Relaxing Between the Slovenian and Italian Alps
by Greg-Spicy Campers
This highly relaxed and inspirational trip was partialy inspired by one of our customers as one of the highlights of their four week journey. The reason for being so is that this area is mostly out of the main travel routes and more of a local playground with beautiful rivers, lakes, waterfalls and of course, surrounded with stunning mountains.
The trip took us through the picturesque Soča river valley up to the town of Kobarid, where we headed west through the Natisone river valley in Italy to the Tagliamento river, lake Cavazzo, up the Sella Nevea mountain pass and down to lake Rabuiesse. From here on the road climbs up again reaching pass Predil which gradually descends down to the Soča river valley again.
Throughout history, Slavic and Italian people mingled in this region, the borders changed and the Natisone river (Nadiža in Slovenian language) changed it's course several times, but always managed to keep her pristine natural beauty.
Natisone or Nadiža starts her life in the mountain of Stol and creates several sandbars, pools and gorges along the way. It makes a short loop through Slovenia before crossing the Italian border, carefully making her way to another source of water in Italy. Definitely one of the cleanest and warmest mountain rivers around which has been also praised for her healing properties many times.
There are several family friendly and more adventure friendly swimming places along the Nadiža river. Two camping sites on the Slovenian side offer more than enough for a relaxing or adventure packed holiday immersed in a pure natural environment.
While the Slovenian part of Nadiža is way more spectacular in terms of scenery, the lower part of the river flowing through Italy offers a few beautiful and quite remote places with shade and bathing oppurtunities. One worth mentioning is in the vicinity of Stupizza and the other close to the town of San Pietro al Natisone.
Cividalle dell Friui is a small picturesque town dating back to the Iron age and the Celtic era. A lot of turbulent and power changing history is woven into the threads of this historical settlement between the Roman, Venetian, Austrian and who knows what other empire.
Today you can enjoy the towns rich history and a refreshing swim on the towns beach under the Devils bridge proudly hanging over the Natisonne river. A rather unique bathing oportunity in the emerald green river.
Lake Cavazzo floats just below the Carnic Alps and on the side of the highway dissapearing through the mountain. Like a blue gem in the mountain, Lago Di Cavazzo is a glacier lake that has pure clear water reflecting the blue sky and mountains in the background.
An excellent retreat with a nice foot and bike path along the lake and many water sport and paragliding options. A couple of good camping sites right on the lake and a few bars and restaurants is more than enough for this rather quiet place.
And I certanly had my share of a solid multi-hour paddle boarding session discovering the lake along the coast.
Next on our list was the Fontanone do Goriuda water fall located just below the Sella Nevea pass not far from the border with Slovenia. This is actually the largest and most spectacular Karst spring emerging from the Mount Canin Massif well over 2,000 m above the sea level.
A short footpath leads up to the water fall basin, creating a refreshing and an aamzing emerald green pond of mountain spring water. There is also a footpath leading behind the waterfall from where you can admire the Julian Alps. It's by all means a small paradise on earth immersed in pure nature.
The waterfall continues downward, creating another small pool and a stream of water on it's way to other Italian rivers. Plenty of shade, a few tiny pebble beaches and all the fresh mountain air make this an ideal place for a cool summer picnic retreat, take my word for it.
A short drive from here and on the other side of the Sella Nevea pass lies one of my favorite places, Lago del Predil lake. Favorite for the same reason as any other place mentioned on this page. Beautiful, quiet, not to touristy and immersed in pristine nature of the Julian Alps.
All the right ingredients I need for a relaxed paddle boarding session and the views are beyond spectacular! You can enjoy this very same ingredients by renting paddle boats, kayaks or canoes at the nearby renting spots.
From here on the narrow road leads up to the Predil mountain pass which is also the border between Italy and Slovenia. The mountain pass lies betwen the mountains of Mangart and Kanin, each offering amazing hikes and scenery to go with. And this is where the real magic starts kicking in!
Descending from pass Predil is where the grandiose vistas of the Julian Alps start popping out behind every curve of the narrow road. Keep your eyes on the road and stop whenever you can to snap some pictures. If you have a camera, go for it as there will be much to enjoy once you get back home.
The road leads through the picturesque valley of the Koritnica river and the tiny villages of Strmec and Log pod Mangrtom. The hub point information town for your every experience in this area is Bovec and only minutes away. And The Soča river valley joins in here as well.
Get prepared for a high dose of hiking, bycicling, horse back riding, kayaking, rafting, canyoning, paragliding or if you choose so, treat yourself with a short flight over the Julian Alps. Anything you can think of, Bovec is the place to be.
This is the Alice in Wonderland part of Slovenia. It is the Julian Alps region that attratcs most of you exploring Slovenia with Spicy camper van rental. And this is that tiny part of the world that most of you will never forget.
It is pure and pristine as nature can be all wrapped up in a managable package. And still, you can easily spend a couple of weeks here. Extremely easily.
The stunning Soča river valley continues to the town of Kobarid, Tolmin, Kanal and Solkan, just minutes from our base. Again and we heard this from you so many times, small family owned camping sites are hard to choose from here and they all offer something unique.
Last on the list of our short expedition was the small town of Most na Soči. The Soča river created a beautiful accumulation lake here do to the damn below. This is a unique spot for paddling and a place where three rivers meet. Soča, Tolminka and Idrjica.
The town itself is rather quiet and not to touristy, although it does have some basic facilities and a tent only camping place. The traditional rowing club has been here for decades as the lake and the Idrijca river valley offer a fantastic and pristine paddle session for anyone.
There are plenty of canoes available for hire in the town, so please do enjoy the given opportunity and treat yourself to a beautiful day spent in nature. The lake and the rivers are all an excelent place for swimming or just a short dip do to colder temperatures.
In a nutshell, this will always be a unique camper van trip through some of the less traveled places and all offering unique and sometimes spectacular sparkling mountain waters. Crisp mountain air and refreshing waters are definitely an excellent and more appealing alternative to the summer heat and crowds of the coast!
A highly recommended relaxing tour!