When J sent me the link to Garden Village Bled, the first thing I did was check out flights to Slovenia and booked us in. I didn't even bother looking at other places because the idea of staying in a tent excited me. But as the date got closer, I realised I was probably limiting our experience there as they offer not just a simple tent but they also have glamping tents and tree-houses. So I thought, why stay in one place when we could potentially stay in all three. So I got in touch with the booking team to ask them if we could stay in all three of their accommodations during our stay. They said yes and I couldn’t wait.
The experience and sights to see in Slovenia
Garden Village Bled is about a 30 min drive from the airport which was handy as my sinuses were not impressed with me (I had a really bad cold and don’t think I would have survived a longer ride.) It’s also about a 5 min walk from Lake Bled which made for perfect opportunities to go out sunrise searching which I only managed to do once- what a girl needs her sleep 😛.
For the first night, we stayed in the pier tent. It was a nice, simple but small tent. J is very tall and if I struggled to stand upright in there, I don’t think he bothered attempting it. That being said there was something special about staying right next to a little brook which cascaded into a waterfall. In the warmer months, this waterfall is used for natural massages so it’s worth staying there.
The pier tent is perfect if you are looking for a lovely romantic stay and you aren’t bothered about using the shared facilities which are just a short walk away from the tent.
When morning came, after an excellent breakfast which is included in your stay, we were lucky enough to be given the keys to the next accommodation, the glamping tent. We were going to go out and explore but once we had those keys, we decided to go and explore the tent and my oh my was it glam!
This tent can easily host 4 people. There are two double beds, one at the bottom and another at the top. It’s perfect if you have kids as they will definitely call dibs on the top bunk. The ensuite bathroom was amazing! Made me feel as if I was skiing in the Alps as it had a cabin feel to it. All of that was amazing but the best feature of all was the hot tub! Yep, you read that right. The hot tub.Which we tested out promptly and it was amazing. After a while of soaking in there, we headed out to explore Slovenia.
The first place I wanted to go and see was Vintgar Gorge. I learnt about this place from a fellow traveller Mike who runs the blog “Travel and Destinations” and his pictures made me want to go and explore that place. What we didn’t know when we go there was that they only took cash and lately with amazing cards such as Starling Bank and Monzo that offer no fees on transactions abroad, I haven’t carried cash in a really long time. So sadly we had to leave that for when we had cash. We decided to head to Lake Bohinj which was a 44 min drive away from Vintgar Gorge and although I was feeling rough it was worth the drive.
The next day was J’s favourite day because we were going to be checking into the treehouse. Unfortunately, unlike the glamping tent which was available in the morning, we had to wait for this one to be cleaned so we went off to see our second site.
We made our way to Postojna Cave which offered a guided tour to Europe’s Largest Cave. In this cave, I was amazed, as I always am in the wonder of nature. These caves were discovered by one man and they are still discovering more areas. The pictures that I took don’t do it justice. You’re not allowed to use flash in the caves as there are some microorganisms and small organisms that live in the caves and as they have been living here, they lack pigments and any further addition of light they are exposed to further damage to their skin. Talking about animals…...we saw…… baby dragons !!! Yes Khaleesi, you ain’t the only one with dragons 😛 Anyway, these dragons are called Vivarium Proteus and they are inhabited in the caves. I think it’s remarkable how they have adapted to their environment and have lived, survived and now they tell a bigger story.
After the tour, we drove 9km to Predjama Castle. When we got there, I was just amazed by the architecture of this place. As you can tell in the pictures below, it’s a castle in a cave. I mean it doesn’t get any better than that 😃
We headed back to Bled and got caught up in the Ljubljana traffic but in good time we were back in Bled.
We got the key to the treehouse and couldn’t wait to explore. Like the glamping tent, there were two double beds but this one had a kitchenette complete with a hob, so if you were going to stay there for longer than a weekend and you wanted to reduce costs, then you could cook some meals there such as lunch and dinner. Upstairs there was a lovely hammock which I enjoyed lying on whilst I read a book.
For the third time in a row, I set my alarm with the intention of going out to see a sunrise by Lake Bled with the Julian Mountains in the background. Morning came and this time I couldn’t ignore my alarm and say maybe tomorrow as it was our last day there. So I got up, got dressed and made my way to the lake. I walked past fishermen who were already set up and waiting patiently for fish to take the bait. I also passed a lot of other fairly enthusiastic photographers who were in the marshes of the lake and with good views but I wanted this moment to myself. I continued walking along the lake until I got to the boardwalk where I had the church in front of me and the Julian Alps behind it. When I got to my spot, I waited for the spectacular sunrise. I waited and I kept looking at the clock because it seemed like the time for the sun to rise had come and gone. I began to feel downhearted when I realised it wasn’t going to be a spectacular sunrise like I imagined. But just as those thoughts were running in my head I felt my heart telling me to be still and look up. And as I did I realised that the sun might not have come up in the way that I wanted to, but it had risen and the colours in the clouds were a testament to that. Now that was worth waking up for (video below)
As this was the last day we had to explore things around us, and I was also still yet to have a taste of the kremna resina which is Slovenia’s culinary speciality and is especially best in Bled. We sadly said goodbye to our accommodation with the wish to return and stay at the glamping tent if when we did and made our way to the first place we wanted to go to. Vintar Gorge.
Armed with our cash (entrance fee is €5) we began our walk through the gorge from the ticket office with parking. If you have a fear of heights, you can still do it, you’ll be so distracted by the beauty of the water and the explosion of colour which you see as you make your way along the 1.2km walk through the gorge.
The walk itself is simple, you walk through boardwalk for the most part and there are paths where you walk on the ground but it’s pretty simple. You can’t take buggies and I don’t think it’s wheelchair accessible (there are some areas with stairs) so keep that in mind when planning your trip there. When we got to the end we could see another waterfall and you know me, I want to see the waterfall up close and personal, probably get drenched in the process 😂
We made the mistake of taking the trail on the left-hand side of the toilets. This led us right up to the start of another trail which ends up going back to the entrance of Vintar from the other end of the gorge. What we should have done was follow the signs that directed us to Sur Waterfall. You’ll find the sign on the right-hand side of the ticket office at the end.
This path is a lot steeper as it’s going downhill so be careful as you go down and take your time if you’re not sure of the footing. Cross the road that takes you to the left-hand side and you’ll find yourself in front of Sur.
Blue Trainer Top Tips for Slovenia
1. Hire a car. J sometimes complains about the hassle of having a car but, to be honest, there is more hassle in not having a car. I feel you’re limited to the things that you can go out and explore due to train/ bus timings. So if you can hire a car, you’ll be able to see more. The roads are really good so you don’t need a 4X4
2. Eat lots of food. Here are the best places to eat in Bled
* Pizza Rustika makes amazing pizza. Their portions are more than the word generous and the beer is cheap (according to J). They do get busy and I’m not sure what their booking policy is like but worth the trouble of getting there.
* Ostarija Peglez’n is the best place to eat if you are in Bled. In fact, I would even say make the effort to go there. Their decor makes you feel right at home and the food is divine.
* Slaščičarna Zima is the only place you should go to if you want to have the kremna rezina which is a layer of vanilla custard topped with cream and some pastry. If you are a custard fan.. you’ll be in heaven
3. If you are going to visit Vintar Gorge, make sure you take some cash with you. Also make sure that you follow the directions using Google Maps as we found other navigation apps, got us lost. Avoid going on a weekend or a public holiday.
4. If you decide to go and stay at the Garden Village in Bled here are some tips for there
* Stay in the tree house for the first night, spend the rest of your time in the glamping tent
* It’s a better experience when there is a group of you. I believe facilities such as the camp fire are better experienced when there is a group of people (of course it could be an opportunity to meet other people as well
5. Visit during the warmer months. Although it was beautiful seeing the changes in the foliage during autumn, I think exploring might be a bit better in the spring/summer months as the weather will be more favourable.
So what are you waiting for? Book your trip to Slovenia and prepare to be amazed :)
Till next time !