Vintgar Gorge is a natural haven just about 45 minutes’ walk from Bled. It’s the first natural gorge that’s been opened for visitors in Slovenia, and its crystal-clear water and its various pools and rapids are a must-see destination for a half-day trip. At the end of the gorge, there’s a lovely small waterfall, too.
The gorge is 1.6 kilometers long and equipped with a wooden walkway that makes it easy to admire the rough beauty of this pearl of Slovenian nature. There are also a small dam and a stone bridge of the Bohinj railway, that can be seen crossing the ravine above the gorge trail.
The gorge and the Sum waterfall
I decided to visit Vintgar Gorge as part of my visit to bled in June, and it’s a decision I will never regret. The experience was incredible, and the scenery was magnificent. After paying the entrance fee of 10 euros, me and a girl I met on the way to the gorge, were admitted into the gorge. Like I said earlier, there’s a wooden walkway that trails the Radovna river, making it easy for visitors to enjoy the gorge.
I was there at the very beginning of June, and there were already many visitors, so if you’re visiting during the peak season, be prepared for crowds. It might be better to visit early in the morning or later in the evening because the boardwalk is quite narrow, and trying to pass numerous other visitors might make your visit less enjoyable. For me, however, the gorge was still relatively quiet, and I was able to take in the full beauty of it without distraction. The gorge is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. so it’s possible to avoid the midday crowd if you want.
Even in June, the weather was very warm in Bled, so the cool air of the gorge and the cold mist of the dam and the waterfall were delightfully refreshing. The walk is not very long, but most people do a round-trip, thus waking 3.2 kilometers. This was what I did, too, and I must say the return trip didn’t at all lessen the wonder I felt looking at the high rock walls and the clear emerald and turquoise water. I felt like every twist and turn of the trail revealed a more beautiful scene than the ones I’d seen before. At times the water was so clear you could see the bottom of the river and the fish swimming in the water.
At the end of the gorge, there is a small café and the Sum waterfall. You can admire the waterfall from the bridge above, or you can walk down and see it from below. It’s also possible to swim near the waterfall, but the water was very cold, and I didn’t bring my swimwear, so that was one experience I missed. I didn’t see anyone else swimming either so maybe it was too early in summer for that.
How to get there
Vintgar gorge is easy to reach if you’re traveling during peak season, or if you have a car. Because the parking lot can be crowded, I’d recommend taking the shuttle from Bled. It runs from June 30th to September 16th and costs 1€/person. As I was there earlier in June, the shuttle was not available, which means I ended up walking about 45 minutes to reach the gorge. I didn’t mind that, though, because it allowed me to see the countryside and small villages on my way.
On our way back, me and the girl I met managed to get slightly lost, which meant our return walk took about an hour and a half. However, we saw some new places and met friendly people, who apologetically told us there aren’t any busses that could take us back to Bled. So, if you’re traveling outside peak season and want to avoid the walk, many trip organizers offer transport to Vintgar gorge. Just google it and you’re sure to find something that fits your schedule and budget.