Bled, Slovenia
Bled Island

Woven together from a dozen myths and stories, Bled Island is the epitome of a fairytale come true.

Despite Slovenia’s landlocked borders, it’s only island is found at the center of the vast Lake Bled. From the mountain peaks forming its dramatic backdrop, Bled Island forms the pupil of a bright blue eye reflecting the rich green of forest vegetation. Its only access is by water and you’d have to find a pletnar to row you across on the traditional wooden craft as they did in the days of old. From the foot of a staircase cut out of stone, the first sound to reach your ears is the chime of church bell. The sonorous tone could appear apologetic to some and indeed the 16th Century bell was intended as a memoir when the first bell sunk beneath the lake following its maker’s death. A few enquiries and the locals will reveal how it is believed the bell was a present from the pope of that time in recognition of the bell-maker’s work. The island’s tales don’t end there. They continue up 99 stairs leading to the Assumption of Mary Church where according to hearsay, a groom must carry his bride up the stairs before wedding her in the church. Within the church, a wishing bell is popular among visitors and locals for bringing good luck to those who ring it with a wish in their heart. A winter wonderland under the cover of snow and a summer paradise seen by the morning glow, Bled Island is a sight drawn straight out of a bedtime story.

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Tips Before You Go
You don’t need to be one for the old wives’ tales though to enjoy Bled Island. Balanced on a small rocky outcrop, the island is brimming with quaint mystical charm from a baroque altar glittering in a cover of gold to Christmas specials when the markets abound with food and good cheer. Under the snow drifting down from the sky, the fairy lights twinkle and songs echo in the air to retell the stories of Bled Island. It’s impossible not to immerse yourself in the rustic charm of the island before you move on to explore the rest of the region but a pitstop here is a must.
Bled Island, 4260 Bled, Slovenia