Planning a trip to Slovenia and wondering how to get from Ljubljana to Lake Bled? My 2019 transport guide shows you how to travel safely and affordably.
As much as I hate to use the phrase ‘must-see’, there’s really no other way to describe Lake Bled. Blejsko Jezero as it’s known locally sits at the foot of the Julian Alps and is an absolute icon of Central Europe – and the poster child of Slovenian tourism. I strongly believe it should feature on every Slovenia itinerary! Even if you’re in a neighbouring country, it’s worth making a special day trip to Slovenia just to see it.
Visiting Lake Bled was one of the highlights of our 10-day trip around Slovenia this winter. Slovenia is small, affordable, and pretty much everything runs like clockwork. This makes it very easy to travel around. Because Bled is so close to Ljubljana, the lake makes for a perfect day, overnight or side trip from the capital.
More day trip inspiration: Visiting Skofja Loka from Ljubljana.
- Distance from Ljubljana to Lake Bled: 54.4km (33.8 miles)
- Ljubljana to Bled travel time: Roughly 1 hour and 20 minutes (plus or minus depending on traffic and conditions)
In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to travel from Ljubljana to Lake Bled. I’ve gone to great lengths to ensure all the information presented here is up-to-date, and I’ll be revising the details regularly. I’ve also included a few helpful tips for planning your visit to Lake Bled.
In This Post:
- How long should you spend in Bled?
- Where to stay in Bled: Lake Bled accommodation
- How to get to Lake Bled from Ljubljana
- What is the road to Bled like?
- Where to break the journey between Ljubljana and Bled
- Lake Bled to Ljubljana: The return trip
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How long should you spend in Bled?
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already hashed out most of your Slovenia itinerary. You might even be in Ljubljana right now planning to travel to Bled in the next few days (in which case, all I can say is – jealous!).
So how long are you going to spend on the lake?
You could do a Ljubljana to Lake Bled day trip. Or you could book yourself a nice little chalet on the water and relax for a couple of days. There’s no wrong answer: Lake Bled is always a good idea, no matter how much or how little time you have.
When we visited Slovenia recently, we chose to spend three nights on the lake. We found this was plenty enough time to see the historical highlights, get some fresh air, and sample some of the best restaurants in the area.
If you want to tick Lake Bled off your list, a day trip from Ljubljana will suffice. If you’re into hiking, I would recommend staying at least two nights to give yourself one full day for exploring. And if you want to relax, budget anywhere from two to five nights for Lake Bled. You won’t regret it! At the end of this post I’ll show you the best things to do in Lake Bled.
Where to stay in Bled: Lake Bled accommodation
When visiting Lake Bled, most travellers base themselves in the adjacent town of Bled. Bled town is located on the eastern corner of the lake, just off highway E61. This is where you’ll find the best range of accommodation options and most restaurants.
When we visited Bled, we stayed at this Airbnb on the outskirts of town. It was lovely, but it was a bit far from the lake (we didn’t have a car). If you’re driving, it would be perfect to stay somewhere in this area because there’s ample street parking available.
In the centre of Bled, Vila Cvetka is a good budget choice. Old Bled House is a charming guesthouse close to restaurants and cafes. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Grand Hotel Toplice is right on the waterfront and the best luxury hotel in town.
How to get to Lake Bled from Ljubljana
There are four ways to travel from Ljubljana to Lake Bled: By bus, train, car or taxi.
Whichever mode of road transport you choose, you’ll be travelling on highway E61. It leads you almost due north from Ljubljana in the direction of the Austrian border.
Ljubljana to Lake Bled by bus
The Ljubljana Bled bus is my preferred mode of transport for this journey. Arriva company (the most popular in the country) runs large coaches between Ljubljana and Bled throughout the day. A lot of Slovenians live outside the city and use this bus to commute to Ljubljana. Arriva buses are both reliable and safe.
Ljubljana to Lake Bled bus schedule
Ljubljana to Lake Bled is one of the most popular bus routes in Slovenia so departures are very frequent. The first bus of the day leaves at 6am. After that, buses depart every 30-60 minutes, with the final departure at 9.45pm.
Check the latest bus schedule here by selecting ‘Ljubljana AP’ (short for Avtobusna Postaja or bus station) as your point of departure and ‘Bled’ as your destination.
Online ticket sales
Because buses are so frequent, you can usually chance it and buy your ticket on the day. If you’re travelling in peak season, it might be wise to reserve a spot ahead of time.
To buy your tickets in advance, you can either go to the station in Ljubljana a few days prior (instructions below), or you can reserve a ticket online using the Avtobusna Postaja website. Ticket sales open 30 days in advance.
To find tickets, go to the AP timetable page and search for buses from ‘Ljubljana Avtobusna Postaja’ to ‘Bled’. Enter your date to bring up a list of departure times. After you click the cart icon, you can choose either a one-way ticket or a return ticket, which is good for 30 days from the date of issue.
Tickets are slightly more expensive if you buy them online. A one-way ticket from Ljubljana to Bled costs 7.80 Euro, and an open return ticket costs 12.84 Euro. If you see the error message ‘Nakup vozovnice ni več možen’, this means tickets are no longer available for the time you selected (either it’s sold out, or online sales have closed). Pay online using Visa, Mastercard or AMEX.
Note that you will not receive a ticket, but rather a ticket invoice. You must exchange this invoice for a paper ticket at the bus station in Ljubljana before you travel (note the opening hours in the next section). When you present the invoice (either printed or on your phone), staff will give you a paper ticket, which you then show to the bus driver. Do not attempt to board the bus with an invoice as you will be turned away!
Getting to Ljubljana bus station
Ljubljana Bus Station (Avtobusna Postaja) is located in front of the train station on Trg Osvobodilne. It’s very close to the centre, roughly a 10-minute walk from the Dragon Bridge. A taxi from anywhere in the centre should only cost a few Euros. Note that taxis in Ljubljana are fitted with metres.
The airport is located almost halfway between the centre of Ljubljana and Bled. If you want to transfer to Bled straight from the airport, it might make more sense to jump straight in a taxi (more info in the next section) rather than going into town first. A taxi from the airport to the train station (a 27km or 30-minute journey) costs 20-45 Euro.
When you arrive at the bus station, you’ll see it’s laid out like a long parking lot with numbered bays. The Lake Bled bus departs from position 7, which is right in front of the ticket office. You will be able to see ‘Bled’ clearly printed on a sign in the bus windscreen.
Buying tickets for the Ljubljana Bled bus at the station
If you hold off and buy tickets in person at the station, you’ll only have to pay 6.30 Euro for a one-way ticket from Ljubljana to Bled.
Ticket desks are located inside the bus station building. The first time we visited the bus station, we walked into the railway station by accident. The bus office is actually the smaller building situated in the centre of the parking lot.
Inside, there are TV screens that display upcoming departures. Walk straight up to one of the cashier desks to buy your tickets (or exchange your e-invoice). Staff are friendly and speak perfect English. You can pay either in cash or by card.
The ticket office is open from 5am Monday to Saturday, and from 5.30am on Sundays. It closes at 10.30pm Sunday to Friday, and half an hour earlier at 10pm on a Saturday.
If for some reason you want to buy tickets on the bus, you can do that too. All buses are fitted with Eftpos machines; simply speak to the driver and swipe your card to purchase. You can also pay the driver in cash. This is handy if you’re boarding the bus from elsewhere in the city (the bus makes a few stops on the way out of Ljubljana).
Storing luggage at the bus station
There is a luggage storage office behind ticket desk #3 inside the Ljubljana bus station. It’s open from 5am until 10.30pm Monday to Saturday, and from 5.30am until 10.30pm on Sundays and holidays. It costs 3.50 Euro to store one bag (up to 30kg) for a full day.
Luggage space on the bus
Arriva buses have overhead storage racks for keeping small bags. Like most buses in the Balkans, you have to pay an extra fee to store a larger backpack, a suitcase or an oversized item such as skis under the bus. In Slovenia, you need to pay an extra 1 Euro per item.
When you’re boarding the bus, the driver or an attendant will tag your bag, take your Euro and give you back a ticket stub. Keep hold of it, because they might ask to see it when you disembark.
Is there a toilet on the bus?
Yes! Arriva coaches have a toilet, air conditioning and WIFI. They are very comfortable.
Arrival at Bled bus station
Arriva buses stop at two stations in Bled: Bled Union, and Bled. Bled (the second stop) is the best to jump off at if you’re staying the centre of town or you want to head straight down to the lake. The bus terminates here, so you can’t miss it.
From the station office, walk south along Cesta Svobode to reach the lake. It’s pretty obvious, and remember, Bled is very small so it’s almost impossible to get lost.
Ljubljana to Bled by train
If you’re a fan of train travel, there is a passenger train between Ljubljana and Bled. I assume the journey is quite scenic and comfortable – and it’s even slightly quicker than the bus. The only downside is that the train station is located 4km outside of town, so you’ll need to take a taxi or local bus the rest of the way.
There are regular trains throughout the day from Ljubljana’s main station (adjacent to the bus station) to Lesce-Bled (the most convenient station for accessing the lake). The first train is at 4.35am, and the last train is at 11.55pm. Check the latest schedule on the Slovenian Railways website.
There are two types of trains: older trains (abbreviated with LPV) and newer trains (marked MV or EC). The newer trains are slightly faster. Tickets for the LPV trains (second class only) cost 5.08 Euros per person. Tickets for the newer trains cost 9.42 Euros (first class) or 6.88 Euros (second class). Tickets can be bought at the station.
When you arrive at Lesce-Bled, you can either take a local bus or a taxi the rest of the way into town. Be aware that a taxi to the lake can cost as much as 17 Euros.
Ljubljana to Lake Bled by car
Having a car in Bled can be handy if you want to explore areas beyond the lake. If you plan on driving yourself from Ljubljana to Lake Bled, familiarise yourself with the route before you set off. It’s a pretty easy drive along the same highway until the very end, where you turn off for the town.
There is one long tunnel just after the town of Kranj – make sure you know how to work your headlights! You’ll obviously need to choose accommodation in Bled that comes with parking (most do).
Read next: 18 epic road trip itineraries for the Balkans (including Slovenia!).
There are plenty of rental car agencies in Ljubljana, including a Sixt and a Europcar at the train station.
Ljubljana to Lake Bled by taxi
If you’re travelling with a group of more than 4 people, it can work out cheaper to go from Ljubljana to Lake Bled by taxi. I would highly recommend organising a car in advance through a reputable company rather than trying to hail a cab on the street.
There are two popular companies that come recommended: Bled Taxi Transfer and Airtrail Slovenia. Both offer taxis from Ljubljana airport to Bled for between 40 and 45 Euros, and from anywhere in Ljubljana city to Bled for around 55 Euros. Submit an online enquiry for more information.
Ljubljana to Lake Bled day trip
Because Lake Bled is so close to Ljubljana (1.75 hours at most), it’s entirely possible to visit as a long day trip. You can do it yourself on public transport by following the instructions above. Or you can organise a Lake Bled day trip from Ljubljana.
The latter has the added benefit of a guide to show you around and narrate some of the history. It’s a great option for solo travellers, or anyone who has left it to the last minute and is concerned about the availability of bus seats.
This full-day trip from Ljubljana combines Lake Bled, Vintgar Gorge and Skofja Loka. It includes a boat trip at Bled, a visit to the castle, and lunch with a view. If I had to choose a Lake Bled day trip, it would be this one.
If you’re interested in caves, this itinerary pairs a visit to Postojna Cave with Bled’s highlights, including a boat trip and the climb up to the castle. Adventure lovers should opt for this day tour, which includes Bled castle, Vintgar Gorge, and whitewater rafting on the Sava River.
There are also tours to Bled from cities in a number of neighbouring countries, including from Trieste, Italy (7 hours duration), from Zagreb, Croatia (11 hours duration), and from Vienna (13 hours duration). All of these itineraries incorporate a stopover in Ljubljana.
What is the road to Bled like?
As someone who suffers from motion sickness, I’m always eager to know what road conditions to expect. I’m pleased to say the highway between Ljubljana and Bled is straight and flat for the most part. I didn’t have any trouble on the journey – in fact, it was very unmemorable. The scenery is lovely no matter which side of the bus you sit on. The trip is fast and smooth.
On the final approach into Bled, you’ll leave the highway for about 4km or 6 minutes of driving. But even this road is well-maintained and unremarkable.
We always felt safe on buses in Slovenia (which is more than I can say for some other countries… Hint hint, Albania!). If your bus has seatbelts (most do), you’re obliged to fasten them.
Where to break the journey between Ljubljana and Bled
If you’re self-driving around Slovenia or you have time to stop somewhere along the way, I can recommend two places to break the journey.
The first is the small city of Kranj. It’s located just off the highway, almost exactly halfway between Ljubljana and Bled. Popular things to do in Kranj include Brdo Castle, Strmol Castle and Lake Zbilje. The city itself is gorgeous and filled with interesting architecture.
Every bus travelling from Ljubljana to Bled makes a mandatory stop in Kranj to let off passengers and pick ones up. I’m sure you can store your luggage at the bus office in Kranj for a few hours before jumping on another coach to continue the journey.
Skofja Loka is one of my favourite places in Slovenia and also worthy of a look in your way to Bled. It’s a little bit further east of Kranj along the same road, so you can easily combine the two. In Skofja Loka, you should eat lunch at the old granary and if you have time, stretch your legs by walking up the hill for a view of the castle.
Lake Bled to Ljubljana: The return trip
Travelling the opposite way from Bled to Ljubljana is pretty straightforward. A taxi should cost you about the same, or maybe a tiny bit more. Buses are just as regular going back to the city so again, bus is my preferred way to travel.
Lake Bled to Ljubljana bus schedule
The first Arriva bus of the day departs Bled at 5am. After that, there are departures every 40-60 minutes until 9.30pm at night. Check the schedule here by reversing the journey (‘Bled’ to ‘Ljubljana AP’).
Buying tickets for the return bus in Bled
I have tried to buy Bled to Ljubljana bus tickets online through the AP Ljubljana website, but it never seems to show availability. If you want to travel back to the city on the same day, I highly recommend either buying a return ticket online or picking up a return ticket as soon as you arrive in Bled.
The bus station in Bled is very modest and shares an office space with a tourist agency. There is a small cash window and you’ll usually see staff wandering around outside. Apart from a bench seat, there’s not much else to it.
And there you have it! I hope this has answered your questions about travelling from Ljubljana to Lake Bled. If there’s anything else you want to know, please leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help out.