The famous breathtaking Soca valley was definitely a highlight for us and we were really looking forward to exploring the area. After our brakes failing on the way down the mountain pass, luckily with only a few hairpins left to go, we didn’t want to drive the van too far as we wanted to check everything was back to normal, this worked out really well because we literally drove a couple of kms from where we slept to find our first stunning stop. We pulled off the road into a lay by area as it just looked too amazing not too.
We took the drone out for an aerial view to get a better perspective of the beautiful valley with the road and river cutting between the mountains. After, we headed off on a little walk along by the side of the stunning river. There are several little rope bridges all along the river and at first we were a little dubious whether they were safe enough to cross, they all looked quite old, which of course added to the surroundings and after slowly crossing, we realised that they were quite safe and just a little wobble.
Again with the Autumn colours we were blown away by the beauty of the place. The Soca river is bright blue and absolutely crystal clear and although this time of year the water level is quite low, its still phenomenal. A little further, before reaching the town of Bovec, we stopped off a number of times as the views were too good to miss, it seem like the earth had literally opened up to reveal this insanely beautiful coloured river in the deep crack below, this is probable the most picturesque, famous part of the Soca valley.
The relaxed, pretty small town of Bovec was our next destination and where we spent the night. It is set in stunning surrounds in the middle of a huge basin surrounded on all sides by mountains and is the base where tourists flock to enjoy the many activities available in the area, such as white water rafting, canyoning and kayaking. After a brief wonder around the small town, we found a little busy bar/restaurant where we enjoyed a few glasses of wine in the uniquely decorated lounge.
We continued along the Soca Valley and spent another day exploring the wonderful area. That afternoon we parked up right by the river to spend the night at a slightly wider part, we seen a couple of guys in kayaks, but as the river is quite low and its right at the end of the season before the snow comes, we pretty much had the whole Valley to ourselves. After another cold start in the morning, we again got the drone out to have a look around from the sky, this place is just really amazing. We drove a little further into a small village and took another turn off to get closer to the river, again just beautiful, here there are so many perfect, pretty spots along the valley, you really are spoilt for choice. We crossed another bigger rope bridge and went for a walk in the surrounding area.
Coordinates to river side camp spot: 46.321152 351669 (out of season!)
Later that day we decided to head off to one of the many fortresses that are around the mountains of the Triglav national park, leaving the boys in the van unsure whether they could come into the bunkers with us we headed off to explore. We came to some tunnels and were glad we bought our torch as it was completely pitch black, there was a larger tunnel leading from one side to the other and then smaller, narrower tunnels leading off from the main one, we didn’t notice at first but when we did, we wanted to run! There were huge spiders everywhere and as we continued we also seen a scorpion and a bat, we were glad to reach the other side of the main tunnel and see daylight again.
Another 20 minute walk curving our way up the mountain, we were at the top and at the entrance to a large fort. Again we had the whole place to ourselves and it was quite an experience wondering around the fort and climbing down the bunkers as it had just been left from the war and was kind of falling down from being bombed, with rubble everywhere in some parts. The fort was used in world war 1 to fend off the Russians and the Italians and has 3 hidden lookouts, but due to heavy bombardment from the Italian forces it had been quite destroyed to its current state, they didn’t use it in the second world war because of the development of more powerful weapons, it was definitely an interesting afternoon exploring the place, apart from the spiders of course.
The following day, we visited a few waterfalls, Kozjak, Boka and Virje, all very pretty, different shaped falls with crystal clear pools, absolutely stunning surrounds and we again thought about how much we wanted to visit Slovenia in the early spring to see everywhere full with water. Visiting in the Autumn is fantastic with all the colours of the surrounding plants and trees against the bright blue river and waterfalls, but it would be awesome to come back and compare the environment in the spring when the snow has melted and the river is full. There is just so much beauty here.
Our next stop was a place called Tolmin and we ended up staying at a very eerie abandoned hotel, we were the only ones around, it was a misty start to the morning when we woke up and that added to the atmosphere, quite surreal. The plan was to wait until the sun hopefully burned off the mist before heading out to the Tolmin Gorges. We took the drone out briefly before heading off to the gorge, again although the water level was low, it was still such a lush area, you have to pay an entrance fee to the gorge, its the only place along the Soca river we had to pay for so far, its very well maintained with great walkways and little viewing platforms, there’s a short loop walk, crossing over a couple of bridges and a small tunnel. For most part of the walk you are looking down 50 meters or more onto the stunning blue waters below, definitely worth the few euros entrance fee.
Coordinates to the abandoned hotel: 46.174471 13.739078
The forecast wasn’t looking good and we had only one more day before rain was due for perhaps a week or more, we spent our last day in the area visiting the small town of Kanal ob Soci which again was absolutely stunning, a little old town built right on the river banks in beautiful surroundings, with a cute little bridge taking you across the lush river into the town, we went for a brief wonder before heading back to a place called Most na soci to spend the night.
Most na Soci was our last stop along the Soca River, another absolutely stunning lakeside town. The river opens up to a gorgeous lake before continuing along south and towards Italy, this pretty little town almost looks as if its on an island with the old town perched up high on a cliff side and the river rushing by below. The river curves dramatically around the town giving it the island like appearance before snaking off into the horizon.
We parked up right by the lake with great views and took the bikes to explore, cycling around the lake and continuing through the town and up onto a hillside overlooking the surrounding area for panoramic views. The boys enjoyed a game of chase in the fallen Autumn leaves and we relaxed for the rest of the evening in the van with the side door open to the wonderful lakeside view.
Coordinates to the lakeside camp spot: 46.159126 13.74234