ADVENTURE LOCATIONS - Bled
Bled is a small yet breathtaking Alpine town alongside a glacial lake, which enchants every visitor passing through the area. With its clear green-blue lake, a little island with a church perched on its top and a mighty medieval castle overlooking the fairy-tale city from a steep cliff, the town leaves every visitor astonished. This precious tourist gem was proclaimed an Alpine Pearl in the year 2008 by the Alpine Pearls Association, the network of 29 extraordinary communities and 6 countries: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and Switzerland.
There is a small island in the middle of the lake, where 99 stone steps ascends on it. On these steps grooms traditionally carry their brides all the way to top for their marriage to be blessed. The island has a small shrine, the Church of the Assumption, where it is said that ringing the wishing bell inside the temple three times can make even most unimaginable dreams come true.
Today, Bled is an important convention centre and tourist resort, offering a wide range of sports activities: paragliding, powered paragliding, canyoning, rafting, kayaking, horseback riding and rock climbing. It is a starting point for mountain treks and hikes, especially within nearby Triglav National Park.
Naturopath Arnold Rikli (1823–1906) from Switzerland contributed significantly to the development of Bled as a health resort in the second half of the 19th century. Due to its mild climate, Bled has been visited by aristocratic guests from all across the world.
The 2 kilometres long, 1 kilometre wide and 30 metres deep Slovenian pearl, gained its form as a tectonic basin, carved and chafed by the Bohinj glacier. The basin slowly became filled by the melting of ice in the area.
The lake’s shape, length and depth give opportunities for many activities throughout the entire year. Diving and exploring the grounds of the lake in summer, swimming in the sufficiently high temperatures and when degrees fall strongly below zero, the thick crust of the frozen lake is a perfect stage for winter sports such as ice hockey and ice skating. Another popular activity in summer is rowing. This is a long tradition for the locals, who also annually host international rowing competitions.
In all seasons, walking and biking are the locals favourite recreation around the 6 km long trail, which reveals new splendid views of the opposite shore, hills, trees, Bled Castle and the island. The water has not been robbed of variety either, as you can notice many ducks and swans calmly swimming above many fish in the lake. For those willing to experience the lake for an inch further, renting the boats is the perfect match.
The Bled Island is the only island in Slovenia. The island that lies in the middle of the lake is a home to the Church of the Assumption, situated at the island’s highest point. There is a separated bell tower where visitors frequently ring its bell three times for good luck. Since it is said that by ringing on the wishing bell your wildest dreams will come true, you might want to give it a try as well.
In the ancient times, the island included a temple consecrated to Živa, the Slavic goddess of love and fertility. In 745, after the local population was converted from being pagans to Christians, the ancient temple of the goddess Živa was replaced with a church consecrated to Mary. In 1465, a Gothic church was built and in the 17th century, the Chapel and the stone staircase as we know them today were constructed.
The island is also used as a popular location where wedding ceremonies take place. There is a staircase with 99 stone steps ascending to the top of the island, where the glorious Church of the Assumption is located. A deep-rooted local tradition is often cherished and that is the groom carrying his lovely bride up all 99 steps, during which the bride has to remain silent. In 2006, about 6,368 wedding ceremonies were organized on the island.
Mighty Bled Castle is perched on a rock and overlooks the lake. Bled Castle offers one of the finest views of Bled Island and its wider surroundings of the Upper Carniola (Slov. Gorenjska) region.
The history of the castle goes back in 1004, when the German Emperor Henry II gave his estate with the Romanesque tower to Bishop Albuin of Brixen. In 1011, the castle was built in the same place as the Romanesque tower stood. The Bishop never used his castle as a residence, however, it was built as a distinctive feature. In the present times, the castle is rearranged as a museum and gallery.
BLED CREME CAKE
The town of Bled is also known for its crème cake (Slov. kremšnita). To really taste Bled, you should not leave Slovenia without trying the tasty Bled crème cake! The original Bled desert is made of custard crème, whipped crème and light puff pastry, dusted with vanilla sugar. From 1953 until today, there have been almost 12 million sales.