Summer in Slovenia
We notice that we know many countries around the world more than we know our home country. We decided that this summer we will be exploring Slovenia. Luckily for us, our country is relatively small and all places can be reached in a one day trip. In this blog, we will write about the beautiful Soča valley, an area, which we last time visited in the primary school when we had the trip to the remains of the World War 1.
Start in Kranjska Gora
We started our trip in Kranjska Gora, a beautiful town in our Gorenjska region. We drove across the Vršič pass where on the other side, there is the Trenta valley. Not so long ago, the Trenta valley was during winter times cut from the rest of Slovenia. Still now, in the winter, the Vršič pass is closed and the Trenta valley can be reached from the Italian side or you have to make a large turn and reach it from the south.
Botanical garden with mountain flowers
After reaching the Vršič pass, you can first stop at the Julius Kugy memorial. He was a famous Slovenian mountaineer and a father of Slovenian alpinism. He was also an amateur botanist. Near his memorial, there is the Alpine botanical garden Julijana, also open to visitors, who was established by Albert Bois de Chesne who got some pieces of advice on the plants from Julius Kugy.
Spring of the Soča river
Between the Julius Kugy memorial and the Alpine botanical garden, you can turn to the spring of the Soča river. The path along the beginnings of the Soča river is mostly easy and through a forest. To reach the spring, however, be careful, have good shoes and be ready to climb the last few meters on steel cables. But the climb is definitely worth it! There, you can see the hole with clear turquoise water where the ice-cold Soča starts its path towards the Mediterranean sea.
The great Soča Gorge
About 20 km from the spring, the river Soča cut its path in the huge rocks and created one of the most beautiful sights in Slovenia – the great Soča Gorge. They are 750 m long and 15 m deep! You can walk along the gorge but be careful not to fall down. When we were there, the water was quite low, but if it rains a lot, the river can reach almost to the top of the gorge.
The fortress Kluže
The fortress Kluže is an old Austro-Hungarian war fortress, used during the World War 1. It is strategically situated to secure the Koroška region from invasions. The fortress is built on the same place as an old Roman fortress which shows how important its location is. Nowadays, there is a small museum and a coffee shop. Do not miss the vertiginous view from the bridge down to the Koritnica river!
Bovec – a center of adrenaline sports
The road then takes you to Bovec, where you can stop for lunch. Bovec is a small touristy haven for all adventure seekers. There are numerous agencies which offer rafting, canyoning, hiking, paragliding and many other sports. A few kilometers from Bovec, there is a gondola which takes you 2202m high to the Kanin ski resort. The gondola operates also in the summer and offers beautiful panoramic views over the area.
When you continue your drive you can see already from the road the waterfall Boka. It is also possible to walk right to the waterfall.
The devil’s bridge above the Tolmin Gorge
If you still have some energy for walking, you can visit the Tolmin Gorge, the lowest point of the Triglav National Park. The tourist path leads you to several amazing sights of the Tolmin Gorge. But be prepared, there are a lot of stairs! You can see a spring of thermal water. We expected a real thermal water with at least 40 °C, but the spring actually has around 20 °C, which is hot in comparison to the temperature of the water, which is 8 °C. Other things to see are a bear’s head which is not actually a bear, but a huge rock, stuck in the Gorge. With a lot of imagination maybe you can see a bear – I personally saw a head of a sea snake. In the end, you cross the Devil’s bridge where you can observe the river deep down. The view is definitely not for those who are afraid of heights!
Back to Ljubljana
From Tolmin, the path can take you back to Ljubljana. If you still have some time, you can stop in small town Most na Soči where river Soča looks like a beautiful blue lake. The lake was actually artificially made because of a hydro plant nearby. Still, it gives nice options for boat trips and swimming (if you are not afraid of really cold water!).