Bled: 50km (31 miles) NW of Ljubljana. Bohinj: 26km (16 miles) SW of Bled

Bled is a lake fit for a fairy tale -- complete with dramatically situated cliff-top castle, an island church, and wraparound mountain scenery; the shock of its electric turquoise surface is emblazoned on tourism materials everywhere. Situated in a national park, Bohinj manages to resist the limelight, and hasn't seen so much overwrought development. A Swiss hydropath named Arnold Rikli (1823-1906) first developed health tourism at Bled after spending years "studying" the beneficial effects of its water, clean air, and sun. Today, it's one of the most fashionable destinations in Europe, drawing an upmarket crowd as well as loads of young trendsetters and outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world. It also draws hordes of day-trippers at the weekend, yet the crowds never seem to overwhelm the sheer loveliness of the resort, which offers plenty to do. Popular trips from Bled include the Babji Zob Caves and Vintnar Gorge. Also nearby is the exquisite town of Radovljica.