Most tourists arrive in the area around Lake Bled because of the huge variety of opportunities for walking in nature at close and further distances. One of the most popular attractions is undoubtedly the Vintgar Gorge. The Radovna River makes its way through the rocks, and for 1.6 km you literally walk over its crystal clear waters…
Where is located and how to get there
The Vintgar Gorge is only a few kilometers from Lake Bled (5 km) and is located in the eastern part of Triglav National Park. The fastest and easiest to reach by car! The distance from Bled to the Vintgar parking lot is covered in about 10 minutes. There are staff who direct you to the available spaces. On our visit there was a charge of €5 for the whole day, the same charge is now for 4 hours.
Hiking and cycling tourism in this part of Slovenia are extremely common and are two of the alternative ways to get to the gorge. You can also take a train for a 3-minute ride from Bled station to Podhom station and walk another 15 minutes to the trailhead, or use a bus on the same route. Another option is the shuttles, which depart from the bus station in Bled and the price of 20 euros includes round-trip transport and an entrance ticket – HERE you can learn more about them.
More about Vintgar Gorge
Vintgar is a natural landmark formed by the Radovna River descending from Triglav Peak, making its way between the two hills of Hom and Borst, just before it flows into the Sava. The gorge was discovered in 1891 and opened its doors only 2 years later, when special bridges and walkways were built, allowing trouble-free access to it.
The beginning of the trail
We were directed to park in the first parking spaces in Podhom, which required us to walk about 10 minutes to the entrance of the trail. It starts immediately after the ticket booth, where you can visit a toilet, get a souvenir or some local product. The prices of course are relatively high.
At the first section we stay fascinates with the drama of the river rapids! The raging waters cascade between the verdant shores… Take time for photos! I deviated a little from the designated path so that I could get as close as possible to the water and capture a piece of the great view that nature gives us…
The wooden bridges
The dance of the river continues on our way, alternating rapid sections, small waterfalls and calm waters. Now we are in narrow gorges, as if the two rocks will come together at any moment to block her path, now we find ourselves in wide spaces…
And undoubtedly the most exciting part of the ravine are the emblematic wooden bridges that constantly transfer us from one bank to the other. We were literally hanging over the river, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the sound of its rushing waters…
A leisurely walk
In places wooden bridges give way to paths carved into the rocks, and almost all the time we move literally next to the icy waters. Quite tempting to dive into them, especially in the summer months… But entering the river is prohibited, which is completely understandable considering the high speed of the waters and the depth of the gorge reaching in places of about 250 m.
In the wide basins, where the river seems almost motionless, we could admire the almost unreal color changes from turquoise to emerald green… The water is so crystal clear that you can easily see trout or other fish swimming in it… And several ducks kept us company on the trail!
The last section
You know you are nearing the end of the walk when you pass under the high railway bridge where trains still pass. There is a small hydroelectric plant right there, which many people confuse with Sum Falls at the end of the hike… But it’s necessary to walk a little further before you hear its deafening rumble and find yourself literally above it! It was so full of water that, stepping on the wooden bridge above it, most people were bathed by the flying drops of water… And when it fell, a rainbow was created, which I tried to capture in a shot, but it is only slightly noticeable…
Undoubtedly, this is the highlight of the Vintgar Gorge walk! We go down to the pool to see the waterfall in all its glory. With its 13 m height, it’s the largest river waterfall in Slovenia. I’ve seen pictures of him, but none of them looked as full of water as we saw him! We crossed the river to the other side and found a great spot with a frontal view…
The way back
It remained for us to enjoy the picturesque gorge again, crossing the entire route back. We got new views of the beautiful stretches and took some more great shots. The Vintgar Gorge is a great natural landmark worth seeing!
💡 Unfortunately, this return on the trail is NO LONGER possible… Either temporarily or permanently (more likely the latter at the moment), new visiting restrictions have been put in place, forcing return traffic onto two detours. The reasons are the huge flow of people and the difficulty of passing in two-way traffic, as well as to reduce the possibility of contagion. You can find all the information and options for getting back to the parking lot ТУК.
Useful tips for visiting the Vintgar Gorge
➡ Entrance fee and opening hours – the trail is NOT open year-round! It usually opens in mid-April and runs until the end of November. Opening hours are different for the respective months. The entrance fee in 2019 when we visited was €5 and now it is €10 per adult. For up-to-date opening hours and prices, it’s a good idea to check the official website – HERE. It’s advisable to buy a ticket in advance!
➡ Duration of the walk – at a slow pace, the route is covered in about 1 hour in direction. It took us about 1 hour and 20 minutes to get there, mostly because of lots of stops to set up a tripod, wait for people, and take pictures. On the way back we covered it in 57 minutes (as I mentioned, returning by the same route is no longer possible and detours take significantly longer).
➡ How to prepare – despite the sheer cliffs, narrow spaces of the gorge and the winding river, the trek is extremely easy, mostly flat and does not present any difficulty, even for the most unprepared! It’s also completely suitable for families with children. However, for your comfort, it’s a good idea to wear comfortable hiking shoes. And outerwear is a must, even if you’re coming in the height of summer. The defile is almost completely isolated from direct sunlight and the coolness from the river is felt significantly.
➡ Best time to visit – as a season I would definitely recommend spring. We visited in the middle of April and the river was extremely full! I guess this continues until the end of May. October would also be a good month. As for the time range, it’s best to come early in the morning to avoid the organized groups and tourist crowds. The popularity of Vintgar is great, and the path isn’t very wide, and with a huge flow of people it can become overcrowded. Advance online purchase is an innovation that was missing when we visited and is expected to control the number of visitors during the designated hours.