Saying somewhere in Slovenia is beautiful is probably starting to lose its meaning, but once you visit this incredible country you will understand. There are plenty of easy hikes at gorges around Slovenia, one of the most popular being Vintgar Gorge near Lake Bled. As a self-proclaimed local (how many years until I can say it?!), I suggest skipping those and head over to Tolmin Gorge.
Locally called Tolminska Korita, the gorge is actually two gorges; the Tolminka Gorge and the Zadlaščica Gorge. The gorges were created by the Tolminka River and Zadlaščica River. Similar to the closely located Soča River, the waters of Tolmin Gorge are a stunning turquoise that is an absolute treat.
Check out these articles to help plan your trip:
Visiting Information for Tolmin Gorges
Car: Driving is my preferred method when traveling around Slovenia. It is an easy and scenic drive from Ljubljana (~2 hours) or Bovec (~40 minutes). There are available parking lots near the gorges. The closest one (P1) has a fee while the second parking lot at the end of Tolmin (P2 on a map) is free of charge.
Read | 13 Things You Should Know Before Driving in Slovenia
Bus routes go regularly from Ljubljana, Nomago and Avtobusna postaja Ljubljana (AP, the local bus company) offer routes to Tolmin. and take from 2.5-3 hours. Tickets cost around 10 Euros.
Walking time: 1.5 hours (easy circular route)
Starting point: Zatolmin 66a, 5220 Tolmin, there is a small wooden hut before the entrance where you can purchase tickets.
Opening hours and pricing varies on the time of the year. Check the official site for the latest.
Sights of Tolmin Gorge
When you enter the grounds for Tolmin Gorge there is a small wooden hut where you pay the entrance fee. Once you continue onwards, you will be taken through a mainly circular route with several sightseeing spots.
The Confluence of the Tolminka and the Zadlaščica
The first sight you encounter at Tolmin Gorge is the confluence of Tolminka and the Zadlaščica Rivers. A confluence is when two or more streams flow together.
Not only is it the most narrow part of the gorge, but at only 180 meters above sea level, the confluence of Tolminka and Zadlaščica is the lowest point of Triglav National Park.
The thermal spring
A path continues along the Tolminka River which takes visitors to the second stop at the thermal spring. The average temperature is between 18.8 C and 20.8 C, a stark contrast to the 5 to 9°C of the Tolminka River. The spring is heated by geothermal energy under the ground. These are naturally occuring across Slovenia.
This path is a dead end so you will need to return back to the confluence to get back on the circular route.
A large rock wedged between the walls of the canyon of Zadlaščica that looks like the head of a bear is Medvedova glava (Bear’s Head). Perfectly perched between the walls it appears as if it might fall in any moment, but has stood for centuries.
There is also a viewing platform in this section of the route to view the Skakalce. Skakalce in Slovene means jumpers. In this part of the Zadlaščica River, the water appears to be “jumping” from pool to pool. The perfect place for photography lovers!
After viewing the Bear’s Head, backtrack just a bit to head back on the path, but not too quick as there is one last detour before the final sight.
Dante’s Cave, also known as Zadlaška jama, is named after the village Zadlaz, and of course poet Dante Alighieri. It is said that he stayed in Zadlaz in the 14th century and the cave inspired the Hell in his Divine Comedy.
The Soča River flowed through the cave creating a 1,140 meter long and 41 meter deep cave that can only be visited with an experienced and certified guide.
The Devil’s Bridge
Towering 60 meters high above the Tolminka River is the Devil’s Bridge (Hudičev Most). It was first built in 1907 as a wooden bridge but was later replaced with iron.
After viewing the Tolmin Gorges and walking along the lowest elevation of Triglav National Park, to suddenly be high above where you were moments ago, is a humbling experience. The views are stunning as you see the brutally frigid glacial waters cutting through the rocks.
FAQ about Visiting Tolmin Gorge
Do I need hiking boots for Tolmin Gorge?
While you do not need professional-grade hiking boots it is recommended to at least have sturdy shoes with grip. The pathway can get slippery due to the water and high humidity of the area.
Can I swim at Tolmin Gorge?
There are no explicit rules against it, but the water is very cold and not very deep so it will be more of a chance to cool off.
When is the best time to visit Tolmin Gorge?
To avoid the heaviest crowds and take advantage of free parking, arrive early morning – especially in the summer. While the trees and freshwater provide some coolness, due to their location the gorges can be very humid in the summer.
Save Money and See More with the Julian Alps Card: Soča Valley
The Julian Alps Card is something I learned about fairly recently and love the concept. I’ve participated in similar schemes in other countries and found them to be worth the money. Do be cautious about these schemes if they are not sponsored by the local tourism board.
The Julian Alps Card has different versions for Soča Valley, Bohinj, Bled, and Radovljica. In Bled and Radovljica it is free to guests who book at least two nights in one of their partnered service providers.
In the Soča Valley and Bohinj, the card is available for purchase to guests who book at least two nights in one of their partnered service providers.
|Children 7-14 years||7 Euros|
|Children 0-6 years||free|
The Julian Alps Card: Soča Valley includes free entrace to:
- Tolmin Gorges
- The Tolmin Museum
- The Memorial Church of Holy Spirt in Javorca
- The Kobarid Museum
- Kozjak Waterfall
- The Planika Dairy Cheese Museum
- Kanin cable car
- Juliana Alpine Botanical Garden
- Mostnica Gorge
- Bled guided tour
- Radovljica guided tour
and also provides free access to public transport with the shuttle bus between Tolmin Gorge and Javorca, hop-on hop-off bus in Kobaird, Bohinj, and Radovljica, as well as a one-way or return train ticket from Most na Soči to Ljubljana.
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