Nic Freeman

Sharing the wonders of travel & everyday adventures

Nature’s Playground Around Bled, Slovenia: Part One – Emerald River Adventure

From the highest mountain pass in Slovenia, the world is a soothing spectrum of hinterland greens, precipice blues and alpine whites. Here, in the northern corner of Slovenia, beside the Italian and Austrian borders, silence drifts between the rugged pine slopes of Triglav National Park and the glimmering limestone peaks of the Julian Alps.

View from Vrsic Mountain Pass, Triglav National Park, Bled, Slovenia

It is only mid-morning and our small 3Glav Adventures Emerald River Adventure group has already driven through husky gold fields and deep woodland groves. We’ve gazed into the glassy surface of Jasna Lake and met the mystical gold-horned guardian of the land. Our ears have learnt the legend of the Russian Chapel and our legs have hiked the Vrsic Mountain Pass to admire this majestic view.

As I inhale the tranquil space before me, l’m yet to realise that this will be the first of many ‘wow’ moments during my Emerald River Adventure.

Gold horn goat at Jasna Lake Triglav National Park, Bled, SloveniaView from Vrsic Mountain Pass, Triglav National Park, Bled, SloveniaWW fort on Vrsic Mountain Pass, Triglav National Park, Bled, Slovenia

Descending from our mountain perch, we seek the icy aqua source of the River Soča in a deep rocky crevice, and follow it by road through the Trenta Valley, where it bends into gorges that it forged millions of years ago. Eventually the emerald ribbon curls beyond sight, towards the distant sea, but not before it fills waterfalls hiding in mossy caverns and spills into dark pools that beckon thrill-seekers to plunge from heights above.

Source of Reka Soca (river soca) Triglav National Park, Bled, SloveniaRiver Soca, Triglav National Park, Bled, SloveniaRiver Soca, Triglav National Park, Bled, Slovenia

After a lunch of ćevapčići with ajvar in the peak encircled town of Bovec, our group finally greets the emerald waters that we have been following all morning. Most of the group enjoy a couple of hours of scenic white water rafting, while the rest of us dive from boulders into mini rapids that have been cooled to about ten degrees Celsius from the mountain stone.

Rafting in River Soca, Triglav National Park, Bled, SloveniaP1310746Swimming in River Soca, Triglav National Park, Bled, Slovenia

Once suitably chilled by the alpine waters, we take another hike through the brochure-worthy landscape; past a World War One fortress, through dappled forests, across a spine-tingling suspension bridge and along boarded paths, before diving into a cobalt pool beneath Kozjak Waterfall.

Hiking to Kozjak Waterfall  Triglav National Park, Bled, SloveniaHiking to Kozjak Waterfall  Triglav National Park, Bled, SloveniaKozjak Waterfall  Triglav National Park, Bled, Slovenia

More delightful attractions lead us to our novel ride home – a car-train that cuts through the stoic mountains as we sit comfortably in our van. As the sun-drenched afternoon fades into purple alpine shadows, the tracks twist between slopes and gullies, through 6327 metres of impenetrable inner-mountain blackness and past dandelion-dotted meadows that sing with happiness.

Car train Triglav National Park, Bled, Slovenia

After disembarking from the car-train, our final stop for the day is at Lake Bohinj, where the dying light plays gently on the surface of the green waters and the white church tower glows in the dim.

Lake Bohinj, Triglav National Park, Bled, Slovenia

It took less than 12 hours on the Emerald River Adventure to bewitch my nature-loving soul and convince me that Triglav National Park must be one of the most stunning natural beauties in the world. I found my adoration was shared by the locals, who passionately protect and enjoy their alpine playground. The Slovenian pride in the land filters into culture and lifestyle norms, such as eating wholesome garden-grown vegetables, keeping the streets litter free and spending recreational time on a mountain trail or in a crystal-clear creek.

It was such a pleasure to see some of the best natural delights on offer in a nation that has more than half of its area covered by forest and a national park, Triglav, occupying 4% of the nation.


This post has been kindly sponsored by the thrill-seeking, nature-loving folks at 3glav Adventures in Bled.

A very warm thanks to Domen and the team at 3Glav for hosting me on such an awesome adventure; there is no doubting that I will be back for more!

You can find out more about 3Glav’s Emerald River Adventure on their website, or drop by their office at Ljubljanska 1, in the centre of Bled, Slovenia.


23 comments on “Nature’s Playground Around Bled, Slovenia: Part One – Emerald River Adventure

  1. Nafees
    October 9, 2012

    wow wow

  2. Rustic Recluse
    October 9, 2012

    I’m so envious, Nic! Each time I come by I’ll never fail to drop by the “About” page to re-affirm that you’re a travel writer – doing the things that I’ll love to do and have not been able to! Thank you so much for sharing all these photos, stories and tips for travelling!

    • Nic Freeman
      October 9, 2012

      Thanks RR – sorry to make you envious, but this one is really something to long for!

      Really appreciate your kind comment. Travel writing is something I’ve dreamed of doing since I was very young and I love every day I am able to travel and share my experiences.

      As always, thanks for dropping by! Nic

  3. The Perpetual Vagabond
    October 10, 2012


  4. Allen Capoferri
    October 10, 2012


  5. lexington82
    October 10, 2012

    I did this same trip – loved it. Well documented 🙂

    • Nic Freeman
      October 17, 2012

      Thanks Lexington82 – so glad you think I’ve covered it well. What a great trip!

      I’m surprised that more people haven’t heard of Bled and Slovenia, let alone travelled there, but expect it won’t be a secret for much longer. Thanks for reading!

  6. barbdsykes
    October 10, 2012


  7. Maggie Carlise
    October 10, 2012

    I had no idea this area was so incredibly beautiful. Thanks so much for posting these!

    • Nic Freeman
      October 17, 2012

      You are very welcome Maggie – it is certainly one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in my travels.

  8. aBitofCulture
    October 11, 2012

    Lovely photos – I only saw the soca river from the train window and couldn’t believe how blue it was. Very jealous of you for jumping in! My favourite part of the world too.

    • Nic Freeman
      October 17, 2012

      Thanks aBitofCulture.

      My recent trip to Slovenia was actually inspired a couple of years ago when I took a train from Prague to Zagreb, stopping for an hour on the scenic platform at Zidani Most. The glassy green river and mist-shrouded peaks told me I would be back to see more of the country. After seeing more of this quiet corner of Europe, I’m hooked and will be back for more.

  9. Pingback: Nature’s Playground Around Bled, Slovenia: Part Two – Canyoning « Nic Freeman

  10. KeL
    October 12, 2012

    absolutely stunning scenery – sooOOOOoooOO beautiful :~)

    • Nic Freeman
      October 17, 2012

      You would love it there Kel, it’s your kind of place: pristine, wild, adventurous and soothing to the soul.

  11. That’s just the heaven you shot ! Incredible . . . Hats off .

  12. Pingback: Gratitude for a Wonderful Year of 2012 Travel Adventures « Nic Freeman

  13. Pingback: Adventures in Bled, Slovenia: Sponsored Series | Nic Freeman: Portfolio

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This entry was posted on October 9, 2012 by in Culture, Lifestyle, Travel and tagged , , , , , , .

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