Soca Valley in Slovenia: The 15 Best Places to Visit!
The Soča Valley is one of the most beautiful travel destinations in Slovenia. The region is particularly well-known for its emerald-blue river, the Soča River, which makes its way through breathtaking landscapes, green valleys and narrow gorges. On a road trip by car or motorcycle through the Soča Valley you will experience countless spectacular attractions and wonderful places: impressive waterfalls, deep gorges, high mountains, dizzying suspension bridges and the magnificent landscape are just a few highlights of a tour along the Soča River. But also active ones will get their money’s worth with activities like hiking, canyoning, kayaking, mountain biking, swimming and rafting.
In this travel guide, you will get all the important travel tips and information about the breathtaking Soča valley in Slovenia. In addition, we show you beautiful pictures, the route of a perfect itinerary, we share the most beautiful things to do and the best places to stay.
General information about the Soča Valley
Thanks to its impressive landscape, the Soča Valley is an insider tip for a trip to Slovenia. The entire valley runs along the Emerald Road, the world-famous turquoise Soča River. It originates in the Triglav National Park, more precisely in Trenta, and leads down to the Italian border.
Especially, the upper part of the Soča River is ideal for action-packed water sports. Rafting, kayaking and canyoning are particularly offered in the towns of Bovec, Kobarid and Tolmin. Activities such as hiking in the Triglav Mountains, mountain biking and cycling are also popular activities all over the valley.
Soca Valley Itinerary: A tour along the Soča River
The best way to start your road trip along the Soča is from Kranjska Gora by taking the route through the Triglav National Park to Kanal ob Soci. If you come from the south, for example from Piran or from Ljubljana, then it is advisable to start your Soča Valley itinerary in Kanal ob Soči or Most na Soči.
On the way, you will always find good and cheap accommodations. Most of the accommodations are apartments, but many campsites and backpacker hostels have settled in this area.
Best time to visit the Soča Valley
Basically, you can visit the beautiful valley during every season. Whether spring, summer, autumn or winter, each season has its own treasures. In any case, if you are planning to pass the Vršič pass, you should inform yourself in advance about possible pass locks in winter.
For many, the best time to travel to the Soča Valley is in summer. At that time of the year the weather is pleasantly warm, there is a lot of sunshine and often the temperatures rise above 30ºC. Along the river, there are always nice places to swim and cool off in the icy Soča.
The most beautiful places to visit in the Soča Valley
On a trip to the Soča Valley there are many highlights and amazing places to explore. Here you will find the most beautiful attractions that shouldn’t be missed on a perfect tour.
Zelenci Nature Reserve
The Zelenci Nature Reserve is located on the northern edge of the Triglav National Park, behind the village of Podkoren, and for many it is the first stop on their trip through the Soča Valley. This natural setting is a moor that creates a habitat for countless plants and animal species. The beautiful Lake Zelenci, which, thanks to its chalk layers, shimmers in spectacular emerald green colors, is particularly worth seeing. During a walk, wooden walkways lead through the swamp area and a small lookout tower offers a breathtaking view of this fantastic natural attraction.
One of the most famous places to visit in the region is the picturesque Lake Jasna. Many people rest briefly here, they go for a swim or have a romantic walk around the lake. What is particularly beautiful is the incredible backdrop of the crystal-clear lake and the spectacular mountains in the background. During a visit, the obligatory souvenir photo of the bronze Capricorn statue, the symbol of Lake Jasna, should not be missed.
On the way up to the Vrsic Pass you will pass the Russian Chapel, a small church in the middle of the mountain forests. This wooden chapel was built in 1917 as a memorial to those who suffered death from road construction at that time. The construction made of wood and bark is impressive, which creates an extraordinarily mystical picture in this deep forest. A wonderful insider tip that you should definitely include on your tour thought the Soča valley.
The Vršič Pass is the highest mountain pass in Slovenia and connects the Kranjska Gora region with Trenta, the village where the Soča River emanates. The pass road leads over 50 hairpin bends up into the mountains. On the way, you can enjoy picturesque views and also many hiking trails start on the pass. Depending on the weather, this pass road is closed in winter. Typical barriers are between late October and early May. Remember that when you plan your trip through the Soča Valley.
The Small Soča Gorge
One of the most beautiful things to see in the Soča Valley is the small Soca troughs, the Mala korita Soče. This picturesque place is located at Camping Jelinc, on the regional road Bovec – Vršič, and enchants with a very unique and beautiful ambience. Here, the emerald colored Soča rushes through gorges of limestone up to 6 meters deep and often only 1 meter wide. You can enjoy a wonderful view from the old stone bridge down to the Small Soča Gorge.
Tip: If you love hiking, this is a fantastic spot to start the Soča Trail and also the famous Alpe-Adria Trail passes this place.
The Great Soča Gorge
Incredibly beautiful and a must on every trip through the Soča Valley is a visit to the great Soča Gorge, the Velika korita Soče, i.e., the large Soča troughs. For many, it is the most spectacular place in the region and is therefore one of the must-see attractions. Special are the pools, which are basin-like swirl pots that have been cut into the limestone over the centuries and through which the turquoise-blue water of the Soča rushes. Some of the spots are up to 15 meters deep and only a few meters wide.
Tip: Please remember to take your bathing suit because in this part of the Soča you will find a wonderful section, where you can swim in the ice-cold mountain waters.
Bovec (Rafting, Kayaking, Zip Line)
One of the most popular places in the Soča Valley is the small town of Bovec on the edge of the Triglav National Park. This region is well-known for the large offer of outdoor activities. Hikes in the Julian Alps, kayaking and rafting in the crystal-clear Soča, trips to spectacular waterfalls, flying with the dizzying zip line and bike tours along the river valleys are just a few of the exciting activities that you can do here. Bovec is the perfect place for a stay and to go on a rafting tour or do some other fun activities.
Tip: There is a variety of accommodation options around the village. Recommended are, among others, the beautiful Krona Apartments.
A visit to the beautiful waterfalls around Bovec is also highly recommended. This certainly includes a hike to the picturesque Virje waterfall, which enchants with a fairytale-like backdrop. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Slovenia and is a little insider tip for an unforgettable trip through the Soča valley. The best thing is that in summer you also have the opportunity to bathe in this wonderful natural treasure.
Another highlight in the Soca Valley is the impressive Boka Waterfall, which astonishes its visitors with a height of around 144 meters. It is also located near Bovec, and you can see and even hear the gigantic waterfall from the main street. Also recommended is the Boka waterfall hike, which enchants with many brilliant viewpoints.
On a tour along the Soča, you should definitely plan a stop in Kobarid, one of the greatest places in the Soča Valley. Not only the numerous natural treasures like the famous Kozjak waterfall are impressive. But also the many cultural sites, such as the Kobarid Museum, the Cheese Museum, the St. Anton Church and the historically important Napoleon Bridge are worth a visit. And also outdoor-fans get their money’s worth here. The beautiful surroundings are ideal for hiking, biking, rafting and climbing.
Tip: If you want to stay in Kobarid, we can recommend the Pension HISA SONCA. The rooms are nicely decorated, breakfast is delicious, and the location is fantastic.
One of the most impressive things to do in the Soca Valley is a visit to the picturesque Kozjak Waterfall. It is located not far from the village of Kobarid and can be reached via a scenic hike. Located in a mystical half-cave, the water masses of the Kozjak waterfall plunge around 15 meters into a picturesque turquoise-blue basin. An impressive natural spectacle that will not to be forgotten so quickly.
A visit to the enchanting Javorca Church is beautiful and a real insider tip as a stop during a road trip. It is hidden in the Slovenian Isonzo Valley, surrounded by the stunning mountains of the Rdeči rob. Inside the church are wooden panels on which the names of the fallen soldiers have been burned. This wooden sanctuary is considered the most beautiful monument of the First World War and the famous path of peace also passes here.
The Tolmin Gorge is probably the most beautiful gorge in the Soca Valley and a hike through this natural wonder is an absolute highlight. Here, the two rivers Tolminkav and the Zadlascica formed this gorge to one of the most spectacular in Slovenia. While hiking, you will experience a fantastic natural backdrop and discover rock formations. Such as the bear’s head, pass the high Devil’s Bridge, explore the Dantes Cave and marvel at a thermal spring.
Tip: Many spend the night here in the village of the same name, Tolmin, where there are numerous recommended accommodations.
Kanal ob Soči
The beautiful municipality of Kanal ob Soči is another place worth seeing in the Soča Valley. The colorful houses that have settled along the river are particularly lovely here. And also the mild Mediterranean flair, which bears many flowers, cypresses and fig trees, is lovely. There is an interesting Neptune fountain in the village, and the buildings are influenced by the Venetian-Slovenian architectural style.
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