A perfect nature daytrip from Ljubljana.
Iški vintgar is a scenic gorge formed by the river Iška, located near Ljubljana, which makes it perfect for a short nature daytrip when visiting the Slovenian capital. The gorge is quite beautiful, with interesting rock formations, plenty of trees and local flora and of course the pristine blue-green Iška river running through it.
There’s a large parking lot with trash cans in Iška vas and some picnic benches nearby at the start of the trail at the Dom v Iškem vintgarju lodge and from there you have two ways to explore Iški vintgar. You can choose to walk on the left bank by crossing the bridge to the other side and following the trail there, which will lead you up and down towards Votli kamen (the hollow stone – a large rock formation with a hole in the middle) and to the confluence of Iška and Zala rivers. The trail takes about an hour and is relatively easy, but has some tricky parts, which may be annoying to navigate in wet weather. There will be a large sign for Votli kamen off the path, afterwards the path will split. If you take the bottom right path it will lead you to the confluence and a large stone pillar. Here are some photos and a description of the path, which you can also extend towards Krvava peč to make it a more demanding, 3 hour hike. P.S.: Krvava peč means the Bloody furnace in Slovenian.
The other way is to follow the shorter trail on the right bank – the last time I was in Iški vintgar in January 2020 my boyfriend and I were feeling a bit lazy and the terrain was still frozen and slippery, so we took the path on the right bank. It stops abruptly at a large stone mass, where you have to either cross the river on foot (there is no bridge) or turn back, which is what we did, since it was winter and it was way too cold to get our feet wet.
Impressions of Iški vintgar
There’s a partisan memorial statue in the middle of the trail on the right bank, from which the path leads uphill to an old partisan World War 2 era hospital. The Kravice hospital was established in April 1942 and it was the first real outdoor partisan hospital in Slovenian territory. Its remains can be reached after about an hour’s walk uphill and it’s worth a visit if you feel like hiking a bit – it’s actually quite steep. Here are some photos of the hospital memorial site. If you want to extend your hike from there, you can follow one of the marked paths from the partisan hospital to Rakitna, Krim or Bloke.
Getting there: Take the exit Ig from the southern highway ring in Ljubljana if you’re coming by car and then follow the signs for Iška vas, where the parking lot is (here‘s the location on Google maps). Alternatively, you can take the bus 19I from Ljubljana centre to Iška vas, but make sure to check the bus schedules here before you go. It takes about half an hour to reach Iški vintgar on a normal day, so I really recommend it if you have some time to spare while in Ljubljana. 🙂
P.S.: I promise to update this post with proper photos of the trails I mentioned the next time I’m there in less slippery conditions.