It is the time of the year when we are in festive mood in the best possible way we can be. Though this year is going to be quite different, hoping this festive season goes on well for everyone and we can be back to our normal lives soon.
Last year, I decided to be away from the UK and went for a holiday during Christmas time. I chose to travel to Slovenia for a week and stayed at beautiful and picturesque Lake Bled.
The reflection of the snow capped mountain range of the Julian Alps on Lake Bled on a sunny Christmas Day was one of the best sights and the sunset over Lake Bled was equally mesmerising.
Slovenia is one of the prettiest countries I visited so far. From the capital Ljubljana, to ringing the wishing bell in the Church of the Assumption of Mary on Lake Bled on Christmas Day, visiting the world’s largest cave castle Predjama and watching the live Nativity inside Postojna caves was an unforgettable experience.
In this post I am sharing some highlights and photos from my Christmas time travel to Slovenia.
Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia
Ljubljana is Slovenia’s largest city and one of the best way to enjoy the view of the city is to take the funicular up to the Ljubljana Castle on Castle Hill.
The Ljubljanica River flowing through the city, is lined with many bridges and the most famous of these is the Dragon Bridge. Another famous bridge is the Butcher’s Bridge with all the padlocks.
The Franciscan church located in the town square stands out with its distinctive red colour. The Old Town looks totally festive during Christmas time with Christmas trees in all shapes, sizes, and decorations spread across the town. There is also a Christmas market with the stalls selling handicrafts, local produce and Slovenia’s famous honey and pumpkin seed oil.
Exploring around Lake Bled on Christmas Eve
The Bled Castle high up on the hill overlooking Lake Bled is a short but lovely hike with picturesque views of the mountains, the lake, surrounding valleys and villages. Once you reach the top and look around, the view on every direction makes the hike totally worth it.
On Christmas Eve, there is a medieval show performed by the Lord and his knights at Bled Castle.
On the way to Bled Castle, the Parish Church of St Martin is a beautiful neo gothic church. A midnight mass is held in the church on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Day at Lake Bled
No words are enough to describe the beauty of Lake Bled from every angle at any time of the day.
One of the exciting thing to do at Lake Bled is to walk around the lake. The distance is about 6 kms and a relaxing walk can take about an hour and a half to two hours. There are also horse drawn carriages available for those who prefer to take a ride along the lake shore.
The small island on Lake Bled is home to the Church of the Assumption of Mary and is accessible only by boat. Hop onto one of the wooden boats called Pletna and walk up the 99 steps to reach the church and see the Christmas crib during the festive season. The church tower also offers great views of the lake and surroundings.
The church is famous for its wishing bell. There is a legend that if you ring the church ‘wishing’ bell while making a wish, then your wish comes true.
I was lucky enough to experience a totally sunny Christmas day and the sunset over Lake Bled was simply glorious.
On Christmas Day evening, there is a wonderful performance of the Legend of the Sunken Bell on Lake Bled. The show is performed by divers and tells the story of the Bled Island’s church and it’s famous wishing bell. This is a must see event.
Day trip to Predjama Castle and Postojna Cave
Predjama Castle built on the face of a cave is the largest cave castle in the world as per the Guinness World Records. Lonely planet calls it ‘one of Europe’s most dramatic castles.’ There are secret tunnels in the castle which were used by knight Erazem of Predjama when he went out on his plundering.
Postojna Cave is a karst cave system created by the subterranean Pivka River. The temperature inside the cave is around 10 deg C. The world’s first underground cave railway was opened in Postojna Cave in 1872. Travelling through this railway system you are transported into a different world. The 5 meter tall stalagmite called Brilliant is a symbol of Postojna Cave and the Slovenian Karst.
Living Nativity in Postojna Cave
During Christmas time there is a totally surreal living nativity show inside Postojna Cave. It is a spectacular performance staged along 5 kms with live music and songs by performers within an illuminated world of stalactites and stalagmites.
Local delicacies and Handicrafts
Around the Lake there are many Christmas market stalls, selling everything from local delicacies to handicrafts.
Lake Bled is famous for its Original Bled Cream Cake. It is said that no trip to Lake Bled is complete if you do not taste the Original Bled Cream Cake. It is a melt in the mouth delicacy.
The other local delicacy I tried is the Cottage Cheese Dumpling, called Struklji, which is cheese filling rolled within the pastry and finished with a sugar topping.
There are also some nice Slovenian Wines which you should try out. You can buy local wines made by the monks in Bled castle.
- Lake Bled is about 2 hours 40 minutes from Venice airport or Ljubljana is around 31 kms from where you can book a car or take a bus.
- If you have time, do explore the Triglav National Park which covers most of the Julian Alps
- Most shops, restaurants are open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
- Do explore the Christmas market stalls as each sells unique handmade local items
- Winter times can be cold and snowy but even surprise you with sunny days.
- There are lots of good hotels around Lake Bled for a comfortable and relaxing stay.
Hope you all enjoyed this post and the photos. Your comments and suggestions are most welcome. You can also subscribe for new posts.
Please share using links below.