How to Stay Safe on an Adventure in the Soca Valley

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Heading to the Soca Valley in Slovenia? Ticks, bears, snakes, icy cold water – here's everything you need to know to stay safe in Slovenia's wilderness.


A man by the River Soča in Valley of Trenta in Julian Alps, Slovenia Photo © Getty Images/AlenaPaulus
The Soca Valley is an area of outstanding beauty with water adventures, kayaking and rafting on the River Soča, plus canyons, natural pools.You can also go paragliding,  parachuting, or ride the longest zipline in this part of Europe.

Safety in the Soca Valley

If you're the adventurous type traveling in Slovenia, you'll most probably head to the Soca Valley for some extreme sports.

The Soca River looks nice, doesn't it? Emerald water, fresh from the mountains. Might be tempting to jump in.

Here's why you shouldn't.

It's close to freezing. Even if it's a searing hot day, the water is freshly-melted Alpine snow. The kind that numbs your toes in a few seconds. You'll feel the thermal shock of a lifetime. Hey, that might be the thrill you were seeking. But be warned.

That's an important note for anyone planning to do canyoning or rafting – make sure you're physically fit and prepared for the icy sting of the river.

Here's everything else you need to know to have a safe adventure in Slovenia.

Ticks in Slovenia

Ticks are another problem in forested and long grass areas. In the summer, these can transmit encephalitis, Lyme disease and meningitis. They can also be a problem in winter, so don't assume the cold weather keeps these bitey little beasts at bay. They can survive freezing temperatures.

Use tick repellents and wear long sleeves when hiking in wilderness areas. Do a thorough check at the end of each day to make sure no bugs have latched on. Common spots to look include behind your ears, under your armpits, and near the groin.

In most diagnosed Lyme Disease cases, the tick has been fully embedded in the skin for two to three days, leaving a bulls-eye style mark. Always do a thorough check of yourself (and your travel partner) if you have been out into wilderness areas for ticks. Shake out your clothing, check your boots and backpack as ticks can sometimes sneak their way into these items. 

Snakes in Slovenia

There are two species of venomous snakes in Slovenia, the horned viper and the asp viper.

It's very unlikely you'll be bitten. But if you are, note well the appearance of the snake and seek help immediately.

Bites are hardly lethal, and you probably won't even need antiserum. But it's better to play it safe regardless.

Always be bear aware in Slovenia

There are also bears in Slovenia, but attacks are exceedingly rare. If a bear knows you're coming it will usually scamper away. Try to make plenty of noise when hiking.

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