Following devastating floods in autumn 2018, when the Tržiška Bistrica river flooded its banks following a heavy storm lasting several hours, during which much of the Dovžan gorge (Dovžanova soteska) was destroyed and the residents of its hamlets were left cut-off, extensive renovation work has now been completed and the gorge is now looking better than ever.
You can begin your visit at the new visitor centre, where you can park and pick up some information about the gorge and surrounding areas. The centre is open at weekends in fine weather from 10am to 6pm; outside of these hours information leaflets are available at the entrance.
From the parking area you can walk back along the road for a couple of hundred metres to reach the start of the trail beside the Tržiška Bistrica river. Follow this easy trail until you reach the start of the most fun, but at the same time also the most challenging, walk through the gorge – Bencetova pot (The Bence Trail).
Below I’ve described Bencetova pot, however, those that want a gentler experience can set off along the road, through the tunnel, then cross the wooden bridge a little further along the road to join the path, thus avoiding the ladders and rungs.
There’s no actual climbing involved, so provided you have good footwear it shouldn’t present too much of a problem for the majority of people, but you do need a head for heights!
First go up…
…and then down the wooden steps.
Next you reach a wooden bridge with an iron handrail…
…and then descend the iron rungs down to the river bed – this is the most hairy part but it’s only short!
Time for a few more iron rungs…
…then the ‘tough’ stuff is over and you can take a breather and chill out by the river!
The path continues through a natural arch…
…then leads towards the hamlet of Na Jamah (translation: At the Caves), known for its quartz conglomerate. It only amounts to a handful of houses, but is about as idyllic as its gets, well in summer anyway!
A little further along the road you reach the hamlet of Dolina, which is home to the Dovžan gorge gallery and the RIS Dolina Exhibition and Education Centre. The centre is open in fine weather from May to September on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 11am – 6pm (11am – 5pm in October).
Return on the road back through Na Jamah then, in order to avoid retracing your steps up and down the iron ladders and rungs, on reaching a wooden bridge cross the bridge to emerge by a small parking area, where there are information boards about the Dovžan gorge in the late Paleozoic era.
Now just just need to continue on the pavement back to the tunnel.
After walking through the tunnel you can cross the swing bridge over the river and return back along the path to the start, or you could instead continue along the road back to the information centre, which is a shorter option, however, there is no pavement on this section.
So, as you can see, a visit to Tržič and the Dovžan gorge should definitely be on your list of places to go – whether you already live in Slovenia and have never been, or for those planning a trip to Slovenia in the near future!
© Adele in Slovenia