As part of out Europe Road Trip, we visited Slovenia, where we had the opportunity to discover the Emerald (Soča) River.
Constant potable crystal clear streams, flow down the river bank. Canyons try to shadow the river but its emerald colour is so empowering that it shines through the canyons cracks. Hanging wooden bridges lead you over the rapids to witness the beauty of the Julian Alps reflecting upon the river. Tree covered mountains peaks hide behind the clouds and surround the beauty of the Soča River. I witnessed the beauty of Slovenia’s natural water system. Now I truly understand why this is called the emerald river tour.
The Soča River is 138 km long and passes through Western Slovenia, passes through the North-eastern of Italy and ends feeds in the Adriatic Sea. But the most beautiful part of the river lies within Slovenia’s territory. This alpine rivers source lies in the Trenta valley in the Julian Alps.
Getting to this river involves a scenic drive from Ljubljana to Triglav National Park. This is the only National Park in Slovenia and flaunts an amazing backdrop of the Julian Mountains through the Vršič Pass. This pass was built by the Russian slaves held by the Austro-Hungarian in their battle against the Italian Army. It served as the only means to supply the most hostile battle front with supplies in WWI. In Koparid, a WWI museum represents these times. At least 500 Russians died building this road. In 1916 another 100 died from an avalanche. In fact a Wooden Russian Chapel, Ruska Cesta, was built by the Russian slaves to commemorate the lives of friends who died here. The Vršič Pass has 50 curves, each curve is numbered stating its elevation, the highest being 1611 meters above sea level at number 24.
The river is one of the main attractions in Slovenia due to its emerald green colour throughout the river and hence it is known as the Emerald River. Along the towns of Trenta, Lepena and Kal-koritnica, stunning narrow canyons can be seen in which the river’s colour mesmerizes your eyes.
Boka waterfall, close to Žaga village, is a karst spring and the highest waterfall that feeds in the emerald river. This waterfall is formed from the rain water which collects in the shafts and caves in the Kanin Mountains and emerges at 106 meters. The best time to see this waterfall is after a good rain, in fact it can be dry and unnoticeable. Its best is in late spring when the snow peaked Kanin Mountains start melting and seep in this mountains' limestone.
Another magnificent waterfall that feeds into the Soča River and hence you will see on the Emerald River tour is Kozjak waterfall. From Kobarid a 30 minute easy walk down a path into what looks like a Lord of the Rings scene takes you to this beautiful place. Narrow wooden bridges and pathways lead you to see this small, yet pretty waterfall.
A stunning view of the Emerald Beauty is where it confluences with river Koritnica, a pure wonder of the natural water system.
One of the best things you can do at the Soča River is to raft it. You can take the optional rafting tour at €35, which will allow you to experience this rivers wonders from within by rafting over its emerald coloured waters and rapids.
The Vršič Pass is closed at first snow. Getting there by bus is impossible, unless you have your own private transport. However there is no way you would be able to see the hidden gems of the emerald river, including the hidden canyons, and waterfalls, and the off the beaten trek hanging bridges. Hence Roundabout Travel offer the Emerald River tour which is the the best option to savour this wonderful experience. They offer many other tours inside and outside Slovenia check their website here Roundabout Travel if you want to know more. This agency provides English speaking guides and transport which pick you up directing from your hotel in Ljublijana.
And if you are planning to visit Slovenia, and wondering where to stay, why not stay in a prison cell? That’s right! This will be your only opportunity to stay in a prison cell at Hostel Celica. This art inspired hostel is one of a kind as it is an old prison turned into a hip hostel with great design and a cool vibe. Apart from that it is located in Metelkova, an alternative zone to visit in Ljubljana. A social centre of street art culture and music.