4 Great Day trips from Bovec, Slovenia
Despite the immense beauty that is Lake Bled, Bovec was actually my favourite place in Slovenia. Bovec is a small town at the western tip of Triglav National Park, Slovenia’s only national park. If my knee hadn’t been in so much pain, I probably would’ve spent my days hiking. Instead, I took my days slowly, often not leaving the hostel until midday, and explored all the natural beauty nearby. I’m sure I could’ve crammed much more into my time there, but I enjoyed relaxing a bit.
The Soca River, which runs 13km long, passing by close to Bovec, is the main attraction in the area. I can’t begin to describe how dreamy this river is. The bright green colour is just insane. It’s incredibly inviting for a swim, but just bear in mind that the warmest the water gets is about 5 degrees. So when you need refreshing, you’ll want to jump in and then quickly swim out again. Along the river there are various gorges and many ideal swimming spots, not to mention of course all the waterfalls nearby.
I didn’t have a car, but managed to score a lift to some of these places with friends I’d made at the hostel. However, all of them are reachable either by foot or by bus. The buses don’t run particularly often, so for the ones that are further away you might want to hitchhike back. Hitchhiking is really safe in Slovenia, and a great way to mingle with locals!
Walk along the river from Lepena
Get a bus from Bovec to Lepena for less than €2 and you will be dropped off right outside a spectacular gorge. Here, you can lounge in the sun, then jump in the water to cool off. There’s a path along the river that takes you all the way back to Bovec. The 10km walk is fairly easy, with only gentle inclines and declines. Along the way there are heaps of great spots to stop and have lunch or go for a swim. At various points, you’ll cross little rickety bridges, giving you stunning views of the river winding off into the mountains.
Boka and Virje Waterfalls
These are two of the most easily accessible waterfalls from Bovec. The walk from Bovec to Virje is about 40 minutes and very easy; just following the road. I could’ve stared at this gorgeous waterfall all day long. Much like the river, the water here is freezing – maybe even colder than the river. Perfect for a quick dip but not much more than that. From Virje, the walk to Boka winds through forested areas and takes about an hour. Boka is a huge waterfall but you can’t get as close. Instead, you can trek uphill to get views of the falls and the surrounding mountainous area. When you get back down, you’ll definitely want to cool off, so head straight to the river for a beautiful swimming spot. Either walk or hitchhike back to Bovec from there (about 7km.)
Tolmin Gorge is filled with a 1000 metre-long bright green river. A visit to the gorge will cost you €4 and takes about an hour all up. While there, you’ll get a ton of beautiful mountain and river views, as well as a peek into a cave and a look at a curious triangular rock wedged between the gorge walls. Sadly, there’s nowhere to swim at this gorge. We spent a while hunting down a good swimming spot when we got back towards town, and in the end a local family offered for us to walk through their property to get to the water. Slovenians are so lovely! To get there by public transport, you’ll need to get a bus to Tolmin and walk about half an hour on an easy path.
This is probably the most impressive waterfall in the area! Tucked away in a cave, the water falls down from a little gap in the cave ceiling. You can swim in the water at the bottom of the falls, and it’s probably the warmest water you’ll swim in while in the Bovec area, at a whopping 8 degrees! But given that you are inside a cave where the air is much cooler, it doesn’t really feel much warmer by comparison. Of course, the river is just outside the cave, so if you fancy it, you can relax in the sun or dip into the chilly water. To get there by public transport, you’ll need to get a bus to Kobarid and walk about 3km on an easy path.