Two years ago, we visited Slovenia, and more specifically Lake Bled, with friends of ours. Now when those friends suggested a holiday around a lake, I was quite dubious. BattleKid was 18 months old at the time and I really wondered if there were things to do around Lake Bled with a Toddler in Tow. We had never even considered Slovenia as a holiday destination but the pictures I was seeing of Lake Bled got me excited nonetheless.
We went in the August as our friend’s children are older and the holiday needed to fit in during their school holidays. And as our friend’s children were older, they had been on the hunt for a holiday which was different from your usual package sun holiday. So, Lake Bled was the suggested and accommodation and flights were swiftly booked.
I did wonder how we would fair with BattleKid being so young but I need not have worried. It turns out there are plenty of things to do around Lake Bled with a toddler that you can enjoy even with a younger child about.
5 Things to Do Around Lake Bled with a Toddler in Tow
A Walk Around Lake Bled.
One of the very first things we did around Lake Bled with BattleKid was walk around Lake Bled. There is a beautiful walk around the circumference of the lake and goes from walks near one of the hotels in town, under a bridge, to the far end of the lake (just under 4 miles on total). There is a boardwalk from here before you walk around the back of the entrance to the lido. It is simply a beautiful place to take a walk and takes roughly 2-2.5 hours to complete, depending on whether you stop to teach your toddler to throw stones in the water.
BattleKid loved this and it became a regular thing for us when we visited the lake. There are jettys where the gondolas stop that make for a great platform to teach an 18 month old toddler to throw stones into the water. There are also several areas suitable for having a picnic and also several cafes and restaurants around the lake for lunch, dinners or even a snack (see below).
BattleKid and I even had a walk ourselves around the lake one day while we waited for everyone else to do their toboggan ride, which I am reliably informed was brilliant (best suited to older children).
Relax and Swim at Bled Lido.
Bled Lido is an area of the lake made for pleasure, sunbathing, swimming and body boarding. It is situated on the side of the Lake opposite the town just under the castle and has a charge to enter it. We visited it twice, as written about in my Slovenia Holiday Diaries, and is a great place to bring a toddler.
There are several pools of varying depths to go in, and BattleKid and I got into the water on both occasions. He thoroughly enjoyed it, having gotten used to being in the water from his Waterbabies lessons. You can also swim freely in the lake itself outside of the pools, but it is advised to stay in certain areas to avoid being in a precarious position with kayaks, body boarders or worse still, the gondolas ferrying people across to the island.
BattleDad, our friend and their teenage son enjoyed body boarding one day and I was quite surprised at how well BattleDad was doing for his first time, and how much fun they seemed to be having, even in the rain that rolled in off the Alps one afternoon.
There are also kayaks which can be hired out, a room with table tennis (which we ladies and BattleKid used as shelter the afternoon of the rain), sand pits and swings for children, and also ample changing rooms and lockers. The Bled Lido is a great place for those living around the Lake to go to for a bit of R&R.
Just be warned. If you decide to swim outside the pools, you cannot reach the bottom of the lake with your feet so you should be able to swim, and you will be swimming among the fish of the lake at all times, whether it is in the pools or in the open water!
Bled Lido costs €7 per adult and €5 per child under 14 years of age*. This gives you all day access to the lido. Other amenities such as kayaks, deckchairs and umbrellas can be hired for additional charges.
Visit Bled Castle and Admire the Views.
Bled Castle is situated on a hill overlooking Lake Bled itself. It is best reached by car or by bus. There are many coaches which go to the castle. There is parking at the castle grounds but at busy times it might take you a while to find a space.
Bled Castle which has both Romanesque and Renaissance architecture, has some stunning views of the Lake and surrounding areas. This is definitely a place to visit if you want to get some panoramic pictures of the lake from above.
BattleKid quite enjoyed toddling around the courtyard of the castle while everyone else explored the castle. There are several rooms toddlers can visit such as Workshop/Library (others), but I would suggest that if you visit you leave the buggy in the car. The courtyard is cobbled and there are areas of the castle which are not very buggy accessible. We had BattleKid in his Toddlepak reins and they worked a treat.
We hadn’t started our dragon hunting adventures when we visited Bled Castle, but it would make a great place to do some dragon hunting!
Bled castle costs €10 per adult and €5 per child under 14. For families with at least 2 adults, 1 child is admitted free of charge. Bled Castle also has a museum and restaurant if you fancy a sit down in a beautiful setting.
Take a Pletna Boat to the Church on the Island.
In the centre of Lake Bled lies an island with a church. It is the iconic church which forms the centrepiece of most pictures and photographs of Lake Bled. To reach it you need to take one of the many gondolas, or pletna boats, from the stations around the lake. It is said that your wish will come true if you ring the bells inside the church.
We took BattleKid over and he seemed to enjoy the boat ride. The gondola itself has a charge (currently €14 per adult return and €7 per child under 14 return) but visiting the island itself is free. There is a walk around the edge of the island which doesn’t take very long. There are information boards along this route telling you about the different species of fish that can be found in Lake Bled.
You can go inside the church which carries a donation cost (€6 at the time of our visit in 2015), there is a gift shop selling all manner of items including chocolate and gifts, and there is a tea room too (check this). Visiting the island is an absolute must if you visit Lake Bled. I really enjoyed the ride across the lake and there were no complaints from BattleKid either.
Savour a Bled Cake.
No trip to Lake Bled would be complete without having at least one slice of Bled Cake. It would remind me of a custard slice but boy is it so much more. We had been told to make sure we tried on at Bled itself, so one afternoon, while out as a family, the Battle Family stopped at a rather nice restaurant for a slice of Bled Cake and some tea/coffee and we were not disappointed.
It was the most heavenly take on a vanilla slice I have ever tasted and even BattleKid got in on the act. I haven’t tasted a vanilla-based dessert or cake anywhere near as good as Bled Cake. So, I highly recommend you try it if you ever get the chance to visit Bled. And you must let your toddler have at least one mouthful.
I am sure there are other things to do around Lake Bled with a toddler in tow, but these were our top 5. In the end, it was one of the best holidays we’ve had within Europe with BattleKid, so much so we have every intention of returning when he is older. I think BattleDad is keen to get both BattleKid and me on the toboggan ride!
A lake-side holiday wouldn’t have been my first choice of holiday that year but we were not disappointed and it has me eager to try another lake-side holiday in the near future. I was pleasantly surprised that there were actually things to do around Lake Bled with a toddler in tow, and I’d highly recommend it as a holiday destination, whether you have toddlers or not.
And if you think you can get away with a one-day visit, consider it carefully as Elizabeth from Dutch Dutch Goose regretted not staying at least one night around Lake Bled. I am also keen to explore Slovenia as a whole country next time we visit as Jules from Shades of Courage has a brilliant post featuring much more of the country which they explored during a 15-day road trip. Can I go now?
Have you done a lake-side holiday, and if so, where should we go next?
Thanks for reading,
*Prices correct at the time of writing this post.
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