Ever heard of the gorgeous Orrido dello Slizza gorge in Italy? Most probably not, but that’s okay, you can read more about it in this post. We’ve also just discovered it last summer and are big fans ever since. Ziljica in Slovenian, Slizza in Italian or Gailitz in German is an alpine river that originates under the Sella Nevea pass in the Julian Alps. There, it is initially called Rio del Lago, later it also flows through the Lago di Predil lake, it is joined by numerous streams in Tarvisio, and ends a little after the Austrian town of Arnoldstein, when it flows into the larger Gail river. On one section near Tarvisio, which is only a 20-minute drive from Kranjska Gora in Slovenia, you can visit this place by hiking a circular 2 kilometres long path that takes you to the heart of this unique gorge along the crystal clear turquoise Ziljica. If you have been to Bled, Slovenia, and visited the Vintgar gorge over there, this place is fairly similar, but much less visited. It is a wonderful half-day trip from Kranjska Gora or anywhere else in Slovenia. In this post you can check out more photos and information about this beautiful easy hike.
Since we moved back to Slovenia at the end of 2021 and bought an older house in Rateče near Kranjska Gora a few months later, we really try to take advantage of the sunny days for trips to the nearby area. And even though we already know this part of Slovenia and nearby places in neighboring Italy quite well, there are still hidden treasures that manage to surprise us with their beauty. This gorge, which seems to be still quite unknown among Slovenian tourists, was a really nice surprise and we are happy to return every few months.
The easiest way to get to the starting point for this GORGE HIKE is by car, but you can also cycle here all the way from Slovenia. Free PARKING is located on Via Bamberga, a few hundred meters after the right turn behind the TARVISIO BOSCOVERDE train station – follow the signs for ORRIDO DELLA SLIZZA, or you can also use the coordinates 46°30’22.8″N 13°36’15.7″E. From the parking lot, you can start the hike along the circular path in any direction, I recommend that you first head steeply to the right, to the STATUE OF THE HABSBURGER SOLDIER, which stands there in honor of fallen soldiers during the Napoleonic Wars. Near the statue there is also a larger INFORMATION BOARD with a marked circular walking path for easier orientation.
From here on, there is a STEEP DESCENT, about 100 meters towards the gorge, where on hot summer days we already feel a pleasant coolness. There is a fence along the path and stairs, but be careful in case the floor is wet as it can get quite slippery.
After this first section of the trail, we soon reach Ziljica river, where we can rest a little or even have a PICNIC, as the river bed here is quite wide and there is enough space on the gravel banks. There is more of such picnic spots on smaller river beaches later on as we hike up the stream. The WATER TEMPERATURE is quite low even in the summer months, so it’s not exactly suitable for swimming, but it is warm enough to dip our feet for a few seconds and refresh our faces.
From here, the path leads up and down along the stream in the gorge, where we can admire interesting ROCK FORMATIONS, NATURAL POOLS CAVES, GALLERIES, RAPIDS, BRIDGES and ROVES carved into living rock. The path is well-maintained and most of the time it is set on wooden footbridges, accompanied by fantastic views of the emerald Ziljica river.
Eventually we reach the area where we hike up again and cross the ALPE ADRIA CYCLE PATH, which leads on a BRIDGE from which there is one last beautiful view of the gorge below. From here, there is only a short part to the parking lot left. CIRCULAR TOUR lasts about 1 HOUR AND A HALF, with short stops, the hike is not very demanding. The first time we were there with 13-month-old Mila, who slept almost the entire way in a baby carrier – the route is not suitable for strollers. Otherwise it is a great place for your four-legged family members.
You can combine this trip with a visit to the town of Trbiž (Tarvisio), a visit to the Belopeška lakes (Laghi Fusine), the Rabeljsko lake (Lagho di Predil), the Sella Nevea pass and the Altopiano del Montasio, Kranjska Gora, Mangartsko sedlo pass, the Soča valley or, for example, the Vršič pass.