When I first visited Slovenia, I took a day trip to Lake Bled from Ljubljana and fell in love with the place. Back then I explored as much as I could in one day, walking around the lake, rowing a wooden boat to the little island in the middle, climbing up to the view point and exploring the nearby Vintgar Gorge. This year, as a Christmas gift, I bought myself a 4 days spa package at Lake Bled which turned out to be a magical trip, as Slovenia was still covered under a thick layer of snow. I hired a car from Ljubljana airport and headed towards Bled, where I stayed at the fantastic Astoria Bled spa hotel. And I tell you, there is nothing better than ending your day at the spa, relaxing in the jacuzzi and looking up, seeing how the snowflakes would fall onto the glass ceiling. You can check the latest offers for Astoria Bled on Booking.com. I recommend it as the service was impeccable, the room spacious and clean with a mountain view, the breakfast was included and the underground parking very useful to keep the rental car dry whilst it snowed. Plus, the 15 euros welcome massage was a really nice treat.
Being in Bled for so many days I have also explored quite a few local restaurants. One thing that I loved about Bled in winter is that there were almost no tourists around, which meant the service was always attentive and at the highest standards.
Prepare your trip to Slovenia with my recommended Lonely Planet guide:
Here is a list with my best restaurant finds in Bled, and what I recommend having from their menus:
Gostilna Pri Planincu
The first time I went to Bled I remember stopping at this restaurant for a cold beer, whilst waiting for the bus back to Ljubljana. As it is situated on the opposite side of the station, it was easy to spot when the bus would come and run to it.
When I returned to Bled, on my first night, without realising that it’s the same restaurant, I headed here for dinner. It was dark, cold, snowing, and this place was the closest to my hotel.
As I stepped in I recognised the rustic decor and the ceiling filled with number plates from all over the world. The walls are covered with photos of old Bled and shelves with bottles and traditional Slovenian plates on them.
This restaurant serves traditional Slovenian food, so expect plenty of meat. The plates will always be overfilled, and I honestly had a hard time finishing everything I ordered. I would suggest skipping the starters and go straight for the mains. The food looks simple but it’s delicious.
I recommend trying the carniolan sausage and the cevapcici.
Ostarija Babji zob
This is probably my favourite restaurant in Bled. I have returned twice to have dinner here and every time it was exceptional. The décor of the restaurant is quite rustic, with wooden beams and dried branches of trees on the ceiling. The service was impeccable, with joyful young waiters, very knowledge about the food and the ingredients used.
The restaurant also has an extended collection of locally made schnapps, and I would recommend you trying out the cherry one. It is sweet and tastes like liquid cherries, but with 40% alcohol in it. The blackberry one is also worth ordering.
The quality of the food is outstanding, with flavoursome dishes cooked with local ingredients. I recommend the venison in cranberry sauce, the stuffed grilled squids, the truffles steak and the mixed grill which is served impaled on a sword.
For dessert, go for the chocolate bomb: a sphere of tempered chocolate that melts when the waiter pours hot raspberry coulis on top and reveals an ice cream filled centre.
Hidden behind the church in Bled, on a quiet street, at the ground floor of a house you will find Pizzeria Rustika. Declared by Tripadvisor “the best pizza in Lake Bled”, I had to go and try it for myself.
I visited Bled in March, and winter was still in full power, with heavy snow and temperatures close to 0 degrees. After spending the entire day outdoors, I was happy to step into the warm restaurant and defrost over a glass of local beer. The pizzeria was empty but lots of boxes were going out, for take away orders. Next to the bar, in the back, there was a big pizza oven, so I knew I was in for a treat.
I was very hungry, so I ordered a garlic bread as a starter. Little did I know that the garlic bread was the same size as a pizza! It was however too delicious not to eat all. For the main I ordered the 3glav pizza, named after the Triglav peak, the highest in mountain in Slovenia. It had tomatoes, cheese, dried meat, olives, smoked cheese, oregano and a garlic sauce with parsley. It was delicious!
Art Café Bar
This café was another fabulous find in Lake Bled. It doesn’t look much from the outside but once you step you a large space opens up, with an extra room in the back. They have an extended menu of hot chocolate which comes in many flavours, as well as traditional Slovenian cakes.
I couldn’t resist having a coconut hot chocolate, which is my favourite combination ever, and it did not disappoint. For lunch I ordered a kremsnita, the vanilla custard cake topped with whipped cream and a crunchy crispy crust – a symbol of Lake Bled. I know, I am one of those people who sometimes orders cake instead of proper food.?
Another lovely find, just next to the Touristic Office in Bled, was this tiny teahouse. It was the perfect stop to warm up after walking around the lake, in snow. I was so cold that I forgot to snap a picture of my tea, but I can tell you that they have quite a large collection of fine loose teas, so plenty of flavours to choose form.
It is also a popular place among the locals, and I have noticed the boatmen heating up over a cup of tea here as well. They do have coffee and other drinks on the menu too.
During my stay in Bled I kept passing by this wine bar and kept saying that I had to come back in the evening. But it never happened, so I made it my goal on the last night to come here for a glass of wine, before dinner. It was definitely worth the wait!
The wine bar is run by a welcoming friendly man who knows a lot about wine. There is an extended menu of different wines that you can order by the glass, and an entire wall of selected bottles that you buy and consume there or take away with you. He has quite a large collection of Slovenian wine too. Did you know that Slovenia makes wine? Me neither before stepping into Vinoteka Zdravljica.
Another plus of having wine here is the wonderful view of the castle and the island on the lake, especially by night, when they are lit up.
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