Tag: Bovec

Tourist information for holidays in Bovec, Slovenia. Accommodation, sights and walks.

WWI Isonzo Front, the Soča Valley, Slovenia

Memorial on Batognica
WWI Isonzo Front memorial on Batognica

World War One began on 28 July 1914, when the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia.  Two opposing blocks entered the war, The Allies, composed of France, Great Britain and Russia on one side and the Central Powers of Germany, Austro-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey on the other.  At this stage Italy had not entered the war, remaining neutral until it signed the Treaty of London in 1915 and joined the Allies. Italy declared war on the Austria, Hungary and Germany on 23 May 1915.

The Isonzo Front ran through the Bovec Basin
The Isonzo Front ran through the Bovec Basin

The war was being fought on several fronts throughout Europe and now another was opened up. Running from the Stelvio Pass at the junction of the Italian, Swiss and Austrian borders, it stretched 600km across Tyrol, the Carnian Alps, and the Soča/Isonzo region to the Adriatic Sea. The 90km section of the front running along the River Soča from Mt. Rombon to the Adriatic was called the Isonzo Front (or Soča Front).


Battle raged for nearly two and a half years and twelve offensives took place. The Italians attacked 11 times but each time were unsuccessful. The 12th offensive (sometimes referred to as the Battle of Caporetto and described by Ernest Hemingway in his book, A Farewell to Arms) resulted in a major breakthrough for the joint Austro-Hungarian and German armies who pushed back the Italians to the Piave river, advancing more than 100km towards Venice. Here the advance was halted and, almost exactly a year later, the war ended with the collapse of of the Central Powers.

The grim statistics are that on the Soča Front almost one million people lost their lives, soldiers, plus men, women and children behind the lines.

Today, it is impossible to imagine the horror of it all and the hardships that the soldiers must have endured, but scattered throughout the Soča Valley and on the surrounding mountains are reminders of that terrible time.  Military cemeteries can be found at Trenta, Log Pod Mangarton, Bovec, Kobarid and Tolmin and other locations in the valley.  Most notable perhaps is the Italian Charnel House that stands on the Hill of St Anthony above Kobarid.  Memorials are everywhere, some being simple plaques, others on a grander scale such as the Memorial Church of the Holy Spirit (sv. Duh) at Javorca, near Tolmin.

Austrian-Hungarian cemetery at Log pod Mangarton
Austrian-Hungarian cemetery at Log pod Mangarton

Remains of the battles can be easily spotted – it is hard to go anywhere without coming across ruined defences, gun emplacements, trenches and camps.  Scenes of battle can be visited too.  In order to preserve this heritage as well as possible, the Slovenian Government adopted a ten-year programme in 2000, named “The Soča Region – The Walks of Peace”, as a national and international project. The objective of the project is to preserve, restore and present the historical and cultural heritage of the First World War in the area of the Isonzo Front for the study, tourist and educational purposes. From what we have seen, we can say they are doing an excellent job!

If you would like to explore the front, there is a detailed map of the Soča Front and the many walks that visit it available in tourist offices and shops in Bovec and Kobarid.

Our Slovenia guidebook has several walks in this area and most of them pass by scenes and memorials from the war.

Austro-Hungarian military cemetery at Log pod Mangerton
Austro-Hungarian military cemetery at Log pod Mangerton

13. Bovec and the River Soča Walk

Walk 13 – along the River Soča and around the Bovec Basin, from a Walking Guide to Slovenia.

Rafting on the River Soca
Rafting on the River Soča

Beginning in the centre of Bovec this walk follows the banks of the River Soča before heading through the villages of Kal and Koritnica. A rural walk through quite countryside with superb mountain views.

Start/Finish – Bovec

Distance – 12km/7.5miles

Height gain – approx 100m

Time – 2h50min

Grade – easy, on good paths and tracks.

Equipment – Walking shoes. See our clothing and walking equipment page for more recommendations.

Recommended map(s) – are the 1:50 000 Triglavski Narodni Park or the Julijske Alpe zahodni del (western) map published by PZS.  There is also a 1:25 000 Bovec Tourist map.

Refreshments on route – At Čezsoča and Kal.

Updates to the 2019, 5th EditionThere are no updates.

Public transport – Bovec is easily reached by bus.

Nearest Town/VillageBovec has the full range of accommodation and shops.

**Book Bovec, Slovenia with Hostelbookers**

Bovec Basin, Slovenia
Bovec Basin, Slovenia

Please leave a comment below, or contact us, if you have some up to date information that you think might be useful or any suggestions to improve Slovenia-walking.

Bovec, Soča Valley, Slovenia

Kayaking on the River Soca, Slovenia
Kayaking on the River Soca, Slovenia

Bovec is popular with many sporting enthusiasts; including kayakers and rafters who come for the rapids of the River Soča; paragliders who come for the thermals and superb flying conditions of the Soča Valley; in winter, skiers visit Slovenia’s highest ski station on Mt. Kanin; and, of course, hikers and walkers come to climb the surrounding mountains, wander through the fields, explore the nearby villages and walk beside the scenic River Soča.

The town centre is small but attractive (it received a makeover in 2009) and is packed with tourist agencies and sport shops.

Attractions around Bovec

    • The River Soča – a draw for kayakers from all over Europe.  Truely, a most beautiful river, sometimes acqua-marine in colour, sometimes blue, sometimes wild and raging, sometimes, gentle and placid, the river has areas suitable for beginner kayakers as well those more experienced.  There are opportunities for rafting too.
Slap Boka waterfall, Slovenia
Slap Boka waterfall, Slovenia
  • Slap Boka – The magnificent Boka waterfall, easily seen from the main road to Kobarid, is an awe-inspiring sight.
  • The Kluže Fortress – Built by the Austrians in 1882, it stands high above the ravine of the Koritnica River.  There is an exhibition about the WWI Soča Front and refreshments are available.
  • Log pod Mangartom – hemmed in by 2000m+ mountains this village is well worth a visit.  Almost hidden away behind the village church there is an Austrian-Hungarian WWI cemetery.  The village suffered a huge landslide in November 2000, which sadly took the lives of seven people.
  • The Kanin Cable Car – ascending approximately 1800m in 6km.  Nearby the Restreljenik snack bar there is a geological interpretive trail and marked paths lead over the Kanin range.

Walking

We have just the one walk around Bovec in our book, but eight altogether in the Soča Valley.

Accommodation in Bovec

Bovec has hotels, pensions, apartments and guest houses. There are also plenty of campsites within just a few miles.

**Book Bovec, Slovenia with Hostelbookers**

We advise you to book in the summer months! The Bovec Local Tourist Board has lots of useful information.

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Public transport

Bovec is easily reached by bus.

Bovec has a good range of shops, cafes and restaurants.  Trips, excursions and activities of all kinds can be booked at the Bovec Local Tourist Board.

Overlooking the Bovec Basin from Svinjak
Overlooking the Bovec Basin from Svinjak

Please leave a comment below, or contact us, if you have some up to date information that you think might be useful or any suggestions to improve Slovenia-walking.