With beer a third of the price of the equivalent in the Alps, and several dozen bars to choose from, Bled is an affordable place to relax after the ski bus comes back to town each evening.
Among the popular bars are Art Café Bar (tel: +386 45 767 179), which becomes very busy during live DJ sets and televised sporting events, and À Propos Cocktail Bar (tel: +386 45 744 044), which serves cocktails and coffees.
Additional evening activities include a cinema, bowling alley, thermal swimming pools and spa facilities in the Park, Golf and Grand hotels. For a night of gambling, head to the resort's 24-hour casino (tel: +386 4574 1811; www.casino-bled.si).
Bled’s year round tourism appeal and cosmopolitan allure mean that guests have around 50 restaurants to choose from, with a wide ranging choice of culinary and dining styles to suit all budgets.
Visitors should look out for local specialities when visiting, such as potica, a traditional cake made in many variants, with recipes passed down through families from one generation to the next. These delectable treats usually appear at major occasions including Christmas and Easter.
The A la Carte Restaurant 1906 (tel: +38 645 752 610; www.hoteltriglavbled.si), in the 4-star Hotel Triglav overlooking Lake Bled, is one of the most highly regarded for its gourmet cuisine, with an innovative chef who adds a modern-day twist to traditional dishes.
For something a little less formal, Ostarija Peglez'n (tel: +38 645 7 44 218) is a small establishment with a reputation for amazing seafood.
Beyond the slopes
Bled is marketed as a multi-activity winter destination with downhill snow sports just a minor part of the offering. Instead, there is an onus on low-key winter pastimes such as snowshoe excursions, horse-drawn carriage rides or a romantic walk on a cleared path through the snow around the lake (which can be used for ice skating when the ice is thick enough).
The town itself has many attractions; chief among these is the medieval Bled Castle, and Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary – a site of religious significance for more than a thousand years – that stands proudly on Bled Island in the middle of the lake.
The town of Bled itself has plenty of cafés, shops and spas; while day trips to the pretty capital, Ljubljana, are also possible.
Bled offers a mixed bag for families; on the one hand there's a good range of affordable activities and facilities in Bled itself, but on the other, there are limited dedicated facilities for children and no nursery provision for younger tots.
Children can join the ski school from age five. If the hassle of the ski bus trip each day to the main ski areas isn’t too much of a problem, first timers will find tuition, rental and lift ticket packages at a third to a half of the cost of an equivalent deal in the Alps.
Although Bled is not promoted as a shopping destination, there are about 50 shops to choose from in the town beside the lake. The year-round nature of the area means there's a wide selection of stores focusing on products outside of the winter sports bracket and prices are typically considerably lower than in Western Europe. Local produce includes metal-worked items such as cow bells, specially prepared meats and delicious local cakes. Shopping trips to the capital Ljubljana are also a possibility.
The lakeside Vila Bled (tel: +38 645 753 710; www.brdo.si) was once a palace of former Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito, and today, the residence capitalises on its reputation for timeless elegance and presidential standards of service by offering gourmet cuisine. It's the place to go for a truly special meal, with dishes drawing from the classics of international and Slovenian cuisine.
The main accommodation in Bled comes in the form of small, independently-run hotels; the majority of which are rated 2- to 3-star. More luxurious 4- and 5-stars are also opening, along with a number of private apartments for those looking for something a little more homely, as well as a couple of youth hostels for those on a budget.
Garni Hotel "Berc"
Centrally located with large spacious rooms in a chalet style building, The Garni Hotel is known for its high service standards and nice touches including an honesty bar.Address: , Pod Stražo 13, Bled, 4260
Telephone: +38 645 765 658
Mlino Guest House
A 3-star traditional guest house by the lake, Mlino Guest House is bestowed with beautiful architecture. It has a reputation for great service and also has a choice of dining options, from eating on the terrace to the rustic 'peasant room'.Address: , Cesta Svobode 45, Bled, 4260
Telephone: +38 645 741 404
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