Inventive and traditional gastronomy merge—truffles, to be sure, but also bear cheek—at Pri Lojzetu, arguably the birthplace of Slovenian slow food.
Shot this on a train outside -- where was it at this point, Bohinj? Slovenia's not a huge country but somehow we'd been riding forever. And between the woman across from me and the man looking at the camera, the faces showed it.
We booked a self guided walk from farm to farm in Slovenia in September where we experienced wonderful hosts, fabulous fresh foods and wine with the lovely countryside to enjoy during the walks. (7 days, 5 different farms and one castle town apartment stay)
I insisted on visiting Lipica to see the grounds and the horses since I ride English Hunt Seat. We walked from our farm stay in Tomaj to Lipica just to discover where the World Championship Carriage Competitions were being held that day! What a treat in addition to the tours and watching the stallions perform.
While driving around the country it's impossible to miss the lovely hay drying racks peppering the landscape. This is near Begunje, my grandfather's birthplace.
Škofja Loka is home to the oldest preserved bridge in Slovenia, 12,000 people and a wonderful medieval center. Mostly, though, it's got a name you'll turn over and over in your head. SHKOfia LOka. Tempted to re-name my daughter, but that's probably a lot of trouble.
This was our second farm stay and our least favorite due to close proximity to the autobahn = noisy! Rick Steves mentions this in his travel books and videos, so it was full of Steves cult followers.
Rooms and food were terrific but we would not return since there are many more favorable options.
Slovenia's Soca Valley is one of the world's great adventure hubs – the steep terrain of the Julian Alps is carved with narrow gorges for hiking and canyoning, while the ice-blue Soca River has class I-V rapids for rafting, kayaking and canoeing. Or, if you want a (literally) breathtaking view of the valley, you can try paragliding. For any and all of these activities, head to X Point Sport and Tourism in Kobarid. My husband and I went paragliding on a whim – though it was our first time and we were terrified (I mean, nervous), we were in the expert hands of pilots Ivan and Dejan, and it went without a hitch. Circling high above the villages, farms, and forest-covered mountains, with no sound but the wind and the flutter of the chute, is an experience I'll never forget.
Surely a testament to something or other, none of my photos from deep in the Škocjan Caves came out. Nothing could've captured the eeriness of this vast underground world, which Slovenians first started exploring two centuries ago.
The Istrian interior is agrarian and food-focused – the kind of place where the roads are marked "Oil Route" and "Wine Route." So, what better place to stay than at a farm hotel? The Agroturizam San Mauro is run by the Sinkovic family, who have been making wine in Momjan for nearly a century. You'll likely be greeted by Gigi and Jack, the retired truffle pigs who live on the property. Rooms are spacious and comfortable (some have sea views) and there's a large terrace where you can enjoy breakfast or sample some of their wines. We did not have dinner here (though it is reported to be excellent) but breakfasts are generous, and feature the family's homemade jam and honey.
Do no miss out on the pristine mountain town of Bovec if you're in Slovenia, Austria or Northern Italy (it's very accessible from all 3). Situated between several rivers and valleys, Bovec perfectly combines serenity and adventure. I highly recommend Avantura Adventure (Jelena runs the office) for caving, paragliding, canyoning and rafting. They are located in the main town square. All of the guides speak perfect English and provide local history to accompany the breathtaking setting. I also highly recommend driving in through the Vrsic pass (location of this picture). Perfect starting point for an amazing mountain experience.
Upon arriving at our third farm stay we were greeted by the grandmother who brought us a tree of prust, cheese and pickles along with the best mint juice we've ever had to quench our thirst for this long trek.
The Soča River runs along Western Slovenia and following its path made for a beautiful road trip. The river has a deep emerald hue that looks photoshopped in pictures, but is 100% real.
Coming from Ljubljana with the goal of arriving in Bled, we took the south -> north route, which climbs from a moderate elevation and ends in the Julian Alps at the gorgeous Kranjska Gora.
I took this shot halfway through our trip from a footbridge right before they set off south down the river.
This was a MUST do for me during out trip. To visit the annual Kow's Ball festival where the cows come down front the mountain meadows to lower pastures. This is a reason to celebrate with Pust, Prust and Pivo! Also lots of dancing.
Kobarid is also known as Caporetto, because the town—on the border with Italy—was annexed by the Italians for part of World War I.
The brutality of that war has been erased—and scenery like this has survived (you can revisit the war at the museum dedicated to the Battle of Caporetto in the center of town).
I think I had never seen water this color before, though it was shockingly cold. You can hike out of Kobarid and along the Isonzo River, stopping to swim or picnic.
we arrived on a day with a dusting of snow but the ferry man was still willing to row us over to the island in the middle of Lake Bled. Happy to have the fare, he broke a sweat as we huddled together for warmth. Slovenia is an undiscovered gem- Ljubljana is stunningly beautiful and virtually the entire old city has been made into pedestrian only streets. Visit the market, eat in a river side cafe, but be sure to get outside the city as well - the countryside offers much and can easily be done in day trips from LJU. The Slovenians joke that if you play the accordian in their country you invade a neighbor because Slovenia is so small. "Good things come in small packages" has never been more true!
Stall after stall of kitschy folk art? Sure. But December’s monthlong Festive Fair also has homemade pear brandy, piles of fresh sauerkraut, and hours of great stories about the days of socialism. Lights on the Triple Bridge add a warm glow.
Photo by Gandalfar. This appeared in the November/December 2012 issue.