Are you looking for your next wild swimming destination? Well can I recommend Lake Bled, Slovenia? We visited this gem of a town during our three week tour of Europe this summer and seriously — I’ve never swum in water so warm or beautiful!
Ever since I could keep myself afloat in water, I’ve been addicted. I just LOVE swimming — I love the sense of freedom, the peacefulness, the opportunity to explore the world below. My hubby not so much though. It’s the cold water he doesn’t like, which I can understand, growing up in the UK.
It went a little like this:
Me: “You’ve GOT to get in, it’s so waaaaaarrrm!”
Him: “No, no, I’d rather stay in my canoe.”
Me: “Seriously, you’ve never been in water this warm. It’s like a bath! You’ll regret it.” (I was honestly astounded at how warm it was)
Him: “Um… Someone’s got to look after the canoe…?”
Did he regret it? Yep. The next stop on our tour was Brač (an island off Croatia) and we both thought the sea there would be warmer. But to our surprise it wasn’t. He was gutted! If you’re planning your next summer holiday, you’ve got to add this to your list of adventures. Or if you’re heading there soon, I recon it’s still worth a quick dip — even if just for a swim in a beautiful lake.
The day we were there was a stunningly warm summer’s day, with people ambling along the lakeside, exploring the pop-up markets and sunning themselves in the glorious sunshine. But what I really loved is, despite Lake Bled being one of Slovenia’s major tourist attractions, it wasn’t overcrowded. It still felt really authentic and not a tad over-commercialised. And this was mid-summer. We even stumbled on a local music festival with loads of delicious food stalls.
There’s a gorgeous old church on an island in the middle of the lake, so naturally I wanted to swim to the island. Once there I hopped into the canoe and we paddled around the island, just enjoying the beauty of it all. The church as it currently stands was built in the 17th century, but has seen several reconstructions since the 11th to 8th centuries B.C! It has a super interesting history — well worth a read!
In the process of planning our tour, there were a couple of places where we wanted to get out on a canoe, but of course hiring them can be expensive. Tom’s a huge fan of canoeing and has been dying to have a canoe for as long as I can remember (he even convinced me we should ask for one as a gift on our wedding invitations!) So we decided this was the time to invest in an inflatable canoe — we also know we’re going to be doing many more canoeing adventures in the years to come.
Of course, they’re nothing like as smooth and manoeuvrable as a real canoe, but they’re incredibly transportable and it means we can now get on the water any time we like. And what fun it was to take out on Lake Bled (though obviously I was out of it as soon as I could to swim in the warm warm water). But Tom really enjoys canoeing solo, so he had fun testing all the moves he could do in his new toy.
Slovenia is not actually a country I knew a great deal about when planning our holiday, but there is so much to discover in this beautiful land. While researching our trip, we’d typed ‘outdoor sports in Europe’ into Google — as you do — and discovered that it was actually a massive mecca for outdoor lovers. From kayaking in Bled’s underground mines to canyoning in Bohinj to SUPing on the Savica River, Slovenia has it all. Sadly on this trip we only had two days in Slovenia, but it’s definitely on the list to come back to one day.
Keep an eye out for our adventure through Vintgar Gorge too!