Welcome to the Tolmin Gorges, the lowest and southernmost entry point into the Triglav National Park and Tolmin’s most spectacular site. The emerald water you see flows from the Tolminka and Soca rivers. Both streams have carved deep gorges into the rocks and this spectacular hike leads you from the bottom to the top of the gorge for a complete view of the gorge in all its glory.
The soft sound of the flowing river nestled in a valley of trees with views of the surrounding mountains will leave you convinced this is a setting on suited to a fairytale. Here’s everything you need to know about the hike and our tips for beating the crowds and getting some great photos.
Opening Hours and Entrance Fees to Tolmin Gorges
Tolmin Gorges is only open from April to mid-November each year and is closed in winter. Opening hours vary throughout the year: April: 09:00 – 18:00; May: 09:00 – 19:00; June – August: 08:30 – 19:30; September: 09:00 – 18:30; October: 09:00 – 17:00; 1st week of November: 09:00 – 16:00 and 10 November – 31 March: Closed
An entry fee is payable by cash or credit card:
Regular fees: Adults: 5€; Students: 4€; Children (6 – 14 years): 2.50€ and Seniors: 4€.
In July and August: Adults: 6€; Students: 5€; Children (6 – 14 years): 3€; Seniors: 5€; Family (2 adults + 2 children): 15€. A combined ticket for Tolmin Gorges and Javorca (The Memorial Church of the Holy Spirit) is also available for 8.50€.
Best Time to Hike the Tolmin Gorges
The best time of the year to visit the Tolmin Gorges is in May or after the end of August to skip out the peak season summer crowds. Slovenia is a popular European holiday destination so travelling during the summer means that you will need to plan everything ahead of time (as accommodation will almost certainly book out) and that everything tends to be more expensive.
The best time of the day to do the hike is first thing in the morning when it opens or in the late afternoon after 5 pm. You’ll avoid the large crowds (the middle of the day is the busiest), get a parking spot if you’re driving and enjoy most of the hike in the shade.
This is also better for photography as you won’t have harsh sunlight and shadows in the gorge.
Tolmin Gorges Trail Difficulty
Easy with some moderate sections; 2km return; approximately 1 hour.
The short circular trail is mostly unpaved, narrow and has some steep, uphill parts. The trail will take 45 minutes at a moderate pace with stops for photos. Allow 1.5 hours if you plan on hiking very slowly or will be spending a lot of time taking photos (like us, shamelessly, of course). The trail is clearly marked with each major attraction numbered and outlined on a map given at the entrance.
It is not wheelchair accessible and we don’t recommend bringing a pram for children.
Note: there are some bridges to cross including the final Devil’s Bridge. As someone who is still getting over my fear of heights, I found the other bridges fine but the last one did make me feel a little nervous.
Head to the hut at the end of the parking lot to pay the entrance fee. You’ll be provided with a map of the trail at the entrance. The entire trail is clearly signed with numbers corresponding to main attractions.
From here, the trail begins with a descent along a path towards the confluence of Tolminka and Zadlaščica streams. You’ll cross a small bridge and go left through the tunnels to the end of the path. A thermal spring is there at the bottom although you cannot go any further and you can’t enter the spring.
Turn around and go back towards the bridge continue past it and go left to follow the Zadlaščica stream. The path here is steep and goes high above the gorges. If you are here in the rain, beware that these sections may get slippery and muddy.
The next lookout is into Zadlaščica gorge where a giant triangular rock called ‘Medvedova glava’ (which means ‘bear’s head’) became naturally stuck. You’ll return back down the same way and turn right where the path splits.
Following up the asphalt road, you’ll reach Dante’s cave, where it is believed the renowned Italian poet Dante Alighieri got the inspiration for his Divine Comedy. You can enter the cave but will only be able to walk through a few metres as it is gated off and requires a guide. Make sure you bring a flashlight or use your phone.
Descend down the asphalt road and you will eventually come to the Devil’s Bridge which cars also use to cross. The bridge was built by Austro – Hungarian soldiers during the 1st world war. From here, you have the stunning view into Tolminka gorge. What I love about places like this is that when you stand there and look out into the gorge and see everything surrounding you, there is an overwhelming sense of awe and gratitude to be able to witness it.
Even though this hike is short, every part of it is spectacular. I loved every part of the trail highly recommend doing it. Take your time, put your camera away in certain sections and just lap it all in.
How to get there
Driving and Parking
If you plan on driving to the Tolmin Gorges, make sure you avoid the middle of the day to ensure you can easily find parking. Following the above map will take you to the entrance where you can park. Parking is free.
Although within the National Park, Tolmin Gorges is located on the west and is around 1.5 – 2 hours’ drive from Lake Bled. We recommend you split your time in Triglav National Park between the east and the west. This way, you can avoid the long drives between and explore each part.
TIP: Make sure you download offline maps before going to Slovenia if you won’t have a sim card with the internet.
A shuttle bus between Tolmin and Tolmin Gorges is available in the peak season (July and August) to help relieve traffic and parking congestion. The minibus that fits up to 20 persons travels every full hour between 10:00 and 16:00 from the big parking place next tot he Brajda sports park in Tolmin.
The return ride from the Tolmin Gorges will follow 10 minutes after each full hour.
What to wear and bring
Since the hike is short, you don’t need to bring too much.
- Comfortable walking shoes or hiking sandals (can be done in flip flops but we don’t recommend it as steep parts will get muddy and slippery when wet)
- Water bottle (refill at the entrance near toilets)
- Camera and tripod (if you want some milky water photos)
- Check the forecast and be prepared for weather changes with thin layers or a rain jacket if needed. The hike is mostly shaded so may be cold in the late afternoon.
- We also recommend wearing some good hiking shorts or leggings that you can maneuver around easily in as some steps are quite high.