GREEN&SAFE, Slovenia has officially open to tourists.
Slovenia, a small, almost land-locked hamlet surrounded Italy to the west, Croatia to the south, Hungary to the east and Austria to the north was one of the first countries to receive the World Tourism and Travel Council’s “Safe Travels Stamp”- recognizing destinations and businesses who have adopted the SafeTravels health and hygiene global standardized protocols.
Now Slovenia has taken the safety of its tourists a step further by creating the GREEN&SAFE initiative to help travelers choose the safest accommodations, tours and more.
The delightful capital of Bled, Ljubljana[/caption]
Anything adorned with Slovenia’s GREEN&SAFE label has been deemed as upholding the highest of safety and hygiene protocols, making a trip to this underrated country as easy as pie- or Bled Cake. Trust us…you’ll love the Bled Cake!
As the tourism sector begins to rebound and roll out the welcome mat, interested visitors may wonder what to do and where to go. While the entire country offers up beauty and excitement, we have to recommend the little town on the big lake- Bled for the first time visitor.
Under 45 minutes from the capital Ljubljana and the Italian border or less than 30 minutes from the Austrian border, this town offers a little something for everyone.
Here are the top five experiences you can’t miss in beautiful Bled.
Overlooking Lake Bled is the medieval Bled Castle[/caption]
Dominating the skyline as you head down to Lake Bled for the first time, Bled Castle dates back to at least 1011 and is built on a precipice above the city, overlooking the lake. The medieval castle, complete with drawbridge and moat, is the oldest Slovenian castle and is now a historical museum with a collection that represents the lake’s history.
Think about visiting in the evening as the castle lights up, or at least get yourself a lovely view from the lake’s shore to snap those night time Instaworthy pics.
Take a Pletna boat to Church of the Assumption of Maria
Located on an island in the middle of the Lake Bled, the delightful mid-15th century Church of the Assumption of Maria will delight. Visitors can swim, kayak or canoe to the church, or you can really make a traditional experience of it and let a pletnar oarsman row you on a pletna (Slovenia’s answer to the Venetian gondoliers and gondolas) to the teeny island.
There is a small gallery, gift shop and 99 steps to climb, but the draw is the church and bell. Once you ring the “wishing bell” three times, legend (and a 16th century Pope) says your wish will be granted!
Hike to the Bled Overlook
Hiking is very popular for those visiting Bled and you don’t need to have a huge amount of stamina to make it to Ojstrica, the bluff overlooking the lake. The trail is rustic, you may have to scramble over fallen tree trunks and skirt around boulders, but the less than hour hike will reward you with an unparalleled view of the lake, the town of Bled, including the castle and of course the island in the middle of Lake Bled housing the Church of the Assumption of Maria.
Sunrise and Sunset are extremely popular times to visit.
Get Out of Bled
There is so much more to do just outside of Bled:
–Vintar Gorge, only 10 minutes away is this natural beauty, carved from the surrounding rock over countless eons of water erosion from the Radovna River. Spend a morning or afternoon enjoying Mother Nature at its most majestic.
-Bohinj Steam Railway. Just 20 minutes away in Jesenice you can board The Bohinj Railway. Referred to by Lonely Planet as one of “the best train journeys you’ve never heard of,” it is definitely the stunning journey that trumps any destination.
-Straža Ski Resort, a 10 minute walk from the center of Bled isn’t out to rival its big sisters in the neighboring Alps of Italy, France or Switzerland. However, the inexpensive lift tickets, the amazing scenery, powdery snow and toboggan rides make this a must visit for travelers in the winter months.
–Triglav National Park’s entrance is only 10 minutes from Bled. Located in the Julian Alps the park is full of well-marked hiking trails, incredible vistas, and local vendors selling everything from produce to jewelry. Be sure to snap your pics at Savica Waterfall or head to the Pokljuka Plateau.
This alpine plateau located within the Triglav National Park is one of the country’s most amazing natural attractions, noted for stark beauty that offers visitors amazing sights year-round.
However, if you want to stay in Bled, we can’t blame you. While you kick back and enjoy the low-key, friendly vibe and glorious views be sure to try the traditional Bled Cake, known by locals as kremšnita.
It’s moist, creamy, buttery, and flakey. And after all the physical activities you’ll enjoy in Bled, you deserve to indulge…along with some coffee or local wine!
Currently travelers entering Slovenia from green countries do not have to abide by any entry requirements. Those from red countries (including the United States) can enter with proof of a negative for COVID-19 test, proof of previously having the coronavirus (within the last 6 months) or proof of vaccination. More information including all caveats can be found here.