Bled or Bohinj: Which Slovenian Lake to Visit?


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Are you looking to visit some natural sites in Slovenia and don’t know if Lake Bled or Bohinj is the right choice for you? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

You would be forgiven for thinking that Lake Bled is the only lake worth visiting in Slovenia. Because of how pervasive photos of this iconic lake are in all media about Slovenia, it’s easy to not even realise that Bohinj exists!

However, there are both pros and cons to visiting both Bled or Bohinj and one lake may suit some kinds of travellers more than others.

So if you are looking for an Alpine lake getaway in Slovenia and can’t decide between the iconic Lake Bled or Lake Bohinj — the largest lake in Slovenia — you’ve come to the right place.

While both Lake Bled & Bohinj have a lot to offer vistors, Bled tends to be the better options for travellers looking to see iconic views and prefer a more developed tourism infrastructure. Alternatively, Bohinj is great for those seeking peace and tranquility in a beautiful natural setting.

To help get a more holistic understanding of the great Bled vs Bohinj debate, I will discuss the accessibility, affordability, facilities and things to do in and around both lakes so you can choose which one is best for you if you don’t have to visit both!

Lake Bled

Accessability

The first thing that needs to be discussed in the Bled vs Bohinj debate is the accessibility of the lake. And as one of the most popular day trip destinations from Ljubljana, Lake Bled is very accessible from Slovenia’s capital and elsewhere in the country.

From Ljubljana, you can easily get to Bled in under 1.5 hours from countless direct buses that leave each day. You can also take the train to Jesenice (about 20 kilometres from Bled) and then transfer to get to Bled proper.

Beautiful Lake Bled
Beautiful Lake Bled

The easiest way to get to Bled would definitely be by your own vehicle (you can get rental car deals on Rentalcars.com!). There are tonnes of car parks scattered around the lake and main town, but it is worth noting that they can fill up quite quickly and it may be more difficult to find a good place to park if you arrive later in the day.

Depending on where you end up parking and the season, prices can vary from car park to car park.

Once you’re in Bled proper, you’re going to be able to get around on foot. The facilities and infrastructure around Lake Bled are incredibly well-developed and walking from place to place is incredibly easy.

There is a paved pathway that winds all the way around the perimeter of the lake and plenty of hiking trails that are well-marked that you can go up to get great views of the lake.

Lake Bled is also a great jumping-off point to exploring the nearby Vintgar Gorge. If you have a car, visiting both Bled and Vintgar Gorge in one day is incredibly easy and doable.

However, if you are relying on your own two feet, it’s actually very possible to hike from the gorge to Lake Bled (or vice versa) and the route is well-marked.

All in all, Lake Bled is very easy to get to and incredibly easy to get around once you’re there.

Vintgar Gorge
Vintgar Gorge

Affordability

Another major thing that’s worth considering when deciding whether Lake Bled or Lake Bohinj is the right place for you is the affordability of the place. And while prices in Slovenia can be relatively high and there isn’t much of a discrepancy between Bled and Bohinj, there are some areas where prices can be a bit different in the two areas.

Just because of its perennial popularity and iconic scenery, Lake Bled is probably the more expensive destination of the two. However, the actual difference probably isn’t significant enough to make a high impact on your overall travel budget.

One area where prices can be a bit higher is in parking. As mentioned in the above accessibility section, some parking areas around Lake Bled can be more pricey than others.

When we stopped at Lake Bled on a Saturday afternoon at one point during our trip, the only car park that was open was up a steep hill away from the lake and, at €6 for a maximum of four hours, it was the most expensive parking lot we encountered during our time in Slovenia.

Bled is a bit more “upmarket” than Bohinj but only because it happens to be a bit more of a popular destination. There are lots of expensive restaurants (whether they are better in quality than the more affordable restaurant remains a question), some fancier shops and other areas where you are definitely able to spend more money.

There are also simply more places to eat, shop, etc in Bled so there are more places where you can spend your money. Therefore, Bled can be a more expensive destination to visit than Bohinj.

Bled Castle
Bled Castle

Things to do in Bled

Is there more to do in Bled or Bohinj? Well, this really depends on what you’re after but there are lots of great things to do in both areas.

One of the best things to do close to Lake Bled and an easy addition to a one-day Bled itinerary is to visit the beautiful Vintgar Gorge.

This is an incredibly beautiful gorge that includes a lovely hike at the end (where you can actually walk all the way to Lake Bled) and it is absolutely worth visiting — just make sure to get there as early as possible!

Once you’re at Lake Bled proper, there are lots of things to do here. You can choose to walk around the lake, which will take an hour or two depending on how often you stop. You can go on one of the many hiking trails to some viewpoints and see the iconic landscape from above.

It is also incredibly popular to visit Bled Castle or to get on a boat and visit the Bled Island and the little church that sits upon it. If the weather is nice, take the time to go swimming in the lake or hire a stand-up paddleboard, kayak, canoe or rowboat and enjoy the lake from the water itself.

It’s worth noting that Lake Bled is an incredibly popular destination with tourists and things can get very very busy here, so much so that it can be hard to find some peace among the crowds. If you’re looking for some more tranquillity, quieter Bohinj may be the better option for you.

Bled Island
Bled Island

Where to Stay in Bled

If you’ve decided that Lake Bled is the Slovenian lake for you and you want to spend more than just a day there, then you’re going to need to find a great place to stay.

There are lots of accommodation options near Bled that can suit all kinds of travel styles. If you’re looking for a place to rest your head, then have a look at these suggestions:

Hotel Triglav – This luxury hotel is an excellent option if you’re travelling on a higher budget when visiting Slovenia. This newly restored historic hotel is situated only 200 metres from Lake Bled. They have a range of rooms available (some that include lake views!) and there is also a restaurant and bar on site. Click here to see their availability

Jazz Bled B&B – A good option for mid-range travellers, this cute, cosy and centrally-located bed and breakfast can be a good choice for you. They have a number of quaint rooms available, a great breakfast included each morning, a shared kitchen where you can prepare your own meals, and a location within a stone’s throw from Lake Bled. Click here to see their availability

Private Rental – Another popular option near Bled is a private apartment rental. There are lots of options available in Bled, like this cosy apartment in the centre of Bled to larger holiday homes, as well. Click here to browse private rentals in Bled

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Bled hotels!

Assumption of Maria Church on Bled Island
Assumption of Maria Church on Bled Island

Lake Bohinj

Accessability

As Slovenia’s largest lake, Bohinj is still a very popular destination in the country and it attracts many visitors each day. Because of this, there are very frequent direct bus connections from Ljubljana that can get you to Bohinj in just under 2 hours.

Much like Bled, it can be easiest to reach Bohinj (and enjoy some of its surroundings) if you have your own car. There are lots of car parks around the lake, but they are not quite as prevalent as they are at Lake Bled. Some only allow for a maximum of 2 hours, so be sure to be aware of this if you plan to stay at the lake for longer.

If you want to visit some of the areas close by to Bohinj, for instance, the Mostnica Gorge or the Savica Waterfall, then having your own car will prove much more convenient than relying on public transit. It’s not as easy to walk between these places as it is at Lake Bled.

At Lake Bohinj, it’s easy to get around on foot. Bohinj is larger than Lake Bled and not quite as developed, but there is a footpath (not paved) that winds around the lake and plenty of hiking trails around that are well marked and easy to access.

Mostnica Gorge - one of the best things to do in Bohinj!
Mostnica Gorge

Affordability

When comparing Bohinj or Bled, affordability can be a major determining factor in which one you eventually end up choosing to visit.

As discussed in the Bled section, just because of Lake Bled’s popularity and how much more developed it is can make it a bit more expensive than Bohinj, but it all really depends on what you plan to do while you’re there.

For instance, the sites nearby Bohinj that I recommend visiting if you’re spending one day in the Bohinj area (namely the Savica Waterfall and Mostnica Gorge) are less expensive to visit than some nearby Bled attractions like the Vintar Gorge or the Bled Castle.

Also, because Bohinj is a lot less developed than Lake Bled, there just aren’t as many opportunities to spend a lot of money here. There aren’t as many shops, pricey restaurants or other areas where you have the opportunity to part with your money.

All in all, Bohinj can be less expensive than Lake Bled, however, it really depends on your habits as to how significant this difference will be.

Savica Waterfall
Savica Waterfall

Things to do in Bohinj

Are there more things to do in Lake Bled or Lake Bohinj? Well, there as we covered, there are a number of things to do in and around Lake Bled but there are just as many things to do in and around Bohinj — they are just a little bit different!

For instance, if you’re looking for a less developed and more mellow gorge experience, you can opt to visit the Mostnica Gorge that’s located just a bit away from Lake Bohinj. There’s also the beautiful Savica Waterfall that’s also located close by.

At Bohinj itself, the lake is absolutely perfect for getting out onto the water — whether that be in a canoe or kayak, a stand-up paddleboard, or a rowboat. Lake Bohinj is bigger and not as busy as Lake Bled, so this can be a more tranquil experience than at Lake Bled. There are also lots of little beach areas where you can lay out a towel and even go swimming if you’d like.

And if you are interested in having a bit more, there are tons of options near Bohinj. There is a longer trail up to a waterfall if you continue on from the Mostnica Gorge, for instance, and if you take the cable car up to the Vogel resort, there are lots of hiking trails with amazing views up there as well.

In general, there are countless things to do in Bohinj and it is a great option if you’re looking for a more mellow and less developed Alpine lake to visit.

Canoes on Lake Bohinj
Canoes on Lake Bohinj

Where to Stay in Bohinj

If you’ve decided that it’s Bohinj you want to visit and you’d like to find a place to stay near the lake, there are a lot of options available. Ranging from luxury lodges to cosy cottages, there is something to suit anyone near Bohinj. If you’re wondering where to stay near Bohinj, have a look at these suggestions:

Hotel Bohinj – This hotel is the perfect place to stay for travellers who have a bit of a higher budget. Located just 100 metres away from Lake Bohinj itself, they have a number of plush rooms on offer, there is a bar/restaurant on site where you can get breakfast and dinner and there are a number of amenities to ensure you have a great stay. Click here to see their availability

Hotel Gasperin Bohinj – A great option if you’re on a mid-range budget, this hotel will pprovide a clean and comfortable place to stay near Bohinj. Located only 250 metres from Lake Bohinj, they have a range of great rooms available, 24-hour reception and an excellent buffet breakfast on offer every morning. Click here to see their availability

Private Rental – Another popular option in Bohinj is a private holiday rental. There are lots of options available out there, including luxury riverside cottages like this one to more affordable choices, as well. Click here to browse Bohinj private rentals

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Bohinj hotels!

Peaceful Lake Bohinj
Peaceful Lake Bohinj

Bled or Bohinj: The Verdict

So should you visit or stay in Bled or Bohinj? Which lake appeals more to what you’re after?

Well, if you want to visit a place with a well-developed tourism infrastructure and get some of the most iconic views in Slovenia, then Lake Bled is a great option. Bled is also a good choice for you if you want more paved pathways, lots of restaurant and shopping opportunities and if you’re more interested in visiting castles and churches rather than solely mountain landscapes.

One thing to note is that Lake Bled can get incredibly busy, especially in the warmer months, and you’re going to need to contend with a lot of tourist crowds. Because of this, it’s best to get as early a start as possible in order to avoid the peak crowd levels.

If you want a quiet and tranquil lakeside retread, then Bohinj is the right choice for you! Not as popular a Lake Bled, Bohinj has a ton to offer visitors with a fraction of the crowds. If you’re more interested in “getting out into nature” and would like to explore the splendours of Triglav National Park and the Julian Alps, then Lake Bohinj is an excellent choice.

Bohinj also does not get as busy as Lake Bled and is a good option for those looking to avoid the crowds. Even at peak times in peak season, you’re going to be able to find some peace, quiet and solitude on Lake Bohinj just because of its large size.

Paddleboarding on Lake Bled
Paddleboarding on Lake Bled

Deciding between Lake Bled or Lake Bohinj can seem like an impossible choice if you don’t have time to fit both lakes into your Slovenia itinerary. Though both lakes are definitely worth visiting and enjoying, each has different attributes that can appeal to different types of travellers.

When travelling in Slovenia, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have a travel insurance policy so you’re covered for any unfortunate events! We like WorldNomads and use them for our trips – click here to get a quote from WorldNomads 

Are wondering whether to visit Lake Bohinj or Lake Bled? Have you been to either? Let us know in the comments!

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Maggie is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. When she’s not dreaming of far-away lands, Maggie enjoys drinking copious amounts of coffee, Harry Potter, and coaxing stray cats into her home.

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