Slovenia: Bled and Bohinj
Bled and Bohinj are well worth visiting if you're into mountains, lakes, sports or schnaps. Both Alpine destinations are a sight for sore eyes and a popular weekend escape for townsfolk.
Bled is known for a small lake island (owned by the Church), sports, swans and kitschy vistas. As one of the most touristy Slovenian towns (its health tourism has quite a long history), it's busy for most of the year.
When in Bled, you can visit the historical museum in the castle, rent a boat and row to the island or walk around the lake and swim in it. On abigger budget, you might want to catch a ride with pletna - tourist boats owned and run by the locals.
Bled is known for folklore, festivals (e.g. Okarina) and the regional cuisine with mostly meat dishes, sausages and cakes.
It's hard to leave Bled without trying the famous local cream cake, Kremšnita. While many places claim to have the best or most original one, we found the most convincing specimen in the restaurant by the lake.
If you're up for a swim, make sure you do so where swimming is allowed (e.g. at the hangar or one of the official beaches). Locals take the lake's flora and fauna quite seriously. And don't be swayed by the swan's charms: come closer and they can turn into angry beasts (for real). Whatever you do, do not try to pet the swans.
Bohinj, on the other hand, is slightly less touristy yet somehow more impressive. Located at the start of Triglav National Park, it's a good stop for mountaineers, backpackers and adrenalin sports lovers, especially if you're headed towards Slovenia's highest mountain, Triglav.
This part of the region is a paradise for those who love camping and sports. Whether you're into kayaking, swimming, rafting, climbing or some new hipster form of sweating, Bohinj is the place to go.
Since we're neither sports nor camping people, we just stopped to cool down in the lake and eat some of the local trout (postrv). Gorenjska and Bohinj are also known to produce good schnaps, and you should be able to get some without any problems. And remember, it's called a home remedy ;)
When it comes to lakes and mountains, it doesn't get much better than Bohinj and Bled. Any other Alpine destinations you'd recommend us to visit?