Vintgar Gorge (also called Bled Gorge), carved out by the Radovna River is located just 4 km (2.5 miles) from Slovenia's most popular destination - lake Bled. It's a perfect hideaway from a hot, sunny day - the high walls of the gorge which rise up to 100 m (330 ft.) provide shade and the mountainous stream cools down the temperature around. Maybe Vintgar Gorge wouldn't even be that worth noticing if it weren't for the Radovna river which boasts an unbelievably turquoise-green color. It squeezes through rocks and cascades creating a few spectacular waterfalls and crystal clear pools along the way. The whole scenery looks as if it was copied from a fantasy film - so don't miss it while visiting the beautiful lake and village of Bled!
How to get to Vintgar Gorge
If you love hiking, it's even possible to walk from Bled to Vintgar via some small, sleepy villages. However, if you are visiting Slovenia in the summer, during a heatwave, that might be a challenge! When I was in Bled, the temperature was reaching 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit)! In that case, if you don't have the possibility to drive, the best option is to take the bus from Bled.
There are 2 buses daily from Bled to Vintgar - at 9:00 AM (in June and August) and 10:00 AM (in June, August and September). The fare one way is 2.50 EUR (2.80 USD). Note, that there is only 1 bus a day that goes back from Vintgar to Bled - at 12:30 PM (in June, August and September).
Don't worry, if you take the bus at 9:00 AM, you'll have more than enough time to visit the entire trail in Vintgar Gorge before 12:30.
On the way back, if you wish to visit the Bled Castle, the bus stops right beside. The fare will be lower than all the way to the Bled final bus stop. This way, you won't have to climb the cliff with the castle from the center of Bled. The castle offers stunning views over the lake, however the entrance fee is overpriced. I'll write about it in detail in the article about Bled soon.
Visiting Vintgar Gorge
The bus stops right at the entrance to the Gorge. You'll have to pay entrance fee - 4 EUR (4.50 USD) adult/3 EUR (3.40 USD) student. Now you can start enjoying the nature. The whole trail is very easy to walk - it's 1.6 km (1 mile) long. Halfway from the starting point, you'll see a beautiful stone bridge, some pools, waterfalls and cascades. The water is extremely clear and see through - all the branches, stones and all the things on the bottom are perfectly visible.
Vintgar Gorge is undoubtedly beautiful, but you'll be surprised how popular it is! In the summer, sometimes there are traffic jams along the narrow wooden trail. I suppose all the tours visiting Eastern Europe stop in Bled and also visit the gorge. This might be a bit annoying, as at first, Vintgar might seem as a place completely off the beaten path. Nevertheless, while you're in Bled, Vintgar Gorge is a must!
If you liked Vintgar, you must also see the Soča river in Bovec (on the other side of Triglav National Park). Soča river is even clearer than Radovna and besides all the activities like rafting or canoeing, there's a little trail all along it with basically zero tourists - it's beauty is so breathtaking that sometimes it's difficult to believe that what you see is actually real. I've described it here.
Other places in the region that might also interest you include the famous Plitvice Lakes in Croatia and Blue Eye Spring (Syri i Kalter) in Albania - the clearest and most turquoise spring and lake I've ever seen in my life -and totally off the beaten path!
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