Insiders already love it and everyone else should definitely take it in consideration when planning the next vacation: Soča Valley in Slovenia is an outdoor hot spot for alpine- and watersports. Besides being one of the most beautiful landscapes in the Alps, Soča Valley is offering delicious food too – what else do you need to be happy?
The Soča River (ital. Isonzo) has its source in the Triglav massif and proceeds through the Julian Alps. After the Soča has passed the Slovenian-Italian boarder at the city of Gorica (ital. Gorizia) it continues its way through the North Italian lowlands until Trieste, where it enters the Mediterranean Sea.
At the Slovenian part of the river, you can enjoy crystal clear, turquoise water, embedded in splendid karst mountains. In addition, the Julian Alps offer a quite unique Alpine experience: this is exactly how the other parts of the Alps used to look like 100 years ago – wild and untamed mixed woodlands crossed with narrow pathways instead of wide forest roads.
Soča Valley: Outdoor hot spot for alpine- and watersports
The most interesting area for outdoor fanatics is located between the river’s spring and the little town of Tolmin – insiders claim that Bovec and Kobarid are the “capitals” for kayaking, rafting, hiking and biking. Starting there you can easily discover the river (on the water) or climb the nearby summits.
Rafting, canyoning and whitewater kayaking
Soča River is, modestly speaking, one of the most tempting waters for rafting and whitewater kayaking you may find. From absolute beginners to highly skilled experts, looking for a challenge, Soča River is offering the perfect spot – well experienced guides are always close to explain the river’s peculiarities. Most of the local operators can be found in Bovec or Kobarid. Next to whitewater rafting and kayaking they’re offering canyoning, canoe tours and hydrospeeding – an unlimited water-experience awaits you!
Hiking in the primal beauty of the Alps
Additionally, this part of the Alps is particularly attractive for hikers too. Hiking next to the Soča River or climbing the surrounding peaks: you’ll definitely get to know wild nature, splendid walking trails and remote huts. If you’re interested in the gastronomic highlights you can easily become acquainted with both the local cheese production or Soča Valley’s vineyards.
For those of you preferring long-distance hikes the Alpe-Adria-Trail is a must: the trail starts at the base of Austrian’s Grossglockner crosses the Julian Alps and terminates in Muggia at the Italian Adriatic Sea.
Tour and mountain miking for a levels
Moreover, the Alpe-Adria-Bike-Way crosses Soča Valley making the region fairly tempting for tour and mountain bikers as well. Especially for mountain bikers the area around Kobarid offers a vast number of trails on the very Slovenian-Italian boarder. There are many excellent guides revealing the more secret trails gladly and are quite supportive finding a shuttle service.
If you are more into crossing the Alps form Austria to the Adriatic Sea there’s another option: You could start in the Austrian city of Villach and besides to travelling the Soča Valley you can enjoy the famous Kranjska Gora bike park and the spectacular Vršič mountain pass going across Triglav massif. The trail requires physical fitness, yet, it is not that hard in terms of skill and biking technique – mostly, this trail is about the panorama.
Use some days to recover – and explore the region’s history
No matter how much fun an outdoor vacation is, there’s always a certain point in time when you need to recover. But even for such an occasion Soča Valley has a solution.
During World War I Soča River was the frontline between Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, which was heavily embattled. In Kobarid there’s a highly rewarded museum dealing with this recent history. Even during bike trips or while hiking there’re some war memorials to discover marking the former battlefields or war graves.
Apart from an extra history lesson, you can use your day off for some of Soča Valley’s gastronomic highlights. The proximity to Italy and Austria is reflected in the local restaurant’s splendid food – from decent down-to-earth cooking to the excellence of fine dining chefs there’s delicious cuisine to find everywhere. Ana Roš, world’s best female chef 2017, works in Hiša Franko, Kobarid.
Interesting too: Canoeing in Dalsland – Paddle tour through the Swedish water world
Camping in Soča Valley – there’s no place more idyllic
Slovenia is more favorable than Italy or Austria – same goes for accommodation. In Soča Valley, there’re several cute boardinghouses giving you a very warm welcome.
Yet, if you are interested in immersing completely into the terrific nature – not only during daytime – you should consider camping. There’re many highly idyllic camping sites in Soča Valley. Some of them are located right next to the river (bathing place inclusive) or in Triglav national park’s primal nature. Of course, tastes are different – but you’ll witness Slovenia’s hospitality either way.
A useful place to go if you want to know about free accommodation/pitches are the tourist information centers in each village. You can get information concerning free rooms via phone in English (sometimes even German) and they’ll give you a hand in terms of reservations.