May 13, 2017

Europe’s best kept secret

Have you ever seen a church you can swim to? It regularly tops lists of the most beautiful places in the world and we are proud to say that Lake Bled is actually on our doorstep. The tourists say it’s a hidden gem, a secret, a land of your dreams or alpine pearl.. but we call it home.

You know how people travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people ignore at home? And how one country’s dusty backyard is another country’s dream vacation? Well, I guess we are realizing now that if you realize you don’t need that much in your life and you know how to appreciate the given, you can travel much longer than you thought before. Starting by exploring your own backyard! So, let us walk you through ours.

Even though me and Uroš are not big fans of churches, the views at Lake Bled are seriously to die for. At one end, Bled Castle is peering down from the top of a craggy cliff, on other, fairytale church (with a bell that grants wishes) is nestled on the island at the center. To top that, surrounded by lush green mountains and exquisite turquoise lake, makes it a sight you simply have to stare at.

We had a blissful stay at Grand Hotel Toplice – located right on the shores of the Lake Bled, instantly greeted with flowers & that clear spring smell. The panoramic views & the stillness of the lake were the first two things that caught my attention. While settling into our cozy room, we realized we were given a private stone balustraded terrace with superb views of Lake Bled. Imagine our excitement levels going through the roof!

The following morning we were wakened up by the light that was pouring in from the mountains to illuminate the most incredible scene. We pretty much spent the morning on our ultra-romantic balcony, relaxing and feeling like we are the only human beings in the world.

For lunch, we headed to the Bled Castle Restaurant. Once at the top we were taken back at how much we could actually see – the most unreal views of Lake Bled and the surrounding mountains. So peaceful.

The restaurant offers modern interpretations of traditional dishes and drinks. We were greeted with a champagne and delicious hello from the kitchen, followed by a cold starter and then extraordinary carrot soup with a scallop. For the mains, we tried out the angler’s tail on mashed vegetables and saffron sauce that I will never forget, Uroš had tasted the slow-cooked beef cheeks with spring vegetables and parmesan croquettes – both of the dishes were terrific. As a surprise, the chef saved the best until the last – rich and creamy chocolate mousse with forest fruit ice cream and strawberry trifle with panna cotta and tarragon macaroon. We were pretty impressed and felt like being sent straight to heaven – and I even try hard not to sound exaggerating, but it was oh, so glorious!

The atmosphere is luxurious, all the tables have spaces between them, making it feel very intimate. The wine list is great, the food is fresh and represented like the work of art, the views are straight from the postcard so it is best suited to daytime dining and the service is polished – nothing less than what you’d expect from a high-end restaurant praised by locals and visitors alike. Most certainly we will be revisiting in the near future, it is the single best restaurant in Slovenia, in our humble opinion. Oh, and a secret tip? *With a reservation, you don’t pay to enter the castle. Win-win!

We have spent the afternoon on the lake, rented a row-boat at Grand Hotel Toplice and made it complete with a glass of champagne. Paddling out to the lake was a therapy session itself. For a while, we just sat there & enjoyed the quietness of the area.

Coming back we were spoiled on the spacious private lakeside lido. Guests can swim in the lake, but the water was still too chilly this time of the year.

We finished the evening off at the hotel’s restaurant, which again has a lakeshore setting, serves tasty local and international dishes as well as first-class Slovenian wines. Served another 4-course meal, for the second time this day, felt like we gained a muffin top, but could not possibly ever say no to such culinary delights. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day.

The next morning the weather was trying to be moody and grey, so we guessed it is ideal for a health break at our hotel’s boutique wellness area with various treatments (pretty magical) and an indoor thermal pool fed directly from a spring and replaced every night. High standard definitely, but what I liked most was the interior design, a small oasis with Roman-style columns.

After the amazing buffet breakfast, we climbed up to the summit of Ojstrica and Osojnica, the hike was painless and very rewarding. That’s the thing about Bled – whether you walk up into the mountains or cycle around the lake, the view is ever-present. We kept stopping as every other minute there was an Instagram-worthy view.

We finished off our trip with “kremšnita” (Cream Cake), Bled’s culinary specialty. This is something that can’t be missed – get spoiled at the top of the Castle again. Nothing beats a lovely terrace and a commanding position over the lake.

Now you can see there’s a very good reason why Slovenia has the word “LOVE” right in the middle of its name: because when you visit, you will fall in love with it as well. It is offering more charm than many major European destinations, only with fewer crowds. But be careful: you should hurry up as it is gaining recognition as the homeland of first lady Melania Trump.

I feel sLOVEnia! What about you? Do you feel your country? If you could live in any place in the world where would you choose to live?

The comments +

  1. Uros says:

    Like it alot ❤️

  2. Garmond says:

    Your blog posts are so inspiring! Looks like you guys had a lot of fun in Bled. Cant wait to see more of your posts 🙂 BRG

  3. Teo says:

    Slovenia – small country with big heart.

  4. Valerija says:

    Amazing Picture, blog…Bled is really beautifull. 👌👌

  5. the_ranita_streak says:

    I really LOVE your write-up style! The pictures are amazing!! 💙🌈⚜

  6. Grace says:

    The photos are all stunning! Looks like the perfect place for honeymoon. Slovenia is on top of my Europe travel list. It’s not too far from Dubai!

  7. YESSS this is def on the list. You shared very beautiful pictures, love them!

  8. Jure says:

    Which wordpress theme do you use?

  9. Irina says:

    Pictures are really amazing and so the place!
    I am from Kiev, Ukraine but CapeTown, South Africa has stolen my heart. I do some work to arrange my move there 🙂

  10. […] seen it before – charming Lake Bled. We have visited Bled in the past, so please do check our blog post if you are eager to see and learn more about […]

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