Slovenia, from the mountains to the coast.
It’s been just over a week since our adventurers – Mélanie, Rémi, Vanessa and Charles – came back from Slovenia. Last week, I met them to get their thoughts and impressions after 8 days in this beautiful country.
Why did you decide to go to Slovenia?
Rémi: We really wanted to do a trek but we needed something quite soft. When we had a look at Just Boarded’s website, Slovenia appeared to be the best destination for us. It’s a country that offers great trails and remains very authentic.
Charles: We also wanted to explore the Slovenian coast after the trek, so being able to extend our trip was really a bonus for us. It’s two different worlds, two different cultures and it was great to experience both.
Vanessa: I think we really had a good balance between outdoor adventure and relaxation which is exactly what we were looking for. We trekked for 3 days in the Karst region, then spent 3 days on the coast where it was more relaxing and ended up the trip by spending 2 days exploring Ljubljana.
Mélanie: We spent 8 days in total in Slovenia and came back home feeling relaxed (although our legs are still a bit sore to be honest!) and with the impression we were away for weeks.
Where did you sleep during your adventure?
Mélanie: During the trek we slept in a farmhouse in a tiny village lost in the Slovenian countryside. The farmhouse offers simple but comfortable rooms. While on the coast, we stayed in a hotel in the city centre. The farmhouse was less polished than the hotel but it was our favourite accommodation as it’s so much more welcoming. Ivanka, the owner was fantastic and really made us feel at home.
Rémi: Yes, staying in a homestay was for us the best way to gain a genuine insight into Slovenia.
Charles: What I liked about this farmhouse is that you’re staying in a peaceful environment but you are close to everything at the same time. There is a small bar down the road, full of local people. It gets very lively in the evening and stays open until late. We really liked going there for a glass of local wine or a beer. The owner is super nice and you are really immersed into the local culture.
Vanessa: You are also really close from the station that takes you to the coast. Or you can drive to the coast from the farmhouse, it takes only an hour to reach Koper and you’re suddenly in an entirely different part of the country, with different customs and landmarks.
What is the food like in Slovenia?
Rémi: The food cooked by Ivanka at the farmhouse was of high quality. The food she serves is mostly produced on the farm itself like fresh seasonal vegetables, eggs, prune liqueur, and the menu of the day is decided in the morning depending on what the garden has to offer, so it’s always fresh!
Mélanie: For breakfast, we had many options including tea, coffee and homemade juices, fresh fruits, eggs, sausages, cereals, bread, homemade jams and honey, yoghurt. We were definitely not leaving the table feeling hungry!
Charles: During the trek, we had the opportunity to sample on authentic Slovenian food, it was super tasty! A lovely lady in Cerknica was preparing our pic nic lunches every day. Think homemade bread, delicious spreads made from red bell peppers and courgettes with tomatoes or curry, as well as delicious cheeses. It was great being able to taste the local cuisine.
Rémi: Actually, the food we had during the trek was so good, we couldn’t resist bringing some home. Ivanka has some great handmade products you can buy and you can also find some in Cerknica. Just ask the guide, Paul, he knows the best places to go to!
Vanessa: We also had fresh juices on the go. The apple and carrot one was my favourite!
Can you tell us a bit more about Paul, your local guide?
Rémi: Paul is the best! He went above and beyond to ensure our trip was perfect! We learned so much during this trip and it’s definitely thanks to him.
Vanessa: I agree, Paul will make you discover extraordinary, rare and even endangered flower species and always has fun facts about the culture of Slovenia. His expert eyes could find the animals that we would otherwise have missed from birds to brown bears tracks.
Charles: I think travelling with a guide adds so much value to your trip. You learn about the culture and history of the destination on a deeper level and from a local’s perspective.
Mélanie: He was also really good at adapting the trip to fit our interests, our walking pace as well as the weather. We felt super safe with him!
What was your favourite day during the trek?
Vanessa: I think we can all agree our favourite day was when we summited Mount Snežnik. The landscapes were very diverse and the views at the top were so spectacular!
Mélanie: Yes it was a real challenge but it is so rewarding once you reach the top of the peak at 1,796m!
What is the best activity to do on the coast?
Rémi: We really recommend you to pick up a bike and cycle on the Parenzana Trail. It’s an old railway track that used to connect Trieste and Poreč and has become a symbol of friendship between the Slovenian, Italian and Croatian municipalities. It has now been turned into a bicycle track and footpath. You can download the road map on your phone which is really convenient.
Vanessa: The route is very scenic, it goes across valleys and hills, through old cities and villages, along the sea, amongst coastal salt marshes, vineyards and olive plantations and through short tunnels.
Mélanie: Yes, the tunnels you go through are great to cool down especially in the hot summer days!
Charles: You can reach Izola which is only 6km away or Piran which is 16km away. Both are great cute little towns best explored on foot. When in Piran, you can actually see the Croatian coast. And if you’re too tired and don’t feel like riding back, there is the possibility to take a taxi with your bike back to Koper.
Vanessa: If you want to relax, there are a lot of tiny beaches not too crowded between Koper and Izola. You can rent a wooden deckchair and a parasol and enjoy the warm sea. The water was at 28 degrees, it was perfect!
Any recommendations on places to check in Koper?
Charles: In Koper, you have to check the restaurant Čevabdžinica Sarajevo 84′. They serve typical Balkan food, it’s delicious, the ambiance is cosy and prices are affordable!
Vanessa: Another place we liked was Capra, an Italian restaurant. You can enjoy delicious seafood while sitting on the terrace overlooking the sea.
Mélanie: For dessert, go to Sladoledarna. This homemade ice-cream place was recommended by the staff at the hotel we stayed at and we are so pleased we listened to their advice!
Rémi: It’s situated in a tiny street in Koper that looks a bit dodgy to be honest but it’s definitely the best place in Koper for ice-cream! They have a large variety of flavours and even vegan ice-creams!
Any recommendations on places to check in Ljubljana?
Charles: Vinoteka Movia is a wine bar situated in the old city. It’s a great place to try Slovenian wines. Just ask the staff for recommendations, they are very knowledgable!
Rémi: Ljubljana is very lively in the summer so wherever you go, you will be entertained! We enjoyed getting lost in the city, discovering cute little streets and listening to artists performing in the streets.
Last but not least, what is your next destination?
Charles and Vanessa: For our next adventure, we are thinking of going to Canada or the US. Yosemite, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, the possibilities are endless!
Mélanie: For me it would be Greece or Sardinia, a sunny destination!
Rémi: Luxembourg and Belgium have great trails as well. Sometimes you don’t need to go too far to have an adventure!
I was so pleased to have Mélanie, Rémi, Vanessa and Charles on board with us! If like them you want to explore Slovenia, get in touch with us and let us know what your dream adventure looks like. We will do anything to make it happen!
Until next adventure.
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