Scenic Drive Through Triglav, Slovenia
Triglav is Slovenia’s amazing gem. Its only national park. Towering white cliffs and snowcapped peaks of the Julian Alps. Wild and incredibly blue streams. Lovely waterfalls. Fairy tale valley of Soča River. Magical reflections of Lake Bohinj. And we shouldn’t miss out Lake Bled either.
Simply driving through this park was an amazing experience. We just knew it, we did it twice – once on our first road trip to Slovenia, and then on our fourth visit to the country with our 10 months old baby boy. The route is almost a perfect circle that starts from Lake Bled and ends at Soča Valley with countless stops and shorter scenic hikes on the way.
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Beautiful adventure: ON
First, we spent the night in a small village called Spodnje Gorje (in Guest House Kuralt) near Lake Bled. The place is a mountain dream, quiet and serene, and we especially appreciated this calm atmosphere after busy Lake Bled. The second time we started the route from Lake Bohinj where we spent a few days beforehand.
Anyhow, a long and beautiful drive was ahead of us. As we spent some time both at Lake Bohinj and Lake Bled previously, we headed directly to Kranjska Gora which is in the northern area of Triglav National Park.
Stop 1: Peričnik waterfall
But our first stop was Peričnik waterfall (Slap Peričnik) which is special because we could walk behind it. You might get a bit wet but nothing compares to the view of million little water drops sparkling in the sunshine! The 52 metres high waterfall is hidden in the forest and can be reached by a short walk.
Stop 2: Martuljek Gorge
Martuljek Gorge and its two waterfalls is a place that we explored on our second road trip. The only possible explanation is that we were in too much of a hurry the first time – and how bad for us! Because this hike became one of our favorites in Triglav.
Martuljek Gorge has majestic rock walls, and a moderate hike took us up to 50 meters tall Lower Martuljek Falls, then to 110 meters tall Upper Martuljek Falls. The last, very short section up to the pool of Upper Martuljek Falls requires some climbing, supported by chains, but the views are impressive.
This hike has everything that we love in the Julian Alps: granite rocks, crystal clear stream, lovely forest and amazing waterfalls (okay, okay, there’s no alpine lake on the way… but you get two waterfalls!), even a bit of an adrenaline rush at the end.
Stop 3: Kranjska Gora
On our first road trip, we just drove through Kransjka Gora, only stopping at Lake Jasna. On our second one, we spent 3 days there so that we have time to explore some pretty hikes nearby. Like Martuljek Gorge or the Srednji Vrh loop.
Stop 4: Lake Jasna, Kranjska Gora
It would have not been possible not to notice such a magical lake right by the road! There are several smaller parking lots and parking is free. Lots of hikes start here (just like at every stop in Triglav), but we only walked around Lake Jasna and enjoyed the distant peak views.
Oh, and we met Zlatorog (Goldhorn in English), a legendary chamois buck whose realm was in Mount Triglav.
Stop 5: Russian Chapel
The Russian Chapel is a small wooden chapel up in the mountains built by Russian prisoners during the Second World War. It’s very close to Lake Jasna by car, but we missed it on our first visit.
We saw a bunch of police cars around, and later we figured out we were actually quite lucky. Because the chapel was closed due to the visit of the president of Russia on the chapel’s anniversary. And on the following day even the whole road through Vršič Pass was closed to traffic. We were happy to make it through Vršič Pass just in time. I guess we need to check for presidential visits in advance?
Anyway, we stopped at the Russian Chapel on our second road trip, so we can tell you it’s a short but lovely stop.
Stop 6: A hike to Slemenova špica
The road to Vršič Pass was narrow and basically a series of curves one after the other (they’re numbered from 1 to 50). But driving through the heart of the Julian Alps was breathtaking! We stopped for a short hike to Slemenova špica which is probably one of the easiest and shortest hikes leading up to a 360 degrees panorama of the high peaks of the Julian Alps. The second time we only stopped at the trailhead to enjoy nice peak views – because peak views are everywhere as you get closer to Vršič Pass.
Stop 7: Vršič Pass
After we climbed up to Slemenova špica, our car had to climb up to Vršič Pass finally. It’s the highest mountain pass in Slovenia with an elevation of 1611 metres – and with incredible views!
Stop 8: Statue of Julius Kugy
From Vršič Pass it’s steep downhill, curve after curve again. And lots of viewpoints, too. One of the most famous is at the statue of Julius Kugy, a Slovenian mountaineer.
Stop 9: Source of Soča
Our next hike was to the source of Soča River. The source is deep in a cave and its color is incredibly blue! The last section is a bit challenging, supported by chains, but it was fun. Otherwise it’s an easy walk next to little cascading falls on baby-Soča. 🙂
Stop 10, 11 … x: Soča Valley
Then came the drive through Soča Valley. What should you know about it? Soča River is probably the most beautiful river in whole Europe! It’s a crystal clear and magically blue river surrounded by picturesque peaks.
We spent several days hiking in the Soča Valley on both of our trips, and we could never ever get bored with it. There’s a long hiking trail all along Soča and the road also runs next to it for the most part. There’s a bunch of hanging bridges and nice picnic spots by the road.
I’ve actually already written a long post about all the great hikes in the Soča Valley – read it here.
Virje and Boka waterfalls
Two most famous waterfalls in the Soča Valley are Virje and Boka. Boka Waterfall (Slap Boka) can even be seen from the road, but there’s also a short walking trail to a viewpoint. It’s not possible to go close to the waterfall though.
Virje Waterfall (Slap Virje) is smaller and also a bit more hidden, but you can go really close to it – even swim in the pools. There’s a short trail leading to the waterfall from Plužna.
Kozjak Waterfall (Slap Kozjak) is also a popular short hike to do when driving through the Soča Valley. It’s hidden in a narrow canyon, and we could reach it with an easy 20 minutes hike through the forest from the town of Kobarid.
Arriving to Tolmin
Again, Tolmin was a quick stop on our first road trip, then we spent two days there on the second one. If you like hiking, Triglav offers plenty of opportunities, no matter which town you happen to stay.
And what to do in Tolmin? A 2 kilometres long, easy and busy loop leads through the beautifully blue Tolmin Gorges. You can conquer Mount Krn, Mount Vogel or any other peaks nearby, or go waterfall hunting. This was our last stop before saying goodbye to Triglav – being sure that we’ll return again.
Is it worth driving through Triglav?
Our answer is a confident yes. Even a one day drive is enough to complete the route from Bled to Kobarid and get a taste of the beauty of Triglav National Park. But we recommend at least a couple of days for this drive. It’s not worth hurrying here.
Roads are generally in good condition, but they’re steep and narrow – like most mountain roads. Drivers are not always careful enough, let’s put it that way. But again, we’ve seen worse… And the beauties of Triglav made us forget about it once we were out of the car.
Here you can see our main stops on a map:
Do you have a favorite scenic drive in Europe?
Disclosure: We paid for this trip ourselves and our hotel stays were not sponsored either. However affiliate links are used in this post, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. If you are ready to book your trip and would like to support this website in some way, here’s your chance. Thank you! 🙂
This post was updated in July 2020.