The Soca Valley in Slovenia is a true pearl of nature. Turquoise shimmering water of the Soca River, which is surrounded by mountains, many small and large waterfalls and many suspension bridges impress young and old. But most of the most beautiful spots are a bit hidden and you would probably just miss them while driving in your car. Therefore it is worth to make a plan where to stop in the Soca Valley to explore the most beautiful spots. I will show you the places I liked best.
Where is the Soca Valley?
The Soca Valley is located in the west of Slovenia next to or below the Triglav National Park. The valley offers a lot of nature and with Bovec the biggest place on the way. The easiest way to reach the valley is by car.
Reiseführer und Wanderkarten für Slowenien, Amazon
How much time should I plan for the Soca Valley?
You’ll need at least 2 days to cover the highlights without being stressed. We only had one day including arrival and departure from and to Ljubljana and that was definitely not enough. In many places we only had a very short amount of time and in general it was a rather stressful day. Therefore I recommend staying overnight in the valley or around it, so that you don’t need to drive from Ljubljana. If you really want to hike (and there are enough nice hiking trails), you have to plan more than 2 days.
The most beautiful spots in the Soca Valley
The Soca Valley can be visited from the north as well as from the south. I was driving from the north (Kranjska Gora) and first crossing the mountain pass Vršič pass. With Kranjska Gora and the Vršič-Pass you are going to have the first highlights very soon, even though they are officially outside of the Soca Valley. The mountain pass and also the small village Kranjska Gora are recommended for a stop.
The Source of Soca (Izvir Soce)
Officially, the Soca Valley starts where the Soca River has its source, at the Soca spring. In Slovenian this is called Izvir Soce and it is located on the right side after the driving down from the Vršič pass. Finding it might be a bit tricky as the sign is very small, but it’s located almost in the valley. The source of the Soca can be hiked, but it is quite a tricky and scary hike with some smaller via ferrata parts, so I would not recommend it for kids. In any case, you need proper shoes, a lot of courage and you should be aware that if you slip here, an accident could result in serious injury. If you want to hike to the spring but are not sure, you might want to take a via ferrata set for the last few meters. Once you have completed the steep path, you will be rewarded with a view of the source of the emerald green river inside the mountain.
The duration of the hike is signposted as 20 minutes.
Soca Troughs at Kamp Korita
13km after the Soca source you will find my next highlight, the Soca Troughs at Camping Kamp Korita. From the bridge in front of the camp you have a nice view in both directions to the small Soca troughs.
I can recommend the restaurant closeby the camp.
Velika Korita Soca (the Soca troughs)
But the real highlight is about 4 kilometers after Kamp Korita near Kamp Soca, namely Velika Korita Soca. It is best to stop at the official spot about 500 meters before the camp (a big board shows the starting point), because from there the view is most beautiful. From the small suspension bridge next to the parking lot you are already having a beautiful view of the troughs, but if you want to get a little closer, you can hike down to the troughs. This is also only for those who are easy on hikes, although the path here is a little better. Unfortunately there are no proper hiking signs, I would recommend crossing the suspension bridge, keeping to the right and then after a few meters taking the small footpath on the right. This will take you all the way down and you can enjoy a great view. Please do not leave any garbage here and take care of your safety!
The Grand Canyon of the Soca
500 meters after the parking for Velika Korita you will find the “Grand Canyon of the Soca” on the left. Here you can admire the troughs again, also from a somewhat safer environment.
The Boka waterfall not far from Bovec is a big, thunderous waterfall that you can already see from the road. On a short hiking trail (~50 minutes, about 350 meters altitude) you can get a little bit closer to the waterfall, but it is only worth it if the waterfall carries a lot of water.
The Slap Virje is one of the craziest waterfalls in the Soca Valley, because it reminds me of the Cuban waterfalls and the pool below is shimmering in the turquoise color for which the Soca Valley is so famous. Slap Virje is easy to reach, you drive through Bovec and then through the small village of Pluzna before you reach a parking lot. There is a charge of 5 Euro for half a day, they don’t offer any other rates. From the parking lot you only have to walk down the hill for a few minutes to reach the waterfall.
Kobarid is probably the most famous and at the same time the most beautiful place of the Soca Valley. Here it is worth a stop to explore the alleys of the village. The church of St. Anton on the small hill next door catches the eye.
Napoleon Bridge near Kobarid
The Napoleon Bridge on the way from Kobarid to Dreznica is an architectural highlight and blends in wonderfully with the surrounding area. You can get there in a few minutes from Kamp Koren, it is recommended to take the small road next to the bridge to get a good view of the bridge.
Tip: There is also a Napoleon Bridge in Breginj on the Nadiza River, but this one is made of many stones and is even more special.
The waterfall Kozjak was the crowning glory of the day in the Soca Valley. The waterfall can be reached on foot in half an hour from Koren camp. The route is easy to do even with children, because it is always flat through the forest. You can park directly at the camp, there is a private (paid) parking lot. There is a small fee (4 Euro for an adult) for the waterfall during the day, which you pay at a small station. If you are there outside the opening hours, you don’t have to be afraid that the waterfall is not accessible, it is accessible 24 hours a day, but in the evening the waterfall is completely in the shade.
Tip: On the way to the waterfall, there is a small suspension bridge on the left that offers a great view of the river, which is full of water here.
Lake Krn is the largest high mountain lake in Slovenia and can only be reached by a 2h 30min walk. But here you can enjoy the view and the lake. You can find more about the hike on the official website of the Soca Valley.
The moderately beautiful town of Tolmin offers a nice natural spectacle, the Tolmin Gorges. The access is through the village of Tolmin and shortly after you will find the gorge. Entrance fee is 4 Euro per adult (June 2020) and it is worthwhile to combine the trip with the 7km long round trip, which can be done in 2 – 2 1/2 hours.
Kanal ob Soci
The small village Kanal ob Soci is already a little outside the inner valley, which ends somewhere near Tolmin, but it is worth a trip. Unfortunately we didn’t make it there.
Soca Guide on Amazon