Travel to Slovenia
Day 4 Bled - Vintgar Gorge - Bled (8 Km.)
(in 4 Km.) Vintgar Gorge: The Vintgar Gorge is one of the most popular natural attractions in Slovenia. It is located 4 km north of Bled, just behind the towns of Podhom and Zasip, where the Radovna River cuts the deep gorge between the hills of Hom and Borst.
It was not discovered until 1891 by Jakob Žumer, a cartographer and photographer of Bled. The discovery was accidental and occurred when the water level of the Radovna River was very low. He started his exploration from Spodnje Gorje and went up until his end in Blejska Dobrava. Due to its natural beauty, they decided to prepare the throat to visit it. It consists of a road (fee, although its price is reasonable) of 1,600 meters open to the public on August 26, 1893. The road is formed by successive wooden walkways suspended over the river. It is ideal to go with children, even if they are very small. The route through the gorge itself does not last longer than 25 or 30 minutes (or 40 due to frequent stops to take photos), up to the Šum waterfall, 16 meters high. The path is cold because the sun barely enters inside the gorge. Not recommended for wheelchairs because there are steps.
The gorge has like three stages. In the first, walking from Podham, the water is fast and furious, crashing against the rocks and falling into small pools. In the second part the water is calm. It seems that you are at the end of the road, but the river wakes up again. This last area is the coldest and is ideal to cool off during one of the hot summer days. There is also a Picnic area on the way, as long as you are lucky enough to find a free place. Both at the beginning and at the end of the gorge there are a number of stalls to buy drinks, with public toilets available.
Once we reach the end of the gorge we can undo the path we have made or get to Zasip and return to Bled. If you want to extend the walk, you can take the path that goes from the entrance to the Šum waterfall to the hermitage of Santa Katarina. It is the only part that presents a bit of ascent (about 150 meters) but in a half hour we reach the hermitage, where there is also a bar-restaurant with swings, a perfect place to make a stop. The route continues in the direction of Vintgar through meadows and trees on the slopes of Mount Hom in a gentle descent. On our left we always have in sight the hills and mountains that surround Bled and the depression where the Sava Dolinka River flows on its way to the South. In total the journey will take us between 2 and 3 hours (it's about 5 km.) depending on the pace and stops that are made.
(in 4 Km.) Bled: Bled is a Slovenian town, on the shores of Lake Bled, in the northwestern part of Slovenia. It is located a few kilometers south of the Austrian border and about 50 kilometers northwest of the country's capital, Ljubljana. Bled has 11,300 inhabitants, according to the 2002 census, 5,164 in the village itself. Bled is especially famous for the Bled Glacial Lake, which attracts numerous tourists throughout the year. On the shores of the lake, among the woods, there are several churches and castles looking at it, which make the place idyllic. Surrounded by the Julian Alps, the landscape is reminiscent of the Tyrol: gentle meadows, snow-capped mountains, farms with geraniums on the balconies and villages around a church with its stylized bell tower.
This town, besides being a center of tourist activities, has two monuments to be highlighted: the Church of the Assumption of Mary (Cerkev Marijinega vnebovzetja), located on the island in the center of the lake, and which is surely one of the most famous photographs of the country. The church is neo-Gothic style and in it hosts the "bell of desires" of 1534, which according to legend, who rings it in honor of the Virgin will see their wishes come true. The island can be accessed by renting wooden boats on the shore of the lake. The second monument of interest is the castle located on a precipice on the edge of the lake and on top of the village of Bled.
We climb the steep cobbled street that leads to the castle. Once the door of the wall is passed, when we take the curve, we can stop to contemplate the views over the lake. The baroque castle, mentioned for first time in 1011, has a museum that takes visitors on a journey through the hectic history of Bled, from the time the first settlements in the area appeared to the present day. The furniture of the museum interprets the culture of the settlement throughout the different eras. The walls of the castle are Romanesque, and other buildings of the castle are of Renaissance origin. We took advantage of the afternoon to eat the typical Slovenian tart cream and custard (kremšnita) and some ice cream. We take a short walk along the path that goes along the lake, guarded by numerous terraces and accompanied by groups of ducks that approach the shore.