The Soča Valley is truly one of the most spectacular highlights in Slovenia and should not be missing on any Slovenia road trip. The namesake wild Soca river and the wonderful alpine landscape around it are truly breathtakingly beautiful. With its narrow gorges, turquoise water, rapids and suspension bridges, this area is truly the most beautiful natural highlight in Slovenia and should be part of your Slovenia itinerary. We now reveal our most beautiful stops on the Soča River, the most spectacular things to do at the Soča valley and the most important tips for your Slovenia road trip.
We are Sabrina and Andreas, two adventurous travelers who never miss an opportunity to discover the world. Whether by plane to distant countries or with our campervan Bruno, we just love to travel. We hope to give you helpful tips for your next trip on our blog.
Sabrina & Andreas Globetrotters, Travelers, Adventurers
The Soča Valley & The Soča River
The world-famous Soča River(pronounced “Socha”), which flows through the valley of the same name, originates in Trenta, in the Triglav National Park and flows 137 km down to the Italian border. There it flows (with its Italian name “Isonzo”) into the sea in the Gulf of Trieste.
Along the river are numerous sights that make this valley so unique in the Alps. In addition, outdoor sports are very important here, you can do white water rafting*& kayak through the river*.
Rafting Tour on the beautiful Soca River | Check Prices*
If you are traveling by car, you will be driving along the river almost all the time, so you will always have the water but also the mountains in view. You will quickly realize that you are dealing with a unique nature and a special landscape. If you come from the north and have been to the recommended Lake Bled before, you will immediately notice the difference.
Here in the Soča Valley it is much quieter, much more relaxed and there are far fewer tourists than in the very touristy Bled. Therefore, you immediately get a relaxed mood and also lose stress and hectic that may have been driving you before. The Soča Valley and the wild Soča River cast a spell over you and don’t let you go so quickly. This also makes you not want to leave the Soča Valley. And you shouldn’t, at least not until you’ve seen our top highlights in the Soča Valley.
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The Best Things To Do In The Soča Valley
Actually, the whole region is an absolute highlight, it is wonderful just to drive through this alpine landscape and enjoy the nature. Find out which highlights and sights you should not miss.
The real and biggest highlight here is of course the Soča River itself. Almost all the time you drive on the road 206 along the water and therefore almost always have a view of the wild and often raging river. However, you can rarely stop and walk to the water, mostly only at the other highlights, which we will introduce later.
But it’s enough just to look at the crystal clear and turquoise blue water while driving by. The colors are really unique and look almost like optimized through an Instagram filter. But it looks so wonderful in nature. Every now and then, quite unsafe-looking, wooden suspension bridges lead over the river and invite you to look at the Soča from a different perspective.
Great Soča Troughs
One of the most spectacular parts of the Soča River are the Great Soča Troughs (Velika korita Soče), sometimes called (totally exaggerated) Grand Canyon of Soča. This is one of the places for which the river is so famous and here you should definitely make a stop.
Here the river flows through a narrow gorge and over the centuries the water has carved these troughs or whirlpools into the limestone. This looks totally fantastic and you can watch the wild river literally as he washes out the rock.
There are several places from which you can look directly into the gorge or where you can even get down to the river and swim there. In addition, there is also a path that runs several kilometers along the river and always allows great views of the troughs. You can park here at a large parking lot(Google Maps).
From here you can walk directly to the river. There is also an old suspension bridge, which leads swaying over the wild river. You can find the path along the Great Troughs here on Google Maps. You can walk for kilometers along the Soča until you come to another highlight, the small Soča troughs.
Small Soča Troughs
The Small Soča Troughs are – who would have thought it – the small version of the Large Soča Troughs. These are far less spectacular, but still worth seeing. Here, too, the Soča River has washed out a narrow gorge with many pools and troughs over the millennia.
Free parking is available near the recommended campsite Korita. You can find the place here on Google Maps. You can also get close to the water here and – provided the right temperatures – go swimming.
Šunik Water Grove
The Sunik water grove is a real insider tip on the Soca River and can be reached on foot from the Great Soča Troughs. We also recommend you to do this hike from the parking lot of the Great Soča Troughs (Google Maps), because the way there alone is beautiful. In about 45 minutes you will walk first along a road and later picturesquely along a narrow path along the river. You can also drive the route by car and park on site for free(Google Maps).
When you arrive at the water grove, you will first come to a small waterfall. At least if you have walked the distance. If you drove to the parking lot by car, then you have to go the other way round. When we went to the Sunik water grove we didn’t really know what to expect, we didn’t even know what a water grove is. We thought we would see a beautiful waterfall in a picturesque forest and that was it. But here expected us much more. But let’s go in order.
The first waterfall at the Šunik water grove is pretty amazing. It is shaped like a big cauldron (or a U) and so the water runs at almost 180 degrees several meters down the moss-covered rocks. It looks really wonderful! The path then leads you further into the forest.
The path alone looks like something out of a fairy tale. You walk over moss-covered rocks, everywhere you see water running along. The water is really everywhere. It runs out of the rocks, comes out of the earth and forms small watercourses, waterfalls or ponds everywhere.
The landscape is really mystical and beautiful. The path is well developed and leads you dry feet through the very wet forest. If you follow the path to the end you will come to the parking lot mentioned above and then you can walk along the road back to the Soca troughs or get back into your car.
The town of Bovec is not that interesting in terms of landscape or architecture. You can’t even see the river from the center of town. So why should you come here (apart from the fact that you have to pass through the town anyway)?
Because all the outdoor activities you can do on the Soča River start from here. From here you can go on tours of white water rafting, by kayak or canyoning. You can book the most beautiful tours directly online here: Book Soca Tours*
The most beautiful Tours in Soca Valley | Check Prices*
Tolmin Gorge is a real highlight in the southern Triglav National Park. In 1-2 hours you can walk through this narrow gorge of the two rivers Zadlaščica and Tolminka and be enchanted by the turquoise blue water. At this deepest point of the Triglav National Park, 2 rivers converge to form a gorge that is truly unique.
Steep rock walls rise up next to you, due to the high humidity everything is covered with dense moss and the water has such a spectacular color that you could think the photos are reworked. But the water looks so blue by nature.
At the narrowest point, the gorge is only 3 meters wide and there are various bridges, a hot spring and other highlights that make a visit so special. More information about visiting the Tolmin Gorge can be found here:
Tolmin Gorge I All You Need To Know
The Kozjac Waterfall near the village of Kobarid is really a special highlight in the Soca Valley. From the official parking lot (Google Maps) you can walk to the waterfall in about 30 minutes. The path itself is very nice to walk. After you walk the first part along hilly fields you will come to the Soča river and can enjoy a wonderful panorama from a viewpoint.
Here you can follow an unofficial path down and you are directly at the wild river. Here our dog Aaro cooled down for the first time. After another 10 minutes you turn into the forest and you can already see the inconspicuous watercourse of the nearby waterfall. There is also a hut where you have to pay 5 Euro per person. We find this quite a rip-off, but unfortunately you can’t avoid it.
From there it’s only about 200 meters to the highlight of the hike, the Kozjak waterfall. There are several small bridges along the way to cross the water. But you can also simply walk through the ankle- to maximum knee-high water, if you have sandals on.
Then go around a small corner and you will see it. The Kozjak waterfall runs about 10 meters in a kind of small cave down a rock wall. The special thing about this waterfall is that you are almost surrounded by rocks and in the middle you can still stand (almost dry feet) to admire the waterfall.
Your partner can climb a small staircase to get to a small viewing platform. From here you can then photograph the waterfall again from a slightly higher perspective.
Soča Valley Tips
Accommodation in the Soča Valley
Camping in the Soča Valley
We spent the night at a very beautifully located campsite at the Great Soca Troughs. This is idyllically located directly on the river and you are on a large meadow under dense deciduous trees. There is also a restaurant where you can strengthen yourself after your hikes.
Campground Klin at Google Maps
If you are not traveling with a camper or campervan then we can recommend the following beautiful hotel:
Hotel Mangart is brand new and welcomes you with a wonderful view of the mountains. It is located in Bovec, so you are very quickly at all the highlights of the of the Soca Valley.
- Each room has a balcony and free wifi
- There is a whirlpool and sauna
- Free parking is also available
- wonderful alpine panorama
Hotel Mangart | Check Prices*
Best Time to visit the Soča Valley
The Soca Valley can be visited from April to October, but the best and warmest time to visit is during the summer months of July and August. Then it is so warm that you can even swim in the Soča without problems. We were here at the beginning of October in the low season and found it also a great time to travel.
There are much fewer tourists on the road and the prices are somewhat lower. But many campsites are already closed and the sun comes only for a few hours over the high mountains.
How much Time do you need for the Soča Valley?
We were during our Slovenia road trip 4 days in the Soča Valley. But we also took our time and enjoyed the wonderful nature to the fullest. Especially when you come from Lake Bled, you appreciate the tranquility and relaxation in this alpine region. Theoretically, you can tick off the most important sights in 1-2 days. You should not be tempted to rush, because this area is much too beautiful.
Itinerary through the Soča Valley
In terms of the itinerary through the Soca Valley, there is not much to think about. There is only one road that leads along the Soca River. So you either come from the north in the direction of Bled and enter the Soca Valley via the Vršič Pass. Or you come from the south from Croatia/Italy or from the port city of Piran. Then you would start your journey through the beautiful Soca Valley in Kanal ob Soči or Tolmin.