Bled

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Slovenia’s BLED, a short drive from the capital Ljubljana, rates as one of the most beautiful alpine resorts in the world. Lake Bled’s mirrored surface is interrupted by its tiny island and Church of the Assumption, framed by the Alps behind with Bled Castle peering down from 130meters above - breathtaking. Pletna’s, Bled’s answer to the Gondola, ferry passengers across the lake, to and from the island, so take time to explore at leisure.  The Church is a wedding favorite despite Grooms having to carry their Bride up the 99 steps to the church, and the wishing bell has been tolling since 1534, so be sure to make a wish, it will surely come true. Take a lazy walk around the lake, or a swim in the lake’s swimming area right below the castle, before plopping down in one of the lakeside restaurants to drink in the amazing views and ambience that is Bled. A visit to the castle rewards with breathtaking views of the lake and its surrounds, and refreshments in the restaurant are all the sweeter for those views. But, a visit to Vintgar Gorge is a must – an unbelievable experience.  The walk through the gorge is exhilarating. Narrow walkways cling to the sides of the gorge and hover above the clear water as it cascades and rushes on the way to its crashing, tumbling end, the Šum Waterfall. The walkways are narrow and high in places, so wear shoes with good traction, and, as squeezing past on-coming people is required, get there early – not only to avoid the crowds, but to savor the sheer majesty of the gorge in peace. Enjoy a simple meal of spit-roast chicken or pork with salad, basket of bread and a cold beer at a local road-side eatery where your car parks alongside a farm field with cows grazing lazily nearby. Bled truly is simplicity, beauty and tranquility at its best. If you can tear yourself away, Postojna Caves, Slovenia’s national treasure, and Lipica, home of the Lipizzaner, is an easy day trip. The caves are incredible and a tour of the stables at Lipica brings these magnificent horses up close and personal – and they really are so beautiful. Craving the sea? A short 20 minutes from Lipica is the Italian seaside town of Trieste where you can take respite in the square whilst savoring a genuine Italian gelato or coffee – the perfect end to a fantastic day.  Of course, this is summer - in winter, Bled transforms into a winter wonderland, with ice-skating, skiing and tobogganing amongst many other winter pastimes, and just as stunning views. But, whatever the weather, Bled is a place of timeless, fairtytale like beauty - an amazing place to visit, so, spread your wings to Slovenia and Bled, you will be glad you did.