Lake Bled in Autumn (Fall): Fairy Tales and Rain Clouds
You’ve probably seen Lake Bled somewhere on the internet, most likely in one of those “10 Fairy tale Places That Are Actually Real” articles, where the sun is always shining and the lake’s water looks like it’s been flown in from the Maldives. You can imagine royals from centuries past getting married in the island church and spending their summers splashing about in the cool, clear water.
It didn’t look like that for the first 4 days we were there – thick cloud and mist covered everything in sight and painted the area a depressing grey. It wasn’t all bad though, because even though the surrounding mountains were completely covered, I knew they were there, and even though the clouds were trying to suffocate the beauty of Slovenia’s most famous lake, it still shone through. Lake Bled in autumn was an up and down experience, here’s how we spent our time…
We based ourselves in Bohinjska Bela; a small village around 30 minutes walk from Lake Bled. It’s surrounded by mountains, but we really only saw them on the last day. It’s a peaceful village; it seems like everyone is either working in Bled (or Ljubljana) or is too old to go outside, which makes it basically a ghost town during the day.
We walked around the lake a couple of times – it’s a great place for a stroll and during the weekdays it was extremely quiet. We saw a few other tourists but we mainly bumped into locals getting their daily exercise. The pace of life in Bled is slow, but I’m sure it speeds up when it needs to. Sunday bought better weather and bigger crowds, but it was still nothing compared to what it would be like in summer.
We only had one sunny day during our stay in Bled, so we had to make the most of it by doing almost all of the touristy stuff in one go. Bled Castle was the first stop, and despite paying €9 to look inside a pretty average castle, the views over the lake made it all worth it. Like I said, the castle is nothing special – it’s more like a collection of shops and restaurants and has lost all of its old world character, but that view is amazing, and it also looks pretty cool from below.
We paid €12 each to go on a 1 hour round trip boat ride to the small island, which I thought was pretty steep considering it was low season. I guess they realise that almost everyone who visits Lake Bled will visit the island, and it is worth it. The church is nothing special though, and we paid €6 to climb to the top of the tower for what should have been a great view. I even asked the guy if it was open at the top (as in not covered by windows etc) and he said it was, but of course the view was covered by some netting.
The weather was so bad that we almost decided not to go to Lake Bohinj, but it turned out to be a highlight of our trip to the Lake Bled area. Again, the lake is surrounded by mountains, but we saw very little evidence of it. It was raining for most of our visit, but the low clouds provided some interesting reflections on the water, and that, along with the colourful autumn leaves, made Lake Bohinj look almost magical.
I’m planning to write a full post on this amazing place, so stay tuned for that. It’s around an hour’s walk from Lake Bled and is one of the coolest natural wonders I’ve seen. The colour of the water, combined with the dark red leaves and the complete lack of other people made it a pretty special place.
Some things you should know about Lake Bled in Autumn
We visited Lake Bled in mid November, which is kind of an in between time for the region. Summer brings warm weather, water sports and the tourist masses, while winter brings snow and the sports that require it. November is a great time to visit if you want to do some walking in the woods and some relaxed sightseeing. The weather is a bit of a problem though, but apparently it has been unseasonably wet this year. It definitely stopped us making the most of our time in Lake Bled, but we did eventually see most of the things that we wanted to. Travelling anywhere in low season is a bit of a risk, but with great risk comes great reward, and Lake Bled turned out to be a pretty rewarding place to spend a few days.
Have you been to Lake Bled? When did you go and what was it like? Let me know!