In the midst of Triglav National Park, only four kilometres away from famous Lake Bled, the Vintgar gorge lays hidden from the tourist crowds, still easily accessible by car.
Slovenia, this fairytale land (as they say), really is a little gem when it comes to nature. The scenery, worthy of every good fantasy novel – and the Instagram hype – isn’t extremely secluded, since the country is tiny, but it usually does take some energy in the form of hiking or climbing. The truth is, as a local, who doesn’t derive from a very alpine oriented family, I haven’t seen many places, promoted widely in social media recently.
There is still much to do and see, even if you are not the let’s-spend-the-night-in-the-wilderness type. One of the beautiful natural sights is definitely the gorge near Bled, which gave the other Slovenian gorges the name vintgar.
Carved in the block of stone, reaching hight from 50 to 100 meters, expands over a kilometre and a half, ending the ramble with the 13 metres long waterfall. The wooden bridges and galleries were built in 1893 when the gorge was open to the public, which actually makes it the first tourist gorge in the area. Wow!
A few years later a huge stone bridge for the passing railroad was constructed. With the hight of 33,5 meters above the walking pathway, it’s not just a spectacular sight to see, but also the only entirely preserved railway stone bridge in Slovenia.
There is no secret the Slovene nation is a very wine-loving community. There are some speculations that the name Vintgar derives from the German name, Weingarten, which means wine garden. Another legend claims the shape of the wine glass inspired the name, but the etymologists attribute the title to the family Windegger, who lived at the entrance of the gorge. Well, the imagination runs far with this one! One of the Slovenian poets, Anton Aškerc, dedicated a short poem to the magic place, with the last verse:
“Oh, thou Vintgar!
He, who beheld your covert charms,
will always hold a memory of thou in his arms!”
The gorge is open every day from 8 am to 7 pm, with an entrance fee around 5 euros. The path can be slippery, so regular walking shoes are advised. Since the gorge is in deep shade, the temperatures can be a bit cooler, which makes the destination very suitable for hot summer days. There is a small refreshment area on one side of the gorge, so it’s best to start the trip on the side of Podhom village, to end an expedition on the full side!