Bovec is located in a picturesque basin in the upper Soča River, below the eastern slopes of the famous Mt. Kanin in the Julian Alps, right next to the border with Italy, adjacent to the scenic Trenta Valley of Triglav National Park. Today, Bovec is a renowned sports hub popular for kayaking, rafting, hiking and cycling trails, mountain biking and rock climbing. Bovec’s history, however, is extremely long and colourful. The settlement’s origins are traced back to Roman days. During WWI, the area was the scene of bloody battles Isonzo Front, fought between Austro-Hungarian forces and the Italian Army, and in WWII, Bovec was occupied by the Nazis before becoming a joint US-British military zone. Bovec is a lovely tourist destination that promises a heap of activities as well as cultural and gastronomical delights. Idrija is a lovely town situated in western Slovenia that comes highly recommended. But what’s more, it’s also the location of a UNESCO protected ancient mercury mine. Back in 1490, a tub maker soaking his tub in a creek discovered droplets of strange shiny material, which turned out to be mercury. Idrija soon became the oldest Slovenian mining town, which used to supply Europe with this valuable liquid metal. Today, this hidden gem is a museum where visitors can descend into the subterranean world along the trail of Idrija’s miners and marvel at the town’s precious mining tradition. Legend has it, a mine elf called Perkmandlc (if you can pronounce it) still lives deep in the underground. Idrija’s mercury mine museum is exceptionally educational and fun and should definitely be visited when in the area. Besides the mercury heritage, Idrija is famous for its exceptional lace making, which has also been listed under UNESCO’s protection.
It’s also a superb basecamp for exploring the wider area.
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