Vintgar Gorge in Slovenia is one of the most stunning hikes you’ll likely ever do. The gorge, located just a few miles outside Lake Bled, Slovenia, is one of the most beautiful places in Slovenia. For this reason, Vintgar Gorge is considered a top natural attraction in Slovenia and is a must-visit for many travelers to the pristine country. If you’re planning to visit Vintgar Gorge Slovenia, there are a few things to know before your visit.
This guide to Vintgar Gorge Slovenia includes all the important information about this scenic hike, such as how to get to Vintgar Gorge, length and difficulty, how to book tickets and the top tips for visiting.
About Vintgar Gorge Slovenia
Located just east of Triglav National Park, Vinegar Gorge is a 1.6-kilometer long gorge carved out by the Radovna River. Roughly 4 kilometers northwest of the picturesque resort community of Lake Bled, hiking Vintgar Gorge is considered one of the best things to do around Lake Bled and one of the top tourist sites in Slovenia.
Most of the hike takes place on a series of wooden walkways and bridges suspended above the crystal clear river. You’ll cross back and forth between the vertical walls of the gorge and have a birds-eye view of waterfalls and rapids.
Discovered in 1891 by Jakob Zumer and Benedikt Lergetporer, the beautiful gorge was inaccessible in its natural form. But a few years later, after the development and installation of more than 500 meters of bridges and walkways allowed the public the opportunity to see the natural wonder in all its glory.
Our experience hiking Vintgar Gorge Slovenia
Vintgar Gorge left us speechless, which means a lot considering we are a family made up of a television personality, a blogger, and a very outgoing child.
We’ve embarked on some beautiful hikes in our lifetime. In the United States, we’ve seen some of the most impressive slot canyons in Utah, hiked the Narrows in Zion National Park, made the trek to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park outside Moab, and have done lots of hikes in Yellowstone, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and been back country hiking in the Teton Range near Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
In Europe, we have hiked to waterfalls in Iceland and done some of the most notable hikes in Norway and Sweden. All that to say, despite our previous hiking experiences, Vintgar Gorge in Slovenia blew us away with its natural beauty.
How to get to Vintgar Gorge from Lake Bled
There are a few ways to get from Lake Bled to Vintgar Gorge. We rented a car and took a road trip around Slovenia, which is definitely recommended as it is such a beautiful country and there are so many incredible places to visit in Slovenia that are challenging to get to without a car. While the capital city of Ljubljana is easy to get around using public transportation, many of the smaller villages and towns in Slovenia are not well connected by rail lines.
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Of course, there are also numerous guided day trips that you can book that take you to Vintgar Gorge and Lake Bled. This is a great way to get to Vintgar Gorge if you prefer to leave the navigating to someone else. You can even book a self guided-guided electric bike tour from Lake Bled to Vintgar Gorge Slovenia.
Another popular way to get from Lake Bled to Vintgar Gorge is the shuttle bus, which leaves from the central bus station in Bled. During the peak summer season the shuttle bus runs hourly. While there is a cost to take the shuttle bus, it is a more affordable option than a private transfer.
Finally, if you prefer, you can also walk to Vintgar Gorge, since it is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from Lake Bled, but you’ll want to give yourself extra time if you decide to walk and plan accordingly so you arrive at Vintgar Gorge by your ticketed entrance time.
The Vintgar Gorge trail
Our goal for creating this guide to hiking the Vintgar Gorge in Slovenia is to help you to know exactly what to expect when hiking this scenic trail. Why? Because as parents, we want to know exactly what we are getting into when we travel or hike. Whether you are a parent as well, have mobility issues or are traveling with a senior or someone who might have trouble with hikes, we want you to be prepared.
Parking at Vintgar Gorge
When you arrive at Vintgar Gorge Slovenia, you’ll likely be greeted by a parking attendant who will direct you where to park. He or she will also make sure you have purchased tickets in advance. Because the operators of the Vintgar Gorge trail utilize timed ticketing, there should be plenty of parking. It’s important to note, the parking lot is a hard-packed gravel lot. A 4-Wheel Drive or high clearance vehicle isn’t needed, however, if it happens to be raining, expect some mud.
Depending on where you are directed to park, there is an upper parking lot and a lower parking lot. The upper parking lot is closer to the end of the trail, if you take the return route back, and the lower parking lot is closer to the entrance to the gorge. There is a small fee to park. We paid roughly 2 Euro for parking at Vintgar Gorge.
Entrance to the gorge
From the upper parking lot, it is a short 5-minute walk to the entrance of the trail through Vintgar Gorge. It is an easy walk downhill at a slight decline. At the entrance, another attendant will scan your tickets. We had digital tickets which we purchased online and downloaded. So, we needed to pull out our phone so they could scan a QR code.
After scanning your tickets, you’ll enter a turnstile gate to access the gorge.
Trail through the ravine
The trail through the gorge itself is mostly flat and an easy and lovely walk. You’ll go back and forth between a dirt path, and wooden bridges and walkways. There are a few places where you’ll have to walk up or down a few stairs, as well.
The path through Vintgar Gorge Slovenia takes approximately one hour and is about 1 mile long. It is such a scenic hike, you’ll want to take your time, stop for photos, or simply pause to enjoy the view.
Bohinj Railway and Sum Waterfall
As you approach the end of the hike you will walk beneath the Bohinj Railway. The railway, which runs through Slovenia and Italy, is actually one of the most scenic train rides in Europe. The railway crosses the gorge on an arched bridge right at a small waterfall.
Shortly beyond the bridge you’ll reach the largest and most powerful waterfall along the hike, the Sum Waterfall. This waterfall is at the end of the hike, near the small cafe and restrooms.
The return trail from Vintgar Gorge back to the parking lot may have been the most delightfully surprising part of the Slovenian hike. At the end of the gorge, you can choose to take a cab back to the parking lot or follow the return trail. The return trail starts by taking you through a beautiful forest for 1.2 kilometers. There is a slight incline for this portion of the hike.
St. Catherine’s Church
The forest ends at the Church of St. Catherine. There is a wonderful playground for kids and a restaurant where you can stop for pizza or just drinks. We spent about 45 minutes here letting our daughter play on the playground while we enjoyed the atmosphere and view. The church wasn’t open to go inside, but the small chapel set against the mountains and green grass is a beautiful view in itself.
Sheep and cow pasture
After leaving St. Catherine’s this is where the trail becomes extremely unique. You’ll follow the beaten path into a pasture where sheep and cows are grazing all around you and living their best Slovenian life! You can see Lake Bled off in the distant valley as you navigate through the pasture with the sound of cowbells ringing around you. The return trail will take about 2 hours but the views are beautiful, the church is quaint and serene, and the pastures and animals are a welcomed addition.
Tips for hiking Vintgar Gorge
Aside from what to expect when hiking Vintgar Gorge Slovenia, there are a few important things to know in advance that will make the hike an overall better experience.
Book in advance
Unlike many hikes, Vintgar Gorge is not free. Understandable, considering the walkways had to be built and are now maintained, which ultimately costs money. The admission fee is well worth the scenery. But you want to make sure to book in advance. Vintgar Gorge uses timed ticketing, so you book the date and time of your arrival. They do this to limit crowds and keep the experience serene. When we hiked Vintgar Gorge in Slovenia, only those with tickets purchased online in advance were allowed to enter the gorge. You could not purchase tickets onsite.
Go in the off-season
If you’re wondering when to visit Vintgar Gorge, there are a few things to consider. First, the hike is closed from November through March. So you’ll want to plan your trip accordingly. Of course, the summer months are the peak time to visit Slovenia, so you can expect the hike through the gorge to be most crowded during the summer. We recommend going in the off-season to avoid the crowds. We went at the end of September and had great weather and were able to enjoy the scenic hike without crowds of people.
Vintgar with kids
Vintgar Gorge in Slovenia is an easy hike with kids. While adults will appreciate the beauty of the gorge, the return hike will be the highlight for kids. From the sheep and cows in the pasture to the playground near the church, kids will love taking it slow and enjoying the adventure of this fun Slovenian hike for kids.
Frequently asked questions about Vintgar Gorge Slovenia
We always like to include answers to some of the most frequently asked questions in our travel guides. So, here are some of the questions we had when planning our Slovenia trip and our hike through Vintgar Gorge.
How long is the Vintgar Gorge trail?
You’ll want to give yourself about 2-3 hours to hike Vintgar Gorge. While the trail through the gorge only takes about one hour from the entrance to the exit, we recommend doing the round trip return hike past St. Catherine’s Church, which will add about 2 hours to your hike. But the 2 hours is well worth it! If you choose not to do the round trip hike, you can catch a cab back to the parking lot at the end of the trail. But the Vintgar Gorge hike duration is approximately 2-3 hours with the return trail.
Is Vintgar Gorge an easy hike with kids?
Vintgar Gorge is a really easy hike. In fact, it is probably better described as the Vintgar Gorge walk. The trail is mostly flat and takes place on a raised walkway above the Radovna River. For this reason hiking Vintgar Gorge with kids is very doable, even with toddlers or young children worn in a child carrier. The hike is, unfortunately, not accessible with a wheelchair or stroller.
Can you visit Vintgar Gorge Slovenia in winter? Is Vintgar Gorge open in winter?
No. Vintgar Gorge is closed to the public during winter. So, if you want to visit this Slovenian natural wonder, you’ll want to plan your trip between April and October.
What do tickets cost for the Vintgar Gorge hike?
You have to buy tickets to hike Vintgar Gorge, and when we hiked it tickets had to be purchased online in advance. The Vintgar Gorge entrance fee costs approximately 10€ per adult and around 3€ for children.
Final thoughts – Is Vintgar Gorge worth visiting?
If the photos above don’t immediately make you want to hike Slovenia’s Vintgar Gorge, I’ll add that this scenic gorge is one of the most memorable places we’ve visited. You won’t regret the short road trip, taxi or shuttle bus ride, or private transfer from Lake Bled or Ljubljana to hike along the majestic Radovna River that runs through Vintgar Gorge in Slovenia.
Have a question or comment about hiking Vintgar Gorge Slovenia? We’d love to hear from you. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.