The Vintgar Gorge in Slovenia, also sometimes called the Bled Gorge, is located just a few kilometers North/ West from the Bled lake. The Gorge have been a popular destination since opened to public in 1893. When visiting, you will understand why!
The Vintgar Gorge is about a mile long. It is a green and fairly narrow canyon in some parts, formed by the rushing water of the Radovna river. Wooden walkways, small stairs, sandy paths, and several bridges give you the best views of the river, its water falls and icy cold pools. I’m not the biggest fan and places that are so ‘cultivated’ but without these installations, seing the beauty of the gorge would probably be impossible. So I made due, and admittedly, enjoyed the view of such paths which create even more scenic views.
We arrived at the main entrance around 4PM. The sun was still high in the sky and yet, as soon as we entered the gorge, the temperature dropped. A cool and refreshing breeze followed us on our hike and made things even more pleasant.
Very quickly the sandy path is replaced by wooden pathways attached to the side of rocky hills. Crossing the river for the first time is a little unsettling. I could feel the wood structure shake at every steps of my fellow hikers. I wanted to grab the ramp, take pictures at the same time and yet my eyes could only see the mesmerizing clear water seeping underneath me.
Soon, the somehow quiet river, started to haste between mossy rocks and splashed around playfully, only to stop a few meters later to form an emerald green pool, where the trees could admire their own reflections.
When walking this winding path, every turn was a surprise.
What looked weird in the distance, was actually a field of cairns! We had to stop! We found a dry spot, on a little island which was almost in the middle of the river and watch as people were building more cairns.
Soon the water started rushing through the gorge again and yet another surprise awaited us at the next turn…
Kids were braving the ice cold waters and hikers were waiting for them to be courageous enough to jump!
Lots of screaming and encouragements going on!
After a while, I just didn’t want this to end. The crowd had disappeared, all I could hear was the stream of the river, sometimes roaring, sometimes bubbling joyfully.
But all good things must come to and end… Yet, one more majestic view was waiting patiently: the Sum waterfall.
The Sum Waterfall
To see the Sum waterfall, you need to exit the gorge (keep your entrance ticket just in case) by taking the staircase in the back of the little café. Continue on what looks like a parking lot, cross the bridge and take the little path located on your left. Lots of people come here to relax and swim at the foot at the waterfall.
The Technical bits:
The official website: www.vintgar.si As you will notice on such website, the entrance to the Vintgar Gorge is not free. I admit, it was a little bit of a surprise but hey I understand! The maintenance of the trail, the wooden bridges and various galleries must be quite something to handle.
Avoid rush hours! It can get really crowded and the paths can be very narrow, so you will get stuck behind a hoard of people taking selfies.
But don’t go too late either. Once the sun is hidden behind the slopes and vegetation, the river stops to glow. Maybe this is a tip for photographers only?!
The Vintgar Gorge are closed in winter so do check the official website, to make sure it is open. Although it is apparently possible to sneak in even if closed, and if you really wanted to brave the snowy and slippery paths. I didn’t tell you that!
You may want to start your tour of the gorge by the entrance located by the Sum waterfall. Since a lot of people seems to turn around before the end of the trail, this side is far less crowded. It takes a bit more determination to reach this entrance. All the road signs to the Vintgar gorge will take you to the main entrance point, but it’s worth looking for it!
Do I still need to mention that you should wear good shoes?! The trail is super easy, but it can be uneven ans slippery, so why risk an accident which would ruin your vacation? If you’re looking for some hiking boots, check those out!
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