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Hiking the Soča River Trail in Slovenia

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Planning a trip to hike along the most beautiful river in Europe, also known as the Soča River Valley? Let’s dive into everything you need to know about hiking the Soča River Trail! 

There’s not much to not love about the Soča River Valley. Gatorade blue river waters, snow-covered mountain peaks, and beauiful alpine guest houses and campgrounds. Essentially picture perfect views at every corner.

So what is the Soča River Trail? The Soča Trail is a beautiful hike in Triglav National Park that runs along the famous Soča River near Bovec and Trenta, Slovenia.

The Soča River Trail follows along the river for the majority of the hike
The Soča River Trail follows along the river for the majority of the hike
River crossings along the Soča River with the bluest waters
River crossings along the Soča River with the bluest waters

Prepare for your trip to Slovenia:

Where to stay in the Soča River Valley

If you’re planning to hike along the Soča River, and to explore the general Soča River valley then I recommend staying in Bovec or Trenta, or even in a guesthouse or camping site right along the river.

If you’re looking for a bigger town, Kobraid is a good alternative as it has more restaurants and shops, and even a world-famous restaurant. Although it is a bit further from the hike trailhead that we’ll be covering today.

LODGING: Camp Liza (Budget), Apartments Wojcicky (Mid-Range), Apartments & wellness Kal Koritnica (Mid-Range)

We stayed in Bovec at Camping Liza and absolutely loved it! Looking back our time at Camp Liza, and the Soča River Valley, was probably the highlight of our trip to Slovenia. Although it’s hard to say because everything in Slovenia is beautiful.

Camp Liza, Bovec
Camp Liza, Bovec
There are so many incredible campgrounds in the Soča River Valley
There are so many incredible campgrounds in the Soča River Valley

Soča River Trail

The Soča River Trail is the 24th section of the 750+ km Alpe Adria trail hike that winds its way through Italy, Austria and Slovenia. This section of the Alta Adria trail can be hiked from Trenta to Bovec, or vice versa, and is often considered to be one of the most beautiful sections of the entire hike.

The source of the Soča River begins just north of Trenta, at Izvir Soče. During the summer months there is a bus that takes you between Izvir Soče and Bovec town, making the point-to-point hike between Trenta and Bovec super doable.

Unfortunately when we visited in April the bus was not running yet. So rather than hiking point-to-point, we started at our campground at Camp Liza and did and out-and-back just back the Great Soča Gorge.

Our hike totated 14.27 miles and took 4 hours and 35 minutes, not including our stop for lunch. Since we did the hike as an out-and-back, our elevation gain totalled just over 1,000 feet.

The trail is easily to follow, especially because it hugs the river for the vast majority of the hike. Just look for signs leading to Soška Pot or signs indicating that you’re on the Alpe Adria trail.

If you are hiking this trail as a one-way trail (instead of an out-and-back like we did), then I recommend hiking from Trenta to Bovec, as the trail will be easier this way with less incline.

Soča River Trail
Soča River Trail
Kayaking is a popular thing to do along the Soča River
Kayaking is a popular thing to do along the Soča River

Hike Details

Hike details: 15 miles (25 km) from Bovec to Trenta (or vice versa), otherwise you can hike from Bovec to the middle point and back

Time needed: 5-8 hours, depending on fitness level, hiking speed and stops made

Difficulty level: Easy/Moderate

Terrain: A long but relatively flat trail that winds its way along the river, through fields and forests 

What to pack: water, snacks/lunch, Sawyer water filter, swimsuit, quick-dry towel, hiking boots or sneakers, sun protection

What to pack for the Soča River Trail

No matter how long or short of a hike you plan to do, it is super important to be prepared. The mountains can be unpredictable.

Food and water

Ample food and water is crucial for any hike that you do. The Soča River Trail, while not particularly difficult or technical, is still a long trail. I recommend packing at least 2 liters of water. There are a lot of water sources along the trail since it follows the river, so packing a Sawyer water filter is a great way to stay hydrated.

Layers

The weather in the mountains can be unpredictable, so having layers in your pack is a great way to stay prepared.

Here are some of my favorite hiking layers:

Hiking Boots and Socks

While you could definitely get by with regular sneakers, I personally recommend full hiking boots or trail runners for this trail. I always prefer to have the ankle support.

I’ve had my Waterproof Columbia Hiking Boots for years and love them. They come in a bunch of cute new styles now as well. I swear by Darn Tough Hiking Socks. I have gone on way too many hikes over the years with subpar socks and I won’t make that mistake again. My recommendation is to always keep a dry pair in your pack as well.

Hiking Backpack

I don’t care what size backpack you want to hike with, just make sure that it has hip straps. Even a super light backpack will start to feel very heavy after 15 miles. Hip straps help you to hold the weight on, you guessed it, your hips!

I bought my 30+5L Deuter a few years ago and it is my go-to hiking backpack for day trips or hut-to-hut trips.

Plus, it comes with a built-in rainfly for those unpredictable mountain moments.

How to get to Slovenia 

As of today, there are no direct flights from the US to Slovenia. In fact, even connecting flights can be a bit of a pain. Rather than connecting through a different European country, I would recommend flying into Venice, Italy instead. Not only with this be a cheaper fight, but car rentals out of Venice tend to be cheaper than out of Ljubljana. From the Venice airport it is only a 2 hour 15 minute drive to the trailhead in Bovec.

Another option would be to fly into an airport in Austria, but the drive would be a bit longer.

Renting a car in Slovenia

If you are renting a car in Italy and planning to drive to Slovenia, make sure to double-check with the car rental agency ahead of time that 1) this is allowed and 2) there are no extra fees. We booked with Avis/Budget out of Venice Airport (after a car rental mishap) and border crossings were allowed at no extra cost. 

Secondly, if you are picking up your car outside of Slovenia, you need to make sure that you purchase a Slovenian vignette. This will allow you to drive on Slovenian highways.

Without a valid vignette you can get hit with some hefty fines, so it is important that your Slovenian vignette is valid as soon as your cross the border into the country. These can purchased online at the official website. Be careful to not get scammed by a fake vignette page.

Previously it was possible to purchase physical vignette, but this process has been digitalized so the vignettes are now e-vignettes only. 

Visiting Slovenia? Here are some other articles to check out:

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