Slovenia road trip: Soča Valley and Vršič Pass

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In the last two posts, we’ve talked about the food and day one of our road trip in the Vipava Valley and Goriška Brda. This post covers day two when we left the wine valleys behind and entered the stunning Soča Valley, land of emerald waters and dizzying heights. We spent around three hours driving from Goriška Brda to Lake Bled and almost doubled that time by stopping for a leisurely lunch and taking lots of photos along the way. There are quite a few routes from Goriška Brda to Bled but we chose to go via the Vršič Pass as we’d heard the views were stunning. Here’s our trip in pictures…

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Our first stop and sight of the mountains was the beautiful Hiša Franko where we ate yet another incredible meal.

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We, of course, took lots of photos, which you can see in our post on Slovenia’s gourmet vegetarian food.

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It’s rumoured that Ernest Hemmingway wrote part of Farewell to Arms in one of the house’s rooms. Over the years it has been a roadside inn, a village mill, a big countryside estate, a First World War hospital, an agricultural estate and finally Hiša Franko restaurant and guesthouse as it is today. Surrounded by gardens and looking out to the mountains, it”d be a beautiful place to stay. The food is exquisite.

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After dinner, we entered the Soča Valley. The roads here are the stuff of picture book road trips, long and winding with few cars to pass along the way.

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Soca Valley

Every time we caught a glimpse of the river, we were surprised by its pristine colours, from icy blue to deep emerald green. The valley is a popular adventure sports destination and we spotted lots of kayakers and rafters on our journey. One of our friends, Sebastian, went there for an outdoor sports festival this year, which sounded great.

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As we started to climb the Vršič Pass, the clouds came in, making for an atmospheric ride. The Vršič Pass is also known as the Russian Road in honour of the Russian prisoners who were made to build it during World War One. It’s largely impassable during winter, but was fine when we were there in August. Although the roads are in good condition, the whole thing contains more than 50 hairpin bends and reaches heights of 5,285ft so it’s not for nervous drivers. That said, I scare easily on the road even as a passenger, and I found it fine. The views are spectacular.

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Once we reached the top, complete with obligatory cairns, the sun had started to shine and we felt like we’d entered a different land.

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And then we saw the rainbow. Magic.

Our road trip in SloveniaLake Bled, Vipava Valley and Goriska Brda, Soca Valley andVrśič Pass

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This post is part of the Must Love Festivals project. Thanks to Visit Ljubljana and Spirit Slovenia for inviting us. 

11 thoughts on “Slovenia road trip: Soča Valley and Vršič Pass”

  1. Still kicking myself for not visiting Slovenia when I had the chance a few years back. Such a luscious & sinuous side of Europe… Love the dramatic photos (and the Hemingway connection). Good luck!

  2. Lake Bled gets all of the attention in Slovenia, but it seems like the entire country is gorgeous! I have to get there next summer.

    Your photos are great. The slightly muted colours are perfect; an excellent reminder not to reach for that tempting saturation button every time.

  3. Your pictures are so soothing and inspiring! I felt like flying to Slovenia right away as you described the changing colors of river. I’m looking forward for more stories and pictures… 🙂

  4. Wow, such a great view on my stunning Soca river valley. As a local coming from Soca valley I start dreaming of warm summer days when we will swim in Soca river again. Can not wait! But Soca valley is amazing during winter time as well especially when you rent-a-local who has a vast knowledge about the local area. Welcome back and experience more of Slovenia. Vesna

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