In Slovenia, you will find the Soca Valley, where runs the Soca River, with its deep emerald-green water. The Soca River is one of the most beautiful places in Slovenia. If you are a tourist in the country, you should not miss it for the world. The Soca River is ideal for visiting between June and September so that the weather can be at its best to see the River’s true color.
There are many things to see in the Soca Valley aside from the River, such as the Tolmin Gorges, Kobarid, Bovec, the Boka Waterfall, the spring of the River, and Lake Jasna. To visit all of these beautiful places, as a Slovenia insider, I would recommend a 48 hours trip across the Valley.
I would very strongly recommend getting a car for this trip, which is very easy and relatively cheap in Slovenia. If you do not have a car, moving from a destination to the other in the Soca Valley will be almost impossible. Now that you have got your car let’s take a look at what to do for 48 hours in the Soca Valley.
Walk from Tolmin to the Natural Beach
For your trip to the Soca Valley, I would recommend beginning with the lovely town of Tolmin, especially if you are coming from Ljubljana. From the capital, you will need to drive for 1h45 to 2 hours to get to Tolmin.
Once you arrive in Tolmin, you can park anywhere in the town. There are some free parking that are extremely easy to find. Once you are parked, you can spend a little time visiting the city center, then head to the Bridge on the Western part of the city, where road 102 goes.
There, you will be able to get down close to the River Tolminka. You can walk alongside the River without crossing the Bridge. Walk all the way. This way, you will discover the beauty of the River.
After a few minutes of walking, you will discover the natural beach Tolminka. It is a beautiful place to sit and relax or even eat a picnic, depending on the day’s time.
After that, keep going until you reach the Sotočje Tolminke in Soče, another natural beach. This one is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Tolmin, and it is fantastic. Every year is organized a metal festival on this beach.
Once you are done, you can get back to your car and head to the Tolmin Gorges. If you pay attention to the mountains around Tolmin, you might get the chance to see groups of people paragliding. It puts a lot of color in the sky and is charming with the River at the bottom and the mountains.
Visit the Tolmin Gorges
The Tolmin Gorges are less than ten minutes away from Tolmin by car. You will have to pay for the visit and parking, but it is not very expensive (there are discounts for children and students), and it is worth it.
The visit lasts between one hour and a half and two hours. The Tolmin Gorges are very impressive. I have never seen anything quite like it.
The visit takes place in the Gorges surrounding the Tolminska river in the Soca Valley. The water is as vibrant as the Soca’s. During your stay, you will see the devil’s Bridge, which is 60 meters above the River, the Bear’s head, a rock stuck in the Gorges that looks like a bear, the Dante’s Cave, the thermal spring, and the confluence of the River Tolminska and the River Zadlascica.
The Tolmin Gorges are one of my favorite places in the Soca Valley. Everything is very well explained, and you have to follow the path and look around at all the beauty.
Once you finished visiting the Tolmin Gorges, you should get back to the car for 35 minutes in the direction of Kobarid. Kobarid is one of the biggest cities – if not the biggest – in the Soca Valley.
Once you get there, try to find a parking spot in the Western part of the city, near the Soča valley dairy and cheese museum. This way, you will be located in the middle of the different attractions of the city.
First, you should head to the Napoleon Bridge, which is the attraction you will see. You will see the Soca River running under this beautiful arched bridge.
The Bridge was first built in ancient times, but the Venetians destroyed the wooden structure in 1616. It was rebuilt using stone in 1750. The name Napoleon Bridge comes from the fact that Napoleon’s troops crossed the Bridge when heading to the Predel Pass.
The Bridge was attacked again during World War I and protected during World War II. It is a place full of history that is also absolutely wonderful, especially in summer, when the vibrant blue water sparkles and the white Bridge is illuminated.
The Bridge above the Soca (Italian Line of Defense)
After seeing the Napoleon Bridge, follow the path on the River’s left side without crossing the Bridge. Keep walking and admiring the River until you reach a small camping. From there, you will only have a few minutes left to walk.
Then, you will see some ruins on the right and behind them is a staircase that leads to the River. Follow the stairs, and you will get to a small pedestrian bridge. It was the Italian line of defense. Now, it gives you a splendid view of the Soca River.
You can take your camera, or even a drone, if you have one, and take the most beautiful pictures of the Soca River ever. If you are lucky, you will also see people kayaking or rafting going underneath the Bridge.
The Kozjak Waterfall
After that, finish crossing the Bridge and follow the indications on the path to the Slap Kozjak, which means Kozjak Waterfall. The waterfall is about 15 meters high and is surrounded by rocks and moss.
There is a turquoise or emerald green pool at the bottom of the waterfall, depending on the light. The entire scenery is like a fairy-tale.
Kostnica s Cerkvijo Sv. Antona at Sunset
Once you are done with all of your visits, cross the Bridge a second time and follow the indications to the Baroque Chapel of St. Anthony. If you cannot climb in the woods, you can rejoin your car and drive up the chapel.
Once you get up there, you will discover a beautiful viewpoint with a chapel surrounded by stairs. Go up all of the stairs to get the best possible view of Kobarid. At sunset is the best time to observe the chapel, the Soca, and Kobarid. The blue River with a pink and orange sky is a show you rarely see.
This place is also the Italian Charnel House of Kobarid. It is a memorial where the bodies of over 7,000 Italians lay. They fought during the battle of Isonzo. Besides the view, this place is also full of history, and you will get the chance to read all the names of the soldiers on the walls as you get up the stairs.
Sleep in Bovec
After your long day of visits, you can eat in Kobarid. You just need to get down the chapel into the town. You will find restaurants and pizzerias. You can also eat in Bovec where we would advise going to sleep.
Bovec is about 30 minutes away from Kobarid by car. It is a relatively large town where you will find everything you need to relax, sleep, or eat.
For young travelers, our pick is the hostel Soca Rocks. The staff is very friendly, and the hostel is lovely. There even is a bar inside of it, as well as everything you need to cook, shower, and sleep tight.
If you spend the night in Bovec, you will have less driving to do in the morning, and you will start your day better. There even are Mercators and other supermarkets very close to buy something to eat in the morning or for a picnic.
The Boka Waterfall
To start your second day in the Soca Valley, you should head to the Boka Waterfall. It is less than ten minutes away from Bovec by car. Once you get to the parking, you need a few minutes to walk up the waterfall viewpoint.
The Boka Waterfall is the highest Slovene waterfall. According to the information you will find there, the water of the waterfall arises as a karst spring or an altitude of 725 meters. It runs along a rocky ledge for about 20 meters before dropping down 106 meters.
The water of the waterfall comes from an underground cave completely underwater in this section. So far, we have only been able to explore 800 meters of the cave.
The Boka Waterfall is one of Slovenia’s most impressive waterfalls, not only because of its height but also thanks to the color of its water and the scenery around it.
The Soca River
Now that you have seen the fantastic Slap Boka, you should drive for another 20 minutes, crossing Bovec again, in the direction of the Soca River itself. There, you will find many things to see and finally discover the beauty of the River.
The way to the Grand Canyon of Soca and the Small Canyon of Soca is lovely. You will drive alongside the River, being able to look at it for the entire trip – except if you are driving, of course! You will want to stop every 100 meters to take a picture.
Grand Canyon of Soca and Small Canyon of Soca
Alongside the Soca, Riverbanks is a very long hike that I would recommend if you come back to Slovenia. However, for your first time visiting the Soca Valley, it is not a priority. You can stop at the points of interest along the hike in your car.
The first one, and the most important one, is the Grand Canyon Soca. It is where most of the breathtaking pictures of the Soca you might have seen were taken. It is also where the bravest goes for a swim, even though the water is very cold.
The Grand Canyon of the Soca is the place to go when visiting the Soca Valley, and you will not regret stopping there. You can climb the white rocks to get a better view of the vibrant blue river or walk on the bridge overlooking the River.
After the Grand Canyon, you can take your car back to visit the Small Canyon. It is not the most necessary, so if you lack time, you can skip this one. However, if you have even 20 minutes ahead of you, you can stop to see a narrower part of the River.
Spring of the Soca River
After seeing the River itself, you might be curious to see its spring, and it is possible. You have to follow the road until you get past Trenta. You have to look for the mountain cabin Koča pri izviru Soče, which is about 20 to 25 minutes away from the Grand Canyon.
Once you get to the cabin, the way up the spring is behind it. The beginning of the walk up the spring is easy. However, once you get higher, you will need to know how to climb and not be afraid. I would not recommend it for children, seniors, or people scared of heights.
You can still go a bit up even if you cannot go to the spring itself because you will get a nice view of a waterfall and the River’s beginning. The way to the spring itself is more challenging. You will have to hold a cable to walk on rocks and get to the cave.
However, once you manage to get there, what you will see is terrific. The spring of the River is slightly hidden inside a cave, and its water is emerald green like you have never seen it.
If you look on the other side, you will see the mountains and the trees, as well as the waterfall dropping under your feet. It is a view you cannot forget that is worth the effort.
Enjoy Kranjska Gora in Summer
Near the spring of the Soca River, you will find the road up Vrsic in Kranjska Gora. If you have a bit of time, even if you will not see the River from there, you should go up the mountain in your car.
The road is a winding road with 50 turns in total. There are 24 hairpin turns up and 26 hairpin turns down, but do not worry; the road is well preserved, and the view from up the mountain is 100% worth the turns.
Once you get up the mountain to the Vrsic mountain pass, you can park your car and get out to enjoy the fresh air, the view, and the sheeps! I would recommend visiting the mountain pass in summer (if you do not want to ski, but visiting) because when summer is over it gets too cold and starts to snow.
The Vrsic mountain pass in summer is a breathtaking place. There are many people, but you will feel in a different world, with a view of all the other surrounding mountains and the Soca Valley.
I also love that there are plenty of sheeps free to move in this area, which gives the road an authentic aspect.
The Russian Chapel
On your way down, do not forget to stop by the Russian Chapel. It is a small and incongruous chapel in the middle of the mountain. It was built after an avalanche killed Russian prisoners in 1917. In the same area, you can also visit the soldiers’ graves and a stone tomb dating back to 1936–37.
The chapel is lovely, and it does not look like any other chapel in Slovenia, which makes it so unique. A little stream goes through the chapel area, and lovely wooden bridges are going above it.
End Your Trip with Lake Jasna
To finish your trip, you can head to Lake Jasna on your way back to where you came from. You can even go by Bled Lake if you want on the way to Ljubljana.
Lake Jasna is a beautiful lake. Once you get there, you will see the Soca River surrounded by white rocks on one side and Lake Jasna on the other side. Lake Jasna is divided into two emerald-green transparent lakes. There is a little deck you can walk on to bring you to the middle of the lake.
There, you can put your feet in the cold water and enjoy the view. Lake Jasna is a great way to finish your trip because it is very calm and charming.
One of the Most Beautiful Places in Slovenia
After your visit to the Soca Valley, every River will seem dull. The Soca River is one of the most beautiful places in Slovenia. We could spend hours looking at the water, contemplating its beauty.
Spending 48 hours in Slovenia is the absolute minimum necessary to discover the Soca Valley’s charm and wonder. If you stay for a long time in Slovenia or decide to come back to this great country, feel free to revisit the Soca Valley, it will feel different every time you see it.