Julie Slovenia 17 Comments

Without a doubt, Vintgar Gorge is one of the most magical places to visit in Slovenia. For 1.6 km, boardwalks crisscross their way along the Radovna River, creating an enchanting landscape that is photogenic and fun to explore. Vintgar Gorge is one of Slovenia’s most popular attractions.

Vintgar Gorge was one of our top experiences in Slovenia. It’s gorgeous, it’s easy to walk, it’s easy to get to, it doesn’t cost a lot of money, and it’s fun for the entire family.

If you are looking for a very cool experience to add to your trip through Slovenia, put the Vintgar Gorge on your list.

How to Visit Vintgar Gorge

What is Vintgar Gorge?

Vintgar Gorge is a 1.6 km long gorge located in Triglav National Park. The gorge has been carved out by the Radovna River, a crystal-clear river that looks emerald green or aqua depending upon the lighting conditions.

The boardwalks that are erected along the Radovna River are what make this gorge visit so special. For short periods of time you are suspended over the river, which can be a thrill to walk and really fun to photograph.

Now, thousands of tourists visit Vintgar Gorge every year. The summer months of July and August are peak season, so if you will be visiting during this time, expect to share the boardwalks with a lot of people!

How to Visit Vintgar Gorge

Quick Facts

Distance:  1.6 km one-way (3.2 km round trip)
Price:  Adults €10; Children 6-15 years €2; parking €5 for cars, €10 for campervans
Location:  5 km northwest of Bled (10 minutes by car)
Hours of Operation:  7 am to 7 pm during the summer months; visit the official website for updated hours the remainder of the year

IMPORTANT NOTE: Currently, there is only one-way traffic in Vintgar Gorge. The official website states that this was implemented in order to reduce the possibility of infection with COVID-19. You will walk through Vintgar Gorge first and then return to the parking lot via one of two different trails. One trail is short and steep whereas the second trail is longer but goes past St. Katarina. For full details, visit the official website. 

How to Get to Vintgar Gorge

The easiest way to get here is by car. There are several large parking lots near the entrance to the gorge. Next to the entrance of the gorge is a very large lot and this is the best place to park. There is a second lot located uphill from the gorge and from here it is about a 10 minute walk to get to the entrance (downhill to the gorge, uphill to get back to your car after your visit).

These parking lots fill up fast! We arrived at opening time and there were just a few cars in the main parking lot (the lower lot next to the entrance). By the time we left the gorge almost 2 hours later, both lots were filled and a traffic jam was forming as more cars were struggling to find an available parking spot.

Distances and travel times from nearby cities:

Bled: 5 km, 10 minutes
Lake Bohinj: 34 km, 45 minutes
Ljubljana: 65 km, 45 minutes
Kranjska Gora: 33 km, 35 minutes

Public transportation

There is a shuttle bus that runs from Bled to Vintgar Gorge several times a day (1€) from June 30 to September 16.

Walking through Vintgar Gorge

After you pay your entrance fee at the ticket booth, you are almost immediately greeted with boardwalk trails, small waterfalls, and scenic views of Vintgar Gorge.

Entering Vintgar Gorge

Vintgar Gorge Boardwalks

The first half of the gorge was our favorite part. This is where you will walk on the most picturesque boardwalks, walk through canyons, and crisscross back and forth over the Radovna River on bridges.

On the Vintgar Gorge Boardwalk

Vintgar Gorge Bridge

Vintgar Gorge Waterfall

Vintgar Gorge in Summer

Vintgar Gorge

Radovna River

During the second half of the walk you still get to walk on boardwalks, but now you also get to walk along gravel paths along the river’s edge.

At times, the river is wider here, and slower moving. And that’s part of the joy of this walk…watching as the river rushes through the narrow gorges and then opens up in the wider sections, only to narrow once more as it turns around another bend.

Path along the river

Along the river’s edge, prior visitors have built lots of cairns. During a misty morning, like the one we had, these can be very interesting to photograph.

Vintgar Gorge Rock Piles

Vintgar Gorge Cairns

Standing Stones

Towards the end of the gorge you will see this large stone bridge. Trains still run along this bridge, and one actually chugged by during our visit.

Vintgar Gorge Train Bridge

The trail ends at another ticket booth and a small café. From here, you can take a detour to the Sum waterfall, just 60 meters away.

At the end of the gorge you can turn around and retrace your steps back through the gorge or take a separate hiking trail through the valley. We had so much fun at Vintgar Gorge that we wanted to do it again, so we turned around and retraced our steps. This gave me a second chance to take some photos I missed on our first pass through Vintgar Gorge.

Here are some of our photos as we walked back towards the entrance.

Along the River

Vintgar Gorge Photos

Vintgar Gorge Boardwalk

Vintgar Gorge in August

About Our Experience

We visited Vintgar Gorge in August 2018. At opening time (8 am in 2018), there were just a few other people here. At 8 am, low-lying mist covered the river, creating a mysterious effect. By 9 am, most of the mist burned off.

The first half of the walk, the walk to the far end of the gorge, was the best part of our visit. Around every turn was a new view. There weren’t too many people here yet, and even though we didn’t feel like we had the place to ourselves, it was easy to get the photos we wanted. It took us about one hour to walk the entire length of the gorge.

At 9 am, we turned around and walked back. This was a much different experience. Now, many more people were on the trail, creating traffic jams as some parts of the trails are too narrow for two-way traffic. By the time we reached the exit, at 9:45 am, it was a steady flow of people into the gorge.

Get Here Early to Have the Best Experience

I can’t emphasize this enough…if you want to have the best experience, get here right at opening time. One hour makes all the difference between a leisurely, pleasant walk on the boardwalks and crowded, slightly annoying experience.

The next best time of day to visit the gorge is the last two hours before closing.

Photographing Vintgar Gorge

Vintgar Gorge is a delight to photograph. It’s a gorgeous spot and the perfect place to photograph the river with long shutter speeds to freeze the action of the water.

In order to do this, you will need a tripod. But you can’t use a traditional tripod. The boardwalks are narrow and a full-sized tripod will block the path of other visitors, creating traffic jams and lots of frustrated visitors. I don’t think that full-sized tripods are forbidden but they are not a good idea, especially during peak traffic times (which, in summer, is all day long).

To get around this, I used a Gorilla Pod and attached it to the boardwalk railings. This way, I could stabilize the camera and not block traffic.

Photographing Vintgar Gorge

But it’s not perfect. As people walk by, the boardwalks bounce and vibrate, which then shakes the camera, blurring your images. You have to time your photos with breaks in crowds.

Optional Return Hike

If you want, you can walk Vintgar Gorge one-way and then return to the parking lot on a separate hiking trail. There is a trail that starts at the far end of the gorge and leads to Sveta Katerina and back to the upper parking lot. The entire distance of the walk is 12.5 km round trip and can take between 3 and 4 hours.

To learn more about this hike, or if you want a great resource for hiking in Triglav National Park and the Julian Alps, check out Walking the Julian Alps of Slovenia by Roy Clark and Justi Carey. We referenced this book a lot for Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj, and the Julian Alps.

Best Time to Visit Vintgar Gorge

The spring and fall months are the best times to visit Vintgar Gorge. Crowds are manageable and the weather is pleasant.

The worst months to visit the gorge are during peak season, the months of July and August. However, this is when we visited, and we still had a great experience, but the key was getting here at opening time.

The best time of day to visit Vintgar Gorge is at opening time and one to two hours before closing time. The worst time of day to visit Vintgar Gorge is midday, between 10 am and 2 pm, when tourist buses dump loads of people off at the entrance to the gorge.

Vintgar Gorge with Kids

This is a great place to take kids! They will love walking the boardwalks and the trails along the river. It’s essentially flat the entire way, with just a few short climbs, so it’s very easy to walk. The boardwalks have railings so it’s safe to walk without worrying about your kids taking a plunge into the Radovna River. Just leave your stroller in the car. These paths are narrow and strollers will take up the entire width of the boardwalk, creating traffic jams during the busy part of the day.

We saw lots of families with kids of all ages, so this is a very popular family spot.

Vintgar Gorge with Kids

Vintgar Gorge or Tolmin Gorge?

We visited both and the four of us unanimously agree that Vintgar Gorge was our favorite. Vintgar is longer, more spectacular, more fun to visit, and easier to get to. I’d only recommend making the trip out to Tolmin Gorge if you also have plans to be in that area. For example, if you are planning to visit Bovec and the Soca River valley.

But just in case you are curious, here’s a view of the Tolmin Gorge.

Tolmin Gorge

Where We Stayed

We stayed at the Apartment House Berghi in Kranjska Gora. We picked Kranjska Gora over Lake Bled because it was slightly cheaper, much easier to find accommodations, and located very close to the Vrsic Pass in Triglav National Park, one of Slovenia’s best hiking locations.

Kranjska Gora is a great place to make your home base for exploring Slovenia. This small town is filled with wonderful restaurants and is set with the backdrop of the jagged, rocky Julian Alps. Plus, it’s much less crowded than Lake Bled so we did not have to deal with daily traffic jams getting to and from our accommodation.

We loved Kranjska Gora, but I can’t say that we loved our apartment at the Apartment House Berghi. We had a huge amount of space, with three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a full kitchen. But the apartment is not soundproofed well (every night we could clearly hear our neighbors talking and moving around) and this wasn’t the cleanest place we have stayed in. But it did offer lots of space, fast wifi, and a great location. If we did it again, we would probably stay at Hotel Skipass in Kranjska Gora.

Are you going to Vintgar Gorge and Lake Bled? Comment below if you think we missed something or if you have any questions.

More Information about Slovenia

Planning a trip to Slovenia? Read all of our articles in our Slovenia Travel Guide.

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Vintgar Gorge Slovenia Travel Advice


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Comments 17

  1. Just visited the Vintgar Gorge today (July 30, 2021). It was a hot day. The gorge is nice and the water is beautiful. Unfortunately, they don’t let you walk the boardwalk to the end and back again. You have to walk to the end and then take the mostly dirt path back to the car. The return walking trip is somewhat steep (elevation gain about 100 meters), long (an hour), and not very nice. Since it was a hot day, it was a tiring walk, which made the trip to the gorge less enjoyable than if we could have just walked the gorge and back.

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      Thanks for writing in with this info. I wonder if this is a permanent change or just temporary as a crowd control measure because of Covid-19. Cheers, Julie

  2. We would like to do Lake Bled & Vintgar Gorge in one day. Should we do Lake Bled first and them the Gorge right before closing?

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      You could try this. We have only been here first thing in the morning, and it was great and we had no real crowds until we turned around and walked back) but I have heard just before closing time is nice too. Cheers, Julie

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      Nope, it’s a mostly boardwalk trail with no water crossings. I do believe that you can swim in a waterfall at the end of the gorge, but this is optional. Cheers, Julie

  3. In late August, I did the loop route you mentioned that is in the Cicerone guide, Walking the Julian Alps of Slovenia. That route combines the nice Vintgar atmosphere with some pretty amazing views of the surrounding countryside and villages, including excellent views of Bled Castle. Plus… lots of cows!!! I think my friend and I saw 2 other people on the post-Vintgar part of the loop, so it was also quite peaceful (unlike most of Bled). I highly recommend it over an out-and-back Vintgar Gorge walk for those who have the time to do it.

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  4. My husband, two adult sons and I visited Vintgar Gorge on May 2. I cannot thank you enough for the precise, helpful tips I read about your own experience. We drove from Ljubljana where we were staying and arrived at around 9 a.m. There were few cars and even fewer people. We enjoyed the walk so much! The place is absolutely fantastic! By the time we started to go back to the entrance, there was a constant flow of people (adults, young people, old people, children, and even babies) coming our way, which as you mentioned, makes it difficult to keep a comfortable pace. I was glad that I had read the information on your website. I only wish we had planned to stay more days in Slovenia. It is really a beautiful country, and now I understand why it is considered the Green Capital of Europe!
    Greetings from Mexico!

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      Hello Consuelo. This is wonderful to hear! I am so glad we could help you out and that you had such wonderful experience at Vintgar Gorge. Happy travels! Cheers, Julie

  5. I will be in Ljubljana in Late September and I would love to visit Vintgar Gorge early in the morning. I am not sure if this is possible without a car. I have tried to see what the public transport options are for this time of year but so far it doesn’t seem possible

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      Hello Sue. I don’t know much about the public transportation options to get between Ljubljana and Vintgar Gorge, since we had a car. If you have your hotel booked already, you could ask the staff, they are usually a good source of info and help. Cheers, Julie

  6. We were in Ljubljana in August and also a day in Bled by bus (we were Interrailing, so no car ), and opted not to go. It was extremely busy in Bled and we didn’t want to walk in a crowd this gorge. But we absolutely fell in love with Slovenia (especially Piran) and will visit it sometime in June, when it is not too crowded.

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      We were also there in August. Yes, Bled is very busy. Busier than we expected. June should be a nice time to go! Piran was very nice too, but it was so hot during our visit!! Happy travels! Cheers, Julie

      1. the whole summer was extremely hot. We live in the Netherlands and last summer was the hottest since 1976 (the year of birth of my husband) here. So we thought: It doesn’t matter where we go, it’s hot in Europe everywhere (and we were very thankful that we didn’t travel to Portugal and Spain with 50 C temperatures).

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          That’s what everyone kept saying. I remember sometime in July reading that it got over 100F/38C in the Netherlands and part of the UK. Crazy!! For several weeks the temps just hovered in the mid-30’s…that’s how it is at home in Maryland and we were hoping to escape that in Europe. Hopefully it’s just a freak heat wave and things will return to normal for next summer. Cheers, Julie

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