Framed by the Julian Alps of northwestern Slovenia, Lake Bled (the heart of its namesake town) is one of the most picturesque corners of this small but stunning country. A Slovenia vacation isn’t complete without a stay here, and it’s said that you haven’t really visited Bled unless you take a ride in an old-fashioned pletna boat to the tiny island that sits in the center of the lake. Rowed by trained oarmen in a distinctive style handed down through generations, these vessels are a tradition that dates back more than 400 years. No reservations are necessary; just wander to the lakefront and you’ll see plenty of boats ready and waiting.
Upon debarking at the island for a short visit, climb up to the 17th-century church at its top. Legend has it that the “wishing bell” within will bring good luck to anyone who manages to ring it, so try your best! Afterward, you can grab a coffee and a traditional Bled cream cake in the nearby cafe, and savor them along with the fairytale scenery before you head back to your boat for the return trip.
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