The Soca river valley is a magic world of mysterious mountains, emerald green water, awesome waterfalls, impressive streams and wild canyons. This is the gravel basin of the Julian Alps and the sandy lagoon of the Adriatic sea just above the Italian town of Trieste.
The crystal clear and emerald green Soca is for many the most beautiful river in Europe. The 137 kilometers long river comes to the outside world as a karst spring in the valley of Trenta located in the Triglav National Park at an altitude of 1050 meters.
From here on it flows through rapids towards the adrenaline sport packed town of Bovec, turns south just above Kobarid and continues towards Tolmin where it slows down, forms a beautiful small lake at Most na Soči and flows steadily to Kanal ob Soči and Solkan.
After almost 96 kilometers, Soca river crosses the Italian border, changes it's name to Isonzo, slows down even more flowing through the flat Friuli farmland and sometimes even sinks into the gravel during the dry season. It finally flows out to the Gulf of Trieste, creating a beautiful natural reserve where a variety of rare animal life found their home.
Just driving up the Soca river valley is a spectacle of it's own. Here you can soak in all the pure nature that this valley has to offer. At the town of Bovec you can experience a variety of watersports such as rafting, kayaking, canyoning and hydrospeed. And if you're not exactly a water person, hiking, biking, horseback riding or even paragliding might be your way to explore around.
And then again, just walking around and enjoying yourself immersed in a relaxing natural environment is just perfectly fine. Once all is done, the Soca river valley is also well known for it's marble trout and other local treats such as cheese and other traditional dishes.
Comments like the one above from our Facebook page effectively highlight the incredible beauty of this valley. It's the contrast of colors between the limestone and granite rock formations, the river and the surrounding mountains that keeps us coming back so often.
Soca comes to life as a 15 meter waterfall and a footpath beside it from where you can reach the source and actually stand beside the opening from where the river comes from. It's a magical place as it is the rest of the upper valley.
Throughout millennia, Soca penetrated through these rocks forming amazing Gorges sometimes so narrow that you can literally jump over them. From the road it seems as the river disappears in rocks but in reality this is only a deep Gorge that many navigate through with riding their kayaks. The small and large gorges are near the village of Soča and the other just a bit further down the valley at the Triglav national park entrance at Kršovec.
Along the way you will find lots of road signs and information offices with plenty of information about each particular region. Now remember, the distances here are quite short despite the slow roads, so don't push yourself and rather than that, enjoy and appreciate the nature.
Plenty of trails and pebble beaches to enjoy here with old cable and wood bridges connecting both sides. You can walk for days if you wish so, so just pack up with appropriate gear and go on your way. Sometimes you need to cross the river on foot. The water is cold, but some shallow paths are easy to do. Take some food and water with you, however, you can always enjoy the local cuisine along the way.
Most of the trails are between Trenta and Bovec, while some of the best pebble beaches are found between Kobarid and Tolmin. Direct vehicle access is banned with huge rocks, but if you explore deep enough, you will almost always find a place to park. It's only basic common sense that you can't drive into an unspoiled river.
There are numerous camping sites along the valley and you definitely don't need to worry about not finding a place to spend the night. Some of them are located next to the river and others close to it. If you prefer, there is a camper stop option just outside of Bovec, where you can easily spend a few nights on the designated parking area in your camper van just under Mount Kanin.
Both options offer spectacular views of the stars at night, as there is no light pollution here, so common for larger populated areas of our planet. Listening to the river, gazing at an endless number of stars and watching the first early morning sun rays painting the Julian alps is definitely something you will never want to go away from.
Soca river silently runs at her own pace, reminding us that we need to take a deep breath every now and then, take five and capture the moment. There are infinite footpaths and adrenaline running activities to enjoy here. If you love mountains and rivers, this will be a mind blowing experience for sure.
As a reminder, Slovenia is a small country and you are always only a few hours away from other exciting locations in the Julian alps such as lake Bled or Bohinj. Same goes for Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia or Koper, our port town on the Adriatic coast. Please check our online map for any further reference for your next trip and enjoy yourself.