When I was a child my grandparents owned a caravan and we went camping to little village in the upper Soča Valley in Slovenia named Trenta every summer. I have the best memories of my time spent there and was wanting to return and revisit some of my favourite places and also explore new ones for some time now. So this summer with limited travel options it was the perfect time to pack a tent and go.
Trenta is situated near the spring of Soča river. It is one of the most beautiful Slovenian rivers and is also known as the emerald river because of its amazing green colour. It is 138 kilometers long and flows into Adriatic sea in Italy. Its upper valley is filled with gorges, cute streams that flow into Soča, view of surrounding Julian Alps, secret valleys and mountain pastures. With many beautiful sites it is an explorer’s dream place. There are three bigger towns in this area Bovec, Kobarid and Tolmin. However, in this guide I mostly cover Soča valley from its spring to Bovec. All the area is a part of the Triglav National Park.
So what is there to see and do in upper Soča Valley?
1. Drive through Vršič pass
Vršič pass is with 1611 meters above sea the highest mountain pass in Slovenia and the Eastern Julian Alps. Through 50 hairpin turns it connects Kranjska Gora with Trenta and Soča valley. Its top is starting point for many mountain hikes and also a great spot to get in all the amazing views of the Julian Alps. Or to have a drink and eat some traditional Slovenian food in one of the mountain huts. Driving up on the Kranjska Gora site of the pass you can also stop to see the Russian Chapel, which was built by the Russian war prisoners in memorial to their comrades who died building the road here in the First World War, and Ajdovska deklica (Heathen Maiden), a girl’s face in the mountain cliffs.
2. Hike to Slemenova špica
Starting from the Vršič pass an hour and a half long hike (one way) will take you among high mountains like Mala and Velika Mojstrovka, Jalovec, Velika Ponca. You will also enjoy the views of Nordic Center Planica with ski jump slopes, village Rače and other distant valleys. I am not too much of a hiker but this hike is definitely worth going just because of the views. The first 45 minutes are pretty steep and with no shadow, later is easier path along the shadows of the trees. So wear appropriate shoes and if you go in summer, go early in the morning to avoid the heath.
3. Stop at the Šupca viewpoint
They say that the Šupca viewpoint offers one of the most stunning views to be found in the Triglav National Park. It is definitely worth stopping there and seeing also the remains of a telpher cable line that was used to deliver supplies to the Austro-Hungarian army in the First World War.
4. Admire Jalovec from Kugy monument
Dr. Julius Kugy was a merchant from Italian Trieste, pioneer climber in the Julian Alps, amateur botanist and writer. He came to the region to search for mysterious flower Scabiosa Trenta (that does not exist) and fell in love with the beauty of the Alps. His sculpture is set to look at the Jalovec mountain as it was his favourite.
5. Walk to Soča river spring
From the mountain hut at the Soča river spring it is only 15 minutes long walk (one way) to the spring viewpoint. There you can see the river coming out of the mountains and you walk along its first part of the stream. However, to get to the actual spring, the final part of the paths is very difficult and involves climbing, so it is meant for highly experienced mountaineers only.
6. Visit Kekčeva domačija
An idyllic homestead in Zadnja Trenta Valley offers fairytale accommodation, not just because the rooms are really nice, but also because their names come from a popular Slovenian book and movie called Kekec. If you are not staying there, you can still visit for a delicious meal or a drink, admire the traditional architecture of the place and lust for a swim at their amazing little pool.
7. Take a dip below Zapotok waterfalls
At the end of Zadnja Trenta valley Suhi potok stream makes a few waterfalls and pools, that are not that known among the tourists so they were my favourite stop on this trip. If you park at the Soča spring mountain hut it is approximately an hour and a half long hike (one way) to the first waterfall. But you can park later on and have only an hour long walk. Then you ascend into the woods to reach other waterfalls and pools. We visited five waterfalls with pools and seen the sixth one and the biggest from far away, as reaching it requires climbing. We also took a dip in one of the pools and had a nice little picnic.
8. Check out Mlinarica gorge
From the parking lot you cross cute wooden hanging bridge and walk along the stream of Mlinarica to reach the viewpoint of its gorge where you also get a glimpse of a nice waterfall. The 700 meter long gorge itself is inaccessible, as is just 1 meter wide in some parts. But it reaches depths of up to 80 meters. The walk is approximately 15 minutes long one way.
9. Explore Alpine Botanical Garden Juliana
Juliana is the oldest Alpine botanical garden in a natural environment in Slovenian territory. It was founded in 1926 and it covers 2,572 m2. A walk through the garden represents a walk from the valleys to mountain peaks. You can see around 600 different, mostly Alpine plants there.
10. Stop at the Church of Saint Mary
Church of the Virgin Mary of Loreto was built in 1960. This Baroque style church is situated in an idyllic site among a few traditional Trenta houses. Inside it has Black and White Madonna statue, marble relief and Tone Kralj’s paintings.
11. Shop at local market in Trenta
In the summer every Saturday and Sunday morning a local market takes place in Trenta. Here you can buy food and souvenirs from the local farmers and artists. Trenta village also has the only shop in this part of the valley and it is a home of the Triglav National Park info center Dom Trenta, which hosts a museum about the national park.
12. Visit Small and Great Soča Gorge
Along the road from Trenta to Bovec both, the Small and the Great Soča Gorge, are situated. Both are an incredible natural site of the beautiful emerald green pools. The Small Soča Gorge is 100 meters long and up to 6 meter deep, but only 1 meter wide. When the bigger Great Soča Gorge is 750 meter long with few meter wide and 15 meters deep. The end of the Great Soča Gorge is also popular for refreshing in the Soča river.
13. Get amazed by the waterfalls and gorges in Šunik Water Grove
A circular path along Lepenjica and Šunik Stream in Lepena Valley takes you among trees, waterfalls and mystic gorges, where you can relax and listen to the roaring and humming of the water. To see this natural pearl you can choose to take longer (around 3 kilometers) or shorter walking path.
+ Relax on one of Soča river beaches
Along Soča river there are a few parts with beaches that are suitable for swimming. Usually a spot like this is at every campsite. However, Soča has very strong river flow and is really cold, so be careful.
Want to see more nature’s beauties?
Driving from Bovec to Kobarid and Tolmin many more Soča river attractions are situated. We stopped at the two most famous. They are two beautiful sites, but there is entry fee for both and a lot of tourists.
Visit Kozjak Waterfalls
From the car park half an hour walk (one way) along Soča river firstly stops at the Small Kozjak Waterfall. Then you continue the walk along Kozjak Stream to get to the majestic Veliki Kozjak Waterfall. This 15-meters high waterfall is hidden in the corner of dark walls, covered in limestone sediments. From the wooden viewing terrace you get really impressive view of this natural wonder.
Walk around Tolmin Gorge
The 2 kilometers long circular path through the wild gorges of Tolminka and Zadlaščica leads along some of the most beautiful natural wonders of the region. Among the attractions are the confluence of Tolminka and Zadlaščica, thermal spring, Bear’s Head – a rock in the shape of a bear’s head, Dante’s Cave and 60 meters high Devil’s Bridge.
Visited: August 2020