Did I mention that I loved Slovenia? I fear I may not have said it enough times. Not that I think any number of superlatives could do my time there justice.
Just staying at Big Berry would have been fun enough (oo look here’s a cheeky link to go read allll about it 😉 ) but our days were filled with various excursions here there and everywhere. Just to make me fall in love with this country even more than I already had done, obvs.
As tourist destinations go, Slovenia’s still pretty much in the up-and-coming category. When I told people beforehand that I was going, some weren’t sure where it actually was – such a hidden gem! Part of me wants to say “everybody grab all your friends and family and go to Slovenia NOW”, and part of me wants to say “huh, well, it’s a secret” and just go back 10 times myself.
You see, the unspoiled nature and lack of touristy-ness even in Ljubljana, the capital, made it such a different holiday experience. Especially after I’d been to Barcelona a couple of weeks before! Bled Castle was the only tourist hotspot we came across, and even that wasn’t ram jammed with people.
Rather than tell you a ‘top 10 sights to see’ or just ramble off a chronological diary, I thought I’d share the rest of my experience in Bela Krajina, Slovenia as a ‘collection of favourite moments’ in the hope that it will provide inspiration. Well, I say ‘in the hope’, but really I know you’re gonna want to go straight there, if you’re anything like me. In no particular order!
Lake Bled / Bled Castle
Well duhh. One of the most iconic images of Slovenia, and certainly one that Pinterest loves to bits. I did infact include it in my Pinterest favourites post last year, so as you can imagine I was pretty damn chuffed to have the chance to make a daytrip there! No grey skies could put a dampener on our day. Strangely enough the lake itself was actually smaller than I’d imagined, but just as stunning. Above is the church that’s apparently the most desirable and expensive place to get married in Slovenia, where the groom traditionally carries the bride up the steps and is usually knackered and sweaty by the time they reach the top. How romantic.
How to distress an Italian – don’t wear a coat. OK so this day was mildly chilly but I’m British, I was absolutely fine! Bit of a crisp breeze never hurt anyone. 😛
Jumping out of the van to run in golden fields
Bloggers need photo pitstops, don’t you know. Can’t blame us in this beautiful countryside! Even the drives themselves were fun – pretty view out the window and good chitchat inside, what more could you want? Couldn’t resist a Sound of Music moment in this golden grass in evening light. Bela Krajina, you are one handsome place.
Ljubljana City Centre
Yep, I’m calling the entire of Ljubljana a favourite moment/place/whatever. As capital cities go it’s pretty small (walkable from one side to the other in 45 minutes) and SO chilled out. Despite being an old city, it’s actually pretty new as a capital following Slovenia’s complicated past. Definitely lives up to its nickname as Slovenia’s biggest village. Ljubljana already has various titles and accolades and I’m not sure ‘Lily’s fave’ carries much weight but yeah, what a fun/cute/chill/all round lovely city.
Pastel buildings everywhere. Instagrammers dream!
Because I’ll happily take shameless to the level of posing with a stranger’s bike. Since most of the city’s pedestrianised you see a hell of a lot of these around, which makes sense with Ljubljana being the European Green Capital 2016.
Fashion exhibition in the middle of the town hall, as you do!
Visiting a honey producer & going inside a beehouse
Well if I’m gonna visit a honey producer then I might as well go inside and watch the bees hard at work! Sure they buzz around your face and one got caught in my hair but I was fineee. 😀 Just don’t flap your arms! Of course we all had to dip our fingers and try out the final product too – this was the very producer who supplied the breakfast honey at Big Berry so we already knew this stuff was tasty. Oh and we all had a shot of honey liquor too – let’s say that was an interesting (but tasty) experience!
Exploring Ljubljana through food
The food theme continued way beyond the time at Big Berry! A food tour was a great way to get an experience the feel of the Ljubljana, hear about the quirks and the history, and see the sights all in one afternoon. Our tour guide Iva of Ljubljananjan was really chatty and helpful in giving us loads of background stories behind the food we were eating. I think that since every city has eateries from so many different cultures now (variety is obviously a good thing!) it’s helpful to have a guide pick out the places offering traditional local dishes. It’s where food tours come in extremely handy.
Fresh food markets are a big thing. 🙂
Never have I ever consumed so much food in one afternoon and not felt like an actual blob. Turns out eating little portions then walking each one off before the next is a good way to cram in as many tastes as possible! Great for non-fussy eaters like me who want to try new flavours.
What a stupid idea it was to write up this post whilst I’m hungry. Avocado on toast will have to suffice today!
Not gonna lie, beer isn’t *really* my thing so I just sipped, but everyone else confirmed that the craft ales were jolly good so I’ll take their word for it!
Something Ljubljana seemed to excel at was offering foods for all dietary requirements – I spotted many a vegetarian and vegan eatery on our walk, and places like Gelateria Romantika offered lots more dairy-free options than you’d see in most places. Perfect considering members of our group had various allergies and intolerances. Luckily I don’t have any dietary restrictions, but that just made choosing even more difficult! Eventually I settled on one scoop of salted chocolate flavour, and one scoop of lavender. Apparently the Slovenian salt business is pretty big considering its teeny tiny length of coastline, so it would’ve been wrong not to give the salted chocolate flavour a try! Now I just need to find where I can get more. I can’t recommend Ljubljananjam food tours enough for introducing us to these places!
Roadtripping to cool places with this crew
Sorry I can’t tell you that a fab group of people come part and parcel with the Big Berry experience, but I lucked out with this squad.
A secluded spot well worth the stop, don’t you think? The river Krupa seems to just appear out of a rock, it’s pretty cool! And wow, that water was blue. Was so peaceful and unspoilt down there, and apparently morning light on the water makes for an even prettier pic.
Much as she looks like she’s being gently strangled here, this lil’ kitty loved our attention and followed us all around the spring. So cute. Temporary pets come part of the experience evidently!
Lunches at local restaurants
Copious amounts of calamari were consumed, that’s for sure. Not a traditional Slovenian dish but whatever! I loved that lunch involved 10 of us (or so) eating around a huge table and not rushing in the slightest. That’s a good way to eat. 🙂 Big Berry has loads of partner restaurants as well as local foodie suppliers, so if you book a trip there next year (do it do it) then you’ll be offered discounts at all these places. We enjoyed lunches at Gostišče Veselič, Pri Starem Pildu, and Gostilna Müller. Slovenians do food in a very tasty, hearty way!
Trying and making the local produce
I didn’t make any of these natural oils (maybe next time lol) but I did try my hand at pogaca making! Damn that squishy salty bread tasted good. Pogaca is a traditional welcome bread in Slovenia (and slightly similar to Italian Foccacia, funnily enough) that can be whipped up pretty quickly and is the absolute bomb dot com when still warm. We baked ours in a workshop at BIBI Turizem. As for the natural oils at Oljarna Pečarič, finding out about the health benefits of each one was really interesting and eye-opening. Not to mention tasty for bread dipping.
New autumn accessory? I think so.
Street art in Ljubljana / Metelkovo Mesto
Ljubljana is one hipster city, that’s for sure! Street art in abundance. Not a messy city though, just a cool one. Even me, possibly the most un-cool girl on the planet, loved it. Parts of the city were full of aforementioned pastel walls, but certain districts were covered in graffiti, art, sculptures and all sorts. Metelkovo Mesto just had such a cool arty unique vibe about it. Pretty sure it’d attract some questionable characters at times, but oh well!
Yep I’ll admit I edited the red part out of this on Instagram – the notion is so cute and someone just had to spoil it.
Wine tasting at Malnarič
Ahh wine. Why you so drinkable? I’m not gonna sound like a pretentious idiot and attempt to describe the notes I smelt as I swished it around in the glass, I’m just gonna say that we drank several glasses and had several refills and hearing all about the family behind the business made it all the more special. Samoel Malnarič, what a character you are.
Generosity and friendliness of strangers
How lovely it felt to be in a country where nobody seemed suspicious or afraid of each other. Yep, I know I’m probably looking through tourist goggles, but everyone in Slovenia just seemed so nice! I mean, we took a little detour (read: got lost) and found ourselves parked up in a vineyard taking photos of the view, when the owner popped out and offered us a glass of the wine. Just out of generosity. Was rather a random Monday afternoon experience but a tasty one nonetheless!
And that’s a roundup of my favourite moments in Slovenia. The only country in the world with ‘love’ in its name, don’t you know.
My experiences above were complimentary during my stay at Big Berry Lifestyle Resort, however all words and opinions are of course my own.
lily kate x