Discover one of the most beautiful roads in Slovenia: the VRSIC Pass drive and its gateway, the magnificent Lake Jasna. With mountainous landscapes of the Julian Alps and emerald water, you will not mind the 50 sharp bends since the scenery is breathtaking all the way.
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Lake Jasna and VRSIC Pass drive in Video
Let's start with a short video showing you the fabulous landscapes of Lake Jasna and sections of the drive through the VRSIC mountain pass. I did not film the road much while driving up, but you can see some of the turns as I go down towards the Soca Valley.
Lake Jasna (Jezero Jasna)
First stop on our Road trip through the Julian Alps: The Jasna Lake.
I had seen photos and was looking forward to seeing it, but I must admit it was even better than I had imagined! Lok at that panoramic photos:
The color of the water is unbelievable, I promise you it looks like that.
Plus you have green tree covered mountains all around, and the highest bare peaks of the Julian Alps in the background.
The lake is garded by a Bronze statue of an Ibex called Zlatorog (GoldHorn), a legendary animals in many Slovenia stories about Mount Triglav, the highest point in Slovenia (you can read the legend here)
Lake Jasna is actually made of 2 artificial lakes just 2km away from Kranjska Gora. They are formed with the water of 2 branches of the Pisnica stream.
Jasna Lake is at 2723ft of elevation (830m).
They have set up a beach and a café /bar to relax by the water. You can go for a swim in one of the lakes (there is even a 3 level diving platform int he middle). Or you could fly fish in the other lake.
It is so beautiful, I now wish I had spend the night here to see it with the changing light and weather. If you want feel tempted too, check out this accommodations close to the lake.
The VRSIC Pass drive
Before I share pictures of the main stops along the VRSIC drive, let me tell you about the quality of the road. Is the VRSIC road a difficult drive? Is it dangerous?
My answer is no.
Yes the 24km long road turns a lot (There are 49 bends... plus one much further away they probably added because they wanted a round number lol). But the road is large enough to cross path with the vehickes in the other direction and if you take your time, the bends are not that bad.
But if you don't like driving, there is always the possibility to go on a small group tour from Ljubljana and just sit back and relax! (check out program and price)
See in the photos above and below, the turns are numbered coming from Lake Jasna and driving towards the Soca Valley.
At each turn the road is switching from smooth tar to cobbles to that you don't fall asleep and turn.
The side of the road is often blocked by either wood ramps, metal ramps or like below rock square blocks.
Just be careful with the animals on the road and don't hesitate to stop to eat something on your way!
And here we go with turn 49. It was not that bad, even for me who is very stressed on mountain roads!
The road is generally in good condition. If you see cars stopped. Wait in the queue. It means that they are doing some roadwork and traffic is alternating. Be patient, they have a tendency to set up very long traffic lights.
Russian Chapel on Ruska Cesta
Vrsic pass history - The VRSIC Road, which connects Krankja Gora to Bovec is also known as Ruska Cesta (the Russian Road) as it was built by Russian war prisoners during the 1st world war.
First stop on the Vršič pass drive: the Russian Chapel.
During the 1st WW Kranjska Gora was an important crossroad for the military.Italy and Austria were at war and the Soca rive front line was very strategic.in 1915 and 1916, the Austrian used over 10,000 Russian prisoners to build this road. In March 1916, an avalanche killed more than 100 of them.
In 1917, the surviving prisoners built this Russian chapel in memory of their fellow soldiers.
Near Bend 8, a parking is clearly indicated on the side of the road after the access point. Climb the few stairs to discover the wooden structure.
There are many stops to enjoy along the drive. Small parkings are set up at various points when the road stops turning 🙂
Then you arrive at a viewpoint with many explanation about the region.
It is facing a large block of mountain rock Prisank which reaches 2547m. It is a colossal mountain front oriented towards the North East.
The sign provide information on the region. They help you find features in the mountain. For example, in the photo above, can you see to the top right, there is a small hole. It is called front window (Prednje okno) and is 80m heigh and 40m wide. It is the largest natural window in the Julian Alps.
And in the photo below, can you find the "Pagan girl" (ajdovska deklica). Rocks have fallen and people are seeing a face. Can you see it below the snow?
Here it is:
VRSIC Mountain Pass stops
One of my favorite stop was just a bit further away. There is a large parking and a path going up to a small cafe.
I took the pass at the back of the parking to get closer to the bare mountains.
I really enjoyed this stop because of the different shades of green and the perspective with the mountains. Plus we were almost alone to enjoy it compared to the top at the VRSIC pass itself.
We did not have to walk for long to get that amazing view. What do you think? Feels almost like we touch them!
And this is the view on the way back to the parking.
And after 24 turns and some fantastic view, we finally reach the mountain pass of VRSIC itself.
Elevated at 1611m, it is the highest mountain pass in Slovenia (small league compared to some of the 3000m passes I enjoyed in Kyrgyzstan...)
There is a large parking at the pass.
And you can walk past the souvenir hut /café to enjoy the view
As you can see we were not alone at the view (this is not me on the picture), but it was not overcrowded LOL
There is also a restaurant a big higher from the parking with a great view.
I must admit that I preferred the views on the way up and the next view on the way down rather that this one at the top... But it is an easy break in the middle of the road for the driver!
Supca Viewpoint - Down the Russian Road to Vršič pass
ONn the way down towards the magnificent Soca river and the town of Bovec, there is one more stop: the Supca viewpoint. A platform has been set up to enjoy the magnificent view.
This stop also has some historical artefacts and set up from the First World war especially a supply telpher line. The concrete blocks are remains of the telpher. It played a very important role in the delivery of military supplies.
But if llike me, you are not an history buff, move forward and enjoy the spectacular view over the deeply cut glacial valley.
Turn around and see the restaurant ? This is where the Vršič pass is.
Drive down from VRSIC Pass
And then you can finish driving down in enchanting scenery. Too bad for the driver who has to focus on the road and can't enjoy those views!
And here comes turn 48...
And the Road trip continues to the Soca Valley
Of course the Julian Alps drive does not stop there. Now you enter the world of the Soca Valley and its emerald river. So many places to stop to enjoy the narrow valley on the way to Bovec. Here is a tease of what there is to come!
PLANNING TIPS - Jasna Lake & VRSIC Pass
Want to see more of SLOVENIA?
Discover more things to do & places to see in my Travel Slovenia Destination Guide.
(to be published)
Magnificent, isn't it?
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