Outdoor activities in Bled — Slovenia’s adventure hub
Hemmed in by the stunning Julian Alps and quilted in verdant greenery, Bled is dubbed as one of the last wildernesses of Slovenia. In the area surrounding Lake Bled, there is no shortage of gorges, raging rivers, and virgin forests. In winter, it is a great skiing area for locals and tourists alike, and come summer, it becomes Slovenia’s largest outdoor adventure hub. Launch sites for rafting, paragliding and canyoning trip are all just a short drive from town and easily accessible by trains.
Let’s take a look at six outdoor activities worth trying:
To drink in the best views of Bled, take to the skies on a paraglide and feast on panoramas of endless corn fields, green plains and thick forests. Once you fly over the Triglav Mountain, you’ll find yourself soaring over the lake, with spectacular views of the castle and island surrounded but turquoise blue water. Lake Bled is one of the best places to go paragliding thanks to the mountains that shelter the area from strong winds.
How to: Fun Turist runs both tandem paragliding and motorized paragliding excursions from Lesce (a village outside of Bled). The flight takes around 30 minutes and costs 90 Euros.
For the wild at heart, canyoning is a challenging and fulfilling way to embrace the outdoors and at the same time, explore every waterfall, rock escarpment, and rapid in the narrow canyons of Bled. Most canyoning trips here start from the picturesque village of Češnjica, where the origin of the 195-meter deep Jereka Canyon is located. Equipped with your helmet, wetsuit, and harness, you’ll find yourself clambering over giant boulders, leaping off rocky cliffs, and even rappelling (using ropes) down steep waterfalls. Not for the faint hearted!
How to: A three-hour canyoning trip with Fun Turist costs 50 Euros per person and transfer for your hotel/campsite in Bled is included.
Because of its mountainous terrain, the area around Bled is criss-crossed with raging rivers and rapids. One of the most quintessential experience in Bled is a whitewater rafting trip through Class II-III rapids on the two major rivers that flow through Slovenia: Sava Dolinka and Sava Bohinjka. The water level is controlled by the local hydroelectric plant and the tour operators have an agreement with the plant to allow for rafting trips during certain hours of the day. The conditions are therefore generally easy and fun for rafters of all levels and age. Fun Turist has led rafters as young as four years old to eighty years old on these rafting trips.
How to: The three-hour rafting trip costs 30 Euros per person and includes transfers from Bled town to the launch point in Camp Šobec, one of the biggest campsites in Bled.
The centerpiece of Bled is obviously the shimmering Lake Bled that has put the town on the world map. Formed by glacial and tectonic activities, the lake is a massive body of water that’s large enough to make exploration on kayak fun and adventurous yet small enough for a day trip on the water. You can choose to paddle around the beaches that dot the shore of the lake or to the beautiful Bled Island that rises from the middle of the lake. Zaka Valley on the western edge of the lake is also a great spot to stop for a swim.
How to: There are many kayaking rental shops in Bled town and along the shoreline, and kayak rental costs around 20 Euros per hour.
Zorbing is the sport of rolling down a hill inside an orb, which is a giant inflatable ball cushioned by a thick layer of air. Originally invented in New Zealand, this wacky sport is also known as globe-riding, sphereing, or orbing, and has been creating waves all around the wave in the past decade. You can choose to roll off a hill with your arms and legs strapped to the orb’s inner wall (or frolick around in a wet zorb that floats on water. Prepare to get dizzy!
How to: The land zorbing experience costs 18 Euros for each run (around 10 seconds to roll off a hill) and water zorbing costs 5 Euros for 10 minutes. Both activities are held in and around Camp Šobec, one of the biggest campsites in Bled.
Regardless of the time of the year you’re visiting, Bled is an excellent spot for hikers as it’s riddled with signposted and numbered trails. One of the most popular route is number 6 that starts from the southwest corner of Lake Bled and goes all the way to the summit of the 756-meter high Velika Osojnica. Once you reach the peak, you’ll be treated to a view of the lake from above, including the Bled Island and castle. Sunset is the best place to come here. The first stretch of the climb is steep, but the entire hike takes only three hours or so round-trip.
How to: You can follow the trails on your own or sign up for a guided 5-hour hike with Tours by Locals (costs around €305 for 4 persons).
How to get to Bled
Bled is easily accessible from most neighboring capital cities. From the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, it is just one hour away by train. These regional trains leave almost every hour, with the first train leaving from Ljubljana at 4.44 a.m. and the last leaving Lesce-Bled at 12.34 a.m. There is no train station in the center of Bled town, but there are two that are nearby. Lesce-Bled is located four kilometers southeast of town (for trains arriving from Ljubljana) and the Bled Jezero station is across the lake from town (for trains arriving from Jesenice).
To get to the lake from Lesce-Bled station you need to take a bus from opposite the station. It is an ’Alpetour’ bus in the direction of Lake Bled and takes 10 minutes and costs 1.30 Euro one way. Get off outside the Fun Rafting building and then it’s just a few minutes stroll down to the banks of the glacial lake. The return bus journey back to Lesce-Bled station leaves from the same place. At the station there’s a charming cafe-bar offering a full menu and free WiFi. If arriving at Lesce Jezero station, it’s just a 10-minute walk down to the lake.