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Our time in Slovenia was short but it seemed to stretch and what was only four days felt like much longer. I think it’s because we saw so much, but never felt rushed. The county’s compact size and quickly changing terrain means you can see a lot in a just a few days – from pretty cities to wine valleys and mountain passes. It’s a place that makes for the perfect road trip. We hired a car in Ljubljana and spent two days exploring the country with two main priorities in mind – amazing vegetarian food and gorgeous nature. We took it a leisurely pace and didn’t try to overload ourselves with sightseeing. Last week’s post focused on the food side of things and now we’re moving onto the nature. This post covers day one of the road trip where we went to the wine region of Slovenia: the Vipava Valley and Goriška Brda, about an hour’s drive away from Ljubljana.
Our first stop was Majerija where we ate an epic seven-course meal of some of the best gourmet vegetarian food we’ve ever tasted. Surrounded by vineyards, it was a beautiful introduction to the Slovenian countryside. If we’d had more time, we would have toured a vineyard or two, or perhaps done some hiking. It’s certainly a place you could spend a few days, and Majerija itself has just introduced guest accommodation, which would be a wonderful place to stay.
After our huge meal, we drove just another 40 minutes to Goriška Brda, a charming hilltop town nestled between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea. We stayed at a Klinec Homestead, a working vineyard and farm, and were instantly welcomed with some excellent homegrown wine.
The friendly owners gave us a tour of their winery. Most of the wine stays in Slovenia, but some is exported elsewhere. You can find it in England at the fancy 40 Maltby Street, testament to its high quality.
The family also run a restaurant and grow most of their own produce, including these beautiful looking oils.
Much of the food is cooked on this awesome open fire, the place was full on the night we visited with a relaxed, convivial atmosphere.
The husband is a keen artist and each year the farm hosts sculptors from around the world who leave many of their creations for visitors to enjoy. I loved this wooden man.
A highlight of our stay was when the owners’ children took us on a tour of the farm. At one point they looked us up and down and decided among themselves that we were fit for the shortcut, a fun little scramble up the hill. We felt like we were on a adventure from the Famous Five.
The children introduced us to their animals, showing how to feed the pigs with squashes, pet the donkeys and scare the little goats back into their pen. They also showed us the grapes, the olives and the gardens where the vegetables are grown. It felt like an idyll of rural life.
That night we were treated to an epic sunset across the valley, only half captured by this low-quality iphone shot. We basked in the slow pace of the countryside, the friendliness of the Klinec family and the rustic charm of their farm. It was a perfect stop to end day one of our first Slovenian road trip.