GRAND TOUR OF SLOVENIA
GRAND TOUR OF SLOVENIA
A fairy tale landscape, nested halfway between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea, with abundance of beauties, attractions and experiences. This idyllic landscape of slovenian region of Brda is where we spend two nights. Cultural heritage in Brda has intertwined over the centuries: from cultivated landscapes, typical architectures of villages and castles to numerous ethnological attractions, customs, habits and a distinctive dialect. The stamp of the past has undoubtedly left its traces.The hilly Brda landscape is speckled with villages, some clustered like birds’ nests, some elongated and dispersed, with houses spread along the ridges, but all of them surrounded by the greenery of vineyards and orchards with roads, track and paths winding among them.
Our lodging is modern Hotel San Martin (two nights) situated in charming village of Šmartno. Included transfers from Trieste airport and Trieste city center followed by late afternoon orientational walk, welcome drink and welcome dinner.
Our morning tour of Šmartno takes us through the historic center followed by free time to explore on your own and an included wine tasting.The picturesque walled village with five preserved towers, perched on a panoramic hill like an eagle’s nest, can be seen from every corner of Brda. The settlement that was probably built on Roman foundations used to be a fortification on the strategic Venetian-Austrian border. Today it is an architectural jewel, a cultural monument, unique as a whole and in numerous details.
This afternoon we drive to Slovenian coast to see picturesque Piran, sitting at the tip of a narrow peninsula, is everyone’s favourite town on the Slovenian coast. Its Old Town – one of the best preserved historical towns anywhere on the Adriatic – is a gem of Venetian Gothic architecture, it’s hard not to fall in love with the winding Venetian Gothic alleyways and tempting seafood restaurants.
On the way to Slovenian coast we”ll have a coffee stop in Lipica Stud Farm, home to the famous Lipizzaner horses since the 16th century.
We’ll start our day with a picturesque drive up the famous valley of the Soča river and have a stop at Kobarid to see first world war museum. Kobarid Museum displays exhibits on the events that occurred during World War I on the Soška fronta – Isonzo Front. It covers two and a half years of static fighting and portrays in detail the 12th Isonzo battle, also known as the Caporetto breakthrough. The latter is one of the major battles in the history of mankind having taken place in hilly terrain. The described events are related to the adventures and memories of celebrities, among whom are Ernest Hemingway and Erwin Rommel. Kobarid Museum has received the highest national award, was proclaimed Best European Museum, and won the Council of Europe Museum Prize in 1993.
Today one of the highlights will be croosing the Julian Alps and reaching slovenian highest mountain pass Vršič. Once on the top you will be rewarded by one of the best and most breathtaking scenery in the Alps. After the pass the road descents to fertile Sava valley, where we arrive late afternoon to Radovljica. We’ll be staying two nights at the Pension Lectar or similar. The Pension Lectar offers medieval-style comfort in a domestic atmosphere and it is located in the old centre of Radovljica. Tonight Gostilna Lectar, a 180 year old family-run restaurant will introduce us to the local cuisine and will show us how the traditional gingerbread shaped hearts are made.
Today we spent the morning at Lake Bled. Surrounded by high mountains, a dramatically placed 11th century cliffside castle and its tiny island with 99 steps leading up to the exquisite Church of the Assumption, the lake presents a fairy tale setting like no other. You’ll have time on your own to explore the 1000 year old town of Bled, take pletna boat ride to Bled Island where you’ll discover to what purpose men attempt to carry their brides up the steps, explore Villa Bled (Tito’s Villa) to ponder Socialist realism murals and mosaics and to taste the excellent kremšnita cake. Included experience today will be the most intact nature of Bled in the first touristically arranged gorge in Slovenia.
The mile long Vintgar gorge carves its way through the vertical rocks of the Hom and Bort hills and is graced by the Radovna with its waterfalls, pools and rapids. The educational trail leads you over wooden bridges and Žumr’s galleries, and ends with a bridge overlooking the mighty 13 m high Šum waterfall. The Vintgar gorge also includes two man-made sights. The single-arch stone bridge of the Bohinj railway, constructed in 1906, which crosses the gorge 33.5 m above the trail, and the dam from which the water is routed to the small Vintgar hydroelectric power plant under the Šum waterfall.
In the afternoon we drive to the village of Kropa to visit Iron Forging Museum. A centuries-old tradition comes together in the mighty Klinar House which is situated in the middle of the square and was the first technical museum in Slovenia. The history of iron forging comes alive with the help of several models which will be set in motion just for you.
The Iron Forging Museum in Kropa demonstrates the entire iron working process: from iron ore to a spike. In addition to the technical and historical presentation of manual iron forging, the museum also portrays how life used to be in Kropa and its surrounds.
This evening you’ll be free to explore Radovljica or Bled more.
Morning drive will take us first to an attractive town of Škofja Loka, which is considered the most beautifully preserved medieval city in Slovenia. Its rich cultural heritage intertwines with unspoiled nature, earning the city the name “Gallery in Nature”, while the picturesque and colourful house facades fostered yet another: “Motley Loka.” We take a trip back in time in Škofja Loka on a guided visit to a typical 15th century Slovene home.
Our next stop and one of the highlights of the tour is the sparkling capital city of Slovenia, Ljubljana. Ljubljana has the most beautiful historic center, contained within a sprawling pedestrian zone that flanks both sides of the willow-lined Ljubljanica River, with animated cafés and restaurants, magnificent Baroque buildings and bridges. Our local guide will walk us through the old town, highlighted by the works of Slovenia’s greatest architect, Joze Plecnik, the outdoor markets and historic palaces. Plenty of free time also to enjoy and explore Ljubljana on your own.
Late afternoon departure to Maribor and overnight in riverfront and centrally located City hotel or similar. Tonight enjoy dinner in one of the local restaurants.
We start our day with orientational walk through the old town core, along the riverfront and through the bustling streets and squares streets of Maribor. Maribor is pleasantly small, surrounded by wonderful forests on one side and wine growing hills on the other with the Drava River winding its way through.
Late morning departure to one of the best and less discovered regions of Slovenia – Prekmurje. The dreamy countryside along the Mura River in eastern Slovenia is a land of wide fields and rounded hills, storks and wind-rattles, floating mills, healing waters and energy points, picturesque winegrowing hills, original traditions and dialects, and most of all, a land of hospitable people, who live in Slovenia’s largest agricultural region. To get most out of Prekmurje region, we’ll start first with a visit of Pumpkin Oil Mill, then we’ll be brought across the river Mura on a ford and see the operating floating mill that is still grinding wheat. We continue our visit of the region in Knitting-straw museum and Open-air Etno-village and pottery museum.
To experience hospitable people of Prekmurje our overnight stop is Farmhouse Firbas or similar where we also try culinary delights of the region.
This morning coffee stop will be in a picturesque town of Ptuj on the River Drava. Ptuj is one of the oldest towns and known already in Roman times, the only mainland town in Slovenia it received town privileges as early on as 1376. The core of the mediaeval town is completely heritage protected. Ptuj was historically an important intersection point between east and west. Already in pre-historic times, the famous Amber trading route ran by Ptuj.
Afterwards we drive to wine-growing region of Bizeljsko for a wine-tasting at one of the best slovenian wine cellars-Graben. List of their clients includes also White house and UN building in NY. They age their wines in special cellars called »Repnice« dug in silicat sand which is a left-over reminder of the Panonic sea. Many years ago they were used instead of refrigerators for storing crops. Today they use them for storing bottled wine, because constant temperature and very high moisture provide ideal envirement for wine storing.
Late afternoon arrival in Postojna. Our hotel Kras or similar is located in the center of the town and ten minutes walking from world famous Postojna caves.
One of the highlights of visiting Slovenia are caves and castles and today we see one of each. The Snežnik castle is situated in the gorgeous natural environment, surrounded by meadows and avenues on the edge of Snežnik forests. Its exterior is original and it contains authentic interior furniture in spacious halls that conjures up the atmosphere from 150 years ago. Snežnik castle is the only one (out of 500) in Slovenia with fully preserved original interior equipment. A guided tour of castle takes about 45 minutes. Lunch in a local restaurant to try more of traditional slovenian dishes.
Nearby Križna jama cave is a karst cave. Its features are underground lakes with sinter’s barriers and an extremely interesting site with bones of bears, along with the naturally preserved environment for animals. The entrance part of the cave is known by its huge halls. The other passages are cut off by calcareous sinter or covered with rocks, and smaller stalagmites and stalactites. The natural light disappears after a few hundred meters and visitors continue to explore the cave with hand lamps. The Main passage continues through the Great hall displaying the bones of cave bears, which are extremely interesting. The bones astonish the visitors with their size and number. The path continues through the passage which drains off water from the first lake. The visit is followed by a short boat ride on the first lake.
Today morning is free to explore nearby attractions Postojnska jama and Predjamski grad on your own. In the afternoon we board for a Karst trip. Karst region is a limestone plateau rich with potential for exploration.The region is known for its wine production, caves, proximity to the sea and opportunities for discovering the country’s attractions and culture. Along with caves, the Karst is rich in olives, ruby-red Teran wine, pršut, old stone churches and red-tiled roofs.The highlight of the trip is a stop at a unique Karst hill-top village of Štanjel; the jewel of the Karst region.
The Romans turned the top of the hill into an ancient fort, in the Middle Ages the village expanded over the hill, and later on the settlement was enclosed by defence walls to protect it against Turks invasions. However, the most dominant features of the village are the Castle and the Church of Saint Daniel, which make Štanjel so remarkable. While walking through the narrow streets, the houses built in stone are telling you the story of stonemasons, who portrayed their experience of the Karst through stone. The streets end up in small squares, which were once popular meeting places for the youth and elderly. A very interesting passage from the stone village to the green surroundings is represented by Ferrari’s Garden, a unique masterpiece of the architect Max Fabiani.
Evening farewell gastronomic dinner in Postojna.
Departure for Trieste or Ljubljana airport.
- 2 pax: 10 days from 2300 euro per person.
- 4 pax: 10 days from 1950 euro per person.
- 6 pax: 10 days from 1800 euro per person.
- 8 pax: 10 days from 1650euro per person.
- Single room supplement 350 euro
What is included?
Land transportation through the whole tour in modern luxury mini-van
Transfers from Trieste or Ljubljana airport in&out
9 nights’ 3&4 star hotel accomodation.
Full time professional licensed English speaking driver/guide
Local guides in Ljubljana, Maribor, Kropa museum, Nace’s house in Škofja Loka, Snežnik castle and Križna jama cave
All breakfasts, 5 dinners(one drink included), 1 lunch(one drink included), 2 wine-tastings,…
Entrance fees to Kobarid WW1 museum, Vingar gorge, Kropa iron-forging museum, Babič mill, Knitting straw museum, Snežnik castle and Križna jama cave.
– Small private group travel, gives you a highly personalized and unforgettable experience that you won’t find on a large group tour.
– Unique itineraries, all personally designed and experienced by us. Our itineraries unique experience of meeting, learning, discovering and understanding different cultures and a wonderful blend of the major sites and delightful places that we’ve discovered off the beaten path where you’ll find few tourists.
– All included – no optional excursions.
– Best value – our lower prices and high quality make us a great choice for private tour travel.
– The best accomodation, most are 3 star or 4 star and located inside historic districts to maximize your free time on tour.
– The best small restaurants and farmhouses with carefully chosen menus and great wines – with every meal one drink included.
– Exceptional native tour managers and local guides – experienced, informative, attentive and fun! Seeing Slovenia with a slovenian tour leaders is essential to an authentic experience!
– Leisurely pace – your average day on tour begins at 8am or 9am and there is ample free time for your own explorations daily.
– Minimal coach time – we want you to experience your destinations on foot, not from the highway.We operate a maximum of just two luxury vans on each tour day and our objective is to ensure that we keep our service standards consistently high. On average we spend 3 hours a day or less traveling, along scenic roads wherever possible.
My husband and I originally asked for a 7-day Slovenia private tour, but then we had to extend the trip because of our flights, and [...]
My husband and I originally asked for a 7-day Slovenia private tour, but then we had to extend the trip because of our flights, and then we changed our plan again as some friends wanted to join us too. Andrej was patient and responded quickly. He had another guide for us but he managed to dine with us once, and definitely showed his good taste of wine and food. What a a pity that I only noticed afterwards that in fact he arranges tours to other countries too, not just Slovenia. Maybe Bosnia next time then.
Thank you very much of arrengements during our visit inSlovenia. We are safely back at home. Our group was pleased. Wine yard was [...]
Thank you very much of arrengements during our visit inSlovenia. We are safely back at home. Our group was pleased. Wine yard was nice, cave Krisna special. Also we had a nice day in lake Bled. It was a rainy day, but last hour in Bled the sun was shining, so we saw all the beauty. Thank you very much. Hope to see you same day in Slovenia or in Finland Best regards
In planning our trip to Trieste, we decided to try to see some of the other countries across the borders. I contacted Andrej and he [...]
In planning our trip to Trieste, we decided to try to see some of the other countries across the borders. I contacted Andrej and he immediately got back to me and was so helpful that I decided to use Slovenia 4 Seasons for several different services. Andrej first picked up our family of 4 (including 2 teenagers) in Trieste and we spent a wonderful day sightseeing in Slovenia. Andrej knew the right amount of time to guide us and then gave us plenty of time on our own to explore. We fell in love with Slovenia and quickly made promises of returning based on the various places that Andrej had brought us.
After a long day we were returned to our apartment in Trieste.
The following day we hired Andrej to drive us to Rovinj, Croatia (considered a transfer). Of course he continued to "tour" us and tell us very interesting facts along the way. He dropped us off in Rovinj and after 2 days returned to pick us up (always right on time) and give us a tour of the Istria coast for the day! We stopped at several small towns and ate at a fabulous restaurant. Upon arrival in Trieste, we continued our tour of Trieste and the castle.
We had such a wonderful few days with Andrej as he is very knowledgable and personable. He was able to relate to and interact with all members of the family equally well.
Andrej went above and beyond for us and we are so grateful for his services. At the end of the day we learned so much and felt part of the culture rather than on the outside looking in. His prices are quite reasonable as well! You won't go wrong if you book with Slovenia 4 Seasons. We definitely plan on going back and using their services again in the future!
Any Season - You Will Fall in sLOVE with Slovenia!!! Before you read any further, open another tab, go to [...]
Any Season - You Will Fall in sLOVE with Slovenia!!! Before you read any further, open another tab, go to http://www.slovenia4seasons.com and book your tour with Andrej Vatovec and then come back for the rest of this review - I'll wait... Done? Good!! Here's the scoop; we just got back from four day private tour with Andrej of Slovenia 4 Seasons and it was simply AMAZING!! The country itself is small but spectacular!! It's filled with so much diversity, it's like visiting Disney's Epcot Center. However, although it may seem unbelievable, it's all the real deal!!
Looking to spend time in a charming old-world seaside village studded with bright orange terracotta rooftops? Would you like to wander around a rustic medieval artist's village snuggled in rich green hills? Interested in a drive though miles and miles of lush rolling vineyards and wine cellars that would truly make Tuscany cry in it's own Chianti? How about getting up close and personal with Lipizzaner ponies?
Would you like to explore a spectacular limestone cavern filled with crystal chandeliers on a zippy train? Or perhaps visit a captivating historical castle that was built right into the crook of a cave? Can't get enough of castles? How about one overlooking a gorgeous church on a tiny island completely surrounded by a vivid emerald green lake? Why not take a cliff-hugging hike along a misty gorge, filled with waterfalls and water bubbling along in the brightest shades of sea-foam green and turquoise that you will ever see in nature.
Maybe you're interested in seeing snow capped Alps, overlooking valleys dotted with flower-trimmed Bavarian cottages and farms? Or, if you're really adventurous, you can go rafting, bungie jumping or paragliding! Perhaps you'd prefer to spend a few hours sitting at a lively outdoor cafe, sipping delightful Slovenian wine and sampling from a diverse and delicious menu in lovely - and manageable - Ljubljana?!
You can do ALL of this in Slovenia - and so much more -- practically within a two hour drive!!! Honestly - the entire time we were there - we felt as though we were discovering one of the best kept travel secrets in the world!! I don't even want to spoil anymore Slovenian surprises - you just really need to go and see for yourself!!! I promise you will sLOVE it!!!
Andrej was an outstanding guide!!! Always on time, always a great attitude and always just as excited about seeing the sights as we were -- especially the restaurants and vineyards!! As a mother and daughter, we felt completely safe and at ease with him - even while driving up and down white-knuckle mountain switchbacks! He's very knowledgeable and passionate about the history, the politics and the people of Slovenia and was happy to share it all with us. He planned an exciting, well-paced and budget-conscious itinerary for us - even taking us to visit Croatia's coast and a dip in the Adriatic.
We would have NEVER been able to do and see all that we did on our own without him!! Our experience with Slovenia 4 Seasons was time and money well very spent!!