Bled in Slovenia is often described as a fairy tale setting come to life. It's for good reason – the postcard-perfect church on a tiny island in a glacier-fed lake really does seem to have come from a storybook. When you're not hiking up to the medieval castle or sipping red wine in view of mountains, you can check out the town's thrill-seeking side. The backdrop of Julian Alps means nearby options can include kayaking down rapids or skiing on scenic slopes.
Hostels in Lake Bled range from spacious houses with views of the castle to traditional Slovenian-style buildings. Drop your bags in a Bled hostel with an on-site garden if you'd like to pick your own herbs and vegetables to prepare later in a shared kitchen. You can easily meet other travellers in Lake Bled hostels with on-site bars and outdoor terraces. Front desks offering free city maps and friendly staff with tips make getting to grips with the town simple.
Bled is compact, so the historic centre is the ideal place to start exploring if you're after that small-town bustle. You'll be able to stroll past gift shops, bakeries and restaurants, as well as making your way round to Bled Castle (Blejski Grad). Head out to Selo pri Bledu or Koritno if you're looking for a more peaceful area to get an authentic feel for day-to-day life in Slovenia.
It's well worth the 10-minute drive to Soteska Vintgar, a scenic gorge flush with calm pools and rushing waterfalls. You can walk 1.6km of trails beside the Radovna's glassy green surface and dip your toes into the cold, clear water on summer days. The Sava river is your spot for rafting, while canyoning can be had in Triglav National Park. If thrills are your thing, ask at local travel agencies about paragliding and skydiving. Sticking near Lake Bled? Take a boat to the famous islet and check out the Church of the Assumption.
Bled is accessible by bus and train from Ljubljana, Slovenia's capital, in under an hour and a half. You can walk or cycle around the lake (bikes are available to rent in town), continuing along the 5km to Vintgar Gorge if you're feeling adventurous. The nearest airport is Ljubljana Jože Pučnik, a 30-minute drive. To get to Bled from there, you'll need to take a public bus into the city and then another to the lake (around a two-hour trip).