Better of Soča Valley in winter: from snowboarding, panoramic mountain climbing to frozen waterfalls

With the winter faculty break in sight and two children in tow bursting with vitality, it was excessive time to plan an honest household trip. We had virtually tried all ski resorts in Slovenia already and a few throughout the border in Italy and Austria as effectively, however nothing actually appealed. Not with school-break crowds there anyway. Then it dawned on me. The Soča Valley, the lengthy valley of the emerald inexperienced Soča River in northwestern Slovenia with a high-mountain ski resort and numerous mountain climbing trails, may be a tiny bit too celebrated in summer season, however is very neglected in winter! No crowds, simply lounging in perfection of the excessive mountains and expansive panoramas, mountain climbing on empty sunny trails and exploring quite a few frozen waterfalls on this spectacular and secluded valley. 

Sounds idyllic, proper?!

I booked an condominium in Bovec, which might place us strategically for our deliberate winter enjoyable: 2 minutes away from the cable automobile to the Kanin Ski Resort, 5 minutes from two stunning and simple panoramic hikes, 13 minutes from the Nice Soča Gorge, and 13 minutes from the Loška Koritnica Valley, a valley of 100 waterfalls. Positive, Bovec doesn’t provide any spa resorts or some other means for idle pampering to be precise, however, truthfully, we weren’t even in search of that. Being surrounded with a lot magnificence and outside choices was sufficient for my household. 

Discover Soča Valley:
Twelve hikes within the Soča Valley in Slovenian mountains
A glimpse of WWI on a surprising traverse from Bohinj to the Soča
The place to hike across the Soča Valley in wonderful western Slovenia
From Bohinj to Soča Valley Trek

 Because the solar sparkles over the emerald inexperienced Soča River, which winds from its supply at 990 meters above Trenta all the best way to the Adriatic Sea at Italy’s Trieste, the encompassing hills and mountains name for an journey. There are countless choices within the Soča Valley and it could be improper to assume that one would solely go to it for the river. Whereas the Soča is actually spectacular and deserves our consideration, the Soča Valley is simply a lot extra; it’s interwoven with numerous mountain climbing trails that convey us both excessive up into the Alpine world, or to hidden waterfalls, beautiful lakes, mysterious stays of WWI, and even the highest-lying ski resort in Slovenia.

Snowboarding within the excessive mountain resort Kanin – Sella Nevea

Situated at 2,300 meters, this joint Slovenian – Italian ski resort gives 30 km of finely groomed slopes of each issue. On the Slovenian aspect you’ll discover three sun-stroked slopes and a small meals court docket which gives sizzling canine, pizzas and desserts. All fairly primary but it surely provides that good residence feeling, particularly if you find yourself sipping sizzling tea and ploughing by way of little candy fried balls referred to as miške, whereas suntanning on a deckchair with stellar views of the snowy mountains. On the Italian aspect, you’ll discover extra slopes, which in most half are within the shade, however do take you all the best way right down to the valley from the place you may take a fast gondola trip again up. Since Sella Nevea is at 1,200 m, you may simply get a complete of 1,100 m of pure downhill pleasure. Each side of Kanin – Sella Nevea work hand in hand, so one can find many suntanned Italians stress-free within the sunny deckchairs on the Slovenian aspect, and plenty of Slovenians using the lengthy Italian slopes. I do need to admit that apart from the primary and final hour we additionally stored extra to the Italian aspect for the slopes, however at all times took a pleasant stress-free break on the sunny deck. Excellent! 

Kanin – Sella Nevea is nice for household snowboarding too!
For those who choose to go ski touring on groomed mountain slopes, Kanin – Sella Nevea does provide an ideal separate piste

Exploring Slovenia’s finest guided treks:
Beautiful Julian Alps
From Bohinj to Soča Valley Trek
7 Triglav Lakes Trek
Krn Lake above the Soča Valley

Sunset hikes above Bovec

After long hours skiing up in the Kanin mountains, the kids typically launched themselves on a couch once back down in Bovec, but I instead headed again outside for another short solo adventure. Either to just walk up the hillside above Bovec or drive a couple of kilometers for a hike on an empty gravel road, always looking for a beautiful sunset spot above the Bovec Valley. 

The iconic Mt. Svinjak, also called the Matterhorn of Bovec, on the left
The Bovec Valley and the surrounding mountains for sunset

Hiking in Loška Koritnica Valley and to Fratarica Waterfalls

Surrounded by fifteen 2,000-meter peaks, among which the third highest 2,679-m Mt. Mangart and the sixth highest 2,645-m Mt. Jalovec, the picturesque Alpine valley Loška Koritnica is also called a valley of a hundred waterfalls. It got its name after many gorges (Slo. korito means a sink / basin) that the Koritnica River had carved on its way to the Soča River. 

The Loška Koritnica Valley

After an enjoyable family hike in the serene sunlit amphitheater of the high Slovenian mountains in the Loška Koritnica Valley, it was time to step over to the shaded side of the valley and delve into the fascinating world of frozen waterfalls and ice sculptures in the Fratarica Gorge. The gorge had been carved by the bustling Fratarica Stream, plunging down across the spectacular 5-km-wide and one-kilometer-high Loška Stena (Eng. Loška Wall) only to form numerous waterfalls ranging from just a couple of meters high to more than a hundred meters.

Exploring Slovenia’s best lakeview mountain hikes:
Krn Lakes above Soča Valley
7 Triglav Lakes Treks
Dreamy lakeview Jerebica

Trying to find a way across the Koritnica River to start exploring the Fratarica Waterfalls

Comfortably enough, the gorge began just after crossing the Koritnica River in a small town of Log pod Mangartom, and we were eager to explore the frozen world of the Fratarica Gorge. The trail led us from one waterfall to another, revealing mind-blowing ice sculptures created by the combination of the shaded position of this side of the mountains, the trickling water and ongoing freezing temperatures. It turned out, we were extremely lucky to come just at peak time for the icy spectacle. 

The main trail up the forest to the Fratarica Falls was easy to walk on and offered (a bit distant) views of the frozen waterfalls from above, the paths to approach them from up close required a bit of scrambling down icy and steep terrain
Curtains of long icicles hanging from overhanging walls at the Cathedral Waterfall

Check out more waterfalls in Slovenia:
Waterfalls around Kranjska Gora
Exquisite Krško: a land of hidden waterfalls, vineyards, gourmet food and wine
Best of: Bled’s must-go outdoor spots

The kids just loved the Cathedral Fall!
The Parabola Waterfall plummets down a steep wall with the gorgeous view of the Loška Wall

More amazing mountain hikes in Slovenia:
Fairytale loop hike above Srednji Vrh
Seven lush, green and fragrant mountain hikes in Slovenia
Viewpoints of Lake Bled for a perfect postcard
The most scenic tour to Triglav

A sunny trail on the Walk of Peace

The last day of our winter holidays in the Soča Valley called for an easy family hike. The Čelo Outdoor Museum, whose trailhead is located just five minutes outside Bovec and its loop hike is an hour long, promised a bit of history, but mostly warm sunshine and views of the Bovec Valley. The hike is actually located underneath Mt. Svinjak, an iconic pyramid-shaped mountain also called the Matterhorn of Bovec, and is part of the Walk of Peace, which extends 500 km from the Alps to the Adriatic Sea and links over 300 monuments along the historic sites of WWI.  

Overlooking the Bovec Valley the Čelo fort was built by the Austro-Hungarian army in 1914 for the purposes of the Isonzo Front. It’s a 200-m long trench with two positions for artillery, a kitchen, two residences, a watch tower, a shelter and embrasures
We were greeted by this nosy and bossy goat at the Čelo Outdoor Museum and it turned out to be great fun for the kids. After twenty minutes we did end up escaping the goat after she started to demand her share of sandwiches 😅

Great Soča Gorge

Before heading back home to the other side of the Julian Alps, our paths in this gorgeous valley brought us to the divine Soča River and its Great Soča Gorge. The emerald green pools continue into a 750-m-long gorge, which is only a few meters wide and fifteen meters deep. It winds through a pristine forest that in spots reveals breathtaking views of the snow-capped mountains we had skied down just a day ago. The two worlds seem light years apart, yet so unbelievably close – literally just a 13-minute drive and a gondola ride away.

The week in the Soča Valley passed at lightning speed and here I am already planning the next visit. The sheer variety of routes out there waiting for us to lace up our boots, not to mention racing down freshly groomed slopes at Kanin, which, by the best way, can keep open till June! All there’s to say at this level – till subsequent time!

Our final cease in Kanal ob Soči, a cute little city with a bridge courting again to the Roman occasions

Mountain mountain climbing concepts in Slovenia in spring:
Three spots to see blooms in early spring
Slovenia in spring: from flowers to snow in six mountain climbing journeys
Weekend on blooming Velika Planina
Mountaineering in a flower paradise: Mt. Golica and its daffodils

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