Lake Bled And Beyond

I knew I wanted to go see Lake Bled in Slovenia since EVERY travel site raves about it. But, day trips were expensive and it wasn’t really that far away. Because of the cost, I decided to rent a car for the day to give me the freedom to explore what I wanted on my schedule. What an amazing idea. I highly recommend it. Slovenia is EXTREMELY drivable, people.

Lake Bled, pictured below, is located in the Julien Alps, only about an hour from Ljubljana. It is know for Blejski Otok, the island with a church in the middle of the lake, as well as its famed turquoise waters.

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To get the best views of Lake Bled, I recommend a trip to Blegski Grad, or the Bled Castle. It’s expensive to enter, and the castle itself isn’t as impressive as others in Europe. But, the views are breathtaking.

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Looking to the southeast from the castle.

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The castle sits high atop a hill on the banks of Lake Bled. It can be seen from nearly any spot along the lake.

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Not surprisingly, Lake Bled is full of watersports and can get overrun with visitors during the summer months. I got a tip from the concierge who told me to keep driving north past Lake Bled, and I’m glad I got past some of the crowds.

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On the way north, I passed a number of country churches. I just can’t get over the scenery. It reminded me of The Sound Music — well, Slovenia does lay claim to being in the Alps.

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North of Lake Bled, I discovered one of Slovenia’s REAL gems: Lake Bohinj. Equally turquoise and majestic, this lake was amazingly quiet and serene. No throngs of young, European backpackers bathing in the water or families with children splashing on the shores. Definitely my kind of place.

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On the banks of Lake Bohinj, I found another gorgeous church.

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After hitting the mountains and lakes, I decided to check out Slovenia’s tiny coastline. In an interesting twist of fate (or perhaps because I was navigating solo), I would up in Italy. Yes, that’s right. I inadvertently found myself in Trieste.

After a quick stop to stretch my legs, I got back on track. Slovenia has less than 50km along the Adriatic sea, but that doesn’t stop Koper from being an up-and-coming port on the cruise circuit. I happened to roll into town while Norwegian had a ship in port.

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All in all, Koper is a sleepy little seaside town with a small market area and a historic square.

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A number of little shops lined its narrow pedestrian alleys.

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And some interesting stone fountains could be found in its various squares.

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Near the port, Koper has a lovely municipal park and harbor area that is lined with restaurants, cafes and shops.

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Slovenia may not have an expansive coastline, but the views along its coast are impressive nonetheless. After leaving Koper, I headed south along the coast road to Izola and Porotoroz.

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Eventually, I stumbled upon my retirement home, perched on the hills above the Adriatic. I could definitely spend some more time in Slovenia.

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BoundfortheBalkans

American expat. University professor. World traveller. Dog lover. Eating and drinking my way through the Balkans for 7 weeks.

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