‘Fairytale Gothic’ is a term that could have been invented with Lake Bled in mind. Hills run down to the forested shores that encircle the lake’s waters, by turns milky-blue and jade green. And in the lake’s middle, a small, solitary island, home only to a church, its steep spire poking out above the surrounding trees. On the lake’s north shore, a medieval castle stands, suitably aloof, while nearby sits millennium-old Bled town, seemingly unchanged by the passage of time. Get on a boat and venture out to the island church – the essential Bled experience – before catching glimpses of this pearl of central Europe as you hike in the nearby mountains.