The adventure capital of Slovenia, Bovec is a fun and happening town surrounding by incredible Julian Alps and the gorgeous Soca River. Everywhere you look in Bovec you will see people hiking, biking, climbing, or kayaking. We spent several days exploring Bovec and the surrounding area, but could easily have spent even more time in the Soca Valley.
Below you will find the 15 best things to do in Bovec and everything you need to know to help you plan your trip to this part of Slovenia based on our time in the region.
In addition to the stunning natural environment and activities around Bovec, the town has a long and bloody history. Several of the sites connected by the Walk of Peace Trail serve as reminders of the battles fought here during WWI.
We visited Bovec as part of our 7 Day Slovenia Itinerary.
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Overview of the Best Things to do in Bovec Slovenia
Here is a list of the best things to do in Bovec, Slovenia. You can scroll down for more details on each activity and information to help you plan your trip. Click on the image on the right below to get a fee downloadable and printable version of this list that you can keep with you when you travel to Bovec.
- Go Hiking
- Do a Soca Kayak or Rafting Tour
- Try Canyoneering
- Drive and Hike Mount Mangart
- Stop at Soca River Gorge
- Visit the Waterfalls
- Fort Kluze
- Explore the Town
- Hang out by the River
- Tomlin Gorge
- Go Biking
- Do a Mountain Hut Trip
- Ravelnik Museum
- Drive the Entire Soca Valley
- Take the Chairlift into the Mountains
15 Best Things to do in Bovec
This is the first item on the list and also one of the top things to do in this region of Slovenia. Positioned directly next to Triglav National Park, Bovec has incredible hiking opportunities from gentle river walks, to waterfalls, to steep and challenging mountain peaks. We found the hiking trails well marked and well maintained throughout the region and most of the Bovec hiking trails can be easily accessed on paved roads.
Some of these hikes are described in greater detail below. Below are some of the best hikes in the area:
Soca River Trail: This 15.5 mile long trail starts at the source of the Soca River and winds its way down the Soca River Valley past waterfalls, gorges, beautiful mountain views, ending right near the town of Bovec. The trail is best hiked as a one way route, and the best way to do this hike is to catch a bus from town to the start at Izvir Soce. You also don’t need to hike the entire trail, you can simply drive along the valley and hike smaller portions of the walk. This is a long trail, but is the best hiking Soca Valley experience you will find.
See this post at Trip Tins for more on hiking the Soca River Trail.
Bovec Historical Trail: This 7.8 mile trail is a moderate hike that visits several historic sites and mountain views. The first part of the trail is the hardest and it gets easier as you go along.
Bovec Loop: This is an easy hiking trail that covers about 4.3 miles. The trail is right near the town of Bovec and is popular for both running and hiking.
Boka Waterfall: There are several ways to hike to the Boka Waterfall. You can visit that fall by hiking a simple out and back trail, or do the hike as a longer loop trail. See complete details of hiking to Boka Waterfall.
Mount Mangart: This is a challenging and adrenaline filled hike up one of the tallest peaks in Triglav National Park. Below you can see more information about driving to Mangart Saddle. The hike itself is not long, but is very steep with scrambling and many areas with cables.
See more about hiking Mount Mangart.
Zadnjiski Ozebnik Loop: Another epic mountain peak, this 10 mile trail climbs about 3,700 feet of elevation for some incredible mountain views. The trail is considered challenging. We did not have enough time to hike this trail but this was on our list if we had one more day in the area.
Do a Soca Kayak or Rafting Tour
While we loved the incredible mountain views in Bovec, the real treasure of this region is the stunning and vibrant Soca River. The water is shockingly blue and the long river has many opportunities for rafting, kayaking, and even paddle boarding.
Unless you are white water pro, and are bringing your own gear, you will likely need to join a tour of the river. You can find many different tour options from multi-day learn to white water kayak programs, to a few hours on the river. See more about rafting and kayaking on the Soca River.
You can find several reputable tour operators in Bovec. The best Bovec kayaking tours will offer wet suits, helmets, and complete transportation. Check out this white water kayak tour using sit on kayaks.
Just as the Soca Valley offers excellent opportunities for water activities, the combination of water, mountains and years of erosion have created beautiful formations for canyoneering. These tours often rappel down waterfalls and into caves. This is a fun and exciting way to see the Soca River Valley.
The best canyoning Bovec offers is on a guided tour. The tours below all get excellent reviews.
Drive and Hike Mount Mangart
Mount Mangart sits just north and east of Bovec. Unlike most of the peaks in Triglav National Park, you can drive most of the way up the mountain to the Mangart Saddle. This is an incredible drive, so even if you don’t plan to hike Mangart, driving to the Saddle and packing a picnic is a great way to get into the mountains.
There is a small fee to drive this road and you can expect steep drop offs, tunnels and epic views of the mountains.
If you are feeling more adventurous, you can park at the Mangart Saddle and hike a few miles to the summit. This hike is challenging with many exposed sections and several areas with cables. We hiked this with our 3 kids, but I would only recommend this hike for experienced and confident hikers.
If you are really up for an adventure, you can also do one of the via ferrata routes up Mount Mangart.
Read more about driving and hiking Mount Mangart.
Stop at Soca River Gorge
If the Soca River is the crown jewel of Bovec, then the Soca River Gorge is the diamond in the crown. The Soca River Gorge is a short section where the Soca River runs through an incredibly narrow gorge. This is one of the most popular places to stop along the river and you can walk the short hiking trail to see the gorge from above and below.
If you’re brave, you can even take a dip in the water.
Visit the Waterfalls
The Soca River Valley offer some beautiful waterfalls. Some of the best waterfalls in the area include:
- Slap Boka Waterfall: Just 5 miles south of Bovec, this is a tall waterfall
- Slap Kozjak Waterfall: located a bit south of Bovec, a gorgeous waterfall in a small cave
- Slap Virje Waterfall: This wide cascading waterfall is really lovely and ends in an emerald pool
Originally built in 1472, then rebuilt by the Austrians in the 19th century, this fort was further destroyed by fighting in WWI. The building is up the valley where it becomes narrow and was used as a defense from the Italians. Today you can visit the ruins of this fort and look down into the deep gorge to the Soca River below.
Explore the Town of Bovec
Bovec is a fun and active little town with a main square surrounded by restaurants, shops, a small grocery store and some food stands. We spent several meals hanging out in the center of Bovec, grabbing a coffee and breakfast or a beer and some food from one of the stands.
The town has several parking lots and is easy to walk around. You can also find several outdoor shops with gear for rent and local guided tours.
Hang out by the River
While walking along the Soca River Trail or kayaking down the rapids is fun, you should also make some time to simple hang out along the river. The water is breathtakingly cold, but relaxing by the water and taking a quick dip is refreshing. We also saw lots of people fishing along the river in a few places and watching as the kayakers and rafters rowed past.
There are many places to enjoy the river – Soca River Gorge is a great spot, but we also enjoyed spending some time along the river by Zaga. There are several parking lots and access places here. While the river doesn’t have a large sandy beach, the small rocky shoreline has areas of sand to sit and enjoy the water.
This beautiful gorge is south of Bovec near the town of Tomlin. Similar to Vintgar Gorge by Lake Bled, Tomlin Gorge is a beautiful, short walking trail that takes you through a narrow gorge with the stunning blue river. A series of boardwalks and bridges help take you through the gorge. It’s possible to visit Tomlin Gorge by bus, but the easiest way to get to this hike is by car.
Like Vintgar Gorge, there is a fee to visit Tomlin Gorge (6 – 10 Euros depending on the season).
It seems like there is a biker around every turn in Bovec. You can rent bikes in a few places in town and you will find people road biking, e biking, and mountain biking. You will also find people riding motorcycles. One of the top biking routes is up the road to Mount Mangart, but pretty much every road we took had bikers.
See some popular biking routes near Bovec.
Do a Mountain Hut Trip
Slovenia has a huge number of mount huts that offer a cozy stay for the night and delicious meals for hikers. If you are visiting Slovenia and hoping to hike, I strongly recommend a visit to one of the huts. We did an overnight hiking trip and hut stay in the 7 Lakes Valley. While we started our hike from the Lake Bled area, there are many hiking trails that will take you to a hut closer to Bovec.
This open air museum tells the story of the life of the Austro-Hungarian army in Bovška kotlina during WWI. The museum is located about 1 km from the town of Bovec and you need about 1hour to visit. Set up to defend the Predel Mountain Pass, the defense in the Soca Valley was made from a series of trenches, bunkers, and shacks.
If you want to explore more of this history in the region, plan to take the Walk of Peace.
Drive the Entire Soca Valley
The Soca River Valley runs north to south in western Slovenia and passes right through the Bovec area. In addition to the fun town of Bovec, there are many small towns dotting the valley. Drive from Vrsic Pass down along the Soka Valley with stunning views of the mountains and river. The Soca River Trail also travels down the same valley and you can make stops along the road to see the river and sites at any point along the road.
Make sure you stop at Soca River Gorge.
Follow the river through Bovec and continue south. You will pass several of the waterfalls and can end at Tomlin Gorge. See a good description of the Soca River Valley drive.
Note that while this road is gorgeous, it is windy and often slower than you might expect. Give yourself plenty of time and enjoy the sites.
Take the Chairlift into the Mountains
While you won’t find the network of chairlifts that exist in other European mountain regions like Italy and Switzerland, one fun thing to do in Bovec is to take the chairlift/gondola up into the mountains west of town and hike around Kanin. The chairlift cost about (up to 20 Eur/person). There is a restaurant at the top as well as opportunities for downhill biking, hiking and climbing. One of the highlights is the natural window Prestreljenik. Even in the middle of the summer be prepared for cold and even snow.
Planning Your Trip to Bovec
Below you can find some things to know about visiting Bovec and how you can plan for your trip. If you are looking for our Slovenia Itinerary as a printable and downloadable itinerary, you can find our Slovenia Itinerary on our Etsy Shop.
When is the Best Time of Year to Visit Bovec?
Bovec is a great destination at several times throughout the year. The best time for most of the adventure activities in Bovec are during the summer months of June, July and August – summer temperatures are typically in the 70s. The shoulder months of May and Sept are also excellent months in Bovec and you will find fewer crowds.
If you are visiting Bovec in the winter you will find several opportunities for winter activities such as skiing and winter hiking.
How Many Days do you Need in Bovec?
Bovec has so many amazing activities and you should plan at least 3 days to do activities in Bovec. If you only have a day or two, you will have enough time form some of the shorter hikes, visits to waterfalls, and the Great Soca Gorge. With more time you can do a kayak, rafting or canyoneering trip and hike mount Mangart or take the gondola into the mountains.
If you have more time, you can easily fill at least 5-7 days in Bovec.
Where to Stay in Bovec
Bovec is a fun town and you can find several different options for Bovec accommodation. In addition, there are several places to stay outside of Bovec in some of the nearby towns. We stayed south of Bovec in the town of Zaga and while we enjoyed Bovec, we loved having a small little town and being able to walk to dinner every night. We found booking.com had the best options for places to stay for several days in Bovec.
Below you can find a list of some of the Bovec accomodations we looked while we were there and get good reviews:
- Apartment Mars: This is where we stayed. It is a basic apartment in the top level of a house. The host was great and we loved the views from the porch.
- Hotel Mangart: This hotel looks excellent with beautiful views
- Hotel Soca: This hotel is located right in Bovec and has a sun terrace and swimming pool.
If you are looking for something more budget friendly, you can also consider options for glamping or camping in Bovec. Here are a few locations to consider:
Best Bovec Restaurants
We found the restaurants in Bovec and the Soca River Valley to be simple, delicious and reasonably priced. The food has a distinctive regional influence, but you can also find breweries and burgers. While it seems like there are plenty of restaurants, we needed to make reservations and still had to wait for a bit. Make sure to plan ahead and make your plans in advance. Below are our favorite Bovec Restaurants:
- Bovska kuhn’ca – Bovec kitch’n – inexpensive and delicious street food
- Sovdat – this was a delicious meal
- Gostilna Pri Mostu – we ate here twice during our stay since it was right down the street – we highly recommend the delicious food and reasonable prices
- Gostilna pod lipco – we ended up here one night and had a great meal and good service
Common Questions About Visiting the Soca River Valley
Is Bovec Worth Visiting?
We loved Bovec and highly recommend visiting the gorgeous Soca River Valley. Bovec is a great place to visit if you enjoy adventure, outdoor activities.
Where should I base myself in Slovenia?
If you are interested in exploring the outdoors in Slovenia, you should consider either Bled or Bovec. Both locations offer incredible views of the Julian Alps with gorgeous water in the lakes and rivers.
What are the best outdoor activities in Bovec?
The best outdoor activities in Bovec are hiking, kayaking, biking, climbing, rafting, and canyoneering. You can find a number of tour operators that offer adventure activities, or you can find information above to help you plan your own trip.