South of Maribor and Mount Pohorje, near Slovenska Bistrica, you will find this 6 km long gorge valley. Bistriski Vintgar is a pleasant gorge in the eastern part of Slovenia that can be easily reached with children. A quiet, peaceful excursion destination, an ideal half-day program for the whole family in winter and summer.

The trip takes place on the banks of the Bistrica stream, which formed the valley. One of the advantages of the gorge is that it is not closed in winter either, so you can even visit it during your ski break.

Quick Details

Bistriski Vintgar gorge Details
Country Slovenia
Location Maribor area
Address Zgornja Bistrica 158, 2310 Slovenska Bistrica, Slovenia
Ljubljana distance 1.5 hour / 110 km
Major cities nearby Slovenska Bistrica, Maribor, Ptuj
Season Jan - Dec
Opening hours 00:00 - 24:00
Admission Free
Duration 2 - 5 hours (short and long trail)
Attractions Sum waterfall, Roman mine
Attractions nearby Rogla treetop walk, Lovrenska lakes and marshes

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Photos

Vintgar vs. Bistriski Vintgar

Those who know Slovenia better have probably heard of the Vintgar Gorge, which is located next to Lake Bled. Vintgar Gorge and Bistriski Vintgar are not the same!

The Bistrica stream flows in the Bistriski gorge and the Radovna river in the Vintgar gorge. The two gorges are 2 hours apart from each other.

Unfortunately, the similarity of their names easily confuses everyone. To complicate matters further, a waterfall in both gorges bears the same name: Šum.

Where is the Bistriski Vintgar gorge?

Address, map, distances, cities, approach

The closest towns to the gorge are Slovenska Bistrica, Maribor and Ptuj. The gorge is located next to the village of Zgornja Bistrica, 4 minutes from the centre. The gorge valley is located south of the Pohorje Mountains.

  • Address: Zgornja Bistrica 158, 2310 Slovenska Bistrica, Slovenia
  • Distance from Slovenska Bistrica: 10 minutes / 4 km
  • Distance from Maribor: 30 minutes / 26 km
  • Distance to Ptuj: 35 minutes / 30 km
  • Distance from Ljubljana: 1 hour 10 minutes / 110 km
Bistriski Vintgar gorge map - Ljubljana distance

Parking

Locals and domestic tourists enjoy hiking in the area, so there is not always room in the smaller car park in front of the gorge entrance. If the car park is full, look for the nearest option. Parking in front of the gorge is free. The tour starts from here following well-signposted signs.

Hiking trail

You can walk along the road for 6 km along the river Bistrica, in a wonderful natural environment. You don't have to be an experienced hiker to explore the gorge, anyone can walk the easy/medium difficulty trail. The hike takes around 4 hours to complete.

The elevation is not significant and the hiking trail is well signposted.

Bistriski Vintgar hike (Long version) Details
Lenght 6 km
Elevation Under 200 m
Duration 2-3 hours
Difficulty Easy
Trail Signed, well-marked, easy to follow
Starting point - Endpoint Entrance of the gorge (parking lot)

You can see a Roman quarry and in the gorge a "flat" waterfall, the Sum Falls.

  • Sum Waterfall from the parking lot: 45 minutes (one way)
  • Roman quarry from the car park: 30 minutes (round trip)
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From the car park, you will reach the Roman quarry in about 30 minutes. Here the stones needed for the Roman necropolis were produced. 

From this point, you will return to the gorge valley where you can see the 20 meter Sum Waterfall. The waterfall is not vertical, but a multi-step waterfall that continues to float on the lying stones.

You have been hiking for about 2-3 hours now when you return from the valley to the car park.

Hiking in the Bistriski Vintgar gorge

Long hiking trail

The long version of the tour is 16 km long, 6 hours long, and you have to overcome a level rise of roughly 600 meters. In this case, you will visit a mill, the gorge, and the huge tree trunk.

If you want to go for a longer hike, you can hike to one of the thickest pine trees in Europe with a diameter of 6 meters. Unfortunately, the tree was cut in two by a bolt of lightning.

Nearby, you will also find the Stampohar mill in the Ančnikovo gradišče forest. This trail needs extra 3 hours (round trip) to finish.

Opening hours

The gorge is open from 0 to 24 hours, there is no closing - as the gorge is free to visit. That is why Bistriski can be visited in winter. If you are skiing in Maribor, it is worth coming over for a trip.

Admission, prices

Admission to the gorge is free, there is no entry. Parking is also free. Please note, that there is no washbasin or toilet in the gorge.

Barrier-free?

No. Unfortunately, the valley is not accessible by stroller or wheelchair.

Dog friendly?

Yes, there are no restrictions on dogs.

Attractions in the area

The two most popular attractions are the Rogla treetop walk and the Lovrenska lakes. Both are unique and family-friendly programs. For visiting the canopy, you will only need 1 hour, while visiting the Lovrenska lakes, please calculate 3 hours.