A quick and easy guide showing you how and where to find the best views of Lake Bled for those picture-postcard snaps of Slovenia’s most photogenic lake.
We use the word beautiful all too often to describe our travels. But we’re not sure that beautiful is a strong enough word to sum up Slovenia. We expected natural beauty, but in all honesty, the Julian Alps of the Upper Carniolan region was next level! Picture perfect alpine lakes, snow capped mountains, stunning rivers and waterfalls. It’s an outdoor lovers paradise.
The town of Bled is the perfect base to explore the regions attractions like Lake Bohinj, Vintgar Gorge and Mount Triglav to name a few. But its undoubted drawcard is the magnificent Lake Bled. This lake really is as pretty as the pictures you’ve seen on the postcards.
So, where do you go to get these ‘postcard like’ views? To be honest its hard to take a bad photo here. But there are a few ‘must-see’ spots that you really don’t want to miss. And, the best bit is, you don’t need to spend penny. Yes, that’s right, you don’t have to butcher your thrifty backpacker budget (insert huge smile from Chris). You can easily see all the best spots in a day, without putting your hand in your pocket!
Here they are, our favourite views of magical lake Bled.
From around the lake
It may seem all too obvious but the view down at water level shouldn’t be overlooked. If you’re staying in Bled, you’ll start the 6km Lake Bled trail in the ‘built-up’ north-east section of the lake.
Seeing the lake for the first time was something we will not forget quickly! It was absolutely stunning! It’s not often you go somewhere with huge expectations and then on arrival, the reality surpasses those lofty expectations. But Lake Bled was one of those rare spots for us.
The mountainous backdrop, cliff-topped medieval Bled Castle, turquoise alpine lake with its tiny Bled Island and the Assumption of Mary Church, is like something from a fairytale. But, even more beautiful in real life!
The 6km circuit skirts right around the lake with lakeside paths and boardwalks. Give yourself a couple of hours to wander right around. Trust us, there’ll be a lot of photo stops.
At the far western end of the lake, is the Velika Zaka beach area. In the summer months this lovely swimming area is packed. It’s the place to soak up the rays, swim and even scuba dive.
In our opinion every angle was awesome. But arguably the most photogenic section, is from the south west corner. This offers the best views of Lake Bled, over to Bled Island to the right and Bled Castle to perched high on above to the far left.
The Ojstrica viewpoint
To really appreciate Lake Bled you’ll need to get up high for an aerial view. There’s three found in the south-west part of the lake – Ojstrica Viewpoint (circled in red,) Velika Osojnica (circled in green,) Mala Osojnica (circled in blue). You can be visit each site individually or as a circuit. Information can be a bit vague about which is which, so this should make it nice and clear to help differentiate between the three.
By far the most popular of the three lookouts is the Ojstrica Viewpoint, as it’s the easiest to get to. At the far end of Velika Zaka beach by Camp Bled, you’ll find a fairly unremarkable and not particularly inviting looking muddy trailhead leading you into the woods (purple arrow on our crudely marked map). The trailhead’s marked by a sign post indicating Ojstrica and Osojnica – trail 6. It can easily be missed, so look carefully.
From here, its a pretty easy to follow the 20 minute walk. Start along the wooded track until it widens and forks right. After about 15 minutes, you’ll come to another sign post. For the Ojstrica you’ll turn right and after a few minutes the views will open up and you’ll reach the famous Ojstrica viewpoint.
Now, as you can see from the picture, there’s no barriers or fences here, so if you want to feature in your picture, this is probably the best spot. There’s a popular bench set just back, or some rocks just in front of it. The latter was our preferred spot.
TIP: As it is a relatively easy and quick viewpoint to reach, this is a great place to come to for sunrise. Not only is the light awesome, but you will also beat the worst of the crowds. It can get pretty busy here.
Most people tend to turn around and head back to the lake from Ojstrica viewpoint. But trust us, it’s worth pushing on to the higher Osojnica viewpoints. FYI, in Slovenian ‘velika’ means big and ‘mala’ means baby, which puts some context to their names.
Return to the main trail head and take the right path (left takes you back the way you came) After few minutes you’ll come to another fork in the path with a bench. Turning right takes you up the often neglected Velika Osojnica viewpoint (veering left leads you towards Mala Osojnica). So, if you want the highest of the three viewpoints turn right and head up to the 756m summit. Then walk down and around slightly to a small open area with a little bench for the highest unobstructed views over the lake. There are no fences here either.
From the Ojstrica viewpoint, it’s about a 20 minute walk to Velika Osojnica (depending on your pace and fitness level). And if you’re lucky, you’ll have this one all to yourself too.
The trails can get a little confusing up here and it’s easy to get a little off track! So it’s easiest to retrace your steps and rejoin the main circular track to get to Mala Osojnica. Remember when you do rejoin, go right, not left, or you’ll be heading back to Ojstrica. After about 20 minutes, just to the right of the track, you’ll find the final view point – Mala Osojnica. In our opinion, this final viewpoint offered the nicest views of Lake Bled.
It’s worth noting that this area is fenced off, which can be a bit of an eyesore if you want to feature in your photos. But if you’re happy with a stunning lake shot, then you’ve saved the best until last. This was our favourite spot to snap our iconic Lake Bled panoramic photos.
It’s a nice walk back down to the lake, lookout for some creative tree-framed photo opportunities. The hike back starts with steep metal stairs before you continue on mud paths/steps leading you back to the lake.
Allow yourself a little over two hours for the whole circuit, with plenty of photo stops. If your visit coincides with warm early September temperatures, then why not refresh yourself in those alluring alpine waters for a water level perspective.
So, there they are. Our best views of Lake Bled. Easy to see on a backpacker budget, all done in a leisurely paced day. If you’re still wanting more, head up to Bled Castle or Straža Bled for some different angles.
Getting to and from Lake Bled
There are local buses operating between Ljubljana and Bled. The journey takes a little under 1.5hrs. During the high season, half-hourly summer timetable operate from 5/6am. In the peak season, it’s wise to book your tickets in advance where possible to avoid missing out. We recommend this for international journeys too.
Purchasing return tickets can often be cheaper than one way fares. This is ideal if you are for example travelling from Ljubljana-Bled-Ljubljana or Bled-Bohinj-Bled etc.
It is also worth considering renting a car to. This will give you the freedom to explore without being dependent on public transport and can help you make the most of your time in Slovenia.
The beautiful town of Bled has plenty of accommodation options to choose from. Hostels offer the cheapest accommodation options. We stayed at Youth Hostel & Penzion Bledec, which was a short walk to the bus station, lake and supermarket. It’s definitely worth booking in advance during peak season as accommodation books out fast. Check out Booking.com or HotelsCombined for deals.
Best time to visit
It is possible to visit Lake Bled all year round. The peak season falls over the summer months of June-August. These are the hottest months with temperatures rising over 30°. These are also the busiest months, so expect big crowds and higher prices (especially accommodation).
We personally feel the best time to visit is during the shoulder season. The months of May and September generally offer warm sunny days, with smaller crowds and cheaper prices. We visited mid September which was perfect for us.
During the winter months, the days are shorter, temperatures drop to below 0°, the lake freezes and snow covers the surroundings. Hiking is still possible, however an element of experience and snowshoes are required.
Try to avoid the weekends, particularly in peak season, as they will be busy!
- We recommend wring or taking sturdy shoes, especially if you plan on hiking. If it has been raining, the trails WILL be muddy and slippery.
- Head out early to avoid when it’s a little quieter.
- Charge you camera batteries, you don’t want reach those viewpoints and have nothing to show for it!
- Tap water in Slovenia is drinkable. Bring a refillable water bottle and do your bit to minimise plastic waste as well as saving the pennies.
- If you like wildlife, keep an eye out for the Chamois whilst hiking. These goat-antelope can be found here and throughout many of the mountains in Europe.
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