“Spectacular scenery with 5-star personalized and attentive service!” My multigenerational family, including two toddler daughters and 70 year-old mother, loved our experience with Slovenia 4 Seasons! We serendipitously found their brochure in the lobby of our hotel, the Starhotels Savoia Excelsior Palace in Trieste. Thus began the best part of our trip, which up until then had consisted of lovely but somewhat impersonal train rides through the Swiss Alps and a self-guided (i.e. lots of walking in the hot sun, waiting in line behind hordes of other tourists, overpaying for water taxis) tour of Venice. We had the time of our lives with Slovenia 4 Seasons, with our jovial tour guide Jernej regaling us with the history and culture of Slovenia and Italy as we were driven smoothly in an air-conditioned and very comfortable minivan through the pristine countryside and perfectly preserved storybook villages of Slovenia–just about half an hour from Trieste, but so orderly and clean compared to Italy–and unspoiled due to its status as a hidden gem and also the national character of cleanliness and pride in caring for their small but self-sufficient country. On the first day, we drove up the mountains to a hilltop playground where my daughters gleefully swung on monkey bars seemingly located at the top of this new world, then back downhill through rich green forests, and around picturesque stone and stucco clad villages, each with a proud little church that hosts every villager’s wedding, funeral, and a book that contains hundreds of years of ancestry records. Our tots found the bumpy cobblestone streets of Groznjan, a beautifully-preserved and refreshingly uncrowded medieval Croatian village, to be as charming as they were fun and challenging for their little feet to traverse, an entertaining obstacle course on the way to a feast of sumptuous prawns and grilled fish. We ended the day in Lipica, the site of the Lipizzaner stud farm with gorgeous white horses as well as three roly-poly ponies that the girls delighted in meeting. The next day Jernej took us to the graceful capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, where we visited the colorful and spotless and bustling city center and delicious Farmer’s Market. The highlight for the girls, however, was a fantastical indoor playground–Mala Ulica–with a little kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and cafe where they were served freshly squeezed orange juice, grilled cheese, and milk. It was hard to convince them to leave, but our next stop was the most spectacular yet–the dramatic Predjama Castle, built into the side of a cliff with a soaring network of caves extending overhead and through to the other side of the mountain. Jernej introduced us to his friends at the welcoming onsite restaurant, where we dined on savory venison goulash. Our experience with Slovenia 4 Seasons could not have been better or more personalized to our needs and interests–Jernej was willing to literally drive us anywhere we wanted to explore, and stop anywhere for photo ops–and allowed us to see and do so much more, in comfort and safety, than ever would have been possible on our own. We wish we could take them with us on all of our travels–having spent time with tour guides from all over the world, their service truly stands out for their attentiveness, flexibility, creativity, and warmth. We can’t wait to go back and see more with Slovenia 4 Seasons!
Josephine, California, USA