The Slovenia Times

The Kingdom of Zlatorog, Beautiful Vistas and... Adventure Sports



For centuries, people have enjoyed going to the mountains to fill their lungs with fresh air and to give their legs a bit of a workout. In northwest Slovenia stands Slovenia's highest mountain and national symbol, Triglav (2864 m). With its three peaks, it reigns like a deity over stunning deep valleys which were carved out by glaciers and are now sprinkled with sheep and goat pastures and lakes with emerald waters. The Slovenian Julian Alps cover around 4% of Slovenia's territory. Almost a third of the area of the protected Triglav National Park lies within the municipality of Bovec. The highest mountain peaks soar over 2000 metres high, while the deepest karst caves plunge more than 1000 metres underground. Rich Alpine Tradition of the Bovec area The earliest mention of the town of Bovec was in 1174, but the area's history stretches back to the early Iron Age. This is a town with a long history of Alpine tourism, stemming from the time of the Trenta poachers, who led rich town-dwellers on excursions up into the nearby mountains. Between the two gothic churches in town lies a square with typical Bovec houses, which blend beautifully with the natural landscape of the area. At homely restaurants, one can try delicious compe (potatoes) with sheep's milk cheese and cottage cheese. The picturesque town offers a wide range of accommodation in hotels, apartments, private rooms, campsites, tourist farms and mountain lodges. The old farm cottages in the valleys between the steep mountains are a testament to the stamina, toughness and vitality of the Bovec people. The mighty fortress Kluze from the 15th century looks down over the wild river Koritnica, and together with the military graveyards and battlefield remnants, silently testifies to the horrors of the largest mountain battle of WWI, which took place in the region. The Most Beautiful River in Europe The Soca River's source is in the Trenta valley. Regarded by many to be the most beautiful river in Europe, it flows through the narrowest of gorges in some places and over broad gravel beds in others. Foaming violently one moment, flowing gently the next, the river holds many surprises and delights. The river's characteristic turquoise hue and the wild beauty of its rapids, ravines and cascades are the image of natural perfection. Local people regard it as a timeless wonder. Many visitors choose to explore the river along the Soca Trail. It runs from the river's source to the lower end of the Soca Valley and exhibits the valley's natural curiosities, including the old Trenta trader routes. Organised tours along the trail, guided by locals employed by the Triglav National Park Authority, show visitors what life is like in the valley and reveal the priceless heritage which lies within this, Sloveniaïs only, national park. The Foothills Embrace Spring, the Peaks Hold on to Winter Although skiing is still possible at Kanin, the valley below is readying itself for its summer tourist season. The ice climbers and dog sleds are giving way to the fishermen who will test their luck at catching the famous Soca trout. On the plateau above the confluence of the Soca and Lepenca rivers, a charming old-style holiday village offers horse riding. Each day is a new adventure on the well-marked and maintained trails through the nature preserve. The highest peaks of the Julian Alps (Mt. Triglav, Mt. Jalovec, Mt. Mangrt, etc.) tempt mountaineers throughout the whole year. If the marked mountain trails are not exciting enough, many steep cliffs - some reaching over 1000 metres in height - are there for the climbing. Even beginners, aided by a skilled guide, can master kayaking on the Soca and Koritnica rivers within a couple of hours. The Trnovo area, though, is reserved for more experienced kayakers. If canyoning is your thing, once you enter one of the natural chasms you can glide across waterfalls and pools with crystal-clear water, swim in limestone baths and enjoy the peacefulness of a hidden world. Or you can choose rafting if you want to test the team spirit of your friends. No prior paddling skills are necessary. During your rafting adventure you will rush across rapids and dark-green pools, pass huge boulders, and finish off with a "mandatory" bath in one of the Soca's pools. If your thirst for adventure still remains unsatisfied, you could try paragliding, which seems to have been invented for the Soca Valley. Unequalled possibilities for gliding and tandem paragliding are enhanced with a view of the Adriatic Sea to the south and the mighty massif of the central Alps to the north. Bovec is fantastic for mountain biking, with well-organized trails with minor elevation changes and more demanding shaded forest trails that lead to hidden valleys and the bases of the area's mountains. A visit to the mountain bike park at Kanin, which is divided into three difficulty sections, is a must. The airfield in Bovec is considered one of most beautiful airfields in the Alps, and flying is possible in nearly all weather conditions. Flying in the company of paragliders and alpine birds of prey, above green forests and mountain peaks, with the emerald-green Soca River below, is a truly unique experience by any standard. The Outdoor Sports Festival Bovec 2006 From the 26th to the 28th of May 2006, the Bovec municipality will host the Outdoor Sports Festival Bovec 2006. The event will take place at Radulje (Kanin's cable car stop), where promotional stalls and a stage for evening concerts will be located. Outdoor enthusiasts will be able to measure their mountain biking stamina along guided tracks around Bovec (with the possibility of using GPS) and will be able to learn about cycling techniques at Kanin's Downhill Mountain Bike Park. On Friday, a mountain biking competition will take place at Radulje, followed by a 4-cross polygon race on Saturday. Serious alpine action will be offered at Trnovo ob Soci, Zmuklica and Bunkerji, where a kayak cross competition with elimination will take place on Sunday afternoon. All three days, lovers of kite-flying will be busy at the sports airfield in Bovec, where an introductory workshop will also be available. Should there be enough interest, a guided tour explaining the history of the Soca Front will be organised, using GPS.


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