Thursday, September 11, 2008

Views Around Žaga - Bovec & surroundings

Tucked away in Slovenia's northwest corner is one of the country's most interesting areas. As you head upstream along the turquoise Soča River the scenery becomes ever more grandiose. When you tire of admiring the works of nature you can reflect on the works of man by seeking out reminders of the battles that took place here during World War One. The two main settlements in the upper valley are Kobarid and Bovec.

Bovec town centre

It's a good thing Bovec is surrounded by dramatic scenery, as the town itself is rather characterless and less appealing than Kobarid, specialy due to the longggggg renovation after eartquakes (in april, 1998 and in july, 2004) . Every building seems to house an adventure sports agency or a restaurant full of large groups discussing the day's activities. It also seems to attract a lot of motorcyclists. Bovec is definitely the place to come if you are interested in rafting, kayaking, mountaineering, paragliding, or a variety of other mentioned organised activities.

Even if you just want to walk, there are plenty of trails of various lengths and difficulties in the surrounding area, many of them making use of bouncing footbridges to cross rivers. You may catch a glimpse of the Boka Waterfall from the Kobarid-Bovec road, but you can have a closer look by following a trail southwest from Bovec or Žaga. Another trail leads west to Zmuklica, just off the Bovec-Trenta road. At this point the river passes through a narrow ravine of smooth near-white rocks - a lovely spot to relax and watch the kayakers struggling with the currents. Several trails lead northwest to the fortress at Kluže. The higher trails alternate between forest and scree; from the latter there are views across to Svinjak, the pyramidal mountain that dominates Bovec. The rock strata, some of them in an almost vertical position, are clearly visible. The fortress, which was built by the Austrians during the First World War, is in good condition and contains a museum. A short distance uphill through the forest you can find the ruins of another fortress, Fort Hermann.

It is quite possible to enjoy a visit to the Soča Valley without a car, but it requires a bit more planning than other parts of Slovenia. Several daily buses run along the valley from Bovec to Kobarid (30 mins) and Tolmin (45 mins - 1 hour), from where you can continue by bus to Ljubljana or the train station at Most na Soči. At least one daily bus goes all the way from Bovec to Ljubljana (3 - 4 hours).

From November to April the road over the Vršič Pass is closed to all traffic. Bus services over the pass from Bovec to Kranjska Gora via Trenta vary depending on the season. Very roughly, in July and August you should have no trouble doing the trip by bus on any day, while in May-June and September-October you may find a bus running on Saturdays and Sundays. At these times the schedules make it easier to do a day trip from Kranjska Gora to Trenta or Bovec than vice versa.

Good walking/tourist maps of the area are available locally and in Ljubljana bookshops. The 1:25000 "Bovec z okolico" map is particularly useful - it shows six numbered walking trails and five bike trails around Bovec, and points of natural and historical interest are clearly marked.

...around Bovec

a view towards mountains surrounding Trenta

Soča - Zmuklica

Soča - canyoning spots



at the Bovec airport

Mt. Svinjak




near Bovec

near Bovec

near Bovec

Herman Fortres


Julius Kugy

Soča at Trnovo

Just before the 2nd gorge, known as the Great Soca Gorge (800 meters). One kilometer west of the village Soca. Because it rained the days before, lots of mini waterfalls add their water to the river. A lovely spot.

Another part of the Soca valley. Bovec is in the middle left of the Soca, Cezsoca to the right of the Soca. Taken from the highest spot that can be walked to to see the Boka waterfall.

The Soca valley between Bovec and Kobarid (from NW to SE) on a rainy day. The villages seen are Zaga and Srpenica. Not a very nice picture, but it gives an impression of the region.

The ride up the Vršič pass and down to the Soča river valley is very rewarding. The narrow road winds like a serpent as it climbs to the pass and down to the Soča river and the views on the way and at the pass are breath taking.You can take the short stroll to the sources of the Soča and then drove along its beautiful gorge . At one point one even has a glimpse at the snowy peak of the Triglav.

You have to love places with clean, crystal clear, inviting water, such as the river Soca in Slovenia. It´s famous for its water quality, for endemic fish species, but also for rafting and kayaking. Having similar views from a suspension bridges, I suggest you to take a swim (14°C). Refreshing!:)

Other GALLERYS of Bovec area:

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