Slovenia is a magical place to visit with sparkling emerald green rivers, crystalline snow-capped peaks of the Julian Alps and breathtaking Lake Bled. There are underground caves and a Venetian-style coastline that beckon travelers to simply take it all in and enjoy. Naturally beautiful Slovenia is also one of the most green countries-in color and conservation-in Europe. No wonder it’s becoming a top entry on everyone’s bucket list.
Among the stunning natural beauty of Slovenia you’ll find many attractions, including the Vintgar Gorge. Located about two and half miles northwest of the town of Bled, the Vintgar Gorge sits at the very edge of the Triglav National Park.
Formed by The Radovna River
The Gorge itself is about one mile long and with walls that stand from 150 feet up to 325 feet above the Radovna River. The Vintgar Gorge walls are formed by two mountains, the Hom and Borst where the determined river carved its path. It lies in both the town of Bled and the town of Gorje.
It’s believed the name, vintgar, is a derivation of the German word for vineyard, Weingarten as there are nearby vineyards. But the shape of the Gorge resembles that of a wine glass so that may have contributed to the unique moniker as well.
Rugged and Stunning Scenery Appeals to The Senses
Rugged, moss covered mountain walls line the sides of the Gorge and crystal clear water of the Radovna River rushes below as hikers trod the boardwalk, concrete and natural dirt pathway and take in this absolutely breathtaking sight. As you stroll the mile long path above the Radovna it becomes as clear as the water below just why this is among the most-visited sites in all of Slovenia.
Along your hike you’ll notice the sound of the river as it rushes by and echoes off the cavernous natural rock walls that line the path. Just as your walk is winding toward the end you’ll note a single arch bridge that is made of stone. This bridge dates back to 1906 and was built to accommodate the Bohinj Railway. At the very end of Vintgar Gorge’s trail you’ll find a special reward-one of the few river waterfalls in Slovenia, Sum Waterfall.
When you happen upon this breathtaking treat you’ll note the Sum Waterfall is hidden in a deep basin where It tumbles forth to create an impressive pool and you may be enticed to splash in the pool’s cool, crisp water but this is highly discouraged and more than a bit dangerous. The Sum is the highest waterfall in Slovenia with a drop of just over 42 feet.
A GORGEous Discovery
Interestingly the Sum Waterfall was around for a while before anyone ever discovered the Vintgar Gorge that led up to it. It was in 1891 that photographer Benedikt Lergetporer and cartographer and mayor of nearby Gorje, Jakob Zumer happened upon the impressive gorge in its natural state.
Untouched the Gorge was impassable but with the tourist crowds that were drawn to Lake Bled it was only a matter of months before safe pathways were constructed and the trail was opened for foot travel in 1893. Now the Vintgar Gorge attracts thousands of visitors each year. And why not? The trails are an easy walk and very family-friendly and the views are spectacular.
Slovenia’s Ministry of Natural Resources limits hikers and visitors to the Vintgar Gorge to 245 people each hour. Restrictions such as this help keep the pathway from becoming too crowded for visitors to enjoy the magnificence of the rugged beauty and crystal clear turquoise waters of the Vintgar Gorge.
Just One of Slovenia’s Gems
Slovenia’s treasure box is filled with surprises. Each gem you uncover in Slovenia is a treat for the senses. Come explore this remarkable country and all she has to offer, especially the Vintgar Gorge.
Vintgar Gorge is part of our Slovenia itinerary.