The Charm of Slovenia & Istria

Take a little bit of Bavaria, a sliver of Mediterranean Riviera, a stretch of the Danube, a touch of Venice and a slice of the Balkans, and you have Slovenia, one of Europe's best-kept secrets. Marvel at some of the most incredible nature, wine and gastronomy combined with Croatia's Istrian Peninsula on a journey less-trodden. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Witness astounding landscapes of Slovenia & the Istria Peninsula

Savour exquisite wines and gastronomy 

Stay in refined boutique hotels 

Enjoy an insightful experience with the local characters

ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVE LJUBLJANA

Arrive Ljubljana Jože Pučnik International Airport where you will be met and thereafter, we drive to the heart of the capital city of Slovenia on a private walking tour of the old town to learn about the fascinating architectural and cultural history - now one of the coolest and most livable cities in Europe. Admire the beautiful banks of the Ljubljanica River, the charming Baroque, Renaissance, and Art Nouveau buildings amidst stone-cobbled alleys as you are given an informative walk-through of monuments and buildings such as the  Congress Square, the National University Library, Križanke Monastery, the New Square, Cobbler’s Bridge, the Prešeren monument, Franciscan Church, and Three Bridges. Thereafter, we will visit the impressive Ljubljana Castle, ascending via funicular to soak in the medieval might of the indomintable fortress. Thereafter, we check in into the charming Antiq Palace Hotel & Spa, a heritage residence dating back to the 16th Century. 

Overnight: Antiq Palace Hotel & Spa, Ljubljana

Meals: NIL

DAY 2: LJUBLJANA / RADOVNA VALLEY / BLED / SOCA VALLEY

This morning, we leave the capital to the beautiful countryside with our first stop in the gorgeous alphine Valley of Radovna, part of the greater Triglav National Park. We visit the spectacular Vintgar Gorge, enjoying a serendipitous walk discovering the natural wonders of pristine river, rock pools and waterfalls. Witness alluring limestone cliffs reach 100m in places, looking down on the tempestuous River Radovna as it snakes its way through the canyon far below before culminating with the impressive Sum Waterfall flowing beneath the Bohinj Railway Bridge. Later, enjoy a private Pletna boat ride, a traditional boat made by locals unique only in Lake Bled for an excursion to Bled Island and a visit to the stunning Bled Castle, perched atop a steep cliff rising 130m above Lake Bled - an unmistakable landmark and pride of Slovenia. Thereafter, we journey on to the less-trodden and pristine Soca Valley where en route, we witness the astonishing Vrsic Pass and the Great Soca Gorge for photo opportunities before arriving at the lovely Hisa Franko, where you will be staying for the next 2 nights and enjoy a culinary adventure in one of the World's 50 Best Restaurants helmed by Chef Ana Ros, acclaimed as the best female chef in the world. 

Overnight: Hisa Franko, Soca Valley

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 3: SOCA VALLEY (EXCURSION TO BOVEC)

We spend a superb day with an excursion to the picturesque town of Bovec in the Slovenian Alps surrounded by high mountain peaks and the crystal clear waters of the Soca River. Our experience today begins with an easy 2hrs hike to marvel at the spectacular Boka Waterfall, Slovenia's highest falls admiring it up close to appreciate in its full splendors and enjoy our packed picnic lunch at a scenic spot. Thereafter, we visit the mesmerizing Kluze Fortress, built in 1472 as a defensive fortification against the invading Turks.

 

 

We then enjoy the second half of the day with an easy 1.5hrs hike to the Gljun source and Virje Waterfall. In the immediate vicinity of Bovec you will find the source of a cold karst creek named Gljun. Its waters come from the high Kanin mountain range and come to the surface in an interesting spring. After larger rainfalls, the water literally bursts from beneath the moss-covered rocks, while in the summertime the bigger attraction is a wonderful Virje waterfall a little further downstream. Its emerald green pool just calls for a refreshing dip in the hot summer days. Thereafter, we return back to Hisa Franko. 

Overnight: Hisa Franko, Soca Valley

Meals: Breakfast & Picnic Lunch

DAY 4: SOCA VALLEY (KOBARID HISTORICAL WALK)

Spend another fascinating day in the Soca Valley where we take on a 4hrs obligatory Kobarid Historical Walk where your nature guide will help link together the natural sights and historic monuments of the Soca Valley. The trail is 5km long and takes between three to four hours, during which time the history is depicted from antiquity to World War I, offering at the same time the many natural sights of the Soca Gorge and its mysterious falls. On the walk, you will be able to connect historical curiosities such as the Kobarid Museum, the dairy museum “Od planine do Planike”Tonocov CastleWWI remnants (museum), Napoleon Bridge and natural beauties: Soca River, Kozjak waterfall. Village Drežnica above Kobarid. 

Overnight: Hisa Franko, Soca Valley

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY 5: SOCA VALLEY / SPODNJA IDRIJA / GORISKA BRDA

We leave the Hisa Franko this morning for yet another inspiring hike to the surreal Tolmin Gorges. Just a stone throw away from Tolmin, at the confluence of Tolminka and Zadlaščica, both streams have carved deep gorges into the rocks. A tourist path, which enables a view of the gorges both from the top and from the bottom, runs by the crystal clear turquoise water. The gorges are the lowest point of Triglav National Park and one of the most popular tourist spots in the region. Next up, visit the Spodnja Idrija region where en route, we make a stop at the Franja Partisan Hospital which operated during WWII. Hidden in the Pasice Gorge, it provided treatment for 522 soldiers of different nationalities and is an authentic monument from WWII and potential candidate to be included into UNESCO. Thereafter, we arrive at the UNESCO-listed Spodnja Idrija, an 800 year old village renowned for its lace makers in the locality of Idrija. A special lunch experience is included today at the Kendov Dvorec, a charming Relais & Chateaux property that dates back to 1377, nestled  between the alpine peaks and the Kras plateaux, where amazing landscapes are etched into the limestone rock. Its ancient interiors give this typically traditional Slovenian residence a unique style, with carved wood and decorative lace. The warm smell of bread and Potica, a traditional dish, wafts through the house. The orchard is full of centuries-old apple trees, and the delightful Idrijca river runs through the village, which is home to the Marija na Skalci chapel, a famous place of pilgrimage. We will also visit the Idrija Municipal Museum at Gewerkenegg Castle, dating back to the 16th Century presenting the permanent exhibition "Five Centuries of the Mercury Mine" that tells you the importance of the mining trade in its heyday. Our journey for the day ends in the flawlessly-beautiful wine region of Goriska Brda, close to the border with Italy where we arrive at the impressive Hotel Gredic

Overnight: Hotel Gredic, Goriska Brda

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 6: THE GORISKA BRDA WINE REGION

Enjoy a full day immersing in one of Europe's underrated but top wine-producing region of Goriska Brda, located at the border with Italy and renowned for its white wines, such as Rebula, Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris, and red wines, such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. This secluded and almost hidden corner of Western Slovenia is often referred to as the "Tuscany of Slovenia" due to its hilltop villages, orchards, cypress trees and of course, its rolling hillsides lined with vines. It is almost a mystical place because it is hidden behind mountain ranges to the east and north and there is only one road into the region from Nova Gorica. On a flexible touring basis, we go from village to village experiencing the natural and cultural heritage of this region that had a turbulent past, but which has an interesting present. Brda is a land of castles, vineyards and small white churches, often situated on the top of the hills overlooking the villages. Stop for wine tastings at some of the hospitable local vineyards. We will some of the most revered Slovenian  winemakers, food producers and enjoy a day of wine and local cuisines. 

Overnight: Hotel Gredic, Goriska Brda

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 7: GORISKA BRDA / STANJEL / TOMAJ / SKOCJAN / PIRAN

We continue our expedition of Slovenia south today briefly entering into Italy before re-entering back into Slovenian territory. En route, we visit the Vinar Cotar, specializing in producing signature orange wines. Learn about the production process and some tasting and thereafter, a short drive away, visit the small but pleasant fortified village of Stanjel, located on the Karst Plateau overlooking the Vipava Valley where have an introduction of its outpost purpose against the invading Ottomans. We then enjoy lunch in the agricultural village of Tomaj where you may sample traditional village specialties including locally-produced prosciutto. After lunch, we continue a short drive to the impeccable UNESCO-listed Skocjan Caves and be transported into an otherworldly realm of surreal limestone caverns, stalactites and stalagmites. Finally, we will journey to the Adriatic coastline arriving into the beautiful seaside town of Piran where we check in into the Hotel Piran.

Spend the rest of the day at leisure to uncover and stroll the romantic coastal town of Piran, dubbed the "Venice of Slovenia" for its Venetian-style architecture when it was part of the Republic of Venice between the 13th and 18th Centuries. Start wandering from the Tartini Square - named after local violinist, Giuseppe Tartini where you will admire the beautiful buildings, bell tower and 15th Century Venetian house and town hall. An unmissable sight will be a stroll to the Cathedral of Saint George, perched atop a hill from where you can enjoy panoramic views of Piran. 

Overnight: Hotel Piran, Piran

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY 8: PIRAN / BUJE / MOTOVUN / BALE

After a beautiful day in Piran, we will officially leave Slovenia and enter into Croatia Istria where our first visit will be to the hilltop town of Buje surrounded by olive groves and rolling vineyards and a medieval townscape. A short drive away from the town is the revered Kozlovic Winery, consistently one of the best wine producers in Croatia for its outstanding quality renowned for its captivating white wines and bold reds. Thereafter, a short drive away takes us to Motovun - rural medieval Istria at its most captivating, complete with a 13th Century Romanesque-Gothic bell tower rising out of its center. Picture-perfect Motovun is a medieval storybook cluster of a village sitting high, protected by a strong defensive wall with views of the Mirna River and the forest - within which lies the coveted and famous Istrian truffle, the gem of Croatian gastronomy. 

Embark on a private truffle hunt with a local expert guide who will lead you into the gorgeous Motovun forest with his trained truffle hunting dogs. Some of the largest truffles of Europe has been found in these forests set in the middle of the Istrian Peninsula. A wonderful and quintessential Istrian experience is followed by a special meal of truffle delicacies in the charming setting of a restaurant at the top of historical Motovun. Finally, our journey culminates in our arrival into Bale, one of the most stunning hilltop villages in Istria with medieval streets and houses dating back to the 14th Century. Check in into the scintillating Wine Hotel Meneghetti, an elegant Relais & Chateaux property and benchmark country estate amidst rural landscapes. 

Overnight: Wine Hotel Meneghetti, Bale

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY 9: BALE (EXCURSION OF ROVINJ & POREC)

We will spend a beautiful day discovering the historical gems of the Istrian Peninsula. Begin with a visit to Rovinj - an old town of romantic masterpiece of art and architecture, a beautiful cluster of history fit onto a small islet, surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of the Rovinj archipelago. The labyrinth of narrow stone streets of the old town takes you back to the Middle Ages, leading up to the highest point and the Basilica of St Euphemia - one of the most beautiful Baroque achievements in Istria, famous for its precious relics of the saint. A unique copper weathervane decorating its bell tower, the church views across rooftops to the sparkling sea and scattered islets in the distance. 

Later, continue to Porec where you will enjoy a guided walking tour of the old town with a focus on the important UNESCO-listed Episcopal Complex. Like many Dalmatian towns, charming Porec has a Roman heritage and is located on a small peninsula - now a bustling center of Northern Dalmatian tourism. The Euphrasian Basilica and its episcopal complex is the most important landmark constructed from the 4th to 6th Century, retaining a wonderfully intact example of Byzantine styles. Stretching views of the town can be had from the bell tower, looking over the Roman Forum square now called Marafor and across the monumental towers and the seaside promenade. We then return back to Bale where in the evening, enjoy a special wine pairing dinner at the wine cellar of Wine Hotel Meneghetti for a complete conclusion to your experience of the Istrian Peninsula. 

Overnight: Wine Hotel Meneghetti, Bale

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 10: BALE / VODNJAN / PULA

Following breakfast, we leave the Wine Hotel Meneghetti and en route, make a stop in Vodnjan - one of the oldest towns in Istria dating back to the prehistoric period and possessing a multitude of buildings from different periods and architectural style.

 

 

Thereafter, we arrive at Pula, largest town on the Istrian Peninsula with a diversity of cultural and historical sites from its 3000 years history. Any walk through of the town will ultimately lead you to the focal point - the outstanding and very intact Roman Amphitheater and numerous other monuments of Roman architecture such as the Triumphal Arch of the Sergi from the 1st Century BC, Hercules' Gate and Twin Gates, the Temple of Augustus, Arena and Small Roman Theatre in the town center. From here, transfer to Pula Airport for your onward journey. 

Meals: Breakfast

HOTELS

A magnificent residence dating back to the 16th century, Antiq Palace Hotel & Spa is a relaxing and stylish city bolthole that reflects Ljubjana’s rich cultural heritage while demonstrating a seasoned eye for contemporary design. There is a palatial feel throughout Antiq Palace Hotel & Spa enhanced by its high ceilings, some of which are adorned by 300-year-old frescoes, intriguing passageways and original walls and windows. 

Antiq Palace Hotel & Spa, Ljubljana

Hiša Franko is situated in the peaceful village Staro selo, at the foothill of 'Kobariški Stol' and not far from Kobarid and the Italian border. Primarily known as an excellent restaurant, it was lately extended with a lovely accommodation facility in a wonderful environment, where the Mediterranean touches the mountains, in the embrace of the crystal-clear rivers Soča and Nadiža, Hiša Franko offers a comfortable shelter and a unique culinary experience.

Hisa Franko, Soca Valley

Hotel Gredič will draw your attention already from afar. A beautiful small castle, which gave the name to the entire hamlet, stands on the border of Goriška Brda hills with an amazing view on the surrounding vineyards. The hotel, which has only opened its doors recently, will definitely captivate you with its sophisticated mix of the modern and traditional. A first-class restaurant and a well stocked wine cellar complement the perfect hotel comfort. 

Hotel Gredic, Goriska Brda

30 smiling faces, more than 2400 hours of sunshine a year, the location only five steps away from the sea and more than 100 years of tradition is making Hotel Piran an attractive location for every traveler who takes the trip to the main tourist town of Slovenia – Piran. The visitors of Hotel Piran can rest in 92 rooms and suites, which are full of tradition and offer comfort, which is a perfect combination for relaxation.

Hotel Piran, Piran

Wine Hotel Meneghetti is a property surrounded by olive groves and amphitheater-shaped vineyard. Located just outside Rovinj in a small town of Bale. The traditional Istrian architecture, stone houses where you’ll be accommodated perfectly illustrates the easiness of life in Istria. The property is far away from any road, other properties or houses and the privacy you experience staying here makes you think you found your new Istrian home.

Wine Hotel Meneghetti, Bale

SEND US AN ENQUIRY

Our Partners
Follow Us
  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Twitter - Black Circle
  • Instagram - Black Circle

Subscribe to Newsletters

2019 by Beyond X Boundaries. All Rights Reserved.  Co . Reg. No 53312240J TA 3013