If you love raw nature and flowing water there is a very strong case for visiting all four of Slovenia’s top gorges during your trip to Green Slovenia.. and there are many others too!
Each gorge is different and unmissable and for those of you who can make the time, do try to include each one, sometime in your holiday adventure schedule..
All involve a hike in stunning Green locations next to the sheer power and changing colour of these water passages as they slice and rage through solid rock. Each one could be the main focus of your day or part of a wonderful multi-stop daytrip.
And you can be sure that where there is a gorge, you will find stunning bridges, waterfalls, rock features and a surprising amount of Greeness too.
Slovenia is still a little behind the times in letting visitors know properly about the world class gorges here, so you need to know the word KORITA, which means gorge and might appear on a brown sign for a little while still, until the language of tourism is properly embraced on signs and you finally get the travel info you deserve!
Every one of Slovenia's gorges offers a different Green experience to the other, so if you do have to choose one or two, this mini guide could help you decide which ones, depending on your route, companions & fitness levels..
We do not exaggerate when we say that Tolmin Gorge, (1 hour 20 mins from the Lodge), is a "Must See" secret place to visit.
So many countries in the world would be very proud to have such a treasure, but the thing is, there are so many other Green beauties here in Slovenia that many visitors do not even get to hear about this particular green sparkly one!
The gorge is also tucked away in the far west of this little country with all the other amazing Soca river secret places and so logistically, it is on the other side of the Alps from lake Bled or Ljubljana and quite a trip from the seaside, so is often missed out purely for logistical reasons.. that is not a problem for Lipizzaner Lodge guests as we chose the very best location in Slovenia.. so our guests can easily access the delights of the Upper and Lower Soca valleys in one fantastic day!
The gorge is equally as breath taking in it's stunning beauty as the stony walk you have to do to see all its parts. The basic walk from the car park down to the gorge and then up jungle green stone steps to Devil’s Bridge takes an hour or so.. the gorge will catch you by surprise as it suddenly jumps into view, so we won't spoil that special moment any further!
You could walk back down the main road from "Devil's" bridge, but should walk further up the mountain trail to find a lovely secret café using 2 hidden forest paths that do a short cut up the mountain in the forest, so you don't have to walk along the long winding road..
The first short cut steps start next to Dante’s Cave, (apparently this is the cave where Dante got his fiery inspiration)! The second secret forest staircase is marked with a cafe sign and the views get better and better as you get higher.
Upon reaching the café you ring the cow bell for service and are rewarded with one of Miriam’s superb strudels and choice of other mountain delicacies, local cheese and a stunning view of Mt Krn 2,244m in a mini region that might remind you of a mix between Switzerland in Europe and Laos in south east Asia.
Lake Bled is one of the Slovenian beauties that most visitors have actually heard about and just 10 mins from the lake is the super cool Vintgar Gorge, (70 mins from the Lodge). This is the least demanding Slovenian gorge walk along superbly maintained wooden walkways suspended above the icy crystal clear water. (So perhaps the best choice if your walking ability is limited or restricted).
The natural beauty of this narrow cutting, where water slices through sheer rock on its way to join Slovenia's longest river the Sava, will amaze you.
The geological structure of the rocks and constantly changing colour of the water will also amaze you.. we had an expert guest from the States who said the particular geological lines of the gorge wall here were uniquely interesting.
For those who want a longer walk, then Bled is a 90 min hike from the end of the gorge, so you could leave the car behind at the lake and spend a quiet, enjoyable day in nature, hiking to the gorge and then back.
Mostnica (Little Bridge) Gorge..
Better still, you can do a longer hike up into the Alps from the top of the gorge.. emerging from the forest to follow a stone track with Alpine mountains towering, shepherds’ huts scattered in neighbouring fields and a choice of 2 inns before reaching the double waterfall also called "Mostnica" at the end of the trail.
There are easy to follow paths on either side of the gorge, we recommend you walk up along the right hand side, so keep the water on your left so you don't miss the “Elephant” sucking crystal clear water into his trunk.. then come back down later on the other side of the gorge, where absolutely stunning stone and water features will reveal themselves. (So up and down, just keep the water on your left side).
The walk to the double waterfall (there and back) from the pretty car park with a view of lake Bohinj takes around 5 hours, but if you just want to see the gorge and back it can be done in about 2 hours.
If you can make the time and have the fitness for the full 5 hour walk then you really MUST do it! The track is lovely and it is one of the simplest to follow, but also one of the most beautiful hikes in Green Slovenia..
You could also easily spend the whole day hanging around by the gorge, maybe with a picnic, dipping your feet into the ice cold water, while the hardiest of people even swim on the hottest summer days in the ice cold crystal clear water.
the Soca Gorge..
We'd seen photos of another really stunning gorge and often wondered where it was, in fact we had tried to find it once, but had gotten lost, so on a bright September day we planned to "walk" to the Soca gorge (100 mins from the Lodge), combining this adventure with a visit to the source of this most beautiful Soca river and we were not disappointed.
At the Source of the Soca, the turquoise river water springs out of a strangely rectangular hole, like a well, from the side of a mountain half way up a mountain at the base of the amazing Vrsic pass, (yet another great road trip) and you have to climb a little bit holding steel ropes (it's really not that bad, in fact good fun) to get to where the water pops out and kicks off this river's epic journey.
The river crashes down into the uberstunning Upper Soca valley and you can park in the long village of Soca and catch up with the gorge along the walk and continue to follow the river.
You hear the buzz of the motorbikes and cars hidden through the trees and rock on the other side of the river as you stroll peacefully and you can't help thinking, "gosh, all these people are just racing past and missing this magic!"
The colour of the gorge and the sheer height of the cliffs that simple H2O has created over millions of years will blow you away. Every step you fall in love with this place.
Some people jump off one of the cliffs into the ice cold water, others sun bathe, swim or toggle their toes in the water.. most people just marvel at the sheer beauty of this place.
We honestly couldn't tell you which of these 4 world class gorges is our favourite, we love them all and get excited about visiting each one every time we go.. we could easily recommend which one is best for you if we met you, but if you wanted us to generally tip just one, we would say.. visit them all!
Other Gorgeous Gorges to know about along the way..
We only recently discovered another little jewel of a gorge called Cramp Gorge, (Krcnik) (75 mins from the Lodge). This little beauty is tucked away in the rolling wine and cherry hills above Nova Gorica, known as the Goricia hills, (Goriska Brda) and are a real adventure to find.
It is so called after the local mayor's son jumped into the crystal clear water from the stunning natural stone bridge created by the naughty Prince of darkness to collect the gold at the bottom of the gorge.. but he got cramped up and drowned.. a lesson to us all!
This gorge is perfectly placed to form part of a Cherry & Wine or Hiking tour exploring the stunning stony Karst hill towns of Dobrovo (60 mins) and Smartno (55 mins), with castles popping out on top of hills packed with vineyards and views over to Italy.
Then make your way down to the river and the gorge for a cherry fuelled picnic and so many shades of green you might need to adjust your sunglasses!
It really is the end of the line in this particular direction west and at the very end of these quiet hilly roads there are even 3 completely deserted villages to explore. You will simply not believe that a village could just be left abandoned in such a beautiful part of the world.
the Kamnik Gorge..
Just when you thought it was safe to remember a relatively simple word for gorge.. Korita.. guess what they went and called the Kamnik gorge?!..
Yep, the Soteska Predaselj, (it is as if they want to hide these places away from the other 7.98 billion non Slovenian speakers), aka the Kamnik Gorge can be part of a magical days hiking in the forest shadow of the Kamnik mountains.
In one day, you could get to see the source of the Kamnik Bistrica river, a secret WW2 Partisan Forest hospital, a fantastic waterfall, that you can even climb up AND another secret gorge!
The trickiest thing for the moment is to spot the tongue twisting sign, but once you have cracked this and parked up, yet another stunning hike across a very wonky bridge down to the river side will leave yet another fantastic Slovenian gorge at your mercy! wow, what a day!
Buzet Gorge in Istria..
Just over the rocky border, about an hour from the Lodge, in view of the stunning medieval hill top village of Buzet is another fantastic gorge walk.. (To those of you who might know Cheddar gorge in south west England, this gorge is more like that with rolling mountain rocks, wide apart and the view changes with every footstep.. quite different to the compact, powerful water filled gorges of Green Slovenia.
The rocky sides of the gorge here are high, but the river stills runs through the bottom of this stunning gorge and is well worth a hike in combo with a visit to the uberlovely hilltop village.
And just to ease the cogs in the language side of your brain, this gorge is conveniently described as a "Kanjon" in Croatian, which will do very nicely, thank you!!