The stunning and majestic Bled Castle, situated above Lake Bled. A picture that won’t easily escape your memory: a romantic lake with an island, dominated by a mighty castle on a steep cliff.
One of the most popular and recognizable Slovenian destinations is the alpine town, Bled. As picturesque as a destination can be, Bled is one of the most striking Alpine resorts going and offers something for all manner of visitors, be they old, young, those in search of activity or in search of relaxation. Known also as the “true Slovenian fairytale” is most famous for its lake in the middle of an island and its delicate dessert Blejska kremšnita or Bled cream cake.
History of Bled castle
Perched quite dramatically high up on a cliff overlooking the lake and town, Bled Castle is the stuff of children’s dreams. First mentioned in the year 1011, it is officially the oldest castle in Slovenia having celebrated its one thousand year anniversary in 2011. Built and added to haphazardly over the centuries, nowadays the castle is a photogenic mash of styles. Of the many sights located on the castle’s premises, you can visit a small but informative museum of the region’s history from the first human settlements till the present day, a 16th-century chapel, the wine cellar, an herbal gallery, a recreated Gutenberg printing press (that still sees heavy work printing souvenirs for visitors) and of course a restaurant with breathtaking views of the lake below and mountains beyond.
The legend of Bled castle
Around 1500 AD the administrator of Bled Castle was Hartman Kreigh, who was not a kind master. Peasants complained about the encroachment on their rights and brutal oppression to the bishop and the king. One day Kreigh disappeared without a trace. There were rumours that he had been killed by robbers. For all we know, peasants may have taken the justice into their own hands, but nothing was ever proven. In short, Kreigh was never to be seen again. His wife Poliksena, who also ruled with a firm hand, squeezing the last dime from her subordinates, grieved for him deeply.
In her grief, the widow collected all the gold and silver she had stored in her chests. She used it to have a bell cast for the chapel on the Bled Island. When the boatmen were taking the bell to the island, a storm broke out, sinking the boat, the boatmen and the bell. From time to time, the sunken bell can still be heard ringing from the depths of the lake. Devastated, Poliksena left the castle and went to a convent in Rome. When the Pope heard her sad story, he had a new bell made and sent it to the island.
Source: Blejski Grad
Bled castle in modern times
Bled Castle will impress you with an astonishing view, a smithy, a printing press, a Knight’s Hall, and a castle chapel. At the castle, visitors can also taste local dishes and excellent wines. You can also get married at Bled castle as this Slovenian castle is a very popular Slovenian wedding destination. If you thought medieval weddings were a thing of the past, think again. Bled Castle isn’t just the oldest of its kind in Slovenia, it also offers the most surreal views of Lake Bled and its wider area. Yes, your wedding photos will be amazing, only rivaled by the ceremony itself in this superbly preserved building with a marvelous terrace and interior fit for royalty. Talk about a romantic wedding location, right?
Bled castle also offers a place to hold business meetings and conferences. Castle courtyards, the restaurant and halls can cater to events of all types and sizes. Small gatherings and business meetings can also take place in the chapel, Stolp Gallery or ceremonial room.
At the Bled castle, you will also find a museum that has a stunning Baroque section with a permanent exhibition, which is curated by the National Museum of Slovenia. The Bled castle museum proudly showcases one of the most beautiful 6th centuries finds, a peacock-shaped brooch found at Pristava below the castle. The peacock is known to adorn the Garden of Eden and is often referred to as the bird of paradise and a symbol of life and wealth. These are also the values that have been associated with Bled in the past, in the present and the values Bled is likely to embody in the future. In Bled castle you will also find a replica of the Gutenberg wooden press which you can use to print a souvenir certificate, with some help from the master printer.
Feeling hungry after a fun day at Bled castle? Jezeršek’s restaurant will spoil your taste buds while looking at stunning views of Lake Bled. They offer local and regional dishes that are made in a contemporary and sophisticated way. Working closely with local suppliers, Jezeršek’s creative team of chefs delivers culinary experiences that are suited to ceremonial visits, tourist groups, and individual customers.
How to get to Bled castle?
Combine your visit to Bled Castle with a lovely walk, bike trip, or a horse-drawn carriage ride. Bled castle can also be reached by car or bus. Take a look at the options and choose the one that works for you and your holiday. The parking is not free, so keep this in mind when driving up there. However, a free option for parking your car is available at the gravel car park at the foo of Bled castle hill.
If you prefer walking there are three paths, which will take you up to the Bled castle. Choose one of the following paths: Arnold Rikli path, from Slovenski trg square or start your way up from Višce hill. The Arnold Rikli main path to the castle starts just above the Grajsko kopališče public lido. A 10-minute moderate walk through the forest overgrowing the castle hill and further up the laid-out path delicately lit during the night will reward you with spectacular views of the lake, Bled and its surroundings. From the Slovenski trg square in front of St. Martin’s Church can be reached from the lakeside promenade and past the Spa Park, or from the main bus station through the Grad hamlet. The path runs up the hill at the foot of the castle rock, joining the Rikli path after a few minutes walk. Across the Višce hill, the path is perfect for you if you are coming from Rečica, the path to Bled Castle will take you over the Višce hill. The 20-minute walk begins at the sign Rečica – Višce. When the main road towards the Mala Zaka Rowing Centre, the railway station and Velika Zaka turns sharply right, the path for the castle forks off left (Za gradom). The path is well marked. Just before ascending to the castle, there is a viewing platform that offers fantastic views of the lake and the area.
Source: Blejski Grad