There can be few places on earth as breathtakingly beautiful and serene as the Soča Valley in Slovenia. The portion of the river near the town of Bovec was used as the filming location in the movie “Chronicles of Narnia – Prince Caspian” and it is not difficult to see why the director chose this wonderful place for the film.
The entire course of the Soča River is packed with amazing sights and wondrous scenery but one of the nicest spots to explore is just off the main road to the Vrsic pass at the beginning of the Lepena Valley. Just 10 minutes from Bovec, this portion of the river is absolutely divine. Here the Soča emerges from a deep canyon into a small gorge with the most incredible blue colour you will ever see and crystal clear waters that just beg you to jump in. There are not many places where a wetsuit and mask are essential equipment for the hiker but Slovenia is certainly one of them. You just have to through yourself off a rock into that water to join the fish but it is really cold and so without the protection of a wetsuit you will be stranded on the bank.
The Lepena valley is an offshoot of the Soča Valley and close to its head there is another natural marvel hiding away just minutes from the main road in the shape of a gorgeous waterfall cascading down the rocks into a clear blue pool beneath. Hidden in the forest, the waterfall receives few visitors but is a gorgeous place to relax by the water on a sunny day. Yet another place where that wetsuit can come in handy!
A short hike from the town of Bovec on largely easy trails you will find the Virje waterfall, one of the most beautiful sights I have ever clapped eyes on. Its proximity to town and the easy walk do mean that there will inevitably be other people around but there won’t be a crowd and a visit here should not be missed. The water is cold and so if you want to take the plunge (and you really should) you will need the wetsuit yet again or you can content yourself with a clamber around the rocks which border the wonderfully blue lake at the foot of the falls. The colours here are truly astounding and the whole scene looks like it came straight from paradise.
The Soča Valley is a world-renowned destination for water sports enthusiasts with the region boasting many sports agencies offering rafting, kayaking and hydrospeed adventures on the river. If you are in the area you should not miss the opportunity to get out on the water to get up close and personal with the rapids and to experience the glorious surroundings. Prices are reasonable considering the quality of the water and the experience of the guides and there are some great adventures on offer for everyone from total beginners to experienced paddlers.
The Soča Valley has plenty to offer hikers, water sports enthusiasts and those who just love the great outdoors. There is something special around every corner and you don’t need to be an Olympic athlete to reach some wonderful places that you can have all to yourself.
Article by Sally Stacey, a frequent visitor to Slovenia