Straddling central and southeast Europe, Slovenia cradles a treasure trove of waterfalls within its borders, thanks to its stunning alpine vistas and captivating karstic geology. Indeed, Slovenia boasts a bounty of cascades, each more enchanting than the last.
From the tumultuous tempest of river-born falls to the dramatic multi-tiered cascades that tumble down alpine cliffs, we’re embarking on an exhilarating expedition. Fasten your seatbelts as we plunge into the tempestuous beauty of Slovenia’s best waterfalls, charting a course through the very best of these breathtaking wonders.
Legend has it that the mighty Boka Waterfall was created from the blood of a witch, killed by a boy escaping her clutches. For those seeking a more earthly explanation, the source of its water is the Kanin mountain chain. Whatever its origins, it’s a truly magnificent cataract. Measuring 60 feet wide and over 470 feet in height, it’s probably the tallest waterfall in Slovenia, at least on a permanent basis. But it’s in its volume of water that Slap Boka really stands out. At its peak, it sees 3,500 cubic feet of water fall every second. That would amount to 143 Olympic swimming pools of water in one hour. This is when it is at its most powerful, typically in the spring and after heavy rainfall. It can reduce to as little as 71 cubic feet per second in dryer times.
There are so many reasons why the Savica Waterfall or “Slap Savica” is an icon among Slovenian waterfalls. Chief among these is that it seems to spring from nothing, lending it an air of mysticism. And yet, this is a trick of the karst landscape of the Julian Alps where it resides. In fact, the source of its waters can be found some 1,600 feet above, in the basin of Black Lake. From there, the water seeps underground, emerging below as the Savica Waterfall. This route is revealed in spectacular fashion after a heavy rainfall. That’s when this subterranean path is overwhelmed, forcing the water above ground for the full descent. The result is a spectacle of immense power and magnitude, with the waterfall’s height increased from 256 feet to a staggering 2,000 feet. This would easily make it the tallest waterfall in Slovenia, albeit temporarily.
As if this wasn’t enough, the subterranean route of Savica Waterfall hides yet another secret. At some unseen point, its stream is divided so that its waters fall not as one, but two streams. These form an A-shape before they reunite in the emerald pool below.
While Slovenia is swimming in alpine cascades fed by mountain streams, only a handful occur along rivers. The tallest of all the river-fed waterfalls of Slovenia comes courtesy of the River Radovna. As it travels north of the town of Bled, it tumbles 43 feet in a charmingly chaotic cascade known as Sum Waterfall or “Slap Sum”.
Freefalling in an arc, the determined stream of Peričnik Waterfall or “Slap Peričnik” descends some 170 feet. This alone would make it one of the tallest waterfalls in Slovenia. And yet, this is only the lower tier of this picturesque cascade. The upper part measures around 50 feet, bringing it to a total drop of around 220 feet. Located within Triglav National Park, it has been designated a natural heritage site to protect it from being harnessed to generate hydrological electricity. A cave lies behind the fall, offering another viewpoint from which to admire it.
There are said to be around a hundred waterfalls in the northern region of Solcavsko, of which the tallest is Rinka Waterfall. Slap Rinka, as it’s called in Slovenian, is glacier fed from the nearby peak of Okrešelj. Its waters traverse the rocky alpine terrain before breaking through a narrow gap in the rocks and rippling down in a single jet some 295 feet high. Located within the protected area of Logarska Dolina Landscape Park, Rinka Waterfall is a natural monument in its own right.
Beneath the Krn mountain range, the limestone has been hollowed out into a cavernous gorge. Enclosed on all but one side, its shroud of darkness is disturbed by one sole shaft of light in the far corner. And yet it is not just sunlight that pours through this high gap in the rocks, but the waters of the Kozjak stream, dropping 50 feet into an emerald pool below. This is Kozjak Waterfall. Known in Slovenian as Veliki Kozjak, what is undoubtedly one of Slovenia’s best waterfalls is protected as a natural monument.
As the Martuljek stream wends its way through the Julian Alps, its crystal clear waters traverse the rocky landscape beneath Spik Mountain in a burbling rush. Dipping into several shallow troughs, it also experiences more significant descents, creating not one but two waterfalls. At the Upper Martuljek Waterfall (Zgornji Martuljkov Slap), the stream has carved a narrow pathway through a 360-foot cliff, through which it performs a thunderous triple jump. Further along its journey, travelling along the 1312-foot long corridor of the Martuljek Gorge, it plunges in a single drop of 165 feet, forming the Lower Martuljek Waterfall (Spodnji Martuljkov Slap).
Hell's Gorge Falls
A treasure trove of Slovenian waterfalls is located in a southern suburb of the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana. The village of Borovnica is the gateway to the improbably named natural haven of Hell’s Gorge or “Soteska Pekel”. At least five waterfalls are found here, the tallest rising to a height of around 65 feet.
Waterfalls of Slovenia
Slovenia’s waterfalls offer an awe-inspiring glimpse into the nation’s alpine beauty and unique karstic landscape. Their sheer abundance and diversity, both in size and geographical context, underscore the extraordinary natural richness of the country. From Boka’s thunderous deluge to the mystic dual streams of Savica, the river-fed spectacle of Sum to the protected glory of Rinka, each cascade encapsulates an aspect of Slovenia’s environmental splendour. So whether nestled in cavernous gorges, tumbling down alpine heights, or cutting a path through enchanting forests, these waterfalls bear testament to Slovenia’s multifaceted charm, underlining its standing as a treasure trove of natural wonders.