The stages we’ve chosen for our two day hike of the Soča Valley took us from the village of Trenta to the village of Drežnica. The trek is a part of a long distance trek called Via Alpe Adria, which starts off in Austria and ends up in Italy, passing Slovenia on the way.
Our initial plan was to hike the E24, E25 and E26 stages which would in effect mean a hike from Trenta to Tolmin. It turned out that we got a bit ahead of ourselves and in the end decided to skip the last stage, ending our hike in the village of Drežnica. On the 3rd day we descended down to the town of Kobarid, from where we got a taxi to take us to our parked car in Trenta.
So while it was a two day hike, we really needed three days in order to get to Kobarid, take a taxi from there and call it a day.
Soča Valley Hike stats:
-Elevation gain: 929m
-Time: 15h (pure hiking, stops not included)
-Days needed: 2
-Path condition: good, no dangerous sections.
-Way-marks: excellent, can’t get lost.
Hike Stage 1: Trenta to Bovec (E24)
The starting point of this two day hike is in Trenta village. If you have your own wheels (and a road trip is the best way to travel in Slovenia), just park the car next to the Dom Trenta – the Trenta visitor centre. Next cross the road and join the Soča trail, following the river on its left bank. Once you locate the trail, it’s impossible to get lost.
As you set off, you’ll be rewarded by a beautiful view of the Soča Valley right at the start.
From then on the trail continues along the Soča river in a dense forest, occasionally opening up and offering views of the valley. You’ll encounter some fellow hikers, although even over the weekend at the height of the tourist season in mid-August we’ve never felt like its crowded.
With its emerald color, Soča will continue mesmerizing you throughout the entire day.
Every now and then you’ll encounter a gem of an old house, like the one below.
The only crowded area we came upon was near the part of Soča known as the Soča Gorge, where the river has cut an approximately 1km of narrow deep pools. As you are approaching that segment, there is a very popular swimming spot, where if you can brave the cold waters (around 13C) you can join the locals, who don’t seem to be bothered by the temperature much.
It’s gonna be a long, tiring day, so make sure to start early, take it easy and rest on the way. No need to take huge quantities of water with you, as Soča is safe to drink at its upper levels before it reaches Bovec (probably even after that, but I wouldn’t risk it again :)).
You’ll finish your day in the beautifully situated small town of Bovec, which has an abundance of accommodation options. We stayed in Hostel Soča Rocks (15E per person a night in a dorm at the time), which by the looks of it probably opened just recently. It’s well worth considering with its clean rooms, friendly service and a pretty backyard affording you with views of the valley and hammocks for chilling out after a long day’s walk.
Hike Stage 2: Bovec to Drežnica (E24)
The second day starts from Bovec and is quite different from the first one, as you’ll say goodbye to Soča for most of the day. It’s a good idea to take more water this time, as there will be less chances to fill up on the way.
The trek though is more diverse than the first stage, when most of the day was spent hiking in the immediate vicinity of Soča. On the second day you start off with a brief walk through town, continue among pastures and forests to emerge close to one of Slovenia’s most iconic waterfalls – Boka (takes just a slight detour to visit).
Next up you’ll spend quite a long time hiking in the open, so if it’s a hot summer day it can really take a toll on you (it sure did on me).
And then finally back to admiring Soča for a while, where at some points you’re able to scramble down the slope to the river and take a dip or just refresh your face if it’s too cold for you.
Shortly after the mid point of the trek, the trail starts ascending and you walk in the forest for quite a long stretch, before emerging out in the open again later on. By this point we were already really tired, with our dogs not faring much better either :).
We ended our day in the village of Drežnica, staying in Apartment Ravne, a lovely house which cost a ridiculous 55E per night for all five of us and the two dogs as well.
The views sure made up for all our hard work!
Getting to Soča Valley & Away
Car: Drive to Trenta village, park your car there and of you go. To come back to your car, the most straight forward thing to do is to get a taxi back from Kobarid (once you end the hike in Dreznica, spend the night there and next morning walk to town for about an hour). The reception at camp Koren can arrange that for you, try contacting them for inquires on the price, since I cant tell you how much it is as we only took a taxi back to Bovec, where another of our cars was parked. That however cost 60E for five of us and the two dogs.
Public transport: Check the connections and the timings here.
Other useful hiking information
Via Alpe Adria’s website is really useful to get an idea of where exactly the hike will lead you, see the distance, elevation profiles, noteworthy sights on the way and the like.
A word on the difficulty of the Soča Valley hike
So, since I’ve been living in a flat desert of Qatar for nearly five years now, I do all my hikes in the same fashion – as in extremely badly prepared :). What I mean by that is that I don’t walk at all on a daily basis, let alone hike. That however doesn’t stop me from coming up with hiking plans every time I go travel 🙂 Usually I overreach and end up quite battered up after my treks… this time was no exception.
As briefly mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, we initially planned to do a 3 day hike, meaning we would end our walk in Tolmin. Due to all of us being in various states of exhaustion, we cut it short and thus the last day we only descended from Drežnica down to Kobarid.
For me personally the hike was very difficult, not because of elevation gain since there isn’t much climbing involved, but instead from suffering from some degree of heat stroke. The two days were at about 30C and the second day you walk out in the open most of the time. Like any experienced hiker will tell you, start very early in the day in such cases (yeah, we like to sleep :).
The other quite strenuous part comes from the first day’s trek, as the path is full of roots, boulders, stones… basically uneven, which takes a toll on your legs by the end of the day.
But bottom line – a beautiful hike!
If you liked this post, make sure to read the Travel in Slovenia – the absolute must-do experiences for further ideas on what to see and do in Slovenia.