We took a day trip from Ljubljana to visit Vintgar Gorge, Lake Bled, and Lake Bohinj. The gorge was a last minute add-on (literally while we were on the road to Lake Bled) and I’m so glad we didn’t miss it.
We arrived a little after 9am, and parked just near the entrance. Apparently, in the summer months the gorge gets quite crowded, with long lines to enter, but on a September morning we just walked up, paid the entrance fee, and started along the 1.6 km path.
It was more of a stroll than a hike.
There’s one section of the gorge where people have created a small stone stack garden. My guess is these get removed regularly by park staff.
Max and Henry added to the already impressive collection.
After the gorge, we drove over to Lake Bled. The plan was to have lunch right away, because more than one member of our little party was exhibiting signs of hanger. We inadvertently picked a place that had an amazing view (and a spot in history) but served only coffee and dessert. To stave off disaster, we went ahead and ordered the regional specialty, kremna rezina (cream cake), and two espressos at Café Belvedere. The cake was delicious, the espressos were necessary.
We walked along the lake into town and ate an actual, and very satisfying, lunch at Pizzeria Rustica before continuing the rest of the way around the lake. It’s a 6km path, so just a little bigger than Green Lake in Seattle, or Lake Merritt in Oakland. The weather was beautiful, and there were people rowing, supping, swimming, and sunbathing all around. Henry was very disappointed not to have his swim trunks along.
We didn’t take the Pletna boats over to the island where you can visit the church, since we had another lake on the itinerary and it was already getting late in the afternoon. Next time!
Getting to Lake Bohinj was unexpectedly challenging, as the road that the Google maps lady wanted us to take was closed for repairs. No matter how many times I tried to reroute, she kept insisting on that road, so we had to wing it for a bit. The alternate route we ended up taking was a bit of an adventure in our not-tiny Peugeot 308, as we drove through a few villages where the roads were clearly built when something other than cars was the main form of transportation. Some of the streets were barely wide enough for the car, and had blind corners at unusual angles. We only had to back up once, luckily.
The lake itself is gorgeous. It’s in a glacial valley in the Julian Alps, part of the Triglav National Park. There are hiking and biking trails all around, while cars can only reach some parts of the lake.
Since we didn’t arrive until late in the day, we only had time to stop for about an hour, enough for Kyle and Henry to take a swim. Initially, Henry was still upset about not having his swim trunks, and wasn’t going to go in, but the water just looked too inviting and he finally said, “OK I’LL DO IT.” Then he stripped to his underwear and had a blast. Max was not really feeling it, as he had fallen on some steps in the gorge and was sore and achy, so he walked to a nearby market and got a Fanta.
If we were smarter, we would have planned a day for each of the lakes, because both are worth a full day, and are quite different. The drive home was a bit easier as we knew what to expect, and we got back to Ljubljana in time for a late dinner and a good sleep.