Slovenia

Explore the best Soča River Valley photo spots

43 photo spots Public

Luka Esenko


Introduction

The Soča river must be one of the most beautiful rivers in the world. Flowing majestically alongside mountain meadows, it winds through steep gorges and under towering mountains until it reaches Italy, becoming the Isonzo then ending its lengthy journey into the Adriatic sea. Its unique emerald colour and the surrounding area of the Julian Alps and Triglav National Park offer incredible photo opportunities for nature and landscape photographers. As you might expect, nature and mountain landscapes are the main focus here, however, if you like history, the Soča Valley has it in abundance as remnants of World War 1 and battles fought on the Soča/Isonzo front are well preserved here. So unique and extraordinary is this area that is was awarded the ‘European Destination of Excellence’ in 2008.

The valley is oriented from the north to south which creates a unique climate in the area. Mediterranean weather clashes with the Alps so the area always has plenty of rain and relatively mild winters.

Bovec is the main town to the north and is a centre for outdoor sport activities throughout the seasons, from whitewater rafting and kayaking, to hiking and mountaineering, to skiing in winter. In this guide I use Bovec as a reference point in “Getting There” from which to navigate to other spots in the guide.

Besides the Soča river itself, other parts of the area are also covered in this guide including the Vršič pass, Predel pass, Koritnica valley and Mangart mountain road as well as many other locations in the lower part of the valley.

43 photo spots


Picks

Spring is the best time to come to the Soča valley with waterfalls and rivers at their most impressive, forests lush green and meadows carpeted with alpine flowers. Summer is busy but the weather is reliable and great for hiking. In autumn you will enjoy more quiet moments and incredible autumn colours in the forests. Winter is incredible if you are lucky with snowfall and low temperatures, but it makes it more challenging to get around the area.

My advice is to base yourself in Bovec and make short trips to the photo locations. Bovec has everything you need; good rooms, nice restaurants, supermarket and a petrol station.

Allow at least three nights in the area. You will be able to cover most of the highlights in this time, but to explore further I would suggest at least five nights. An overnight stay at one of the mountain huts is also recommended.

Five unmissable spots are Kozjak waterfall, Korita Soče, Mangart mountain road, the Vršič pass drive and Šunik Water Hurst. But there is so much more than I can describe in this guide!

In the valley there is no real sunrise or sunset light. You will need to rely on interesting skies and clouds in order to get nice images at these times. That said, sunsets are usually better on this side of the alps. When you get to higher elevations (Mangart road, Predel and Vršič pass) you will have better options to capture the last sunrays of the day.

Travelling

This is very outdoor-oriented destination and you will need to be reasonably fit in order to get the most out of it. Many of the spots are easily accessible, but some will require some experience or even climbing skills.

Make sure you have proper hiking boots and comfortable outdoor wear. It pays to have a warm layer with you at all times as well as a rain jacket. There is an Outdoor Sports shop in Bovec town.

Often there will be no mobile signal in the valley (which can be a blessing!), although on most roads and in towns the signal is good, and Bovec has good internet connectivity.

There is no border control between Slovenia and Italy so it is very easy to travel between the two countries via the Predel pass.

There is a choice of routes to reach Bovec. From Ljubljana and Lake Bled you can drive to Kranjska Gora and over the Vršič pass. Alternatively you can continue from Kranjska Gora to Tarvisio (Italy), to Lago di Predil and over the Predel pass back into Slovenia and towards Bovec. Another way is from the South, via Nova Gorica towards Tolmin, Kobarid and Bovec. The latter is often the only way in winter and before setting off you should double check that the mountain passes are open.

Events

One of the most interesting events is the Drežnica carnival on Shrove Saturday. This is a very local experience where villagers follow long-standing traditions. It’s not a show put on for tourists but you will be welcome to join in. See my Drežnica village spot for more details.

Curated By

Luka Esenko
I love travelling with Neja (my wife), Brin and Fran (my little boys) and of course my camera.
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