Lake Bled on a Budget

Lake Bled view

Keen to visit Lake Bled on a budget? Slovenia is a beautiful country with everything from turquoise rivers to mountains, beaches and caves. Nestled between Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia (with good travel connections to Zagreb, Venice and Salzburg,) Slovenia is the ideal location to slot into an extended backpacking trip. Only have a few days to spare? No problem! You can book cheap flights directly to the capital Ljubljana.

Whether you’re after a peaceful retreat or an action packed getaway, read on to discover why Lake Bled could be the perfect holiday destination for you!

Cost Breakdown: 5 Night Trip

Return Flights to Ljubliana from London – £100
Return Travel from Ljubliana – €12.84
1 Night Airbnb Accommodation in Ljubliana £62.80 (£31.40 each)
4 Nights’ Private Hostel Room at Lake Bled – €207.92 ensuite apartment (€103.96 each)
Activities – €235
Food – approx. £50
Total = approx. £500

Note – Nearly half of the money I spent went on activities. If you’re happy to simply enjoy walking/swimming it’s entirely possible to visit Lake Bled on a much tighter budget. Please see below for my suggestions for free activities. I also saved money on flights by visiting Lake Bled as part of an extended trip across Croatia and Austria. I’d highly recommend looking into this if you have the time to do so. You’ll get to see a whole bunch of amazing sights and it’s more environmentally friendly too!

Travel & Accommodation

Lake Bled is located 55km from Slovenia’s capital Llujubliana, so for most visitors you’ll likely spend at least one night in the capital. I booked a warehouse conversion apartment through AirBnB which came to £62.80 (£31.40 each). Good hostel options are available for around £20 per person. Despite visiting in June I managed to arrive in Ljubljana alongside some unseasonably rainy weather. This made the thirty minute walk to the apartment somewhat of a challenge. Note to self – always double check the location before booking!!

Airbnb in Ljubliana

Once the rain had stopped I ventured out to explore the town. The pretty cobbled streets and river views certainly made it worth the effort. Despite being a rather small capital city with only 300,000 residents, Ljubljana was voted the European green capital in 2016. Ljubljana is highly ranked in terms of safely and has a great artistic feel, with many museums and galleries. On the night I visited there was a free photography exhibition documenting the European migrant crisis.

Street in Ljubliana at night

Up bright and early to catch my bus to Lake Bled I ventured on. The journey from Ljubljiana to Lake Bled takes 80 minutes and I bought a return ticket for €12.84. From Bled town centre it was a short 5 – 10 minute walk to Jazz Hostel where I stayed for the next four nights. At Jazz Hostel paid 51.98 (25.99 each) a night for a private ensuite apartment.The apartment itself was good, but it’s the owner Jani who really makes the hostel stand out. He was incredibly friendly and went out of his way to make sure everyone had a great time.

Jazz hostel at Lake Bled

Exploring Lake Bled on a Budget – Free Activities

Walks & Swimming  – If you visit Lake Bled walking around the lake is a must do. Walking around the lake at 4:30am, because your boyfriend wanted to take sunrise pictures and you didn’t realise sunrise happened so early in June, is somewhat less so! It’s a 6km walk in total, but you may decide to venture further in search of the key viewpoints. More on those below.

If you visit in summer you can also go swimming. I personally chose to give that a miss after spotting a picture of a giant catfish!

Lake Bled on a budget

Ducklings on Lake Bled

Rower on Lake Bled


Viewpoints – I visited two viewpoints on my journey around the lake. The first was easy to reach and required following a track behind the castle. This leads to a wonderful view of the lake with minimal effort and minimal cost.

For those who are happy to hike further I’d highly recommend taking a walk through the woods to the Osojnica panoramic viewpoint (756m). For further details on how to reach it please see here and you can also find useful information on Tripadvisor. In rainy weather it does get very muddy so I’d strongly recommend wearing hiking boots.

I explored this viewpoint after my sunrise walk so the photos below were taken around 6am. The forest was beautiful, but eerie and I ended up somewhat paranoid that we would get eaten by a bear. I should probably point out that while there are bears in Slovenia I’m not sure any have ever been spotted in this particular region.

Forest surrounding Lake Bled

Lake Bled viewpoint

The viewpoint itself was spectacular and made the long trek up worthwhile. Coming down however presented its own challenges as I opted to go via a rather steep set of steps. It’s hard to gain a sense from the image below, but the first half of the steps are more akin to a ladder before gradually reducing in gradient. There’s a bar to hold on to, but it may be one to skip if you’re not a fan of heights.

Steep steps near Lake Bled viewpoint

Exploring Lake Bled on a Budget – Paid Activities

For many a trip to Lake Bled would not be complete without a boat ride to the island at the centre. Once on the island you can pay to enter the church and ring the bell three time while making a wish. This typically costs around 14 euros for the wooden boat ride and 6 euros to enter the church. I personally chose to give this a miss, however I did do a whole bunch of other activities during my stay.

Straza Bled Toboggan Run– The Straza Bled toboggan run is easy to spot as you walk around the lake and is only 15 minutes from Bled town. The views are fantastic and the cost is 9 for one go or 16 for three. You control the speed of the toboggan yourself and they even have a giant selfie picture frame at the top where you can pose for some snaps.They close early if it starts to rain so make sure to visit on a sunny day.

Toboggan run at Lake Bled

Lift at Lake Bled toboggan run


Canyoning – I am far from being an adrenaline junkie, but I booked this 65 tour on a whim after hearing from someone at the hostel that there were still places available. It was probably best that I didn’t have too long to think it over as it wasn’t long until I was throwing myself off of rocks and sliding down waterfalls. It was equally terrifying and thrilling. A lot of fun but it will be a while before I’d have the courage to repeat it! Perhaps next time I’ll learn how to put my hat on straight!

Dressed ready for canyoning


Catch the Bus to Lake Bohinj – Fancy exploring further than Lake Bled? A short ride on the bus will take you to Lake Bohinj. Giant mountains tower over both sides of the lake and with few tourists in the area it was very peaceful.

View of Lake Bohinj

Standing on a pier in the rain by Lake Bohinj


Take a Cable Car Up Mount Vogel – While you’re visiting Lake Bohinj you may wish to pay a trip to the lofty heights of Mount Vogel. From the top you can see layer on layer of mountains, with the Alps visible in the distance. The return cost is 24 for adults and 21 for students.

Cable car at Lake Bohinj

At the top of the mountain by Lake Bohinj

On top of Mount Vogel


Emerald River Tour  – I first saw 3glav’s Emerald River Adventure advertised at the hostel and after a quick check on Tripadvisor thought I’d give it a go. At 90 the price may seem steep, but it’s a long day and at the end it was hard to believe how much we’d seen. I also paid an extra 45 for the whitewater rafting. The trip gives you a fantastic glimpse into the history of the area. Over the course of 12 hours we experienced mountains, waterfalls, hiking, the Soca river source, via ferrata and a car train! The only minor disappointment was the river itself which due to a storm the night before had turned from emerald green to milky white. Perhaps check the weather forecast before booking!

You can see a few highlights from the day below.

Emerald River Adventure poster

Mountains in the distance in Slovenia

Beautiful scenery in Slovenia

Riding the lucky goat

Mountains in Slovenia

Rafting on the Emerald River in Slovenia

Group photo from the Emerald River Tour

Food in Lake Bled

As I had an apartment I cooked a lot of food myself while in Lake Bled, but below are a couple of the places I ate out. I did find vegetarian options quite limited in the area, so having a kitchen is definitely a bonus.

Bled Cream Cake  – The Bled cream cake was created in 1953 and as fan of all things dessert related it was a necessity to try one of as part of my trip. They’re composed of puff pastry, whipped cream, custard and icing sugar with a distinctive wobble. You can buy them for 3 at the Park Café on the Bled promenade. They have a lovely seating area next to the lake. I’d highly recommend the raspberry version for extra deliciousness!

Raspberry Bled cake


Zaziv Vegan Burgers (Sadly Closed) – Despite the general lack of veggie establishments there was one place I highly rated – Zaziv vegan burgers. Sadly this now appears to have closed.

Zaziv vegan burger joint


I hope this has given you a few tips for your own visit to Lake Bled on a budget. I had a fantastic few days exploring the lakes and mountains of Slovenia.

I’d love to hear any other recommendations for the area!

graphic of piggy bank


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