Sited in the pretty village of Zasip, just 3km from Bled, the house is well positioned for both lake and land attractions and as a base to explore the further reaches of the Julian Alps. The spectacular Vintgar Gorge is nearby and is easily reached by one of the many well trodden footpaths. Gorgeous Lake Bled is a short cycle away and it is easy to visit nearby Lake Bohinj by car or bus. If you decide to stay put and simply soak up the tranquility, the balcony offers wide views over the fairytale castle and beyond, while the secluded garden boasts spectacular mountain views across open countryside.
By Slovene standards, Zasip is a large village and contains everything you might need on a day-to-day basis. The well-stocked Mercator supermarket is open week-days from 8:00am until 5:00pm with a half day on Saturday and there’s a friendly pub that serves good food and drink. On the hill overlooking Zasip lies a popular pizzeria which offers great views of the village and the valley beyond. Directly behind the restaurant is a footpath which leads to the bottom of the famous Vintgar Gorge. It’s a one and a half hour walk in total but if you’re in need of a pit stop there’s a restaurant at the top end of the gorge serving freshly caught trout – simply delicious.
While we would recommend that guests have use of a car during their holiday, it is not essential as the village is well connected with local public transport routes. From the stop at the end of the road you can catch one of the regular buses into Bled, using the service that leads to the foot of the Pokljuka Plateau. From Bled bus station you can get almost anywhere in the region. Alternatively you can walk to Podhom Station, at the other end of the village, and wait for a train. From there, it is one stop to the Bled Jezero (Bled Lake) station. The train goes on to Bohinski Bistrica (gateway to the Bohinj Valley) and then onwards through a series of mountain tunnels as far as the Italian border.
Lake Bled is one of Slovenia’s most famous attractions, yet it remains relatively tranquil even at the height of the tourist season. Walk, ride, cycle or skate around it. Swim in it, row across it or even walk on it in winter. This huge expanse of water with its island church holds an enduring appeal.
The castle dominates the town and the lake and is worth a visit just for the view alone. It has much more to offer, however, including a museum, restaurant, a medieval printing press and even a chance to cork your own bottle of wine.
The Golf Hotel is a favourite pamper place with its extensive fun pool and heat room complex (dress rules apply). The outdoor hot tubs have great views of the castle and overlook the lake. This is the place for relaxation, massage, treatments and even hot-stones therapy to unblock your energy meridians.
The tourist agencies in Bled offer all sorts of adrenaline-fuelled fun and arrange daily white-water rafting, canyoning, caving, canoeing and paragliding trips as well as mountain tours and general excursions. You can also hire a guide and try your hand at fly or carp fishing. For those visitors whose golfing skills extend beyond crazy golf (to be found in Bled) the local course is maintained to competition standards and is available with prior booking.
Bled and some of the nearby towns are regular hosts to a wide variety of national and international festivals including: the biathlon, half-marathon, rowing, chess, classical music, world music, ski-flying, winter swimming, spring flowers, and golf.
Describing the beauty of Lake Bohinj is not an easy task because its appearance and mood change hourly. The lake is peaceful and even in high season, should you walk the length of the northern shore line, you will often feel like you are the only one there. Although you would never describe the lake as commercial, it is possible to hire Canadian style canoes or to hop on the steamer which links the villages at either end.
The ski slopes of Mt Vogel are reached using the cable car at the west end of the lake. In summer or winter the views of the lake and of endless mountain peaks that can be seen from the top-station are tremendous. The restaurants are open all year round with one specializing in wild boar dishes.
Horse-riders of all ages and abilities are welcome at Mrcina Ranc in Studor for guided hacks lasting from a half an hour to a couple of days. The walk up the river valley from Stara Fuzina is very special and is included in our recommended walks ‘download’.
Radolvlica, some 5km to the east of Bled, has a very pretty old square lined with numerous bars and restaurants including one with its own ginger bread museum. The music college, also found in the square, is a regular host for classical music performances.
Kranjska Gora, another destination for mountain adventurers is about 40 minutes drive to the north. As well as being Slovenia’s most popular ski area- most suitable for groups of beginners – it is a mecca for ramblers and mountain bike enthusiasts.
Beyond Kranjska Gora, the switchback road over the Vrsic Pass to Bovec is a spectacular route and a day trip not to be missed. Look out for Emerald River trips at the tourist agencies in Bled, they will stop at all the best bits and return through the train tunnel at Bohinska Bistrica.
The bijoux city of Ljubljana is about an hour’s drive from the Alpine Retreat or a leisurely train journey from Bled Lesce station. The old town area and castle are the most popular destinations with the nearby banks of the Lubianica River lined with bars and restaurants.
Slovenes are proud of their wine and even have a festival, on 11th November, to celebrate the first drinkable fermentation. The wine regions of Terran and Goreska Brda are easily reached by train. Again guided tours are available from the Bled based agencies.
Every few weeks in the summer period, a special steam train service is laid on to give the wine tours an extra twist. The rail trip is worth doing in its own right and using normal service trains trips ranging as far as Novo Mesto, on the Italian border, can be done from Podhom Station, just a short walk from the Alpine Retreat.
The Slovene coast is only a few miles long but has a jewel of a town called Piran. Established as a trading partner with Venice, Piran has a similar architectural, although admittedly less watery, feel than its neighbour across the sea. The shores of its peninsula are lined with bars and restaurants, a foody heaven. Portoros lies a few miles along the coast and is popular with a more lively crowd and casino goers. Both towns are within reach for a day trip, the single journey being about two and a half hour drive.