5 Things To Do Around Lake Bled with a Toddler in Tow

Two years ago, we visited Slovenia, and more specifically Lake Bled, with friends of ours. Now when those friends suggested a holiday around a lake, I was quite dubious. BattleKid was 18 months old at the time and I really wondered if there were things to do around Lake Bled with a Toddler in Tow. We had never even considered Slovenia as a holiday destination but the pictures I was seeing of Lake Bled got me excited nonetheless. things to do around lake bled with a toddler

We went in the August as our friend’s children are older and the holiday needed to fit in during their school holidays.  And as our friend’s children were older, they had been on the hunt for a holiday which was different from your usual package sun holiday. So, Lake Bled was the suggested and accommodation and flights were swiftly booked.

I did wonder how we would fair with BattleKid being so young but I need not have worried. It turns out there are plenty of things to do around Lake Bled with a toddler that you can enjoy even with a younger child about.

things to do around lake bled with a toddler
Beautiful Lake Bled

5 Things to Do Around Lake Bled with a Toddler in Tow

A walk Around Lake Bled.

One of the very first things we did around Lake Bled with BattleKid was walk around Lake Bled. There is a beautiful walk around the circumference of the lake and goes from walks near one of the hotels in town, under a bridge, to the far end of the lake (just under 4 miles on total). There is a boardwalk from here before you walk around the back of the entrance to the lido. It is simply a beautiful place to take a walk and takes roughly 2-2.5 hours to complete, depending on whether you stop to teach your toddler to throw stones in the water.

things to do around lake bled with a toddler
Walk around the lake

BattleKid loved this and it became a regular thing for us when we visited the lake. There are jettys where the gondolas stop that make for a great platform to teach an 18 month old toddler to throw stones into the water. There are also several areas suitable for having a picnic and also several cafes and restaurants around the lake for lunch, dinners or even a snack (see below).

BattleKid and I even had a walk ourselves around the lake one day while we waited for everyone else to do their toboggan ride, which I am reliably informed was brilliant (best suited to older children).

Relax and Swim at Bled Lido.

Bled Lido is an area of the lake made for pleasure, sunbathing, swimming and body boarding. It is situated on the side of the Lake opposite the town just under the castle and has a charge to enter it. We visited it twice, as written about in my Slovenia Holiday Diaries, and is a great place to bring a toddler.

There are several pools of varying depths to go in, and BattleKid and I got into the water on both occasions. He thoroughly enjoyed it, having gotten used to being in the water from his Waterbabies lessons. You can also swim freely in the lake itself outside of the pools, but it is advised to stay in certain areas to avoid being in a precarious position with kayaks, body boarders or worse still, the gondolas ferrying people across to the island.

BattleDad, our friend and their teenage son enjoyed body boarding one day and I was quite surprised at how well BattleDad was doing for his first time, and how much fun they seemed to be having, even in the rain that rolled in off the Alps one afternoon.

There are also kayaks which can be hired out, a room with table tennis (which we ladies and BattleKid used as shelter the afternoon of the rain), sand pits and swings for children, and also ample changing rooms and lockers. The Bled Lido is a great place for those living around the Lake to go to for a bit of R&R.

Just be warned. If you decide to swim outside the pools, you cannot reach the bottom of the lake with your feet so you should be able to swim, and you will be swimming among the fish of the lake at all times, whether it is in the pools or in the open water!

Bled Lido costs €7 per adult and €5 per child under 14 years of age*. This gives you all day access to the lido. Other amenities such as kayaks, deckchairs and umbrellas can be hired for additional charges.

Visit Bled Castle and Admire the Views.

Bled Castle is situated on a hill overlooking Lake Bled itself. It is best reached by car or by bus. There are many coaches which go to the castle. There is parking at the castle grounds but at busy times it might take you a while to find a space.

Bled Castle which has both Romanesque and Renaissance architecture, has some stunning views of the Lake and surrounding areas. This is definitely a place to visit if you want to get some panoramic pictures of the lake from above.

things to do around lake bled with a toddler
Bled Castle

BattleKid quite enjoyed toddling around the courtyard of the castle while everyone else explored the castle. There are several rooms toddlers can visit such as Workshop/Library (others), but I would suggest that if you visit you leave the buggy in the car. The courtyard is cobbled and there are areas of the castle which are not very buggy accessible. We had BattleKid in his Toddlepak reins and they worked a treat.

We hadn’t started our dragon hunting adventures when we visited Bled Castle, but it would make a great place to do some dragon hunting!

Bled castle costs €10 per adult and €5 per child under 14. For families with at least 2 adults, 1 child is admitted free of charge. Bled Castle also has a museum and restaurant if you fancy a sit down in a beautiful setting.

things to do around lake bled with a toddler
Panorama views of Lake Bled from Bled Castle

Take a Pletna Boat to the Church on the Island.

In the centre of Lake Bled lies an island with a church. It is the iconic church which forms the centrepiece of most pictures and photographs of Lake Bled. To reach it you need to take one of the many gondolas, or pletna boats, from the stations around the lake. It is said that your wish will come true if you ring the bells inside the church.

We took BattleKid over and he seemed to enjoy the boat ride. The gondola itself has a charge (currently €14 per adult return and €7 per child under 14 return) but visiting the island itself is free. There is a walk around the edge of the island which doesn’t take very long. There are information boards along this route telling you about the different species of fish that can be found in Lake Bled.

things to do around lake bled with a toddler
Take a Pletna boat to visit the church on the island

You can go inside the church which carries a donation cost (€6 at the time of our visit in 2015), there is a gift shop selling all manner of items including chocolate and gifts, and there is a tea room too (check this). Visiting the island is an absolute must if you visit Lake Bled. I really enjoyed the ride across the lake and there were no complaints from BattleKid either.

Savour a Bled Cake.

No trip to Lake Bled would be complete without having at least one slice of Bled Cake. It would remind me of a custard slice but boy is it so much more. We had been told to make sure we tried on at Bled itself, so one afternoon, while out as a family, the Battle Family stopped at a rather nice restaurant for a slice of Bled Cake and some tea/coffee and we were not disappointed.

It was the most heavenly take on a vanilla slice I have ever tasted and even BattleKid got in on the act. I haven’t tasted a vanilla-based dessert or cake anywhere near as good as Bled Cake. So, I highly recommend you try it if you ever get the chance to visit Bled. And you must let your toddler have at least one mouthful.

things to do around lake bled with a toddler
About to devour some Bled Cake

I am sure there are other things to do around Lake Bled with a toddler in tow, but these were our top 5. In the end, it was one of the best holidays we’ve had within Europe with BattleKid, so much so we have every intention of returning when he is older. I think BattleDad is keen to get both BattleKid and me on the toboggan ride!

A lake-side holiday wouldn’t have been my first choice of holiday that year but we were not disappointed and it has me eager to try another lake-side holiday in the near future. I was pleasantly surprised that there were actually things to do around Lake Bled with a toddler in tow, and I’d highly recommend it as a holiday destination, whether you have toddlers or not.

And if you think you can get away with a one-day visit, consider it carefully as Elizabeth from Dutch Dutch Goose regretted not staying at least one night around Lake Bled. I am also keen to explore Slovenia as a whole country next time we visit as Jules from Shades of Courage has a brilliant post featuring much more of the country which they explored during a 15-day road trip. Can I go now?

Have you done a lake-side holiday, and if so, where should we go next?

Thanks for reading,

Cath x

*Prices correct at the time of writing this post.

things to do around lake bled with a toddler things to do around lake bled with a toddler

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Portugal Day 6: 29/03/2016

After a relatively ok night’s sleep we got up and had breakfast with everyone before getting ourselves dressed. I left BattleKid in his pyjamas so as not to ruin his clothes over breakfast, which he can do. Our flight home to Cardiff wasn’t until 1.15 and my dad had arranged an airport transfer for us for 10.30 so we had a bit of time to kill. I let BattleKid play on the terrace which we all had a cup of tea. My dad had offered to come to the airport with us but I said there was no need as it would have delayed them getting their bus to Olhao.

Just after 10 I changed BattleKid, closed up our suitcase and made sure everything was ready. I had pared down my hand luggage to as I had a good idea what BattleKid would and wouldn’t need on the flight. It also has me more mindful of what I’m going to pack in our hand luggage for the flight to Lanzarote.

We went downstairs and our taxi was waiting, so we said our goodbyes and off we headed. BattleKid got about a 10 minute nap on the way there which wasn’t ideal. When we arrived we were a little early for check in and the boards were saying our flight was half an hour delayed which I wasn’t too happy about. Once we checked in I got us through security and went in hunt of something to eat. BattleKid was glad to be out of his buggy for a bit. We had lunch and wandered around the shops to kill some time before I got us through passport control into our departures lounge and got a bottle of water for us.portugal day6

We boarded out flight at 1.15 (our original departure time) and the crew were very apologetic and got all the passengers in great spirits with their funny antics just before the safety demonstration. Surprisingly the flight wasn’t full and BattleKid was generally quite good, getting a bit bored again during our descent into Cardiff. I’m going to have to stock up on more stickers for our flights to and from Lanzarote as he ploughed through them during the descent. He didn’t nap at all which wasn’t ideal as I’d hoped he would but he never had napped on a flight, too much going on around him I think. It doesn’t help that he’s a nosey parker!

After landing, collecting our bags and making our way to the car we headed for home. This is when BattleKid decided to nap, typical! Plus as we landed later than originally planned we hit rush hour traffic coming out of Cardiff. I was glad to get home and see BattleDad.

All in all, our trip to Portugal was a lovely one, very relaxing and it was so nice to spend some quality time with Nico and my parents. Tavira is a nice town, not too built up and is definitely somewhere I’d recommend if you are after a bit of quite time in the sun. Next on the holiday agenda is Lanzarote. We’re headed back to the same place as last year in the hope of a better ending to the holiday than last year (and BattleKid’s chicken pox).

Portugal Day 5: 28/03/2016

We woke at 7am and had our bop in our bed as usual. BattleKid was in quite good form thankfully. We joined everyone out in the living room once they were up and I let BattleKid watch the Gruffalo and Room on the Broom on his tablet during breakfast, which encouraged him to eat well thankfully. I was worried he’d still be off his food but he wasn’t. Even Lolo enjoyed the two programmes. After breakfast we got dressed and headed to Tavira Gran Plaza shopping centre.portugal day5

Our first stop was a shop called Mo to get Nico some trousers. He had picked up a pair in there but wanted a different colour so that’s what we did. I picked up a top, a scarf and a pair of shoes for myself but had to run back to change the shoes as I’d stupidly picked up a 37 (4) rather than a 38 (5). I don’t know what I was thinking. Next we stopped into s kids clothes shop called Zippy where I got my niece Leah (Nico’s sister) a nice Minnie Mouse top and shorts set. I hadn’t gotten her anything for Easter so thought the little set would be nice. Once we’d finished browsing the shops we headed up to the food court for a drink and some cake. It was a lovely day out so we relaxed on the balcony with our tea and cake before letting BattleKid ride one of the amusement rides inside before heading to the Continente supermarket for supplies and walking back to our apartment.

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portugal day5We had lunch and BattleKid ate well. He then enjoyed playing on the terrace with his cars before I out him down for a nap at 1.30pm. I had a cuppa with my mum and then started to fall asleep in the sun so decided to climb into bed just after 2 for a nap myself. I got a much-needed hour. I woke BattleKid at 3.30 and we headed down to the pool for an hour for the final time to chill out. Nico pointed out the noisy neighbours and I was very surprised as the lady looked to be over 60 years of age. She should have known better than to clip around in heels late at night on tiled floors!

portugal day5

portugal day5

After a lovely hour by the pool, which I was going to miss terribly, we got dressed and head to Gran Plaza for dinner. There are a number of different food retailers in the food court which meant we were all catered for easily. BattleKid, Lolo and Nico had something from the burger place while Nana and I went for salads, which were huge! Afterwards BattleKid had a ride on the amusement bus again, the first one he’s ever stayed on one while it was moving! We stopped by C&A for Nico as he wanted to pick himself up something as this was his last chance and then on our way to the exit BattleKid had a ride on a Bob the Builder ride, again staying on it.portugal day5

Back at the apartment I finished up packing, called BattleDad and then got BattleKid into bed. I had a few cups of tea with Nico and my mum before retiring myself in hopes of a good night’s sleep. The noisy neighbours started again but didn’t go on for an hour! It wasn’t a very exciting day but a ncie one to end our few days in Portugal with my parents and Nico.

Portugal Day 4: 27/03/2016

We woke at 6.30am (7.30 new time as the clocks had changed overnight) and had a bop in our bed. Once we heard others stirring we joined them in the living room for a cuppa. BattleKid watched an episode of Curious George, tucked up with Nico who had slept on the sofa bed due to his sunburn. We got some breakfast into us and then wandered into Tavira town to check out buses to other destinations.

Tavira is a quaint little town situated 17 miles east of Faro on the edge of the Algarve. It is not a very touristy place like I’d image the rest of the Algarve is, but still seems to be popular with, let’s say, older tourists. It still comes across as a traditional Portuguese town and definitely isn’t somewhere to go if you are looking for typical tourist holiday things. I’d imagine it probably does get busy in the summer but with a mixture of European tourists if Easter weekend is anything to go by. It comes across as a place where older Europeans retire to, which explains why my parents like it so much. There aren’t many tourist bars, there isn’t a water park and no big holiday hotel resorts that I could see. Tavira Gardens where we were staying seemed to be a mixture of holiday apartments and retirement homes.

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That said Tavira has charm. It has lots of narrow, cobbled streets in the centre of town and near the boats/harbour areas of town the streets are lined with shops of all manner selling things like cork bags to traditional tablecloths to gifts and clothes. It is a proper mish-mash of shops.

The plaza beside the Roman Bridge is a nice area with a big open area, cafes on the edges and a nice garden off it leading to an old market building. At the end of the garden there is a market once a week selling things likes smoked meat to handmade wicker baskets to honey. There are lots of old buildings around Tavira with colourful doors and a definite feel of old Mediterranean about it.

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Cobbled streets of Tavira

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portugal day4

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Roman Bridge of Tavira

After a wander to the bus station to check out bus times to Olhao and Ville Real, we headed back to the plaza and stopped for a drink and some cake in a café, not one of the tourist-type ones. The waitress who served us on Day 2 served us again and she was lovely, particularly with BattleKid as, she had explained before, she has a little girl of 2 and a half herself. Afterwards we had a another quick wander around the garden, spotting fish and terrapins in the fountain which had BattleKid in amazement. We hopped into a taxi back to our apartment and gave BattleKid a light lunch before I put him down for a nap. The fresh air and running around had him pooped.

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Fish and terrapin spotting with Lolo

portugal day4

portugal day4

Myself and my mum caught a bit of sun while we could on the terrace while Lolo did some prep for dinner (he just can’t tear himself away from the kitchen) and Nico soaked in the bath. We had checked out bus times for the next day (Bank Holiday Monday) but they looked few and far between due to the day that was in it, so we planned to visit the Tavira Gran Plaza shopping centre on the Monday morning and Nana, Lolo and Nico would head off on a bus on the Tuesday, when I was gone to the airport, to visit other areas of the Algarve.

I think they were worried I’d want to see more but I didn’t mind not going anywhere else, especially if it meant a very long day for BattleKid the day before we were due to travel home. I joked that we would see more of the Algarve the next time we went on holiday with them! To be honest I was enjoying just relaxing with them and spending some quality time with them, Nico and BattleKid.

As BattleKid napped I got about 15-20 minutes in the sun before opening his door to try to get him to stir. He slept for two and a half hours in total! After a bit of a play on the terrace we went inside to get ready for dinner and a toddler tantrum started. I left him crying in the hall while I started my dinner as he wouldn’t apologise or stop whingeing. He then refused dinner once he’d calmed down, so after us adults finished we moved outside to the terrace and I made him toast and fruit to see if I could get something into him. He ate the strawberries, one bite of toast and banana, and that was it. So I left him, I didn’t want to force him to eat if he didn’t want to. I’d just give him extra milk before bed. I decided to bath him and he was in relatively good form afterwards, playing hide-and-seek with Nico and with the balloon he’d gotten on Friday. I had to keep him up a bit later to account for the change in the hour and his long nap and near 8pm I gave him his bop and stories.

He didn’t settle right away but was quiet so I had a cuppa with Nico and my mum before turning in myself. I’d been to bed earlier this weekend than I had in a long time but it was much-needed to catch up on the boy. The next day was to be a packing and shopping day. However noisy neighbours came in at 10pm and someone in high heels spent an hour walking back and forth. They did our heads in which meant my early night wasn’t so early after all.

Portugal Day 3: 26/04/2016

Thankfully BattleKid had a better night with just two brief wake ups at 4 and 5am. We woke at 6.15am and I got him his bottle before we went into the living room of the apartment to see Lolo and Nana. We had tea while BattleKid played with his bikes, ten made some breakfast. BattleKid tucked into scrambled egg and thoroughly enjoyed it.

After breakie we had a cuppa on the terrace, enjoying the morning sunshine, BattleKid in his ‘office’ and all this before 9am. Our plan for the day was a bit of shopping in the local shopping centre and that was it but we had to wait until 9. 40 to leave as the shops don’t open until 10am.portugal day3

We got to the Gran Plaza shopping centre five minutes before opening. Getting there from our apartment at Tavira Gardens is easy enough except having to cross a busy main road. We had a short wander around before going into C&A as soon as they opened their doors. I loved the C&A that used to be in Liffey Valley Shopping Centre many moons ago, so was excited when my mum told me there was one there. portugal day3I picked up a few tops for myself and some shorts and t-shirt sets for BattleKid.  We then dropped into the toy shop where I got BattleKid a new Thomas train and a Hot Wheels car. He was chuffed. We stopped into another clothes shop called Mo where I got a new pair of shoes for all of €8. We then popped upstairs to the food court for tea and a cake.

For once BattleKid didn’t like the cake I got so I had it all to myself and it was lovely, although I couldn’t tell you what it was. BattleKid did enjoy car and bike spotting from the outdoor terrace balcony. portugal day3After our pit stop we went to resupply in Continente, the supermarket, where BattleKid ended up falling asleep in his buggy, a pretty rare thing to happen. I think the outdoors and fresh air was knocking him out.

We walked back to the apartment and magically BattleKid stayed asleep. We chilled out until he woke up after 1pm and them had lunch together before playing outside for a while. portugal day3The clouds had rolled in so we all got a hoodie or Cardigan on. After a while we went back inside and while Nico had a bath, Lolo and I took BattleKid down to the playground. He wasn’t keen on walking around it as sand was getting into his sandals so we only spent a few minutes there before heading back up to the apartment.portugal day3

portugal day3

We had decided to give Lolo a break from cooking and went down to the restaurant in the complex. The menu wasn’t extensive and although we had to wait an hour, my linguine was actually really nice, so much so BattleKid wanted to tuck in but I had to limit him as it had chilli in it. BattleKid and I shared a chocolate mousse, after which we hightailed it back to get BattleKid into his bed. Because of his early nap he was dead on his feet, poor egg. I got him changed, got his bop and read him his stories. He actually turned over as soon as I finished the last story and was ready to go to sleep. I had to ask him for a kiss goodnight. He was asleep straight away.

I had a couple of cups of tea with everyone while waiting to speak to BattleDad who had been out on his bike in Snowdonia all day with a mate. I was knackered with BattleKid having had the early nap and was looking forward to my bed. At 9.15pm I gave up and went in, leaving my phone on vibrate. BattleDad called shortly after and I then went to sleep. BattleKid woke briefly at 12 and 3 but did go back to sleep each time thankfully.