Ski for two? Try Bled

11th February 2010, by Chris Gill

Lake Bled, with the Julian Alps as a magnificant backdrop

Lake Bled, with the Julian Alps as a magnificant backdrop

Author: Wnedy King

Sometimes a resort is tailor-made for a couple looking for a winter break, with the advantages of a relaxed town base: skiing by day, romantic strolls around a beautiful lake at sunset …

Bled in Slovenia is one such destination. You can easily combine a skiing break with a valley town experience. First, the lakeside resort is just 30 minutes from Ljubljana airport so makes a sensible short break choice – and an alternative to the traditional city n’ ski visit. Second, Bled has a wide choice of amenities and a handful of small ski areas nearby – though less convenient, you can be on the lifts within 30-40 minutes. Third, the lake and mountain scenery is stunning … so it could just be the place to take your loved one for that special ski trip.
h4. Embraced by mountains

Bled is not the classic ski resort, but its position on the edge of the Triglav National Park makes it fine enough to try a different area each day – or mix n’ match the skiing with other winter sports activities. It is also one of the few towns where you’ll find a well-maintained ski slope just a few minutes walk from the centre. Straza is open daily until 8.30pm, served by a chairlift and actually offering a decent gradient. Of course, avid skiers may find the daily commute a chore and may prefer to stay closer to one area – but if you don’t mind the lack of ski-in/ski-out convenience, or plan to slip in days off as well, Bled is worth considering.

To get the best skiing, head for Vogel, Kobla, Kranjska Gora and Krvavec: these small but varied areas are covered by the Julian Alps’ lift pass, and a free daily ski bus serves Vogel and Krvavec from hotels around town too. It picks up between 8-9am and returns when the lifts close (4pm approx). For a treat after a day on the slopes, why not spend one night at the Krvavec igloo hotel. Sounds too cold? Not really. The individual ‘rooms’ are well prepared with furs, sleeping bags and mattress – and you’ll get champagne and candles. The stay includes a fondue meal, breakfast and snowshoe walk. It costs 89 euro per person.

A short drive away is Pokljuka – also home to Slovenia’s big new Biathlon centre – which offers winter sports galore, including snowshoeing, cross-country, hiking and ski touring.

Vogel ski area is great for novices and just a short ride away

Top class acts

A number of world-class winter sporting events are held in and around Bled. Slovenia prides itself on the variety of its winter activities and hugely improved facilities, so you’ll find quite a bit going on during the season. In January, they hosted the World Winter Masters Games – the biggest multi-sport event for recreational athletes. Kranjska Gora was the scene for the FIS World Cup slalom races, and have you ever heard of the World Championship in Winter Swimming? Nor had I, until I met a brave team of swimmers fresh from their icy crossing of Bled’s lake.

Rooms with a view

I was impressed with the quality and quantity of hotels in Bled. In general, they are comfortable and modern, most now come with super wellness facilities. The Toplice is one of Bled’s finest and oldest, a lakeside hotel that has a welcoming colonial feel. But even if you don’t stay there, drop by for a cuppa and relax with a fabulous view. Alternatively, the Golf Hotel is a fine 4-star and its pool facilities some of the best in the town.

Candlelight supper

Bled is quiet in winter, but there are plenty of places to eat out away from the hotels. For a romantic evening stroll along to Vila Preseren, beside the lake. This ultra modern restaurant has a hip and trendy style, with a fine-dining menu – but at sensible prices. I enjoyed an excellent two-course fish menu, with good local wine. Top it off with a slice of sweet indulgence: the Blejska Kremsnita [Blay-ska crems-nee-ta] – that’s cream cake to you and I, and a very tasty Bled speciality too.

Getting there

EasyJet fly from London Stansted to Ljubljana. Flights currently operate daily.
Bled has, arguably, one of the easiest airport-to-destination drives going: just 30-40 minutes along the A2 motorway, then a short excursion through the town.
Shuttle bus services operate up to six-times daily (from 13 euros.)
Buses and trains also run regularly from Ljubljana, but a car is better for getting around.
Vogel is the nearest ski centre, set in the beautiful Bohinj valley and reached by a 30-minute bus ride (or car if you prefer).

Lift passes

The Julian Alps lift pass covers Straza, Vogel, Kobla, Krvavec and Kranjska Gora – plus ice-skating at the Bled leisure centre. A two-day adult pass costs 61 euros (2009/10); six days 159 euros

My stay in Bled was part of a road trip around Slovenia’s ski resorts, arranged by the Bled tourist board. We’ll be covering more on the journey and the individual ski areas shortly, which will also appear in more detail on the website in due course. You can also catch up on my journey in our Blogs section (January 2010).

Champagne on ice? Try the Igloo hotel at Krvavec

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