Lake Bled & Vintgar Gorge – Reason enough to see Slovenia!

Vintgar Gorge
About 1/2 of the walk along Vintgar Gorge is on narrow walkways like this one

It was a single photo that drew me to Slovenia, the photo was of Bled Gorge and I was immediately drawn to the green water, steep canyon walls and most of all, the trail that followed along – and sometimes over – the water.  We love finding unique hikes to do such as Angel’s Landing in Zion and this one looked fun.  I wanted to make sure there was more to do in Slovenia (seems dumb to wonder in hindsight) so I googled ‘cool places in Slovenia’ and quickly got lost in the hundreds of options.  The next must-see destination I found was Lake Bled, actually right next to Vintgar Gorge, which is most famous for the beautiful church in the middle of a tiny island.  So we made plans to see these two areas after stopping by Predjama Castle and Škocjan Caves on the way.

Castle on the hill
Unfortunate to have the crane in the shot but Bled Castle is pretty awesome
Church & Castle
Lake Bled’s church and castle

Bled is an awesome little town. It looks like it could be in Austria except being Slovenian, everything is half the cost.  The town itself is situated on the Eastern edge of the small lake – you can easily walk around it and there is a nice path. The most obvious feature as you walk around the lake is tiny island with picturesque Assumption of Mary Pilgrimage Church rising sharply from it.  You can get to the island via rowboat, captains depart from several spots around the lake.  On the cliff overlooking the lake is Bled Castle.  You can walk up there to enjoy the views for free but you must pay to go inside (we skipped it.)  In the winter they have a small ski hill you can enjoy, in the summer there are many nearby areas to hike and it’s a great town to just relax in.  Also, we ate at the best restaurant of the entire trip here.  Penzion Berc, a ten minute walk SW from the town is incredible!  I ate the best octopus dish of my life here and everything is affordable (like everything else in Slovenia.) They only take cash though so come prepared so you can avoid the mid-dinner dash to find an ATM (and call to your bank in our case.)

Vintgar Gorge Waterfall
The waterfall and bridge at the end of the trail

My favorite part of Bled is how close to Vintgar Gorge it was.  Vintgar Gorge was as cool as I had hoped, it’s definitely not a challenging hike (just a walk really) but it’s the only place like it I’ve been.  For a photographer, it’s amazing (except all the people.)  The path winds for about a mile, mostly on boardwalks and bridges so you are either on, or crossing over, the water a large amount of the time.  The path ends at a large waterfall with nice places to relax and have a beer (a small café is on either end of the trail.)  I wish we had more time, there are lots of places where this river has formed much smaller and less touristy canyons that I’d love to explore.  Next time!

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