As of 25th september 2021, some more restrictions have now been lifted, however some still remain in place such as face mask in public transport, airports and onboard planes, so a quick trip to Ljubljana and Lake Bled seemed appropriate.
Latest news from Schiphol Airport however says that facemask is required in some parts of the airport, without specifying which parts they are referring to.
Getting through security was very smooth and took maybe 2 minutes. After that I headed straight for the KLM lounge since I had a business class ticket. It wasnt clear whether this was a “face mask required” area or not, so as a result, about half the guests had a mask on, the other half didnt.
Schiphol was not completely empty but I do not remember ever seeing so few people.
Boarding was smooth, plane was about 3/4 full. Face masks are mandatory – except when you are either eating or drinking (which some people can be doing for most of the flight). The air onboard is probably a billion times cleaner than what you would experience in your local supermarket so it does seem a little stupid with the mask requirement, but there you go – those are the rules at the moment.
Several passengers just removed their mask when food was served, and then kept it off for most of the flight. So if you want to avoid the mask, flying with KLM, just bring a bag of chips and eat them veeeeery slowly. Even one of the crew members took off her mask for no apparent reason.
We were handed a passenger locator form to fill in – not really sure if I have to do this since I have already done so online, but doesnt hurt of course. The crew collected the forms before landing.
Getting through customs at Zagreb was very simple. At passport control, they asked for corona vaccination + asked where I was staying, but when i answered I was going straight to Ljubljana, they were no longer interested in the vaccination doc, just told me to go straight through, which I obviously did. A bit odd I would think.
Next was a bit of a wait for my transport to Ljubljana. I had been told it would be at the airport to pick me up at 4.15, and right on time, there it was. The van was full and not the most comfortable to sit in, and there was no wifi onboard. I used GoOpti as it just seemed to be the most convenient. A return transfer came to around 40 EURO.
The distance from Zagreb to Ljubljana is approx. 140 km on an excellent motorway most of the way. Unfortunately you have to cross the border into Slovenia and this day (Sunday late afternoon) was really busy so instead of taking something like 1,5 – 2 hours, the trip took 3,5 hours. No problem at the border (this time I had to show passport + vaccination proof) apart from a massive queue.
You can also take a public bus or the train to Ljubljana but for that you have to get into Zagreb central station which is about 20 minutes away (by bus). Once you add the costs up, it works out to cost pretty much the same no matter which option you take.
Arrival in Ljubljana was a bit late and since i was dropped off at the train station, I had to find transport to my hotel. It turned out to be a bit difficult (20 mins or so) but finally arrived at Ljubljana Resort & Hotel. It is actually a camping site, but they also have a number of bungalows each with a few rooms available so thats what I had booked.
I always use booking.com to FIND somewhere to stay, but I always go directly to the place to BOOK directly with them. This time was no different, and here is the result :
A bit extreme, but as you can see, almost half price!!
I had seen some not so nice reviews so didn’t really expect much, but the room turned out to be very nice. Nothing too fancy, but clean and looked pretty newly decorated as well.
Wifi though is terrible. With some luck you can read a mail or 2, but forget about anything more than that. The signal is just not strong enough.
Reception staff was very nice and helpfull.
There is a busstop just outside the place and you can buy an Urbana card at reception (which you need for all public transport). A card topped up with credit enough for a full day comes to around 5 Eur or so. Of course you can also take a taxi which will set you back around the same amount but each way.
There is a restaurant on site as well, but for some reason, it was closed due to COVID restrictions. Everything in town was open with business as usual so dont really get this.
All they offer is tea/coffee and a croissant for breakfast which you can buy from the gym.
In the room, there was a kettle and some tea bags, but no coffee. At the reception they have a few items such as soft drinks and beer and a few microwave dishes (if you have a microwave in your camper) so in other words if you fancy a drink or something to eat you are at the wrong place.
Ljubljana is a very small town so its easy just to walk around on foot. Its impossible not to see the castle and getting lost is pretty much impossible. You can walk up to the castle, or be more lazy and take the funicular. Its 4 EUR for a return trip but saves you some aching legs. Another option is to take the tourist train, but it only runs every 90 minutes.
At the ticket counter for the funicular I was asked about proof of vacination, but all I had to do was say YES and that was it. I didnt need to show anything.
The castle itself is not really that spectacular. There were just a few outher tourist there and I overheard some Americans talking about what a waste of money it was (you can go the castle courtyard for free, but its extra if you want to visit the museum as well)
Back down in the old town, I went for a coffee and once again was asked about the COVID jab – Again I just said I had it and was not asked to provide any proof.
Heading back towards my hotel I knew I was very close to the busstation so decided to go there and get a ticket for Bled for the next day. There are lots of busses every day so it should not be a problem and I got a ticket at the time I wanted. NOTE though, they would not accept credit cards if you show up in person – only if you buy on-line.
Ljubljana is a very pretty town and definitely worth a visit, but for me, 1 day was enough.
Heading for Bled the following day, I was at the bus station on time and with ticket in hand. I found the bus marked Bled, however the driver insisted I was at the wrong bus (it was the only one showing Bled as destination). The driver was very rude and it took a second driver to approach him to try to figure out what the problem was. I was eventually allowed onboard with the driver yelling at me that this was not a tour bus!!. I had bought an ordinary bus ticket just like everybody else, so had no idea what he was referring to. It was an Arriva bus and the bus as such is not too bad. They claim there is WIFI onboard (big sign inside bus as well) however it didn’t work on the trip to Bled and in another Arriva bus going back same day, it didn’t work either (on the return trip the driver was friendly though)
Right next to the bus station in Bled, there is a tour company where you can book all sorts of activities. I got a shuttle up to the castle (you can walk, but it is a bit of a tough walk, if you have poor ankles (like I do). Its a bit surprising that there is no public transport up to the castle since it is the most popular sight in town and pretty much everybody visiting Bled, goes up there.
Even with a taxi, you will still have to take a steep walk up to the entrance, and once inside, there are lots of stairs. This is definitely not for wheelchairs or anybody with walking difficulties.
Entrance is around 13 EURO but it is a total waste of money. Once inside its packed with souvenir stands, a museum and some other pretty uninteresting stuff. The view however is stunning.