When most people think of a European vacation destination, Slovenia isn’t the first country to come to mind. However, Slovenia, particularly Bled Island, has something for everybody, from delicious food to stunning architecture.
A tear-shaped land mass in the middle of Lake Bled, Bled Island once housed a pagan temple dedicated to Živa, a pagan goddess of life and fertility. In 745, Christians arrived and built a church in the temple’s place, which they named The Church of Mary the Queen and dedicated to the mother of Jesus.
In 1465, the Church was renovated to match the Gothic style of the time. A 52-meter free-standing bell tower was also constructed near the church. It holds one large and two small bells, all of which can still be rung today by visitors making wishes.
In the 17th century, the church was renovated again in its baroque style, which it still possesses. A chapel dedicated to Mary and a 99-step stone staircase were also built. Tradition requires a groom to carry his bride up all these steps before the couple can get married in the island’s church.
If you work up an appetite after climbing the 99 stairs and exploring the church and bell tower, grab a bite to eat at Potičnica.
Potičnica (Potica House) features a range of Slovenian “potica,” a dish made from leavened pastry dough filled with various ingredients before being rolled in a round metal pot (also known as a potičnica).
Some of the most popular potica dishes worth trying include the pehtranova potica filled with tarragon and the nut-filled orehova potica. Visitors can also sample savory options, including the ocvirkovka, which is filled with cracklings, and the špehovka, which is filled with bacon.
Remember that it takes just six minutes to return to Bled from the island, so don’t rush off. Take your time enjoying all it has to offer!