Canyoning tour in Slovenia is a „must do outdoor adventure“ when on a holiday in Europe, my friend e-mails me. Canyoning in Fratarica is recommended for adventurous beginners. I’m not quite sure if it’s not too much for me, because I haven’t been to any yet. Apparently some walking experience is a good start… to travel to Bovec. Therefore my next holiday destination is Slovenia.
Holidays start after landing at Ljubljana Airport, where airport shuttle picks us up for an exciting two day adventure. Driving from Ljubljana to Vršič mountain pass (1611m) is like someone is changing the scenery every few kilometers. On Vršič the hillside just drops to Trenta valley below the saddle. It is a million dollar view, captured on my photos.
After a fun, two hour scenic drive on 52 turns long route we are in a narrow Loška Koritnica valley. Soon after, we’re hiking in Triglav National Park, under a 1000 meters tall Loška wall and Mangart mountains, to get to the starting point of Fratarica canyon. Every now and then we get to peek into the creek, but facing a 50 meters Parabola waterfall from the track exceeds our expectations. Wondering, if we’ll really abseil that insanely high waterfall, we find ourselves squeezing into a wetsuit. Feeling like a fish in a tin and nicely warm. Our guidess (feminine term for a lady guide) is cracking jokes about how to progress through the canyon. She’s very serious about safety instructions.
Completely equipped and informed we are ready to jump into chilly and clear pond. Standing on a rock, Katja’s words are running through my mind: “Jump only, if you really mean it”, while she’s pointing out a spot for landing. Checked my courage, checked my feet, I feel her encouraging look, it’s time to take off. A wobbly take off got me exactly on the spot! My friends give me a big high five and we’re ready for abseiling.
A beautifully shaped, toboggan like slide follows. That’s easy, just sit, hug yourself and go have fun like when we were kids, apart from this catapult like rock that kicks you off. You can imagine one’s face expressions, if it makes everyone below burst in laughter. Suddenly silence. We spotted a cliff, absence of ground and Log pod Mangartom village in the background. We all crave for more information. Katja pulls out the rope, ties some knots on my harness and explains how to undo them. Next thing I know, I am already sliding down the gutter, then spinning on the rope while having a waterfall shower. I am so excited I’ll remember seeing the mountains, forest, green bushes and little water drops catching sun rays only after standing below Parabola waterfall signaling I am OK. But what’s the signal for the best canyoning experience ever?!
Later on Fratarica canyoning we’re climbing through a little hole. We are all first time canyoning, but became confident in jumping and sliding by now. Especially because we know it’s optional. Playing about the last five around 5m tall waterfalls brings great joy to all. I’ll remember the hilarious bum massage slide forever.
I am soaking wet from dangling foot loose on a rope rappel and sliding joyous toboggans, because my personal experience is priceless just as are the lifelong memories of „once in a lifetime“ Fratarica canyoning. I was unsure at first but now I would do it on repeat. Words or pictures really can’t describe the feeling of canyoning in Fratarica or the beauty of its pristine nature.
With its Alpine background and the well-known island, Bled attracts numerous tourists from all over the world. One simply has to see it to believe in a natural beauty like this and it is a must-do for any tourist, who is traveling in the area. If one is an active researcher of natural beauties, he/she can check out the main Bled tourist attractions in a day: Bled Castle, Bled Island and Vintgar Gorge. For more and deeper research, one has to travel a bit further into the valleys of the Julian Alps, visit the Triglav National Park and drive all the way to Bohinj Lake. If you are at least a bit of a researcher, nature lover and you like to do something wild and sportive around Bled, then canyoning is the right thing for you.
Canyoning is a unique form of movement through a deep and usually winding canyon, full of natural pools, rocky slides and steep walls. It is a safe and comfortable activity, which is appropriate for everyone. I remember well my first canyon exploration with my friends, which was about twenty years ago. I could not even imagine back then, that this activity would someday become so popular. It is said now that if you visit Bled and you are young at heart you must go canyoning. I used to be a canyoning guide a few years back and I met quite a few people who came from far away places and said that they heard it is worth jumping into a canyon for some fun time while staying at Lake Bled. We had the best time and many times became really good friends. Some also extended their stay in the Julian Alps area because they wanted to see more canyons. The situation is similar today, only the guides at Life Adventures have changed, with the young generation taking over.
Today, when summers are getting hotter and hotter, when everything is in abundance, canyoning in Jereka or Grmečica is the right thing to do. This activity accelerates blood flow due to adrenalin, inspires the knack for exploration and the cool Alpine water refreshes ones body and soul. Canyoning in Grmečica is a true summer adventure for it is a natural toboggan, full of deep and mysterious pools, where one is simply in awe with the wonders of the world. The stream has shaped the deep gorge for many years into a natural toboggan. Grmečica surprises at the end with a high jump into the final pool. One can choose a platform – depending on ones courage and love of heights.
Jereka Canyon is a much calmer canyon, but still worth exploring. It is less demanding, but still full of slides and jumps, appropriate for beginners or less experienced, for families and for all who wish to partake in an adventure that requires a middle dose of adrenalin. The most spectacular part of the canyon is the narrow part in the last section of the gorge. There the world is literally turned upside down and some sportive maneuvers are required in order to go through the long toboggan, which takes you down to the last pool.
Bled with its surroundings has many beautiful things to offer, but the best thing to get away from hot summer temperatures and weariness is canyoning, which offers a completely new life experience.
Written by Matej Mejovšek
Despite the fact, that I loved to hike in the mountains and explore the valleys, I began canyoning, wandering along the water streams, relatively late. I just had to first climb so many walls and learn well the principles of alpine climbing. Descending down a canyon also demands good knowledge of swimming, as well as all needed neoprene gear and waterproof containers. Yes, it was the year 1994, when the researches of river canyons in Slovenia were reserved for the few. It stood back then that you must be a bit out of your mind, when you went in full alpine gear and diving equipment into the mysterious canyon of a stream that flew into a larger river.
Today, the story is completely different. Canyoning is a recreational activity, which is carried out in technically equipped canyons and streams, which are safe and where one can predict the following events. Equipment is comfortable, light and appropriate for cooler waters. It was not like this in the past. It is typical for canyons in Slovenia, that they are located on the north-western part of Slovenia, especially in the hilly area, where rivers created magical river trails. Prevailing limestone rocks and water create beautiful colours. This is mostly so in the canyons located on the very west of Slovenia: Fratarica, Predilnica, Mostnica, Kozjak, Susec and numerous other streams that flow into rivers Koritnica and Soca. Slovenia is a paradise for safe and relatively easy exploration of canyons. Canyoning is in Slovenia one of the most popular activities in the summer time, also due to the fact that canyons are extremely beautiful, diverse, full of waterfalls and deep pools. If you are at least a bit of a researcher, nature lover and you like to do something wild and sportive, then canyoning in Slovenia is the right thing for you.
Depending on the time of the year, it is all up to the water flow, which influences how much pleasure there is in canyoning. This mostly depends on the amount of snow in the Julian Alps and late summer rainfall. It is not good to have too much rainfall as well as a dry summer. Canyoning is great, if there is a sufficient amount of water. There is no better feeling than when you descend on a ten meters long natural slide and plunge into a deep pool of emerald coloured water. If you are in luck and happen to find yourself in Slovenia, a magical land on the very beginning of the European Alps, then there is no other way but to put canyoning on your to-do list. Many things can change, but especially you are filled with a good feeling, that you have done something big and worthwhile. It is worth to visit Slovenia at least once in your lifetime and descend through one of its marvellous canyons.
Canyoning is the ultimate adrenalin adventure. Leaping off waterfalls, sliding down rocks and experiencing forest and river areas that few ever get to see. The fine art of canyoning uses every part of your body and requires all kinds of skills – scrambling, climbing, jumping, sliding, abseiling, swimming and shouting “yeehaa” as often as you dare. It’s a wet business, but you’re equipped with a tough wetsuit that provides warmth and a certain amount of padding (rocks can be sharp). Under the watchful eye of your guide, you’ll make the journey down natural rock canyons, water-polished chutes, waterfalls, pools and streams.
Canyoning is today one of the most popular outdoor sports in Slovenia that you can do. Because of the height differences, it creates waterfalls and pools of water. The steeper the canyon, the higher the falls. Most canyons in Slovenia are slightly more narrow and have more height. If there is water in it then it can go down a lot harder and it can be more fun. Every single canyon is unique and every trip is different, because the only certain thing in nature is its constant change. Slovenia is the perfect place for real canyoning time.
Regarding the fact that canyoning is on the must-do list of everybody who searches for new challenges, it makes me think. »What makes canyoning so unique and special?« Are there more things connected with adrenaline like high jumps, slides and big vertical walls, cascades or there is more the nature factor, peace, amazing pure water and exploring beautiful mountain streams. I came to a conclusion that canyoning is not only both, but is and can also be adjustable or so called custom made. We can say that people can find in the same canyon totally different goals and experiences.
Canyoning in Slovenia has big diversity of elements. Some are vertical, some aquatic, some offer views on Triglav National Park and high mountains, some have big jumps and some are small and easy. That is why there here are canyons for small children and canyons for big adventures.
We can say to all canyoneers, tourists and explorers of the water world, that canyoning gives us the feeling of freedom and exploration, the wild part of us that started to fade with today’s modern way of living. So is there more adventure or action in canyoning? There is no correct answer, we can only say that you have to try it and see for yourself.