Absolutely, this country is so much more than just a tiny coastal area with the capital. Nature here is outstanding, and the travelling from one part to the other is easy due to a small size of the country. The big downvote is a bad tourist infrastructure and tourist offers, so I recommend you to plan ahead. It’s hard to find some good boutique hotels. However, a few big Hotel chains are more common. Those big companies mostly stay in 1980 and even a feeling there can relate to that era. But don’t worry, there are some nice family run hotels and most of them offer some delicious local food. Boutique hotels are in an uprising everywhere, which is a great news.
Talking about food, Slovenia is a foodie destination for sure. If you want to eat top class, you don’t need to tear apart your wallet. Prices are reasonable, and the offer is diverse. The kitchen went through some rough times. Today, however, it’s stable and the future is bright. I say hard times, because the Slovenian nation used to submerge to other nations, ideas or their impacts. Only a decade ago, there was plenty of French kitchens with the fusion of Italian cuisine and some avantgarde guidelines. Lately, however, a few of individuals took things in their hands and brought back good traditional Slovenian cuisine with a modern touch. Surely, we didn’t visit them all, and we still have some unseen places in this beautiful country that we want to stop at.
As you know, our blog is not a traveling guide page. You have the Trip Advisor or the Lonely Planet instead. Still, we would like to present our view on some countries or cities and maybe give you some slightly different information and some interesting tips. Slovenia is a small country, which offers a lot. In a day you can ski in the Alps and take a dive in the Adriatic Sea. Meanwhile, you can eat a Michelin star compare food or play 18 holes in one of the 13 golf courses, which were titled as the New Undiscovered Golf Destination of the Year 2015
. Every reign has its own character and offers quite a different experience than another. For example, in the north of Slovenia, you will see some impact from its neighboring northern nations and this takes place only 100 miles away from a true Mediterranean experience. We started our journey in southeastern Slovenia, where nature and culinary offers are outstanding. You can find some boutique wineries and small family restaurants waiting to be discovered. We stopped at two wineries. One was a bigger modern one, while the other was small and boutique. The choice of wine here is great, some of it can easily compare with some world greatest wine marks.
We are giving you a hint for a week traveling in this little country. Most of you will start from the capital city – Ljubljana. You can easily spend two days in this town due to all the sights and tourist offer. Don’t forget to visit the old part of the town and the castle above it. While you are at the castle, take a meal at the Restaurant Strelec. The food there is outstanding, as is the service and its ambient. In the center of Ljubljana, you have a rich nightlife, sometimes even with some live music performers.
On the third day, you should drive north and visit famous Lake Bled with its island and a little church on it. If you want, you can easily go to the island with one of the traditional boats. While you are there make a wish and ring a bell! You can take a 15 minutes’ walk to the Ojstrica as well. Up there you have a magnificent view of this small lake. Not far from famous Bled you have another interesting sight. Only a 10-minute drive away you can find Vintgar Gorge. It’s a real treat, where you can take a quiet walk in a shadow of some mighty trees. If you are hungry take a ride to the Vila Podvin, where you will find traditional Slovenian cuisine with a modern approach. Prepare for a culinary ecstasy in this restaurant where traditional food is appreciated.
Now, when you enjoyed a mountain view of the north, you can drive to the seaside. On the way, you can stop in the Postojna Caves, where you can admire underground nature and its crazy life. Before you go, make sure that you check the schedule of tours, so you don’t lose time waiting. At the seaside, we recommend a visit to old towns, such as Piran or Izola. Small Mediterranean styled streets are full of restaurants and shops. Here, you can enjoy good food in a romantic sunset. If you yearn for a nature sight visit the nature reserve Strunjan and Piranske Soline – salt pans where they produce one of the best sea salt in the world! Near the seaside, there is a small town Kobarid with emerald river Soca. Nature here is outstanding as is the food. We heartily recommend you Hisa Franko, where you will taste food from one of the best chefs here around. I bet she’ll be the first one to get on the Michelin list in Slovenia, so don’t miss it out. Attention, however! Make your reservation far advanced, due to the long queue. We sadly didn’t make it on the list, because our flight was too early. Anyway, we will visit Slovenia again for sure and Hisa Franko is our Nr. 1 on our bucket list. Who knows, maybe we will be in a Michelin star that time!
From western Slovenia, you can drive to the east, where you will be surrounded by a lot of greenery. Before you come to the biggest city there (Novo Mesto), make sure you stop in a small village with a pleasant Restaurant Repovz. This family restaurant will show you the Slovenian culinary in the best possible way. While talking about traditional food, you must visit the best restaurant in Novo Mesto – Restaurant Jakse. It’s also a family restaurant with some authentic food, cooked with local ingredients. From there, you can continue to Otocec, where the medieval castle is located on the little island with a prestige hotel in it. The food there will probably not impress you. However, a nice coffee time to recharge your batteries is a must. From there, there is only a 10-minute walk to the Golf course Otocec, where you will find an amazing golf playground with natural scenery. The terrain is differing, and the game is very difficult. To achieve par is a real struggle. This course, however, is one of the most beautiful here around. A big disadvantage, though, is a lack of a clubhouse and other facilities. It really is a pity!
From Novo Mesto, you have only a half-hour drive to Bela Krajina, where the scenery is totally different. There you can visit the castle with an amazing wine shop Sturm. We tried some of the best wines in Slovenia there and we were also lucky to see their wine cellar. Stunning!
Before you go to visit our last recommendation and if your time frame allows you, stop in Logarska Dolina. There, you can enjoy some of the best scenery and untouched nature. From there, it’s not very far to the Velika Planina, a huge green grassland with no Wi-Fi and other distractions. There will be only you, nature, and cows with their bells there. You will also try some of the best Slovenian cheeses up here. Organic and free range, what else should I say?
In the end, we left the eastern part of Slovenia and their pearls. This region is not a number one on the tourist list, but it should be! People there are the nicest in the whole country, the scenery is outstanding, and so is the food. Here, we tried some really good dishes, which we didn’t find anywhere else. Make sure you visit the best restaurant around here – Rajh. They have the authentic food of this region with local and fresh ingredients. In Prekmurje , you can observe Storks and lovely nature scenery. Don’t forget to visit some of their spas. Terme 3000 has even a spa with black oil, which has some great health benefits. Around this region, you will also find plenty of energetic points for overall health boost!
Slovenia is a beautiful green country full of hidden treasures, for sure. Their culinary and wine offer is outstanding. Prices of high-end meals are very reasonable, as are the prices of good wines. We were drinking wines compared with Bordeaux, for one third of the price. We like people here and their hospitality. I don’t need to say how amazing the nature is here. Places aren’t crowded with tourists and you can find peace at ease. We do realize, there is much more to discover in this poscket country. Next time when we will visit it again, we will add some new destinations for sure!