How to photograph Vintgar Gorge

By Ian Middleton

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Close to Lake Bled

Situated about 4kms from the famous Lake Bled, Vintgar Gorge is just one of the many stunning locations to be found in the beautiful country of Slovenia. It’s also one of the most accessible, which on the downside also means that you’ll share this experience with hundreds of other visitors. However, it’s a fantastic location for capturing fast flowing rapids and a waterfall. Use long exposures to smooth out the flowing water for a dreamy, etheral effect, or fast exposures to freeze the water droplets and add drama.

Closed during the winter

The Vintgar gorge, Gorje, near Bled, Slovenia. . The 1.6 km long Vintgar gorge carves its way through the vertical rocks of the Hom and Bort hills by the Radovna River.
Vintgar Gorge in winter

The gorge is officially closed during the winter due to the danger it poses when the ice between the rocks freezes. It’s also quite slippery, and the 1.6km-long part wooden, part gravel walkway can be quite treacherous. However, while it is officially closed, you used to be able to get in out of hours or out of season, like I did once or twice. It’s a great time to photograph it in the snow, and there’s no one to get in your way. But now there is a gate that blocks entrance when it’s closed.

Open for the season

The gorge is open from April to November. There are two entrances, but the main one is at the village of Podhom.

There are many great viewpoints from the wooden walkway, but during busy times it can be very difficult setting up a tripod on the narrow boardwalk, as you’ll either be having to move it constantly, or wait for people to walk by and the vibrations they cause to stop. So for these shots it’s best to go in early morning or late evening, especially during the summer months, to avoid the crowds. Out of season it will be a little easier as there are less visitors, but be prepared to have to move.

But, there are some good locations off the boardwalk, in particular on a rocky ledge between the first and second footbridge. See photos below. But do so at your own risk.

Taken from a rocky ledge off the boardwalk
Taken from a rocky ledge off the boardwalk
Taken from off the boardwalk
Photographed from beside the boardwalk
Taken from the first footbridge
Taken from the first footbridge
The Soteska Vintgar gorge, Gorje, near Bled, Slovenia. . The 1.6 km long Vintgar gorge carves its way through the vertical rocks of the Hom and Bort hills by the Radovna River.
From the walkway close to the second footbridge
The Soteska Vintgar gorge, Gorje, near Bled, Slovenia. . The 1.6 km long Vintgar gorge carves its way through the vertical rocks of the Hom and Bort hills by the Radovna River.
From the footbridge early morning

No more dawn or dusk shots

The gorge is open daily, but as with most photographic locations the best time is early in the morning. Sadly it’s no longer possible to just go in at dawn like I did one morning because of the gate. But at least you won’t encounter one of the attendants who come through sweeping the walkway before opening time. I encountered a very irate one, but he gave up when I pretended I didn’t understand Slovene.

The Soteska Vintgar gorge, Gorje, near Bled, Slovenia. . The 1.6 km long Vintgar gorge carves its way through the vertical rocks of the Hom and Bort hills by the Radovna River.
From the walkway near the second footbridge. This is a very tricky shot on a narrow corner. There is just enough room to setup the tripod, and it needs to be high to get this perspective. So definitely avoid the crowded times for this one.
The Soteska Vintgar gorge, Gorje, near Bled, Slovenia. . The 1.6 km long Vintgar gorge carves its way through the vertical rocks of the Hom and Bort hills by the Radovna River.
The same angle but with a faster shutter speed to add more drama
The Soteska Vintgar gorge, Gorje, near Bled, Slovenia. . The 1.6 km long Vintgar gorge carves its way through the vertical rocks of the Hom and Bort hills by the Radovna River.
It's a great location for black and white shots too.
autumn photography. Autumn can be stunning at the gorge. This shot was taken right at the last bridge where you exit the gorge.
Autumn can be stunning at the gorge. This shot was taken right at the last bridge where you exit the gorge.
The Soteska Vintgar gorge, Gorje, near Bled, Slovenia. . The 1.6 km long Vintgar gorge carves its way through the vertical rocks of the Hom and Bort hills by the Radovna River.
I took this at dusk, after the gorge had officially closed, before they put the gate up to stop you getting in when closed.
The Soteska Vintgar gorge, Gorje, near Bled, Slovenia. The 1.6 km long Vintgar gorge has been carved through the vertical rocks of the Hom and Bort hills by the Radovna River.
Try some close ups
The Soteska Vintgar gorge, Gorje, near Bled, Slovenia. The 1.6 km long Vintgar gorge has been carved through the vertical rocks of the Hom and Bort hills by the Radovna River.
This is a great viewpoint looking back after you have crossed the second footbridge.
The 16 Metre high Sum Waterfall in Vintgar Gorge, near Bled, Slovenia.
The 16 Metre high Sum Waterfall in Vintgar Gorge, near Bled, Slovenia.

The rapids culminate at the northern end of the gorge and cascade off a 16 metre high drop to form the lovely Šum Waterfall.

Summer is a good time to photograph the falls, but it gets crowded so be patient, or use the tourists strategically in your shots if you can......
Summer is a good time to photograph the falls, but it gets crowded so be patient, or use the tourists strategically in your shots if you can......
The 16 Metre high Sum Waterfall in Vintgar Gorge, near Bled, Slovenia.
The 16 Metre high Sum Waterfall in Vintgar Gorge, near Bled, Slovenia.
The Soteska Vintgar gorge, Gorje, near Bled, Slovenia. . The 1.6 km long Vintgar gorge carves its way through the vertical rocks of the Hom and Bort hills by the Radovna River.
After heavy rain one summer
The Soteska Vintgar gorge, Gorje, near Bled, Slovenia. The 1.6 km long Vintgar gorge has been carved through the vertical rocks of the Hom and Bort hills by the Radovna River.
If you look hard enough there are some other good spots further down
The Soteska Vintgar gorge, Gorje, near Bled, Slovenia. The 1.6 km long Vintgar gorge has been carved through the vertical rocks of the Hom and Bort hills by the Radovna River.

General Information

Opening times:

  • April, May 8.00 – 18.00
  • June 7.00 – 19.00
  • July, August 7.00 – 20.00
  • September 8.00 – 18.00
  • October, November 9.00 – 16.00

Parking

Parking for visitors at the gorge is €5.

Shuttle bus €1 (more info here)

Coordinates for navigation

latitude: 46,3920°
longitude: 14,0844°

Entry is:

  • Adults: €10
  • Kids 6-15 years: €3
  • Kids to 6 years: €1
  • Students: €6

Getting there by car:

From Bled: from the traffic lights at the top of the hill beside Hotel Krim, head along Prešernova Cesta out past the castle on towards the village of Gorje. You’ll see signposts for Vintgar as you get closer to Gorje.

By foot:

It’s possible to walk there. From the bus station head out along Prešernova cesta then turn on to Partizanska cesta to Cesta v Vintgar. This will take you to Podhom, where signs show the way to the gorge entrance. To return, either go back the same way or, from Šum Waterfall, walk eastward over Hom (834m) to the ancient pilgrimage Church of St Catherine (signed ‘Katarina Bled’)

For more info check out the Vintgar Gorge website: www.vintgar.si

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Disclosure:

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