Explore the Great Soča Gorge in the Soča Valley, Slovenia

December 27, 2023

The Great Soča Gorge, or Velika korita Soče in Slovenian, is a stunning natural formation in the Triglav National Park in Slovenia. It is a deep rocky gorge carved out by the Soča River, with crystal clear turquoise water flowing through the steep and imposing walls of the gorge, creating a truly breathtaking sight.

The Great Soča Gorge is in fact only a short stretch of the long Soča River, which is only about 750 meters long, and is famous for its magnificent formations and spectacular views.

However, as the Great Soča Gorge is one of the most popular destinations in the Triglav National Park, we would like to provide more information about it for those who visit this place of outstanding beauty.

Note that the Slovenian name “Soča” in English is pronounced as „socha”.

Is the Great Soča Gorge worth a visit?

If you visit the Soca Valley, the Great Soca Gorge is definitely a must-see!

And if you are in the area, such as in Slovenia, Austria, or northern Italy, we also recommend spending a few days in the Soca Valley and, consequently, at the Great Soca Gorge, as you will undoubtedly have a fantastic experience.

Where is the Great Soča Gorge located?

The Great Soca Gorge is located in the village of Soča, relatively in the upper part of the Soca River. The 206 road runs along this stretch of the river, making the Great Soca Gorge easily accessible.

To make it easier to find, we also show you on a map exactly where the Great Soca Gorge is located.

How to get to the Great Soča Gorge?

People usually get to the gorge from three directions:

  • From Ljubljana, the shortest route is via the Vršič Pass. First follow the A1 highway until Exit 1, then take the 201 road to Kransja Gora, then the 206 road through the difficult Vršič Pass. Along the way, you can visit sights such as the source of the Soca River, a World War I bunker and the stunning rocky mountains of the Julian Alps.
  • From Austria, exit the Italian A23 highway at Tarvisio and take the SS54 to Slovenia. On the way, you can visit the beautiful Lake Predil before the border. After the border, in Slovenia, take road 203, then take road 206 towards Soca.
  • If you arrive from Italy or southern Slovenia, you can get to Soca via Udine or Gorizia/Nova Gorica. In either case, you arrive in the Soca Valley, from Udine via Kobarid and from Gorizia via Kanal ob Soci. First take the road 203 towards Bovec, then after Bovec take the road 206.

Best time to visit Great Soča Gorge

The best time to visit Great Soca Gorge is late spring, early summer and autumn. As the weather is changeable in the Triglav National Park, it is not easy to determine an exact time, especially the rain can cause difficulties when traveling. If you travel from nearby, be flexible with your travel dates. And if you travel from further abroad, we suggest you plan a few more days than you need to visit the Soca Valley attractions. The reason is simply that you might not be able to hike some days due to rain.

By the way, the general recommendations for Great Soca Gorge are also true: if you can, avoid weekends, school holidays and public holidays. If you travel to the Great Soca Gorge on a typical weekday in early June, for example, you will have an absolutely fantastic opportunity to explore the area. But if you travel, for example, on August 15th, which is a public holiday in Slovenia, you will have difficulties with parking, crowds, photography… etc.

Weather in the area

The weather in late spring, early summer and early autumn is pleasant, between 18-25°C, ideal for hiking. In summer, it can be slightly warmer, up to 30°C.

As we wrote, the Great Soca Gorge and the whole Triglav National Park is a very rainy area, so be prepared for rain. In summer, there can also be big storms, so it is not advisable to stay outside.

Always check the weather regularly. Be prepared for rain even if it is forecast not to rain, as a summer storm can come unexpectedly at any time.

Hiking in the Great Soča Gorge area

The Great Soca Gorge is easily accessible for nearly everyone. A hiking trail runs alongside the gorge, and the 206 road provides access by car or bike.

Parking at the Great Soca Gorge

Basically, parking near the Great Soca Gorge is not difficult. You can easily park your car in the parking spaces next to the 206 road.

We recommend parking in a few areas near the Great Soca Gorge, where there is usually sufficient parking available. These are marked in blue on the map below.

Best places along the Great Soca Gorge

Once you’ve got your hiking boots on, you’re ready to explore.

For the best views of the Great Soca Gorge, follow the wider path on the south side of the Soca River, like it shows on the first map. Mostly on this side, there are small paths that take you close to the Great Soca Gorge. Look for these small paths and carefully go down to the gorge. You can see really nice views from many places along the gorge, and you can also sit and relax by the river.

You’ll also find a few bridges over the river, which also offer great views of the gorge.

Extra info: The gorge can reach a depth of up to 15 meters in some places, so approach with caution!

How long does it take to visit the Great Soca Gorge?

Any amount of time spent in the area is worthwhile. You can explore the gorges through hikes, swim in the river sections downstream from the Great Soca Gorge, and many visitors choose to simply sit by the riverbank and appreciate the breathtaking natural beauty.

However, if you have less time and just want to take a few photos and enjoy a short hike around the Great Soca Gorge, you can see the best places in about 1–2 hours.

What to take with you on your Great Soca Gorge hike?

As the hike around the Great Soca Gorge is not long, it does not require any special equipment. However, you should wear hiking shoes, as getting close to the gorge often requires hiking down rocky, slippery paths.

Besides hiking shoes, maybe take some snacks and water with you, which will be useful if you spend more time in the area.

Bring your photography equipment too, and note that the Great Soca Gorge can be best explored by drone. With a drone, you can reach places you can’t get to on foot.

Where to stay near Great Soča Gorge

The Great Soca Gorge is located in the municipality of Soca, which is also quite close to Bovec, so we recommend you to look for accommodation in these places. If you prefer to stay further afield, Kranjska Gora, Tarvisio or the nearby town of Kobarid are also good choices.

Some accommodation options to consider:

In Bovec:

In Kobarid:

Other places to visit near Great Soča Gorge

As the Great Soca Gorge is located in the Julian Alps, we recommend primarily the places there. The area is packed with wonderful natural sights, so if you can spend more time there, visit the other beautiful places too.

Small Soča Gorge, Soča

The Small Soca Gorge, or Mala Korita Soče in Slovenian, is the first really spectacular stretch of the Soca River from its source. Perhaps slightly less impressive than the Great Soca Gorge, but more accessible.

The Small Soca Gorge offers great opportunities to spend time alongside the Soca, admire the vibrantly colored water of the river, take photos, sit on the benches or stroll around the area. In summer, dips and short swims are common in the river section near Kamp Korita.

It is well worth visiting the Small Soca Gorge on a trip to the Soca Valley, we think this is one of the most beautiful parts of the Soca River.

Virje Waterfall, Bovec

The Virje Waterfall or Slap Virje in Slovenian is a beautiful natural attraction located in Pluzna near Bovec.

The Virje Waterfall is located on the Glijun stream, which springs in the Julian Alps and flows into the Soca River.

The Virje Waterfall is at its most beautiful in summer, when visitors can see a beautiful emerald green lake below the waterfall. It is possible to swim in the lake, but we do not recommend it because of the cold water.

Kozjak Waterfall, Kobarid

The Kozjak Waterfall or Slap Kozjak near Kobarid is a popular tourist attraction in the Soca Valley.

Kozjak Waterfall is located on the Kozjak Stream, a tributary of the Soca River. The waterfall cascades down a rock wall and then collects in a natural pool at the bottom. The surrounding green vegetation and dark cliffs make it a fabulous sight.

The Kozjak Waterfall can be reached by a 2 km walk from the nearest parking lot. The route is particularly exciting, as it runs alongside the Soca River in one part and features a World War I bunker too. Furthermore, you can also see the Little Kozjak waterfall on the way.

Tolmin Gorge, Tolmin

The Tolmin Gorge is a truly unique natural attraction that offers a wonderful experience for nature lovers and active leisure enthusiasts.

The gorge is famous for its stunningly beautiful natural formations of river and water carved stone walls, steep cliffs and canyons. The gorge is crossed by wooden bridges, which allow visitors to admire the natural formations up close.

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