The imposing Bled Castle has been brooding over the lake on a steep 130m rock for centuries. Mentioned in written sources as early as 1011, it is Slovenia’s oldest castle. Most of the castle in its current shape is from the Renaissance period, while the daunting stone walls stem from the Romanesque.
The castle is a unique viewpoint, with beautiful vistas across the lake, island and surrounding villages, and extending as far as the Karavanke and Julian Alps. Attractions include an ancient printing works with a reconstruction of Gutenberg’s printing press, on which certificates can be printed, a wine cellar where guests are welcome to seal their own bottle of wine, a herbal gallery with its offer of natural products and a forge, testimony to the rich local heritage of blacksmithing, where you can mint your own coin.
You might also be interested in the museum with its presentation of the history of Bled, a beautiful frescoed gothic chapel and a 12-metre-deep well.
The castle restaurant is managed by the Bled College for Catering, providing excellent service and fine cuisine. Function spaces include the main restaurant, which can accommodate up to 60 guests, the Knights’ Hall and the wonderful upper castle terrace. Upon request, a group of actors in medieval costumes will take you back in time, entertaining guests with dances, knights’ duels and fire breathing.
Bled Castle is road-accessible by car, van and bus. There is a large car park on top of the castle hill, by the gate to the castle and drawbridge.
Legend of the widow Poliksena and the sunken bell
Around 1500, the castle administrator was Hartman Kreigh, who ruled with an iron fist. One day, he disappeared without trace, never to be seen again. His wife Poliksena, also a merciless lady, was inconsolable. In his memory, she gathered all her gold and silver to have a bell cast for the island chapel. However, while the bell was being carried over to the island, a severe storm sprang up, capsizing the boat, taking the boatmen and the bell to the bottom with it. Devastated, Poliksena left Bled to enter a convent. When the Pope heard her story, he cast a new bell and sent it to Bled, but it is said that the original bell can still be heard tolling at the bottom of the lake on windy nights to this day.