Tolmin Gorge: Complete Guide to Your Visit to Tolmin Gorge in Slovenia

December 28, 2023

The Tolmin Gorge is one of Slovenia’s most impressive natural attractions, located in the Soča Valley. This natural formation is part of the Triglav National Park and has been formed by local waters over millions of years.

The Tolmin Gorge itself is a few hundred meters long, deeply incised valley created by the Tolminka River. The waters slowly carved away the rocks, creating the beautiful riverbed surrounded by rocky walls. The crystal-clear water and green vegetation create a pleasant contrast with the rocks and high walls.

Although the Tolmin Gorge itself is only a short stretch, the landscape shaped by the rivers and mountains, the hiking trails, the forest, the nearby cave, the bridges, the whole Tolmin Gorge environment is worth exploring in more detail.

Therefore, this article will provide you with more information about the Tolmin Gorge and its surroundings, help you plan your trip and give you enough information to make your trip to the Tolmin Gorge and the Soča Valley a memorable adventure.

Is Tolmin Gorge worth a visit?

Yes, a visit to Tolmin Gorge is definitely recommended if you visit either the Soca Valley or Lake Bled. It is a real paradise for nature lovers who visit this part of Slovenia.

The breathtaking views, the beautiful blue and green waters, the mountain scenery and hiking in the refreshing mountain air are all great reasons to visit the Tolmin Gorge when you travel to Slovenia.

Personally, we think that the area, the Julian Alps, the Soca Valley and the Dolomites in the Italian part of the Alps are all fantastic for the body and the soul, and a trip there is a real soul-healing experience.

Where is the Tolmin Gorge located in Slovenia?

The Tolmin Gorge is located in the western part of Slovenia, in the popular Soca River Valley, close to the Italian border. The Tolmin Gorge is the lowest point of the Triglav National Park.

The closest town to the gorge is the small town of Tolmin, which is the starting point of the route to the entrance of the gorge.

How to get to the Tolmin Gorge?

From Ljubljana, the shortest route is via Skofja Loka, taking the route 210 and then 102 to Tolmin.

Starting from Bled, head first towards Bohinjska Bistrica, and after the long and winding roads 909 and 403, you will arrive at road 102, which leads to Tolmin.

From Austria, exit the Italian A23 highway at Tarvisio and take the SS54, which also passes Lake Predil, to reach Slovenia. From there you can reach Tolmin via Bovec and Kobarid.

If you travel from Italy or southern Slovenia, you can reach Tolmin via Udine or Gorizia/Nova Gorica. In both cases you arrive in the Soca Valley, from Udine via Kobarid and from Gorizia via Kanal ob Soci.

If you arrive in Tolmin, look on Google Maps for “Tolminska korita”, which marks the entrance to the Tolmin Gorge (or more precisely the surrounding park). You need to drive through the town of Tolmin and through the neighboring Zatolmin, including some narrower streets, but at the end of the road you will find the entrance and the P1 parking lot.

Parking at Tolmin Gorge

Parking at Tolmin Gorge is generally easy, although it is a good idea to arrive at an uncrowded time to find a good parking space.

Two car parks are available for tourists, P1 and P2.

Car park P1 is located directly at the entrance. It is a pay car park, you need to draw a ticket and you can pay at the end of your visit using a ticket machine. P1, on the other hand, has very few parking spaces.

The P2 car park is much larger and is the only car park you can use with a taller vehicle (e.g. a caravan). The disadvantage is that it is far from the entrance, about 1.2 km. But the advantage is that it is free and there is a free shuttle bus service to the entrance.

To repeat, parking availability depends very much on when you arrive. It is worth visiting Tolmin Gorge at less popular times to avoid the crowds.

Best time to visit Tolmin Gorge

The best time to visit Tolmin Gorge is late spring, early summer and autumn. As the weather is changeable in the Soca Valley, it is not easy to determine an exact time, especially the rain can cause difficulties when traveling. If you travel from nearby, be flexible with your travel dates. And if you travel from further abroad, we suggest you plan a few more days than you need to visit the Soca Valley attractions. The reason is simply that you might not be able to hike some days due to rain.

By the way, the general recommendations for Tolmin Gorge are also true: if you can, avoid weekends, school holidays and public holidays. If you travel to the Soca Valley on a typical weekday in early June, for example, you will have an absolutely fantastic opportunity to explore the area. But if you travel, for example, on August 15th, which is a public holiday in Slovenia, you will have difficulties with parking, crowds, photography… etc.

Weather in the Tolmin Gorge area

The weather in late spring, early summer and early autumn is pleasant, between 18-25°C, ideal for hiking. In summer, it can be slightly warmer, up to 30°C.

As we wrote, the Tolmin Gorge and the whole Soca Valley is a very rainy area, so be prepared for rain. In summer, there can also be big storms, so it is not advisable to stay outside.

Always check the weather regularly. Be prepared for rain even if it is forecast not to rain, as a summer storm can come unexpectedly at any time.

Access to the Tolmin Gorge area

Opening hours of Tolmin Gorge

As a ticket is required to enter the Tolmin Gorge, opening hours must be taken into account. The Tolmin Gorge area is generally open from 8am to 7pm during the peak summer season, this changes to shorter opening hours throughout the year. However, it is important to note that the Tolmin Gorge is only open from the end of March to the beginning of November, so it is not possible to visit during the winter months!

Entrance tickets to Tolmin Gorge

It is recommended that you buy tickets online, even a few hours before the visit, but preferably a few days before. There are usually enough tickets available. You can buy a ticket online for a one-hour time slot, so you can enter, for example, between 1 and 2 pm.

You will receive an email with a document of the ticket purchased online, which will be scanned by the machine on entry and the gate will let you in.

Tickets can be purchased on site too, but in high season we recommend avoiding this option due to the limited number of tickets available.

If you have a printed ticket, keep it until you get to the exit, as there are several exits in the Tolmin Gorge area, and you can only go back through these gates with a ticket.

The entrance fees vary depending on the month, the day and even the hour of entry, so in general we can only say that they are between €6 and €10 for an adult visitor in 2023.

For the latest ticket prices, to book tickets online and for more information, visit the official website of the Tolmin Gorge area.

Guided tours in the Tolmin Gorge

Also guided tours of Tolmin Gorge are available, with an expert guide showing you around the area. However, it is worth noting that guided tours in the Tolmin Gorge are only available during the summer months on specific days, for availability check the official website.

Hiking around the Tolmin Gorge

Map of the Tolmin Gorge

The hiking trail and important points are also marked on a map on site, of which we can show you a photo.

The area around Tolmin Gorge features a circular route, with the trail totaling approximately 2 km, including slopes and inclines.

The tour leads through the Tolminka and Zadlašcica Gorges. By the way, the two rivers converge in the area open to visitors, which you can admire yourself when visiting the Tolmin Gorge.

During the walk, there is a detour at a dead end that should not be missed. This path leads through stairs and small tunnels to the most beautiful and exciting part of the Tolmin Gorge, the deep and narrow gorge where you can see the magnificent Tolminka River flowing between huge rock walls.

This section is the most breathtaking part of the Tolmin Gorge, where at the end of the road you can also see another spring that emits warm thermal water all year round.

When you get back on the path to the confluence of the two rivers, the trail goes in two directions. You can choose the nearest exit, which is also the entrance.

However, we recommend the hiking trail up the mountainside for the other attractions in the Tolmin Gorge.

On your way up the mountainside, it is worth stopping at one of the lookouts on the Zadlaščica River, where you can see the so-called The Bear’s head (Medvedova glava), a rock stuck in the gorge, forming a natural bridge between the two rock faces.

On this route, you can also visit the Dante’s Cave and cross the Devil’s Bridge over the Tolmin Gorge.

Zadlaska/Dante’s Cave

Zadlaska Cave or Dante’s Cave is a cave located in the area of Tolmin Gorge.

The cave has many unique stalactites. The tunnel-like passages and impressive natural formations offer visitors a unique and fascinating experience.

Only guided tours are available to visit Zadlaska Cave, where an expert guide will show you around the cave and explain everything you need to know.

From the outside, you can see as much as the photos show. You can go to the entrance of the cave, but the entrance is closed. You can approach it from the Devil’s Bridge on the asphalt road heading east.

Devil’s Bridge

The Devil’s Bridge is a bridge in the Tolmin Gorge area, located 60 meters above the gorge.

If you follow the 2 km hiking trail around, you will also cross Devil’s Bridge. The bridge gives you a view of Tolmin Gorge from above, so it’s worth stopping for a few photos.

Extra info: if you hear scary noises in the gorge, it’s mostly just cars and bikes crossing Devil’s Bridge.

The 2 km hiking trail leads on through Devil’s Bridge and a rock tunnel on an asphalt road down the mountainside. At the end of the trail, you arrive back at the entrance and parking lot P1.

How long does it take to visit the Tolmin Gorge?

If you are very quick and only want to see the Tolmin Gorge itself, you can turn back from the gorge towards the entrance and you will have seen the main sights in about half an hour.

If you are also interested in the Devil’s Bridge, Dante’s Cave and want to see the whole area, it takes 1–2 hours.

What to take on a hike in the Tolmin Gorge

As the hike in the Tolmin Gorge is not long and only a small part of it is steep, you only need to wear suitable hiking boots, which are required on entry.

Besides hiking boots, maybe take some snacks and water with you, which will be useful if you spend more time in the gorge area.

Also bring your photography equipment, however, drones are not allowed in the Tolmin Gorge area.

Where to stay near Tolmin Gorge

The following map will show you the accommodations around Tolmin Gorge. Good options for a stay may be in Tolmin, in Kobarid or in Bovec, from where Tolmin Gorge is within easy reach by car.

Other things to do in the Triglav National Park

As the Tolmin Gorge is located in such a part of Slovenia and the Alps that there is plenty to see and do in the area, we list some of the best places to explore. So here are some places to visit near the Tolmin Gorge:

Soča Valley

The Soca Valley has already been mentioned in this article. The Soca Valley is one of the most beautiful places in Slovenia, located in the Triglav National Park. The crystal-clear waters of the Soca River and its mountain landscapes will enchant any visitor. The valley offers stunning mountain peaks, lush green meadows and crystal clear turquoise waters that welcome hikers, water sports and natural beauty.

Kranjska Gora

Kranjska Gora is a famous ski resort in winter and an important destination for hikers in summer. It has two important natural attractions: the Zelenci Nature Reserve and the Lake Jasna.

The Zelenci is a small turquoise-blue lake in a hidden place, actually it is the source of the river Sava. As it is warm water, it doesn’t really freeze in winter.

Lake Jasna is most beautiful from spring to autumn, when the water is emerald green and the mountains are clearly visible in the background. If you are in the area around Lake Jasna, you should also visit the waterfall nearby, which is a short walk along the road from the northwest side of the lake.

Bled and Bohinj

If you visit the Tolmin Gorge, you may also want to plan another day trip to Bled and Bohinj. There are plenty of attractions in that area too, such as Lake Bled, Bled Castle, Bohinj Lake, Savica Waterfall and Vintgar Gorge, which is similar to the Tolmin Gorge.

Italian part of the Julian Alps

Fusine Lakes

The Fusine Lakes are located in a hidden place in the northeastern corner of Italy. The Fusine Lakes are a pair of two lakes near the Italian-Slovenian border, both with fantastic views of the Slovenian mountain peaks, such as Slovenia’s third highest peak, the Mangart.

In the Fusine Lakes area you will find almost all the beauty of the Alps: picturesque colorful lakes, breathtaking rocky peaks, trickling streams and waterfalls, clean air, silence, interesting flora and fauna.

Lake Predil

Lake Predil is a beautiful mountain lake located on the border between northern Italy and Slovenia, on the way to the Soca Valley.

The vibrant color of Lake Predil’s waters, fed by meltwater and rainwater from the mountains, makes for a stunning sight. The area around the lake is dotted with walking paths and lookout points so that visitors can enjoy the beauty of the landscape and the panoramic views.

Lake Predil offers visitors a stunning visual experience, and the surrounding area offers plenty of opportunities for recreational activities and enjoying nature.

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