If you’ve found yourself wondering where to spend the rest of your summer, look no further than Lake Bled in Slovenia. Nestled in the foothills of the Julian Alps, Lake Bled’s magical mountain setting offers some of the most spectacular views you’ll find in Europe, with its enchanting turquoise lake, forested slopes, and gorgeous mountain backdrop.
But it’s not just the incredible views that draw tourists to Lake Bled. The area lends itself to a wealth of outdoor activities including paragliding, canyoning, abseiling, hiking and white-water rafting. One of the most popular tours of the region is run by outdoor adventure specialists 3glav Adventures, and is one of the highlights of the Lake Bled TRULY getaway.
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Emerald River Adventure Tour
The Emerald River Adventure Tour is a jam-packed 12-hour day of hiking, trekking, white-water rafting and swimming.
The day began at 8 am. Bleary-eyed, our guide picked us up in the minivan that would transport us all around the Triglav National Park that day. Less than twenty minutes later, all eight of us began a slow walk around Jasna Lake, which marks the beginning of the national park. Our guide was very knowledgeable and told us lots of interesting facts about the area, before stopping in front of a statue of a golden-horned goat. He told us the myth of the goat that protects the mountains (it’s pretty strange – but I won’t give it away here!)
Hiking the Vrsic Mountain Pass
After a series of twists and turns up a steep mountain road, we began our first hike along the Vrsic Mountain Pass. This was a pretty moderate walk, and the sun was just beginning to shine, so the temperature was just right as we made our way uphill. We enjoyed views of rugged snow-capped peaks and limestone mountains carpeted in forest. This area, close to the Italian border, was the third biggest front in the First World War and you can still see the old bunkers.
Next up we were driven to a more challenging climb, and our guide warned anyone afraid of heights to give this one a miss. As we made our way up the rockface, with a steep drop on one side and a steel rope attached to the rock to steady ourselves, I quickly understood why! It was a difficult climb, which required lots of concentration, but we soon arrived at the mouth of the Soca river: a small cave full of glistening, turquoise water.
White-Water Rafting the Soca River
Next up we grabbed some lunch in Bovec, before making our way to our next stop – and, for me, the highlight of the day – white-water rafting along the Soca River. Our rafting guide handed out wet suits, helmets and life-jackets and gave us a short safety briefing. Then we climbed into our raft and set off along the fast currents of the emerald river.
Our rafting guide was lots of fun. He even had us play a game which resulted in us all falling into the river; we also tackled rapids backwards and sideways, and halfway along, we stopped to use our raft as a giant bouncy slide into the river. The rapids weren’t very challenging, but the overall experience was fantastic, and everyone in the group had a great time.
The Kozjak Waterfall
Although it felt like we’d had a full day of activities already, there was still more to come. Next, our guide took us on a short hike to the Kozjak waterfall via a suspension bridge over the Soča and a short forest walk. The water was freezing and most of the group chose not to swim, but a few of us took the plunge. Despite the icy coldness of the water, it was incredibly refreshing, and another highlight of the day.
Mos na Soči Bridge
Another short drive in the minivan and we arrived at Most na Soči bridge. Here the river becomes wide and deep, and the biggest adventure of the day presented itself: the chance to jump off the 12-metre bridge into the icy bright blue water below. Only three of us were brave enough, and I was one of them.
I plummeted off the edge and hit the water with a loud splash (and a smack). I swam to the edge and climbed out, surprised more than anything else that I’d actually gone through with it. As a smattering of bruises formed over the course of that evening, my advice would be to only attempt this jump if you are confident you can land it right – otherwise, it can be pretty painful!
After our short stop at the Mos na Soči bridge, the main action of the day was over. But the journey back to Bled proved to be no less interesting. In order to avoid backtracking we took a shortcut, right through the mountains. To do this we had the novel experience of taking the van on a train. We drove onto the platform and the locomotive chugged along, pulling us behind it as it moved alongside the river, past Alpine villages, before plunging into darkness with each tunnel we entered. The journey took 45 minutes; half the time the drive back would have taken.
Our final stop of the day took us to Lake Bohinj, a lake situated 26 km from Lake Bled. With far less tourists, we enjoyed the tranquil views of the sun setting in the distance; the perfect way to end our day. We had a group photo taken, before journeying back to Bled.
The Emerald River Adventure Tour is an action-packed day, but the great thing about is that you can choose what to do – if you want to miss something out, that’s absolutely fine. It’s challenging and fun, and will take you out of your comfort zone. It will also offer you some of the most spectacular views of the region, and some of the best memories of your time in Bled. It’s not to be missed!