Autumn in Bled, Slovenia

Autumn in Bled, Slovenia

by Anna Leigh Bagiackas
Stripes Europe

While Slovenia’s city of Bled entices visitors all times of the year, there is something about autumn that adds a little magic and mystery to one’s trip. Clouds streaming across the mountains, changing fall colors on the trees around the lake, the picture-perfect church emerging peacefully through the morning fog on the lake’s iconic island and Bled castle glowing over the lake at night—it’s easy to feel completely immersed in the changing of the seasons.

With the foothills of the Julian Alps towering over and surrounding the town and dense green forest always a stone’s throw away, you feel enveloped in the Slovenian landscape. It’s peaceful, quiet and the natural surroundings are the star of the show. Spend the day taking it all in and then when evening comes, a comforting dinner in a warm and cozy restaurant sounds like the perfect cap to a day in Bled.

To experience some of the autumn magic, here are some ideas for planning your trip:

Bled Castle – A visit to the town’s 11th-century castle will give you gorgeous views of the lake, surrounding mountains and town. It also houses both a chapel and museum where you can learn more about the history of Bled, Slovenia and the castle. There is a restaurant at the castle that serves lunch and dinner.

Visit Bled Island – Rent a rowboat or take a pletna, the colorfully roofed boats with an expert rower that take you to the island and back. Ring the “wishing bell” inside the Church of the Mother of God and climb the bell tower for yet another beautiful view.

Glamp – Slovenia has become a leader and trendsetter when it comes to glamping. My experience was definitely closer to “glam” than “camp,” with a beautiful cabin tent along a rolling creek in the forest, just 5 minutes outside of the city. As the temperatures drop, the types of accommodations and availability may be limited, but many have indoor heat and are worth checking out.

Walk or run around Lake Bled – One autumn memory I will never forget is a morning run around Lake Bled. The route is around four miles long, and when I started the run, everything was covered in fog. As I ran around the lake, the fog lifted, and the sun brightened. By the time I finished, the water was sparkling and immersed in golden sunshine and reflections from the orange and yellow leaves.

Taste Slovenian wines – Located next to Italy and Austria, you can bet Slovenia has its own identity when it comes to wine. With three primary wine regions in the country, the waiters, waitresses and restaurant staff were all happy to teach me about the Slovenian wines they served, pairing my meals with complementary wines.

Vintgar Gorge – About a 10-minute drive from Lake Bled, you can walk along a 1.6-kilometer-long path on elevated boardwalks into and along the gorge in Triglav National Park. The gorge was created by the Radovna River, which is a beautifully aqua and crystal-clear river.

Slovenia’s diverse natural environment also lends itself to many outdoor activities and Bled is no exception. Paddleboarding, row boating, hiking, cave kayaking and swimming (more likely in the spring and summer) are some of activities you could fill your days with, just be sure to bring rain gear, as fall can be a rainier time in Bled.

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