With its picture-perfect church and ornate steeple peeking out above the treeline and perched on Bled Lake, tiny Bled Island looks like something out of a fairy tale. Local tradition has it that a groom must carry his bride up all 99 steps that lead from the island’s dock to the church to ensure a happy marriage.
There is no charge to visit the island, and visitors can arrive via traditional pletna boat or a rented private rowboat. You are free to explore the island’s café, gallery, and souvenir shop; however, an admission fee is required to enter the church. Many tours include transportation to Bled Island, and some include visits to other Bled sights such as dramatic, cliffside Bled Castle or the stunning Vintgar gorge. Adventurous travelers can swim out to the island from the lake’s west shore, although entering the church in a swimsuit is not allowed.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Bled Island is a must-see for first-time visitors and history enthusiasts.
- Pletna boats are not wheelchair accessible, and the climb to the church requires that visitors be reasonably fit.
- For the best views of Bled Island, hike to the Ojstrica viewpoint in Bled.
- Be sure to try Bled’s famous cream cake, which can be purchased at the island café.
How to Get There
The most popular way to visit the island is by traditional pletna boat; these depart regularly from several lakeside locations for the 20-minute trip. Another option is to rent a boat and row out to the island yourself. If you’re a strong swimmer, you can easily reach the island from the west shore.
When to Get There
Bled Island is best visited in spring, summer, and fall, but may be visited in the winter if the lake does not freeze over. Summer can be quite busy, so make sure to book a Bled Island tour in advance or get in line early to score a spot on a pletna boat.
Ringing the Bled Island Bell
Legend has it that the church bell was a gift from 16th-century Pope Clement VII himself, presented after the first bell sank to the bottom of the lake. Today, you can climb to the top of the belfry and make a wish. The pope decreed, locals say, that if you ring the bell three times, your wish will come true.