Vintgar Gorge: A Perfect Escape to Nature
A morning spent in Vintgar Gorge is a perfect way to take a break from European cityscapes and enjoy nature’s incredible views, and as an easy stop along the way to other popular Slovenian tourist attractions like Lake Bled, a hike through the gorge fits perfectly into a half-day excursion into the Julian Alps.
My tour, through Nature Adventures, stopped at Vintgar Gorge in the morning on our way from Ljubljana to the infamous Lake Bled. Vintgar Gorge consists of a beautiful hiking path through a gorge alongside a gushing river of the clearest blue I’ve ever seen. In the area of the gorge, it was colder than in Ljubljana because Vintgar Gorge in the Julian Alps, so it’s best to bundle up a bit to fully enjoy the experience hiking through the gorge.
The trail through Vintgar Gorge is one way – most people start at one end and then hike back the same way they came to return to their cars if they drove. Luckily, my tour guide drove ahead while we all walked the trail and met us at the opposite end, so we wasted no time in passing through the same trail on the way back to our point of origin.
At the very beginning of the trail, the Sum Waterfall cascades over a large cliff and I was lucky enough to spot a rainbow reflecting in the mist of the falls.
The view is simply breathtaking; after traveling through European cities so often, it’s a welcome reprieve to be able to admire the mountaintops of the Julian Alps peaking over the trees.
The stream running through the gorge is framed by trees that were showing the first hints of fall foliage during my visit, and the view reminded me of similar scenery in Alaska.
About a sixth of the way down the trail, a railway bridge towers over a small waterfall. Our guide mentioned that trains still do operate on this bridge and lucky visitors can usually see a train passing overhead once or twice a day.
Continuing down the trail, the still pools of water are perfect for inviting visitors to reflect, both physically and mentally. The pristine cerulean waters are among the clearest I’ve ever seen.
The path of the trail is open and if you’re a bit daring, you can veer off the path to get closer to the water, which makes for some incredible photo opportunities.
Along the riverbank, I noticed there were stacks of rocks, which seem to be a recurring theme wherever small rocks can be found – I’ve seen them in other places like Alaska and Iceland as well. My guide in Alaska told me years ago that these piles symbolized efforts to construct good fortune; each rock in the tower represents a year of good luck for the person who constructed the tower.
The trail also leads past a crucifix that a Slovenian legend says marks the site of the suicide of 40 virgins who were so distraught when their husbands were gone so long in the war that they jumped off the cliff and into the gorge.
The rest of the trail featured similar beautiful scenery and the allure of the incredibly blue water never faded. A trip to Slovenia without stopping at Vintgar Gorge for a dose of nature would truly be a missed opportunity!