Active days in Soča Valley

Active days in Soča Valley

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Slovenia is a heaven for holiday-makers looking for something else than lazy beach days and the Sôca Valley is the place to locate yourself if you are looking for active outdoor adventures. Here you will find more than 60 agencies offering an overwhelming range of all sorts of more or less neck-breaking activities.

We stayed in the small village of Kobarid. Here you will find everything you could wish for. The small charming village is known for the battle of Caporetto during the first world war and was mentioned in Ernest Hemmingway’s unforgettable novel, A Farewell to Arms.

Slovenia, soca valley
Kobarid was a very pleasant surprise. A cozy small village with surprisingly good restaurants, lively bars, and evocative beer gardens.

In the surrounding mountains, you will come across lots of remains of the trenches where horrific battles took place in former days. We don’t think that you should vast to much of your precious holiday on that sad affair. Instead, you should enjoy the amazingly beautiful valley and all its opportunities. 

Hiking in Soca Valley

In Kobarid itself, you will find supermarkets, small grocery stores, tour-companies, beer gardens, cafes and a great selection of surprisingly good restaurants. Kobarid is said to be somewhat of a gastronomic stronghold.

Gastronomy in Kobarid

The restaurant Hiša Franko where Ana Roš, who was declared the world’s best female chef in 2017, is chef, is the jewel of the crown. We also had mouthwatering delicious food at Restaurant Topli Val. If you go, do try their Pork belly and you will literally hear the angels sing. For a fun night out you should visit Hiša Polonka. Not only for the great food but also for the tasty beer brewed locally by a couple of brothers.

Visit Hisa Polonka and you are guaranteed a cheerful evening.

Hiša Polonka was in 2019 elected in the National top 3  at the Slovenian Restaurant Awards. We loved the atmosphere and a cozy vibe.

The good thing about Kobarid and Sôca Valley is that you don’t have to worry about eating all that yummy food and drinking all that tasty beer and delicate Slovenian wine. Your days will be filled with never-ending calorie-burning activities. At the end of your holiday, you won’t have gained a single extra gram of belly fat.

On route to Kozjak waterfall, you will pass this beautiful suspension bridge.

Exploring Soca Valley

Soča Valley is a natural wonder and you will be taken by the green forests, the impressing mountains of the Julian Alps, the waterfalls and the emerald crystal clear waters of the Soča River. The river is said to be one of the most beautiful rivers in Europe.

The river allows for the wildest water activities such as wild water kayaking, rafting, hydrospeed, riverbug, stand up paddleboarding and canyoning. For the less adventurous there is the opportunity to go canoeing, fishing, and swimming. 

Kayaking on the Soca River, Image by Niksy from Pixabay , White Water Mag Ltd and Surf Gear Ltd

The crystal clear water is absolutely inviting and in the heat of summer, it’s refreshing with a cold dip. And cold it is. In summer the water temperature only reaches 15-17 degrees in the Soča. Luckily there are a couple of smaller rivers in the valley where you can swim in more temperate water. The Nadiža River and The Idrijca River will most likely reach temperatures above 20 degrees in summer. Both can easily be reached from Kobarid.

Although the water in the Soca River is rather cold, there is room for happy faces.

If you ever get tired of splashing around in the gin-clear rivers of the Soča Valley you will literally have dozens and dozens of land-activities to choose from. We had a great time mountain-biking through the green valley. It’s possible to rent bikes at several locations and you can perfectly plan excursions on your own.
Cycling is prohibited on certain routes and you have to jump off your bike. That doesn’t matter a thing……it just gives you the opportunity to enjoy the stunning landscape even more.

Exploring by bike

However, we hired a local guide in the neighboring village which turned out to be a great choice. Our guide Tomi provided us with great bikes and helmets. Due to his extensive knowledge of the area, we got to see locations we never would have found on our own.

Cycling through amazingly beautiful Soca Valley

He also told exciting facts about the area’s history, culture, flora, and fauna. He even, as a little surprise, took us to visit his friends who had a small farm and dairy. Here they produced the most delicious organic cheeses. We got a tour of the dairy and finally, we were able to taste and buy the delicious local produce.

Delicious locally produced cheese.

At the end of the day, Tomi showed us a great “hidden” swimming spot at the Soča River. An amazing spot with welcoming cold and refreshing water. Just what we needed after a long hot day on the bikes. 

Tomis secret swimming spot

When biking in the Soča Valley you have a host of ​​different cycling routes to choose from. There are routes in every complexity you can wish for. Routes for the hardcore cyclists and routes to the happy amateurs. At the tourist offices, you can get quite good maps of the area and the various options. Remember to bring lots of water and some snacks. Out in the countryside, there are not many options for supplying liquids and food.

We fell in love with the green Valley of Soca

Soca Valley by foot

Another great way to explore the valley is on foot. Like the biking tracks, the hiking trails come in all kinds of shapes. Some are like a walk in the park others will make your heart pump and make you gasp like a racing horse. 

Soca Valley

When staying in Kobarid we recommend you to hike along the 5 km long historical trail. It will take you 3 to 4 hours according to how long you will stay at the various sights. The trail itself isn’t that strenuous.

On route, you will pass by some amazingly beautiful spots. 

The 15-meter high Kozjak waterfall which is captured in a stony chamber is according to many Slovenians the most beautiful waterfall in all of Slovenia.

The Napoleon Bridge, originally built by Napoleon’s troops in 1750 an after World War I rebuild is settled where the gorge is at its narrowest. It will bring you from one side of the river to the other. Standing 20-30 meters from the bridge on the Kobarid side will give you the most amazing view of the stone bridge and the roaring Soča River below.

Napoleon bridge

The trail will also bring you 412 meters above sea level where you will find the most important antique hilltop settlement in the eastern alps, Tonovcov Grad. From here you have impeccable views towards the Valley and the river.

Immaculate view towards the Soca Valley

Up in the air

One of the first things you will notice when visiting the Soča Valley is the great number of paragliders and hang gliders in the air. Due to almost perfect thermal wind conditions, Soča Valley is one of the best spots in Slovenia to try those nerve-wracking activities.

In the mornings when thermal winds were at their best the skies got filled with paragliders in every color

There are several companies to choose from and it will probably be wise to check different companies regarding experience, safety and price.

On the recommendation of Tomi, we chose the guys at the paragliding center at Camp Gabrje, to take us flying. Camp Gabrje is said to be the paragliding HQ in Soča Valley. The company is very trustworthy and the guys have years and years of experience and together hold 17 world records.

Getting ready to land at Camp Gabrje

When it comes to paragliding they offer different opportunities. Our tandem flights took approximately 90 minutes from take-off at 1000 meters above sea level until a very smooth landing at Camp Gabrje and set us back 120 €. 

What an experience, what a day. 

The Soča Valley is an amazing playground and offers something to all its visitors. Go now before everybody else finds out about this extraordinary beautiful spot.

If you want to learn more about Slovenia do read our post “Slovenia – A cornucopia of possibilities

We stayed at

Slovenian luxury apartments booked through Airbnb

The apartment perfectly located in the small village of Kobarid offers everything you can wish for. 

The beautiful old stone house on the main street is restored in the most beautiful way and with great respect for the building and its history.

It holds a well-equipped kitchen, a dining and television room, 2 big bedrooms with private bathrooms and a huge master bedroom on the top floor with a beautiful almost extravagant bathroom.

One of the main features of this amazing house is its feel of home. The house is furnished with exciting details and with the most incredible travel finds from all over the world. We could spend hours exploring all the quirky things and we almost felt like we were staying at an ethnographic museum. 

In the backyard, you have the opportunity of alfresco dining.

The landlord Matthew is living close by and will help you right away if there should be any problems.

Accommodation value for money

Our Top Picks
  • Eat at Hiša Franko
  • Drink beer at Hiša Polonka
  • Swim in Soča River (or Nadiža/Idrijca if you don’t like cold water)
  • Go biking with Tomi
  • Hike the historical trail
  • Paraglide with the guys from the paragliding center at Camp Gabrje
  • Stay at Slovenia luxury apartments
  • Eat at Restaurant Topli Val

Gallery – just enjoy or click to go to next image

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