Slovenia is crossed by 59 major rivers that meander for 2,500 km. The best known is Soca, and the most beautiful is the Kolpa River - but Soca worshipers could argue with that. Our current article presents the most beautiful and popular rivers in the country, as, during a holiday in Slovenia, you may choose where to go on holiday.
Slovenia has an exceptional number of streams and rivers, as the total length of all rivers is 27,000 km.
This means that wherever you go, streams will cross your path. The hotbeds of summer tourism are the Soca, Sava, and Kolpa rivers, where you can go rafting, hiking, kayaking, or try out SUP.
The crystal clear water as a magnet attracts anyone looking for a refreshing adventure. Slovenian rivers are particularly famous for their rich fish stocks. Fishing is permitted on all of the rivers listed here.
|Rivers of Slovenia||Area||Length||Main attractions||Top programs||Popular cities|
|Soca||Triglav National Park||138 km||Velika Korita, Soca trail||Water sports, hiking, bathing, fishing||Bovec, Tolmin, Kobarid, Nova Gorica, Gorizia, Kanal ob Soci|
|Sava||Triglav National Park||940 km||Lake Bohinj, Zelenci Reserve||Water sports, hiking, fishing||Ukanc, Kranj, Radovljica|
|Savinja||Eastern Slovenia||102 km||Logar valley, Solcava panorama trail, Celje castle||Water sports, hiking, fishing||Celje, Lasko|
|Kolpa||Southern-Slovenia||297 km||Bela Krajina, Kolpa source||Water sports, hiking, bathing, biking||Kocevje, Metlika, Črnomelj|
|Krka||Southern-Slovenia||94,6 km||Ototec castle, Žužemberk castle, Krka valley, Kostanjevica na Krki||Sightseeing, hiking, bathing, fishing||Žužemberk, Novo Mesto, Dolenjske Tolpice|
|Radovna||Gorenjska||10 km||Vintgar gorge, Radovna valley, Pocer Farm, Krma valley||Hikng, fishing||Bled, Zgornja Radovna|
|Ljubljanica||Ljubljana||41 km||Ljubljana, Ljubljana moor land||Sightseeing, water sports, hiking, bathing||Ljubljana|
|Reka||Karst region||51 km + 38 km||Skocjan cave, Susec waterfall||Caving, hiking||Ilirska Bistrica, Divaca|
|Lepena||Triglav National Park||10 km||Lepena valley, Trenta valley||Hiking, Mountaineering, fishing||Lepena|
|Idrijca||Triglav National Park||60 km||Divje jezero (Wild Lake), Podselo dam, Jezernica river||Hikng, fishing,||Idrija, Cerkno, Most na Soci|
|Drava||Eastern-Slovenia, Drava region||117 km||Roga canopy, Pohorje wine region, Lovrenska lakes||Water sports, hiking, biking, wine touring||Maribor, Ptuj, Ruse|
|Mura||Eastern-Slovenia||95 km||Mura-river bio reserve||Hiking, safari||Murska Sobota|
Where do the rivers of Slovenia flow?
Slovenia's rivers can be divided into two groups - those that flow into the Mediterranean Sea and those that flow into the Black Sea.
- The most well-known rivers flowing into the Mediterranean and the Adriatic are Soca, Nadiza, Vipava, Idrijca, Cerknica, Tolminka, Gadica, Reka, Rizana, and Dragonja.
- Rivers flowing into the Black Sea: Sava, Kolpa, Krupa, Krka, Savinja, Ljubljanica, Sora, Kamnik Bistrica, Drava, and Mura.
Approached from a different perspective, it can be divided into more touristy and less essential waters.
#1 Soca River
The emerald-green, 138 km long alpine river and Lake Bled have now become a symbol of Slovenia. They are approx. 2 hours drive from each other, so many visit both on one trip. The surrounding forests, alpine valleys, and mountains are rich and popular.
The good thing about Soca is that its flow is so strong and plentiful that it never freezes in winter. Therefore, the wildlife here is also rich, as it can constantly bite on fish and other nutrients in the river. The river is Slovenia's number one destination in summer. The huge river in the Triglav National Park, in the western part of the country, attracts lovers of more active recreation. Its source is in the Trenta Valley.
What are the cities of the river Soca?
Along the Soca, you will find the following cities: Bovec, Kobarid, Tolmin (the three most popular settlements in the so-called Soca Valley), Kanal ob Soci, Nova Gorica, and Gorizia (where the river enters the Adriatic Sea).
Is it possible to swim in the river Soca?
Yes. Look for designated spots (such as Velika Korita Soce) or just ask the locals where bathing is safe. Although rafting groups pass through the river every 10 minutes in summer, many sections are less wild.
What can you do on the river Soca?
In addition to swimming, you can go rafting, kayaking, hydrospeeding, SUP, and even fishing. A fishing permit is required, so it’s best to go with a local tour guide with a season-long permit. The most popular is the so-called "flyfishing", which can also be used to catch the famous Soca trout.
Most active programs can be found in Bovec, where the Velika Korita Soce (the Grand Canyon), is located.
#2 Sava river
The 940 km long Sava is the longest river in Slovenia and a right tributary of the Danube. The river is the northern border of the Balkan Peninsula. In Slovenia, it starts from the Triglav National Park and then travels almost in half, moving the country further towards Croatia. The Sava is formed from the separation of two separate rivers.
- Sava Dolinka: The Sava Dolinka originates in the Julian Alps (close to the Italian border). One of the most beautiful places in Slovenia, the Zelenci Reserve, is famous for its special ecosystem.
- Sava Bohinjka: Sava Bohinjka originates from the popular resort of Lake Bohinj.
The Sava is home to brown and rainbow trout. Fishing lovers from other countries also visit the river rich in fish. Its pebble beds, deep pools, and sharp passages are perfect if you want a wilder fishing experience.
What are the tributaries of the Sava in Slovenia?
- Ljubljanica (river of Ljubljana)
#3 Savinja river
The 102-kilometre Savinja is a river in northeastern Slovenia that makes much of its journey in the Upper and Lower Savinja Valley (Slovenian: Zgornja in Spodnja Savinjska Dolina). It affects cities such as Celje or Laško. Savinja is the main watercourse in the Savinja Alps (Savinjske Alpe in Slovenian). Zidani now flows into the river Sava.
The river flows directly above the Rinka waterfall, not far from Slovenia's most famous panoramic road, the Solcava panoramic road, and the Logar Valley. Rinka is one of the country's most beautiful and well-known waterfalls, attracting many tourists all year round. It is also popular with ice climbers in winter.
The main tributaries of the Savinja are the Jušef and Klobaša, which flow into the Solčava, the Lučnica Luče, the Ljubnica Ljubno, the Dreta Nazarje, the Paka Šmartno ob Pak, the Ložnica, Voglajna and Hudinja, all of which reach the Celje.
#4 Kolpa River (Kupa)
The 297 km long Kolpa River runs along the Croatian border south of Slovenia. It is typical for families to travel around the river to spend their one or two-week vacation here - as its water is not as wild as Soca. The river is one of the right tributaries of the Sava.
The influence of the Mediterranean climate contributes to the uniqueness of the river. Thanks to the warm current, not only the flora here are interesting, but also the diversity of the animals that live here. The river meanders 118 km along the Slovenian border, and the rest only belongs to Croatia.
What can Kolpa do?
Unlike River Soca, the Kolpa gives a much calmer feeling. You can go rafting, swimming, hiking and cycling in the area - and fishing, as the river, is rich in fish.
Is it possible to swim in the Kolpa river?
Yes, you can in many places. These are worth inquiring about at your accommodation. Kolpa, considered by many to be the most beautiful river in Slovenia, is one of the warmest streams, so it is perfect for swimming. In summer, the water temperature can reach 30 degrees Celsius.
The cities of the river Kolpa
The largest settlements on the Slovenian side are Kocevje, Metlika, Osilnica, Kostel, Semič, and Črnomelj.
#5 River Krka
The 94.6 km long Krka is a right tributary of the Sava. In the Krka Valley, the stream flows from Gradiček south of Ljubljana (25 km). From here, it continues to Croatia and then flows as River Kupa. In the Krka National Park, or similar to the Plitvice Lakes, you have to expect a stepped flow in some parts of the river. The biggest fall is at the Krka Cave (Krška jama).
- Address of Krka Cave: Gradiček 8, 1301 Krka, Slovenia
The river has been inhabited since ancient times, with many settlements, roads, and bridges across the Krka.
Castles of the Krka Valley
In the valley, you can also see the ruins of many former castles, as 65 castles and mansions were once built and operated here. That is why the valley used to be called the Valley of Castles. Unfortunately, only one of them has survived.
- One of the most beautiful sights is Zuzemberk Castle.
- The Otocec Castle Hotel is also located here.
Is it possible to swim in the river Krka?
There are many places to swim in the river on both the Croatian and Slovenian sides. Water sports have a long history on the Croatian side, as the river's water is getting warmer as it moves towards the national park.
Cities of the river Krka
Major cities are Žužemberk, Dolenjske Toplice, and Novo Mesto.
#6 Radovna river
Radovna is one of the most visited rivers in Slovenia, even if not all tourists know it. This is because Radovna is located in the famous Vintgar Gorge. The river is 10 km long and originates in the Triglav National Park.
The river also passes through the alpine Radovna valley, which is not far from the Krma and Kot valleys and the Pokljuka plateau. The oldest farmhouse in Slovenia, Pocar Farm, is also in the valley. Worth visiting if you are in the area. From here, the Slovenian stream continues through the Vintgar gorge and flows into the Sava Dolinka near Moste.
Most popular cities
Zgornja Radovna is not far from the Radovna valley and Bled near the Vintgar gorge.
#7 River Ljubljanica
It originates near the 41 km long town of Ljubljanica Vrhnika and flows into the Sava 10 km north of Ljubljana, the river's most important city. There have been some archaeological works near the river in recent years. It contains many relics, such as the remains of wooden ships, harbour structures, river control systems, former buildings, and checkpoints that once stood along the river.
Near Vrhnika, you will find, among others, the castle of Bistra and the karst region, which is home to many smaller caves. There are also the Močilnik and Retovje springs, which connect to Ljubljanica here.
The river then heads north and reaches the Ljubljana wetlands. The countryside, known for its special pile houses, is a real European curiosity. Ljubljanica then passes through Ljubljana and reaches the Sava.
Is it possible to swim in the river Ljubljanica?
We don’t know a part that would be used specifically for bathing. In Ljubljana, you can raft, cruise on the river, and even SUP.
#8 Reka River
'Reka' literally means river, so the meaning of the river is quite eloquent. Reka is the most exciting river in Slovenia, as it makes almost half of its total length underground. Thus, it can be argued that the river is 51 km or 89 km long - as it makes nearly 38 km underground invisible. The river originates in Croatia, not far from the Slovenian border, and then enters the western part of the country.
It is best known for its work on the Skocjan cave system. The most significant river in the Slovenian karst region, disappears here underground and then makes another 38 km hidden from our eyes. The river Reka then takes the name Timavo and flows into Italy. It is believed that it can feed many other streams between Trieste and Monfalcone.
Most famous cities
The number one town on the river is Divača, where you will find the famous cave system.
#9 River Lepena
Lepenca ali Lepenjica
The 10 km long Lepena is one of the fabulous and perhaps most famous tributaries of the Soca. Like Soca, it dazzles visitors with its fabulous turquoise colour - and of course, its rich stock of fish (such as marble trout) that enthusiastic anglers tend to try out in the context of so-called "flyfishing".
In addition to the fact that the river is truly an idyllic sight, many people come here to go hiking. Walking along the river banks offers views of the Julian Alps and hiking within the Triglav National Park.
The cities of the river Lepena
The river passes through a single town, the sparsely populated Lepena with the same name. The town is located in Bovec County, in the Lepenjica Valley. At the end of the valley is the Klement Jug Tourist House - which is also the starting point for many hikes in the area.
Is it possible to swim in the river Lepena?
Yes, you can. Ask locals if there are any prohibited sections. The river has wider, larger sections - where it separates from the Soca and narrow basin sections. Bathing is worth trying on the wider sections.
#10 River Idrijca
The 60 km long Idrijca is a tributary of the Soca. It starts a little south of the Triglav National Park and then reaches the town of Idrija, where the tributary of the Cerknica (River Cerkno) joins. The most picturesque town in Most na Soci.
One of the curiosities of Idrijca is that it is one of its tributaries - the Jezernica, The shortest river in Slovenia. The short stream is only 55 meters away and comes from one of the most beautiful sights in the area, Wild Lake (Divje jezero). It is also about 45 to 60 minutes from one of the most beautiful wine regions in the country, the Vipava Valley.
Is it possible to swim in the river?
Bathing is free in suitable sections, but mass bathing is not typical. Ask locals about the places suitable for swimming.
Most popular cities
Named after the river, the town of Idrijca is one of the nearest towns at the beginning of the river. The largest nearby town is Cerkno (and also a ski resort). He now reaches Soca at Soci.
#11 Drava river
One of the tributaries of the Danube is 724 km long, of which 117 km passes through Slovenia. The river originates in Tyrol and also passes through Klagenfurt and Villach. One of the statistical regions of Slovenia also developed around the Drava. Here you will find Mount Pohorje and the Rogla peak, and Maribor.
The river plays a significant role in the energy production that supplies agriculture in the area. The exciting thing about the area is that the region accounts for only 3.2% of the country's total tourism, in addition to which almost 70% are tourists from foreign countries.
In the countryside, you can try rafting, visit Ptuj Castle and try the local wines. Let’s include two natural attractions in the trip. One is the Rogla canopy promenade, while the other is the lavish swampland - Lake Lovrenska.
Perhaps the most famous city on the river is the fabulous ski resort of Maribor. Other significant settlements are Ruse and Ptuj. Not far from Ptuj, the river also exits Slovenia and continues on the Croatian side.
#12 River Mura
The Mura River, located in the eastern part of the country, is a tributary of the Drava, to the east of it, very close to the Hungarian border. The part between the river and the Hungarian border was called Mura land; it once belonged to Hungary.
The Slovenian river is 95 km long and 464 km long. Interestingly, it originates from the Hohe Tauern National Park in Austria, at an altitude of 1,898 meters.
Mura River Bioreserve
The important bio reserve created by the Mura region has also been inscribed on the UNESCO list. The total area of the coast is 28,652 hectares, and the core is 7,847 hectares. The park provided the plants and animals living here to preserve for posterity. Its primary function is to maintain a delicate ecological balance. The park covers the largest floodplain in Slovenia.
The largest nearby town is Murska Sobota, but the town is not on the river. Closer to the river are the smaller towns of Doklezvje, Radenci, Petanjci, and Bakovci.