the lake on New Year’s day
There’s a recent popular tradition in Lake Bled of jumping into the icy water on New Year’s day. If you’re brave (and crazy) enough to go for a dip, bring your waterproof pants and a hot beverage to warm you up when you get out.
Otherwise, you can sit this one out. Watch the scores of swimmers and divers welcoming the new year with a daring jump into the freezing Bled lake. Perhaps have some warm mulled wine and towels handy for those coming out of the water.
Either way. This is one of the best ways to welcome the new year in Slovenia, home to several of Europe’s hidden gems.
What to pack for Lake Bled in winter?
Your packing list for Lake Bled winter is much like preparing for any Europe winter tour. You’ll need plenty of snow-resistant clothing and accessories for the activities. Here are some must-bring tools for Lake Bled in winter.
- Waterproof hiking boots – You’ll need one or two pairs of these to trek through the thick snow and go on skiing adventures.
- Waterproof pants – This will come in handy when exploring the lake. Whether you’re swimming or on a boat to Bled Island, these will keep you dry.
- Hiking sticks – We suggested bringing your own because renting them out at every winter sports facility can be expensive.
- Warm parka jacket – This will be your best friend throughout the trip.
Where to stay in Lake Bled in winter?
Visiting Lake Bled in winter is a trip that many snow-loving tourists find themselves looking forward to. Lake Bled hosts thousands of travelers annually despite being in a small country.
As a result, the lake has plenty of hotels and accommodation facilities dotted around its circumference. Check out these top places to stay in Lake Bled.
- Grand Hotel Toplice: The only 5-star hotel in Lake Bled, Grand Hotel Toplice offers a thermal spring water pool, a private beach, three restaurants, and two bars. Wake up to idyllic views of the lake and sprawling views of the Slovenian Alps. Book your stay here
- Bled Rose Hotel: This hotel gives you an upscale getaway boasting elegant and contemporary decor with a retro touch. Spend time in the hotel’s indoor swimming pool, on-site restaurant, and spa park surrounded by lush greenery. Check availability here
- Vila Bled: Nestled on the edge of Lake Bled, Vila Bled provides easy access to the lake and its winter activities. Enjoy a massage at the luxury spa before heading off to Vila Bled’s restaurant to feast on Slovenian and international gourmet cuisine. Click to view prices and availability
Things to do in Lake Bled in winter | Final thoughts
When you visit Lake Bled in winter, the expectation is always to have fun doing winter activities and strolling through Christmas markets. But, there’s more to Bled Lake than what meets the eye.
You can get immersed in the culture and history of this magical place through various guided tours and see its incredible landscapes both above and below ground. And, of course, we can’t forget tasting the famous Slovenian cream cake and spicy mulled wines that make a winter visit all the more worth it.
If you liked this, you may also like our guide to exploring Zurich in winter.
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