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Road tripping over the Vrsic PassThe Vrsic Pass, with an elevation of 1,611 meters, is a high mountain pass across the Julian Alps in northwestern Slovenia. It is the highest pass in Slovenia, as well as the highest in the Eastern Julian Alps and yes, we went right up and over the top of it! Poor Miles McFlattery, he took a serious beating on this one!

Kranjska Gora is the most famous of all the Slovenian Ski areas and this is where the Vrsic pass started. The end was the small town of Bovac. In between is listed as one of the World’s Most Dangerous Roads! What was I thinking?

Our Drive over the Vrsic Pass

From Kranjska Gora, the road starting gently winding uphill. We passed by the beautiful Jasna Lake and shortly hit our first serpentine (a hairpin bend). There are 50 serpentines, 24 on the side of Kranjska Gora 26 on the Trenta side.

We set out all smiles, but very shortly Miles started to struggle. The Vrsic Pass was way steeper than I imagined and the hairpin bends on an almost single track were at about a 40-degree angle! There was nowhere to turn – or stop – and then the rain started bucketing down. The sheer drop on our right was bad enough, but when oncoming cars had to pass, I could barely breathe with fear. We inched our way up in first and second gear. Third gear wasn’t even an option!

Things to See on the Vrsic Pass

Each hairpin bend is numbered and shows its elevation, so you know where you are.  I had a few places of interest noted down to stop, but I couldn’t find places big enough to pull over and park Miles our campervan.  The rain was coming down and Miles really struggling, I was kinda freaked out with my eyes absolutely glued to the road, so perhaps I missed opportunities to stop?

So, in the end, I didn’t get to see the Russian Chapel (Bend #8), the hole in the mountain, known as Front Window (Bend #16), the Pagan Girl (Bend #16) and the stone Cairns left by fellow travelers. Come to think of it, the stone cairns were probably not visible under the 5 m of snow!

Road tripping over the Vrsic Pass

Having Fun on the Vrsic Pass

At the top, there was a big, flat, parking lot and snow. Oh, so much snow! And Tai was like a kid in a candy store. He grabbed a bowl and a knife and set about cutting chunks of snow into his bowl. He then spent the rest of the trip gleefully crunching on the snow.

The views up here were absolutely breathtaking! The majestic Julian Alps rising all around us, with Mount Triglav dominating the horizon. For a few minutes, I just drank in the beauty and forgot all about the stress and fear required to get us to this point.

Descending the Vrsic Pass

Then came the downhill and it was a hundred times worse than the uphill! Once again only first and second gear, rain, oncoming cars on this narrow road and the brakes weren’t doing too well, in fact, they were doing less and less braking and I was beyond stressed.

Finally, we managed to find a teeny place to pull over. The smell of brakes and clutch was horrid, but the worst is we still had 5km’s to go down and I had no idea if the brakes were going to work?

After a good 30minute break, we got going again. The brakes were hundreds and little Miles did, in fact, get us safely to the bottom of the pass at Trent. From here the road leveled out considerably and we were treated to the most spectacular sight of the turquoise water of the Soca River. It is quite inconceivable that water could be this colour – just magical!

Soca River in Slovenia

From Trent, we followed the meandering of the Soca River until we reached Bovec – the adventure center of Slovenia and the place where we were going to do some white water rafting!

After the Vrsic Pass, we are ready to conquer any mountain passes that should come our way!

Update

When I drove the Vrsic Pass, I had had the campervan for about 10 days and we had always been on big motorways which were easy. The Vrsic Pass was the first time I had driven on a narrow road, where passing cars required coming to a dead stop and then inching forward – or backward! After a few months on the road, I have definitely learned about Miles’s capabilities and have his width in my mind’s eye. I’m not sure that I would be quite as terrified driving the Vrsic Pass now as I was then. It’s is not the hairpin bends that were so scary. but the gradient of the road and the fear that Miles just was not going to make it up, even in first gear.

To those of you wanting to do it in a campervan, make sure you know your camper’s limitations and your own abilities and try not do it in the pouring rain!

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Road Tripping over the Vrsic Pass in Slovenia

A Death Defying Road Trip over the Vrsic Pass in Slovenia

Jeanne and her son Tai have been full time travellers since 2017. They are lovers of all things travel with an insatiable desire to explore every last corner of the globe. Homeschooling and working as they move from one incredible location to the next. Their goal is to use their travel guides and stories to inspire others to explore the world.

2 Comments

  1. My late husband and l did the same trip in our ‘lengthy’ motor home a few years ago and as l read your account, l am reliving the ‘holding your breath’ feeling which we had with every hairpin bend and the wondering of how much more we’d got in first gear as we climbed higher and higher. Also because of steepness on the bends, we sometimes ‘bottomed’ so we’d got the sound of the back end of our vehicle catching the road surface and like you, the smell of burning and worrying about the clutch on the downward side. Very definitely an amazing experience, not one l personally would want to do again – l don’t think my nerves would cope but the colour of the Soca River was reward enough even though on arrival, our campsite was full and we were put in a grotty rough field once up another hill but by that time all we wanted to do was to relax and catch our breath.
    Lovely memories, thank you. Regards Pam

    • Jeanne Reply

      Your recount has just brought it all flooding back for me as well! And I whole heartedly agree with the once was enough – well in a motorhome that is! I’d love to do it in a small zippy car so I could enjoy the beautiful views and stop to visit the church and other sights along the way. At least we all made it up and over without a problem!

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