Slovenia is a small nation bordering Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. What it lacks in size it certainly makes up for in breath-taking scenery and a huge variety of landscapes and cultural influences. In the north west of the country the Soča Valley is the jewel in the crown of this proud country and is a well-established centre for many sporting activities. If you are a fan of the great outdoors and fancy an active holiday in a beautiful setting then you should certainly consider this region as a destination for your next trip.
The region can be reached in under two hours by road from Ljubljana, Klagenfurt and Trieste airports. There are several small towns and villages along the valley where it is possible to base yourself but Bovec (pronounced Bovetz) is the main hub for organised sports in the area. Bovec has a great variety of accommodation to choose from including hotels, apartments and holiday cottages and everything else you might need for your stay – a good supermarket, several sports agencies, bars, restaurants and a tourist information centre.
There is nothing that can prepare you for the incredible beauty of the Soča. This pristine alpine river sparkles a glorious aqua blue colour that you will never forget. It is possible to while away the hours just ambling alongside this wonderful gem or clambering around the rocks along the shore but to really appreciate the Soča in all its glory you must get out on the water for some adventure. The local sports agencies like Aktivni Planet based in Bovec and Alpin Action of Trnovo offer rafting, kayaking and hydrospeed trips with experienced guides which are suitable for all levels of experience including beginners. For the even more adventurous, canyoning is also available if you can cope with abseiling and throwing yourself down waterfalls!
There is no better way to take in the gorgeous scenery of Slovenia than paragliding. Anybody can take a tandem flight and the serenity of the experience is something that will live in the memory forever. This sport may look rather extreme but it is very safe if you fly with an expert and to participate you only need to be able to run a few paces for take-off. Contact Jelkin Hram Paragliding centre in Kobarid for prices and schedules.
Forested mountain tracks and the trails along the rivers make horse riding in the region an absolute joy. For the ultimate day’s riding contact Alpin Action who will arrange a trip tailored to your riding experience with the marvellous Matej. Matej is Slovene but has worked as a cowboy in Montana and is the perfect guide for a fabulous day on horseback. He will take you through pristine forests and pretty villages and you may even be lucky enough to be treated to cooking sausages over a camp fire and taking a swim in the river. His horses are brilliant and ideal for beginners and he even has a pet sheep who likes to come along too!
High above Bovec on the slopes of Mount Kanin a real adventure awaits you. Ziplines are suspended up to 600 feet above the ground and you can fly across the valley admiring the view if you dare. Guests are transported up the mountain in jeeps and then get the appropriate instruction and an opportunity to practice before taking the ultimate flight! The lines total 2.5 km and you will fly at speeds of up to 60 kph. Contact Aktivini Planet for prices and availability.
The Soča Valley is also a fisherman’s paradise as the crystal clear waters are home to brown trout, rainbow trout, grayling and the marble trout unique to the region. Keen anglers should certainly consider packing their andgling tackle for a trip to Slovenia but equipment and bait is available locally. You can purchase the required licence on arrival. Contact the tourist information centre in Bovec for all the details you need.
Article by Sally Stacey