Seeped in historic significance, and basking in a natural beauty that is so unique to Slovenia, lies the town of Kobarid. Nestled into the mountains of the Upper Soča (or Isonzo) Valley, just a short journey from the Italian border, this town is famous mainly for the Battle of Caporetto, which took place in 1917: a historic fight between the Kingdom of Italy and Austria-Hungary. Since its devastating past, it has grown into a much more prosperous town, although never losing sight of its charm. Kobarid is frequently visited by keen trekkers who are longing to experience the icy-blue waters of the Soča river, or cross the mystical cove which houses the Slap Kozjak waterfall.
But you don’t need to be a seasoned mountain-climber to enjoy the stunning scenery surrounding Kobarid. Its most well-trodden trail, the Kobarid Historical Trail, will guide you through the valley and past the most significant points of the battle. Prepare for a lot of walking, endless photo opportunities, and views which are definitely worth the aching feet.
Trail Length: 5km
Trail Time: 3-4 hours
Trail Type: Circular
Starting & Finishing Point: Trg Svobode Square, Kobarid
Best time to visit: Spring
Kobarid Museum (Kobariški Muzej)
For only €7 per person, there is no better place to introduce yourself to Kobarid – and to its rich history and culture – than its museum. With a number of exhibitions exploring the effects of WWI, and the infamous Battle of Caporetto, the museum provides its visitors with a real insight into the lives of both the soldiers and the inhabitants who lived during the late 1910s.
Napoleon’s Bridge (Napoleonov Most)
As you follow the trail away from the town centre and down towards the gorge, you’ll be struck by two things: firstly, the piercing colour of the water, which is almost a milky blue. And, secondly, by the elegant stonework of Napoleon’s Bridge, which crosses the valley as the water rushes below it. The walkway almost seems to be carved into the rugged rock faces of the gorge, the picturesque mountains rising up majestically in the background. If you’re faint-hearted, then don’t look down: the bridge is perched way above the river, in a stunningly-terrifying defiance of gravity.
Lord of the Rings fans will swoon as they step into the cove which houses this magnificent waterfall. Transporting you right into the fantastical, you’ll have to step over stones, leap over brooks, and clamber onto wooden walkways, hugging the rock face, before you reach Slap Kozjak.
A cascade of mountain-fresh water, tumbling into an enclosed turquoise pool, you almost expect elves and fairies to leap from the undergrowth. Climb down to the rocks which border the pool for a fully-immersive experience.
Čez Sočo Footbridge (Brv čez Sočo)
Linking the right to left banks of the Soča is this suspended wooden footbridge. Not quite as precarious as it initially seems, a stop on this bridge will grant you a clear view down the valley, hovering above the inconceivably blue waters.
Tonovec Castle (Tonovcov Grad)
The highest point of the hike, you’ll earn yourself a well-deserved rest upon reaching the top of this peak; but you’ll also be rewarded with unbeatable views across Kobarid and all the way down the South-facing side of the valley. Its buildings dating all the way back to the 4th and 5th Century AD, this is known to be one of the most significant historic settlements in the Eastern Alps. The rolling green hills of the valley, dotted with chocolate-box towns and villages, are breath-taking, and are definitely worth the struggle of the steep incline to reach it.
Italian Charnel House (Italijanska Costnica)
Erected in 1938 to memorialise the Italian soldiers fallen in Slovenia during the war, this imposing piece of architecture is one of the most instantly-recognisable in Kobarid. A crisp white church, surrounded by a complex stone fortress of stairs and archways, the Italian Charnel House sits atop the town, and is one of the most popular and unique tourist attractions in the area. The names of the soldiers to which the monument pays tribute are engraved into the stonework, which is built in the form of a large octagon.
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