Beautiful view of the countryside and the mountains, grassy walking paths, farm animals grazing on pastures, smell of wildflowers…
All these come to my mind when thinking of the hike between Saint Catherine Viewpoint above the village of Zasip and Vintgar Gorge.
This mostly flat hiking trail lies on the edge of Triglav National Park.
Starting your hike at ‘Altar of Gorenjska’
This hike starts at Saint Catherine Viewpoint above Zasip, a village that lies two kilometres (approx. one mile and a half) south of Lake Bled.
France Prešeren, a famous Slovenian poet named Zasip ‘the altar of Gorenjska‘ due to majestic view. (Note: Gorenjska is a region in the northwest of Slovenia.)
From Saint Catherine Viewpoint (Sv. Katarina in Slovenian) on the southern side of the hill called Hom you can see a vast area of Upper Gorenjska Region, including Bled and Radovljica with surrounding villages.
There is also a great view of the Karawanks (the mountain range that lies on Slovenia-Austria border) and Kamnik-Savinja Alps.
The hiking trail runs around one side of Hom, a hill that is mostly known for Vintgar Gorge.
It ends in front of the entrance to the gorge that lies between two hills, one of them being Hom.
Saint Catherine Church
This hiking trail starts next to a charming church dedicated to The Great Martyr Saint Catherine that dates back to the 16th century.
According to an old legend, there is a treasure hidden under the doorstep of this church that is surrounded by a well-preserved defensive wall. That stone wall was constructed in the times of Ottoman invasions that also occurred on the territory of today’s Slovenia.
Close to the viewpoint and the church you will find a macadam parking area (opposite to a restaurant called Jurček). When you are at the parking look for a signpost saying ‘Vintgar – Gorje’. It points to the hiking trail that you need to follow.
Scenic trail in Triglav National Park
The hiking trail that passes through a stunning landscape is flat and grassy. You will be walking above the villages of Zasip, Sebenje and Podhom.
As you will be passing by pastures and meadows you might come across cows, goats or horses peacefully grazing. There are also a few fences along the way – please make sure to close them after getting through.
Further on the hiking trail, you will see Bled Castle and the hill of Straža that lies above Lake Bled. You will also be awarded with the view of the highest peaks of the Julian Alps.
You might want to sit on one of wooden benches along the trail to take a rest or to simply enjoy all that nature has to offer.
To get to the entrance to Vintgar Gorge, follow the main hiking trail and the signposts pointing to Vintgar. When you reach the settlement of Podhom, you are almost there.
Circular hike through Vintgar Gorge
If you have not visited Vintgar Gorge yet, then you might want to continue your hike through the gorge that ends with a scenic waterfall.
In this case you can do a circular hike and return to Saint Catherine Viewpoint from the other side – that is from the point where the gorge ends. This circular hike is about 10 km (6 mi) long and will take around three hours.
If you do not wish to visit Vintgar Gorge, then walk back to the starting point of this hike on the same route that will offer different views when heading into the opposite direction.
- PRACTICAL INFORMATION -
LOCATION: This hiking route starts at Saint Catherine Viewpoint above the village of Zasip and ends in Vintgar (Podhom).
St. Catherine Viewpoint above the village of Zasip
REACHING THE STARTING POINT: You can reach the starting point of this hike on foot (around one hour if you start walking from Bled), public transportation (bus), bike or car.
WALK: The hiking route is partly shaded, and in summer when daily temperatures are normally high I would advise you to start hiking in the morning.
BUS: You can take a bus from the main station in Bled to the village of Zasip and get off at Zasip bus stop (map). Check out the bus timetable here. From the bus stop in Zasip you will need to walk 700 metres (2300 feet) to get to St. Catherine Viewpoint. The road is steep, but all your efforts will be paid off when you see the view!
BIKE: If you go by bike from Bled to Zasip/Hom, please be cautious as you will be cycling on a country road.
CAR: If starting your journey in Bled, drive towards the village of Zasip. The road through the village is very narrow and steep in some places. The viewpoint is located above the village.
HIKING TRAIL: The hiking trail that is about 3,5 kilometres (2.5 miles) long is mostly flat and grassy.
It takes approximately one hour to get from Saint Catherine Viewpoint to Vintgar if you walk at a slow pace. Click here to see the route on the map.
HIKING ROUTE IN PICTURES
SHUTTLE BUS: If you are too tired to walk back from Vintgar to Saint Catherine, then you can take a shuttle bus heading towards Bled that also stops in Vintgar.
The shuttle bus runs from mid-June until mid-September and stops at various locations in Bled (main bus station, Bled Union bus stop etc.). There are two different bus routes. You can download the shuttle bus timetable here.
GEOCACHING: There is at least one cache hidden along this hiking trail! You will find it somewhere close to St. Catherine Church (hint: look for it in the forest behind the church).