Slovenia: From Mountain Highs to Adriatic Blues

From Mountain Highs to Adriatic Blues
  • Soca River Slovenia_1585x1050
  • Stanjel_Slovenia
  • European brown Bears
  • Maribor Slovenia_1575x1050
  • Slovenia Cubo
  • Slovenia Bohinj
  • Motorail Slovenia Bohinj Most
  • Marlet in Maribor Slovenia_1578x1050
  • Eurasian Lynx
  • Slovenia Soca River Houses 1
  • Slovenia Goriska Brda Wine Region

Find your Wild Europe on a Tailor-Made Slovenia Tour

Who’d have thought that a country half the size of Switzerland could have so much to offer? From Adriatic beaches to high Alpine peaks, this is a country that surprises and enthralls in equal measure. Compact, Hapsburg-influenced cities lie less than an hour from grand coastal towns, while a short drive inland lie the forested slopes of the Julian and Dinaric Alps. Wherever you go, you’ll see the Slovenian desire to lead by ecological example: fabulous restaurants forage for local ingredients, farm homestays produce their own cheeses and guesthouses hunker among their surrounding vineyards. On one of our tailor-made trips, you’ll meet the Slovenes and get to understand what makes them and their country special.

Meet the Wildlife of Wild Europe and Support Conservation Efforts

On this trip, you will be making a positive contribution to the conservation and rewilding efforts in Slovenia and wider Europe. By taking a direct interest in the rewilding projects happening across Slovenia, and through our local donations to these efforts on your behalf, your low-carbon holiday will not only be a relaxing, culturally rewarding experience, but it will also have a positive impact. Helping key species and rewilding activities at the same time as having an excellent holiday – what’s not to love?

DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION We can arrange to collect you from your door or you can start your trip with us at St Pancras Station, London – or elsewhere in Europe.
DEPARTURE TIME Flexible – see itinerary tab for details
INCLUDED
  • Rail Travel to and from the UK in your choice of class
  • Accommodation throughout
  • All meals
  • Transfers and all transport
  • Professional English-speaking guides
  • Entrance fees where applicable
  • Visits to rewilding and conservation projects and donations to these projects
  • Annual membership of Mossy Earth, supporting rewilding and conservation efforts
  • Some or all meals, whichever you prefer
  • Coffee, tea, filtered water and fresh fruit throughout
  • Carbon calculation to show the carbon impact of your trip
NOT INCLUDED
  • Visas, if required
  • Guide tips
  • Souvenirs

Visit Ancient Forests, Deep Caves and Sparkling Coastline in a Single Day

Slovenia presents a rare treat of geographic diversity. For a small country, it will leave your senses reeling.

The vegetation of Slovenia has shifted …from grassland and scrub to deep forest. So tall and impressive are the trees and so thickly do they now cover the hills that when you see old wartime photos, it is almost impossible to believe that you are looking at the same place. I have become so used to seeing the progress of destruction that scanning these photos felt like watching a film played backwards“. George Monbiot of his visit to Slovenia.

Come and experience Slovenia yourself. To paraphrase a certain beer commercial, we’ll guide you to the parts other companies don’t reach.

As with all of our itineraries, this is just a sample of what we can offer, and can be tailored to fit your interests and style of travel.

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Day 1 - Crossing Europe in Style

Start Point: London (or your home station in the UK or elsewhere in Europe)
Destination: Paris and then onwards to Munich and Ljubljana
Travel: Intercity service, Eurostar to Paris
Notes: At Munich, join the overnight sleeper service to Ljubljana, 1st class cabins available

With Wild Europe, your holiday starts the moment you leave your front door. You’ll either catch your local service to London St Pancras, or we can organise for an electric car to whisk you directly to St Pancras, where you’ll clear passport control and step on to the late morning Eurostar to Paris.

Once you reach Paris we’ll transfer you from Gare du Nord to Gare de L’est, in time to board the 16.00 high speed ICE or TGV service to Munich. On arrival, you can either spend a night in this picturesque city on the banks of the Isar River, or board the  overnight sleeper train to Ljubljana, departing at 23.00.

In utmost comfort, you’ll slumber through the Alps and awake in time for your arrival into Ljubljana shortly after 06.00 tomorrow.

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Day 2 - Ljubljana

Start Point: Munich
Destination: Ljubljana
Travel: Arrival by train from Munich on the sleeper service

You’ll arrive in Ljubljana early this morning, in time to meet your guide, check in to your hotel and enjoy your first Slovenian breakfast. After some time to rest, today is all about exploring this beautiful European capital – and what better way to do this than on an iconic Yugoslavian ROG vintage bicycle, which we’ll have delivered to your hotel. If you’re feeling idle, you can always opt for an e-bike instead, or even an electric car.

Either alone, or in the company of a local guide, you’ll meet some of the artists who have made Ljubljana such a focus for musicians and artists. You’ll also have coffee with a well-known architect, who’ll tell you how this city has changed in the last few decades, and its vision for a green future.

After lunch and some time to relax you’ll visit a small village just outside the capital, home to a very interesting chef. Recently awarded a Michelin Green Star for his natural philosophy, his small family-run restaurant produces eighty per cent of their own produce.

This is soul-enriching, delicious food that has travelled just metres from field to fork. Expect excellent food and lip-smacking wines before returning to your hotel. We like the Art Deco styled Cubo for its faultless service, attention to detail and central location. But if this isn’t your kind of place, we’ll work with you to choose a hotel that suits your style.

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Day 3 - Ljubljana to Soča Valley

Start Point: Ljubljana
Destination: Soča Valley
Travel: Car and Train

Today you’ll leave Ljubljana and head north to Lake Bled. On the way you’ll visit a local beekeeper and learn all about this longstanding Slovenian tradition, while also tasting some of his peerless mountain honey.

Arriving at the cobalt shores of Lake Bled, you’ll head for a coffee and some calorific cream cake at one of Tito’s residences – now a hotel. In one of the halls is a large fresco commemorating the Partisan victory in the Second World War – an interesting introduction to a part of modern history that still divides the Slovenes.

Most travellers tend to stay near Lake Bled, but you’ll continue up to gorgeous Lake Bohinj, where you’ll go for a walk and enjoy a picnic lunch with magnificent views over the lake.

From Bohinj, you’ll drive your car on to the motorail train and make the forty-five minute journey to the town of Most na Soči, past a number of picturesque mountain villages. On the way,  you’ll cut through the belly of the Julian Alps via the 6.5 km Bohinj tunnel.

From the train, you’ll head up the Soča Valley to the village of Livek, situated less than 500 metres from the Italian border. You’ll be staying here for two nights, perched above a grandstand view of the Julian Alps.

Supper will be at the hotel tonight, giving you the chance to relax and drink in the tranquility.

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Day 4 - Soča Valley

Start Point: Soča Valley
Destination: Soča Valley
Travel: Car and by foot

Today, after breakfast at your hotel, you’ll be heading off to spend the day foraging with a chef from one of the world’s top 50 restaurants – a restaurant with wild foods at the heart of its menu and two Michelin stars to their name.

You’ll spend time with the restaurant’s head forager, learning about the local, wild, edible plants that grow in the surrounding mountains. You also meet some of the shepherds, cheese makers, hunters and fishermen who help put the food on the tables.

This afternoon you’ll wander along the glorious Soča River, visit some hidden waterfalls and enjoy a picnic lunch. If fishing is your game, then we can organise for a knowledgeable local guide to meet you by the Soča with rods and tackle and show you their favourite hidden beats.

This evening, after some time to relax, you’ll be heading back to the Michelin starred restaurant to enjoy some of the best food you’ve ever eaten. Relax, enjoy a drink and savour your supper – your driver will be on hand to take you safely home.

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Day 5 - Soča Valley to Štanjel

Start Point: Soča Valley
Destination: Štanjel
Travel: Ebike, car and on foot

After last night’s supper, you may well want a lie in today. When you’re ready though, you can enjoy a leisurely breakfast overlooking the Soča Valley before checking out and hitting the mountain trails on foot or e-bike, direct from your door.

Although it’s hard to believe now, the  Soča Valley was once part of the Isonzo Front, one of the bloodiest front lines of the First World War. Approximately 1.7 million soldiers were injured or killed here, many losing their lives attempting to navigate the steep mountain slopes or traverse deep canyons. If history’s your thing, we can arrange for a historian to come and meet you today, and show you some of the old bunkers and trenches that once formed the front.

From here you’ll drive down into the winemaking region of Goriška Brda, visiting the beautiful towns of Vipavski Križ and  Štanjel – built around a hilltop on a karst plateau. As this is winemaking territory, you’ll stop at a small, specialist vineyard where you’ll meet the owners and taste the fruits of their labour – a personal experience rather than the bus-tour wine tasting experiences that proliferate across much of Europe.

Tonight will be the first of two nights at a fantastic old villa hotel in Štanjel, a characterful property with extensive terraced gardens, beautiful views and wonderful food.

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Day 6 - Štanjel and surrounds

Start Point: Štanjel
Destination: Štanjel
Travel: Ebike and Car

Today you’ll stay on Štanjel’s karst plateau and enjoy a fabulously peaceful day whooshing along quiet roads on an e-bike.

Your guide, if you’ve chosen to have one, will show you pretty villages where you’ll meet local farmers and vineyard owners. Among the people you’ll meet today are a producer of sparkling red wine, a traditional stonemason and sculptor, a prosciutto producer and a distiller of lavender oil.

This is slow travel at its absolute best and you will come way from this day of meandering under electric power with a real sense of place and people. You’ll be enjoying a simple lunch at one of the farms and have plenty of down-time back at the hotel this evening.

For those with a head for horses, we can organise an afternoon riding one of the famous Lippizaner horses, so highly prized by the Hapsburg monarchy.

 

Tonight you’ll be at the same hotel, and we will leave supper down to you.

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Day 7 - Karst Plateau to the Deep Forests of the South

Start Point: Štanjel
Destination: Forest Reserve, Southern Slovenia
Travel: Car and by foot

Time to get wild! You’ll head about an hour south today, into the heart of the extensive old-growth forests near Cerknica. Here, you’ll be met by a wildlife expert and spend the day walking with them, learning about the preservation efforts for the ‘big beasts’ that call this place home.

You’ll also inspect camera traps and search for the prints and spoor of bear, wolf and lynx.

After getting to grips with the efforts to conserve these iconic species, you’ll enjoy lunch with a local farmer who’ll give an impression of what it is like to share a habitat with large predators. The process of rewilding and conserving keystone animals on a crowded continent is nuanced, and Slovenia has more experience than most countries, so this is a fascinating insight.

In the evening, you’ll go for a walk with a bear expert and hopefully watch these gentle giants in their natural environment, in accordance with the “bear friendly” principles developed by the University of Ljubljana.

You’ll spend this evening at a simple farm homestay and enjoy local food and wines with the host family.

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Day 8 - Southern Forests to the Coast

Start Point: Forest Reserve, Southern Slovenia
Destination: Piran
Travel: Car

After an excellent breakfast at your homestay, you’ll head towards the coast today. Sandwiched between Italy and Croatia, Slovenia has less than 40 miles of coast, including some attractive Istrian cities with a strong Venetian influence. Departing after breakfast, you’ll travel first to the Škocjan cave system, a UNESCO World Heritage site with fabulous sculpted formations and unique colouration.

A private specialist guide will show you the very best parts of this immense underground world. Following this visit, you’ll head to the coastal salt pans to enjoy a couple of hours – and some lunch – at the Lepa Vida Spa. Here, you can take time for a massage and a salt mud wrap with reputedly rejuvenating effects.

From here it’s a short drive to your sea-front hotel in Piran, a pretty Adriatic town that flourished when La Serenissima ruled the seas. There is a Kempinksi here, but our preference is for the less-fussy Piran Hotel, where you can enjoy a balcony room overlooking the emerald waters of the Adriatic Sea.

There are plentiful options for a relaxed supper overlooking the waves here, and you’ll find the city at it’s best after the day trippers have returned home. It’s a quiet city too thanks to the no-vehicle policy, so you’ll have a soundtrack of lapping waves and amiable hubbub rather than tooting horns and revving engines.

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Day 9 - Piran and the Coast

Start Point: Piran
Destination: Piran
Travel: Boat and by foot

Suitably fortified by a Piran Hotel breakfast, you’ll head down to the harbour to meet a local fisherman and spend some of the day out at sea.

As you sail to the nearby port city of Izola, you’ll have the chance to fish, snorkel and swim in ultra-clear waters and hidden coves. In Izola, you’ll enjoy lunch at a waterfront cafe before making the 1.5 hour boat trip back to Piran.

Either way you’ll be back in Piran this evening for a final relaxing evening by the sea.

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Day 10 - Coast to Capital

Start Point: Piran
Destination: Small Organic Estate near Ljubljana
Travel: Car

This morning, after a final seaside breakfast, you’ll be driven to a small organic farm just outside Ljubljana.

This wonderful haven sits within striking distance of the city. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to simply relax and enjoy the nature surrounding the farm, or have a private cooking lesson, making a traditional “old style” Slovenian recipe made almost entirely from produce grown on the estate.

The hosts here are warm and friendly and you’ll have a lovely final evening. There’s also a sauna and thermal pool here if you’d like to relax even more.

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Day 11 - Ljubljana and Home

Start Point: Ljubljana
Destination: Overnight Train to Munich and onwards
Travel: Boat, on foot and by sleeper train

After a final Slovenian breakfast and a farewell to your hosts, you’ll board a wooden vessel that will take you half an hour down the Ljubljanica River into the heart of Slovenia’s capital.

Your luggage will be transferred for you, and your guide will meet you with it later in the day, leaving you to enjoy your day here unencumbered by bags. You don’t need to be at the train station until early evening, so take your time and enjoy this diminutive, yet delightful city.

Your guide will make sure you board your overnight sleeper train, departing at 23.00. You will be booked into a first-class, two-berth compartment and arrive in Munich tomorrow morning, in time for a pastry and coffee.

From here, you’ll catch the fast train to Brussels, then make the short cross-channel hop to London. Whenever you arrive in London, we will arrange for either an ongoing rail transfer to your home station or for a low-carbon vehicle to collect you from St Pancras and whisk you home.

EV Charging

Where will we be staying?

You’ll be staying in a variety of accommodation – from excellent 5* hotels to coastal hotels. As this is a tailor-made tour, we will book your hotels according to your tastes and preferences. We can all book a 5* hotel and know what to expect but, to our minds, luxury is the chance to get to know real people and understand the culture of the place you are visiting, not simply to see it through the lens of a glitzy hotel. These are the sorts of memories that last a lifetime.

What will the weather be like?

In Slovenia you should expect warm and generally dry summers and mild winters at lower altitudes, with plenty of snow and some summer rain in the mountains. As there are diverse geographical locations, you can expect the climate to change throughout the year and  be dependent on location. Some wildlife is clearly only going to be visible at certain times of year – we can’t expect bears to be awake in winter, for example, but wolves will perhaps be easier to track. But whatever the season, Slovenia has a huge amount to offer, so just let us know when you can visit, and we will develop a thoughtful itinerary based around that time of year. In any event, we will provide a detailed packing list in your Welcome Pack, so you’ll be prepared whatever the weather.

I’m a solo traveller – is this for me?

Yes. This is a tailor-made trip, so whether you are travelling alone or in a private group of ten, we will put exactly the same high level of care and attention to detail into your trip. This has become our hallmark, and a tradition we are proud to continue.

What kit do I need to bring?

We will provide you with a Welcome Pack after you’ve booked, and this will detail any particular equipment we think either necessary or useful.

What vehicles will we be travelling in?

You’ll be travelling by hybrid or electric cars most of the time. On this trip you will also have the chance to ride some Ebikes and travel by local fishing boat and river transport too.

What will the food be like?

Very, very good. The food in Slovenia is excellent and you will be eating in a variety of places, from top-notch Michelin-starred restaurants to local homes. You’ll enjoy a wide range of dishes and have the chance to eat local, often seasonal produce at its best.

Rail bookings look really complicated, do you handle all of that for me?

Yes. Even in the 2020’s, booking international rail tickets is still not a simple affair. Rest assured we will handle all of that for you. All you need to do is sit back, relax and let us take the strain.

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