Getting ready and planning in advance is a very important and integral part of any successful kayaking trip, expedition or mission! So, what should you think about when getting ready for a kayaking trip to Slovenia?!
Slovenia is situated in the heart of Europe. To the north is Austria, to the south is Croatia, to the east is Hungary with Italy to the west.
The Alps play a huge part in Slovenia’s climate, geography, demographics and of course culture. Although they cover only 11% of our land, Slovenia is still known as Alpine country. In winter, they are covered with snow, which then melts in spring & summer months, making our rivers a kayaking Promised land!
When to Go
Slovenia has 3 main kayaking seasons: Late-spring, Summer and Autumn.
At the start of the Spring the main rivers will be relatively low (Sava, Soča). However, in April and May snow is starting to melt in the mountains, therefore, the river beds start to fill up. This season is especially suitable for Intermediate and Advanced kayakers, since more technical sections are runnable only after snow melts or after heavy downpours.
The weather is extremely unpredictable and you could run into heavy rain or experience very cold temperatures! But it can also be crystal clear blue skies with temperatures touching the early 20s! If you consider camping, then be prepared for 3 seasons within a week. We usually recommend that you stay in a Hostel (bed and breakfast) if there are just a few of you and if it is a bigger group, look at Apartments (holiday homes with kitchen facilities). You can also check our accommodation recommendations here.
In the height of the Summer the snow is already melted, but the rivers are still high enough, so anyone can find something for themselves. Occasional thunderstorms cause rivers to get pumping. If you want to learn kayaking and fully experience Soča valley, make sure to visit it at our peak season.
Summer is a great time to be in Slovenia. Pretty much all the rivers and creeks are running and the sun is out. The temperatures are usually between 25-30°C, but Soča keeps us cooled down. If you are planning to camp, a tarp is a great thing to have with you. It will give you some shade and a little shelter if the skies open up while you are eating dinner or cracking another cold beer open!
Once days start to shorten, tourists start to head home. But temperatures stay between 20-25 degrees. Even though weather becomes slightly more unpredictable (be prepared for every type of it), there is still plenty of sunny days. Furthermore, since it rains more often, water levels raise. All these makes fall ideal if you want to get a ‘schnell’ course in kayaking or an exclusive experience of Soča Valley.
Because of the unstable weather in fall we suggest staying at Apartments instead of camping.
You can find a couple of rivers to kayak, such as Sava Dolinka or Soča. However, temperatures can be easily below -5°C and snow will most likely make it difficult to get to the put-in or take-out and to be quite honest, as there is so much snow around, we all go skiing!⛷️
Where to Go
Most German kayakers head to Bovec basin on the North West of Slovenia. It’s closest to Germany and offers the biggest number of activities. There are also kayaking centres in Slovenia. For example Gorenjska, which offers many intriguing sections for you to attack. Also, most of the competitive kayakers visit Ljubljana, located in the centre of Slovenia, where our national kayak course is held. It does not matter which location you choose, each has quality whitewater for every level of kayaker.
North West of Slovenia
The area around the town of Bovec has plenty to offer to a whitewater kayaker. Soča is the most famous river in Slovenian Alps and offers various grades of WW. It starts with Soča gorges, which are class II-IV, but then it continues with classes I-III, that are more suitable for beginners. Those calmer sections are followed again by class III-V. We go into more detail in our Top 3 most popular kayaking sections post. Koritnica and Soča gorges are for the experienced whitewater kayakers. But if you already have paddled all these sections, and seek new challenges, Uccia is the best answer for you. Just contact a local guide beforehand, since it is quite dangerous. Had you decided not to go, you can still visit Uccia valley, where you will enjoy a picturesque canyon, while zip lining.
River Idrijca: This river is renowned for its crystal-clear waters and challenging rapids, attracting experienced kayakers seeking an adrenaline-filled adventure. The Idrijca River promises an exciting ride surrounded by unspoiled nature.
Central & South Slovenia
- Lake Bohinj: Nestled in the Triglav National Park, Lake Bohinj is the largest permanent lake in Slovenia and provides a peaceful and picturesque setting for kayaking. Paddle along the tranquil waters, surrounded by the Julian Alps, and enjoy the serenity of this pristine location.
- Lake Bled: One of Slovenia’s most iconic destinations, Lake Bled captivates visitors with its fairytale-like island and castle. While motorized boats are not allowed, kayaking is a popular choice here, allowing you to explore the enchanting lake at your own pace.
- River Krka: Meandering through the picturesque Krka Valley, the Krka River is another gem for kayakers. The gentle flow and scenic surroundings make it an ideal spot for a relaxed yet immersive kayaking experience.
- River Vipava: The Vipava River offers a diverse kayaking experience, ranging from leisurely floats to more thrilling sections with small rapids. Enjoy the mild Mediterranean climate and the beautiful landscapes of the Vipava Valley.
Conclusion on Kayaking in Slovenia
From the emerald waters of the Soča River, offering options for all skill levels, to the tranquil and picturesque Lake Bohinj, nestled amidst the Julian Alps, this guidebook presents a range of experiences suitable for both beginners and experienced paddlers.
With safety and preparation in mind, the guidebook emphasizes the importance of checking local regulations, water levels, and weather conditions before embarking on any kayaking adventure. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned kayaker, “Kayaking in Slovenia: A Quick Guidebook” ensures an unforgettable journey filled with exciting river rides, serene lake paddles, and immersive encounters with Slovenia’s unspoiled nature.