the SOCA Springs (Izvir)
You might already know there is a very beautiful river in Green Slovenia called the Soca? Maybe you have seen a photo of this turquoise river.. Well check this out.. there is a secret spot, half way up a mountain, where you can climb up some rocks a bit to the exact place where this amazing river starts.. the very source (Izvir in Slovene) of the Soca River!
Far more trickier than climbing the rocks is actually finding the turn off the curvy, twisty main road that hairpins up to the Vrsic Pass and goes up over the Alps to pop out onto the other side at Kranska Gora and the motorway to Bled.
And there are so many rivers in little old Green Slovenia where you can go to see directly where a river starts it's new journey.. so many indeed, we even have our own special section about them called "River Springs"..
Sometimes the crystal clear water will be bubbling up from the earth through the first stones of a new riverbed, or bursting out from a cave, whereas the Soca splashes up like an aqua fountain from the massive rocks of the Alps to make its way down into one of the most beautiful valleys in Slovenia.
So how do I find the Soca Spring..
We will give you some micro detail here so you are ready for the exact turning over a single lane bridge to the pub where you can park to go see the Izvir.. and this is one turn you do not want to miss! Slovenia is so small that it is not normally a problem if you miss a turn, just ignore the polite lady on the car sat nav and turn around at the next traffic light and go back, but if you miss THIS turn, then you have to continue up a mountain to the VRSIC PASS at the top, which is the first safe place to turn round and go back!
If you are visiting the Soca river from the Lodge, you will be going UP this Vrsic pass, but don't forget if you are travelling from maybe Bled or Kranska Gora towards the Lodge, then you will be coming DOWN the road and actually this is much easier, as you will see a big brown sign for IZVIR on one of the final hairpin bends.
So when we went, although we knew where we were going on the map, we still managed to miss the turn to the Soca river source. The little road is a one way crossing over a narrow bridge on one of the very first hairpin bends winding up the amazing Vrsic Alpine pass, so easy to miss., especially when there is ONLY one road sign showing on the way down and mot on the way up!
Every hairpin bend has a blue number sign on the corner of the curve and 1 is at Kranska Gora, so you need to look out for number 49.. and turn immediately when you see this and the little bridge over the road to your left, but you need to decide to turn AS SOON AS you see this number come up!
Hiking to the Springs..
To summarise.. from Bovec, you will drive along the Soca river and through the long. wiggly village of Soca before ascending up and up through other tiny villages until you get to that hairpin bend section and this is where you really need to be ready to spot the road bridge going off to the left and turn here, like we said, just before the blue number 49 sign.
Once you are over the bridge it is EASY, just follow the narrow tarmacked forest road up until you get to a little pub.. it might be possible to park here, otherwise find a space along the road somewhere safe.
The pub looks really lovely and traditional, so if lunchtime is near, this would be a great stop after the springs.. Just to the side there is a marked trail that leads next to the river and up to the source! The water will either be thundering past you or there might be just a trickle, but don't worry, you will still get to see that amazing blue eye of the dragon whatever the time of year and sooner from here than you think!
Safe to say there was quite a bit of trepidation from one of the Lipizzaner Lodge team about hiking up to this spring.. not being particularly good with heights.. we had heard there was some climbing involved. But, seriously, do not worry at all, it is only mildly scary and f you are reasonably fit then please do this walk, you'll love it!
The trail leads out from the pub into the forest and you are soon climbing up and along some rocky cliffs with nature's stone steps and a wonderful strong steel wire to grab or hang onto where it gets a little hairy (scary in the Queen's English).. There are lots of knobbly rocks or crevices for sticking your feet on or into to get extra balance or traction and it really is more fun than scary. But this is not a place for flip flops!
Some of our guest's kids would manage it, some might not, but keep a close eye on them regardless..
This is another reason why we always put lots of photos on our secret places articles as people are different, so at least you get an idea what to expect.. the one thing that is 100% sure though.. even if the photos looks amazing, no picture can ever do justice to the natural beauty, fresh mountain air and sound of gushing water here and you really need to experience the magic of Green Slovenia with your own senses.. common sense being an important one here on the rocks too!
You might feel like a real rock climber! The views from here in the foothills of the Alps are stunning and the feeling of achievement when you get to the source is "rock star"!
The final little bit is over and down to the source aiming at a rock opening.. which is a bit like a deep well.. where the water comes out of.. this is the trickiest bit, but the most rewarding as you gaze down into a magical witches cauldron with this amazing mystical turquoise blue dragon's eye colour shining up and winking at you.
We have been here twice, once in September at the end of the summer when the water flow was probably at its very lowest after a dry summer, so we could climb right up and peer into this well-like hole from where the fresh mountain water springs up.
The other time it was a rainy May day and so we needed to be extra careful with our grip on the rocks, but the freezing crystal clear water was absolutely thundering down the mountain, even then we could still gingerly step over to look down the rock well and see the source!
You won't be able to choose how much water there is when you come, but you can choose what time you visit Green Slovenia and our tips for the best all round months to be here are April, May, September and October.. (those with kids will note there are still half term schools hols in these times)!!
Another great tip is that even if you are here during a dry period, make a note if there is some heavy rain and if you have one of the numerous natural water features here on your list, make sure you go there the next day and there is a good chance the water is still thundering away!
There are so many natural wonders to combine during your day out at the Soca Springs and some of them are in our Soca river article, but be sure to consider the fantastic hike to the Soca gorge and see where all this beautiful turquoise water goes!!