The small town of Bled with its alpine lake of the same name (“Blejsko Jezero”) in Slovenia is worth a visit at any time of the year.
So we decided to pay off a 6-day visit to this world-famous attraction in the heart of Europe in March. Unfortunately, nature wasn't quite as spring-like and green yet, but we found Bled to be quite peaceful and idyllic. Even if the weather was very changeable, such weather conditions are more desirable in landscape photography and during our walks and hikes we were still gifted with enough hours of sunshine.
The view of Lake Bled is arguably the most iconic photo of Slovenia. In the middle of the crystal-clear lake is a small island ("Blejski Otok"), from which the tip of a church tower protrudes.
The church received its current baroque appearance in the middle of the 17th century.
This sight, especially when reflected in the smooth water, is picturesquely beautiful.
You can get to Bled Island by boat, more precisely by pletna boat. That's what the locals call their boats, which are somehow reminiscent of the gondola boats that cruise the canals of Venice just two and a half hours further west.
A photogenic rock castle ("Blejski Grad") is enthroned on the north side of the lake. A visit to them is almost a must. It reigns on a hill close to the town center and can be reached either on foot (15 minutes) or by car.
From the castle you can enjoy a peaceful view of the lake and in addition to several viewpoints you can also visit a museum or enjoy a coffee. However, it is worth coming early, as the area is often overrun by numerous bus groups.
Many churches in Slovenia have been built in secluded, picturesque locations on top of a hill.
Half an hour's drive from Bled, on the southern slopes of Velika Planina, a paradise for nature lovers, lies the medieval church of St. Primoz and Felicijan, at 842 m.
A popular destination among photographers for its beautiful scenery and great views of the Julian Alps. You can photograph the church up close or from the street, a variety of perspectives are available. The most picturesque shots can be taken at sunrise or sunset.
Another photogenic church in Slovenia is the Church of Sveti Tomaž (St. Thomas), built on a hilltop in the village of Sveti Tomaž near Škofja Loka.
The Vrata Valley in northern Slovenia lies in the middle of the Triglav National Park, less than half an hour's drive from Bled. To enjoy the view of the spectacular north face of Triglav, Slovenia's highest mountain, hike the Vrata Valley. On the way through the eleven-kilometre-long valley, you will also pass the 52 m high Peričnik waterfalls, which you can easily climb with sturdy shoes and a bit of fitness.
In the off-season, you have to reckon with restrictions on sightseeing in Slovenia. The Vintgar Gorge was still closed at this time. But the modest rush on the streets and the still plentiful sights around Bled were worth it.