Holidays in Slovenia
The Dream Wine Tour (Gold): If Bacchus went on holiday, he'd probably do this.
Our very best hotels, wines, and cuisine will have you telling stories to your friends and family for a very long time!.
Use the buttons for a glimpse of your wine tour of Slovenia...
- Alma Vista
- Vinoteka Brda
- La Subida
- Hotel San Rocco
- San Rocco restaurant
- Kendov Dvorec
- Kendov Dvorec restaurant
- Sončna Hiša
- P&F Wines
- Dveri Pax
Alma Vista is a stunning vision of what can be accomplished in holiday accommodation, with style, comfort and full-on luxury available to one or two couples who want to squeeze the very best out of Slovenia
Aleks Simčič, wine maker extraordinaire, and his wife Martina have contrived to build the seriously awesome Alma Vista - a truly gorgeous house from where you can investigate the best of the Goriška Brda wine region... or just lay back and laze away the days. The ground floor features a lounge, dining area and a very modern kitchen, all of which lead out onto the terrace and the swimming pool.
Below is a well-stocked wine cellar and a larder with all kinds of local produce (jams, cheeses, honey, salamis and cured meats) for sale. There is also a large whirlpool bath, IR sauna and resting area.
The top floor comprises two identical large double bedrooms (with en suites, natch), within both of which you will wake to the beautiful vista of the vine-clad hills.
The menu at Belica changes almost daily, as the chef insists on using local ingredients (many of which are grown on the property) that are good on that day. The cuisine is that gorgeous blend of Slovene and Italian which is indigenous to the area: pastas and risottos are simple and all the better for it, as you get to taste (truffles, when we last visited) the ingredients in their glory; fish is sourced the same day from the Adriatic; oh, and Zlatko makes excellent cured meats: his salamis and pršut (prosciutto) are some of the best we've tasted anywhere.
Belica's wines have come a long way since we first visited, so be sure to get a good tasting - and they also make some very nice spirits and grappas.
The Vinoteka in Dobrovo is where you'll find most of the wines of the region. Petra will guide you through a tasting of some of the best - and her knowledge of the local producers really is second to none!
Presided over by the charming Joško Sirk, La Subida is like a distillation of Italian culture: the extended Sirk family runs the sprawlingly beautiful accommodation, the Michelin-starred trattoria, while Joško's main 'day job' is making some of Europe's great vinegar.
A beautiful little relais hotel in the rolling vineyards of Collio Goriziano, La Subida comprises a dozen small houses, each individually designed and decorated. There is also a peaceful garden, a swimming pool and an excellent Michelin-starred restaurant, serving local specialities (both Italian and Slovenian).
We've been drinking Ščurek wines for some years now, and always regarded them as being unique yet classical: each wine being a distillation (if I can use that word!) of the region, its weather, terrain and the wine maker's character.
At last, early in 2014, we took the opportunity to visit and 'get down and dirty' with some of our favourite wines and their charming humans. Now it's your turn.
Resting on a hillside on the edge of the little town of Brtonigla, San Rocco encapsulates all that we want from a hotel: beautiful location, relaxed ambience, good food and wine... oh, and a swimming pool... plus a little wellness thrown in. Perfect!
We found San Rocco almost by accident. A friend knew that we were considering an invasion of Croatia, so he sent us to eat here as a birthday treat. Given the distance from Ljubljana, we booked a room too... and then met the waiter... who introduced us to his mum... and Slovene Dream suddenly became Slovene Dream (With a Bit of Croatia... and Italy).
In all of our travels, our meal at San Rocco stands out as one of the very best. Seven courses of utter bliss begged the question that we so often ask on our travels east of Italy: how come Michelin doesn't come here?
Since our first stay at Kendov Dvorec we thought we'd found Slovenia's best hotel. True, there are now a number of new or re-jigged places that vie for that title, but while Bogdan Tončič is still there, it's going to take some beating.
What used to be a farm manor house has been beautifully refurbished in keeping with the local style. All of the furniture is authentically local, and it's prettily draped with equally authentic Idrijan lace. The whole place exudes calm, charm and elegance - but with an element of relaxed comfort (i.e. it's posh but t-shirts are OK).
Which is why Relais & Chateaux are proud to have Kendov Dvorec as a member.
The chef at Kendov Dvorec, Franci Pivk, applies exactly the same approach to his cooking as the owners have to the hotel itself: local ingredients and recipes refined into twenty-first century gastronomy will have you mmmm-ing all through dinner.
We'd recommend a walk down by the Idrjica river between dinner and bed!
Bogdan also keeps a very good wine cellar - and he'll also be sending you on a wine-tasting trip to the Vipava valley, home to many of Slovenia's finest wine makers.
Certainly one of the finest restaurants in Slovenia, Zemono is also one of our favourites. Having eaten there a couple of times before we were married, we took our best man and his partner there for an extended lunch the day after our wedding.
This was the first time we met the chef, Tomi Kavčič, a man of great passion, great wit and talents of a very special kind. Still one of the greatest meals of all our lives, we think you might like to eat there too.
We stayed at the Sun House - or Sončna Hiša in Slovene (pron. Sonchna Hisha) - in April 2008. If we didn't have to run this damn business, we'd still be there. The house is fab, the staff are woo, the owners - Nataša and Aleš - are yum... everything about this place is marvelous.
Each of the five suites is individually furnished and decorated. The floors are all of sustainable hardwood, while the wash and shower areas are a splash of crystal clear glass enclosing beautiful tiling (you have to know your partner pretty well).
P&F stands for Puklavec and Friends, which is a nice inclusive sounding name for what is a very big winery. It was not always thus.
When we first visited back in 2006 it was still state-owned and a tad shabby. Knowing how crap Slovenian wines had flooded the UK back in the seventies, I'd always wondered where it came from.
This is where it came from.
It is so huge it makes you reel back and take some deep breaths. If Ernst Stavro Blofeld had been a wine fiend, this would be the HQ that Mr Bond would have to blow up. I can just see the black hooded special forces abseiling down the vats.
But fast forward to happier times, as instead of Bondage, this very impressive piece of real estate was snapped up by the Puklavec family, who had already made a name for themselves as serious wine makers.
And now they have just the place to flood the UK market again. But this time, with some very nice wine indeed.
For you: not just a wine tasting, but a real blast (including climbing these stairs).
Our first experience of Tramšek (needless to say, we've been back since!):
Truth be told, our only dining experience at Tramšek was as guests of the owners of Sončna Hiša - and this after two wine tastings earlier in the day!
So they kind of knew we were coming - but then, all you need to do to duplicate the experience is call ahead and say you're with us. Anyway, as usual, I took a few good views around the dining room, to check that our co-diners were as cock-a-hoop as we were.
Yes, you've got it: yet another fab restaurant in Slovenia. The chicken stuffed with pumpkin seeds (see picture) was a riot of flavour, as was the deliciously unctuous slow-roasted wild boar. As we were discussing hotel stuff (and our wine adventures), I didn't take any notes at the time - all the better to relax with some of the nicest cuisine in the region.
Dveri Pax has been at the forefront of Slovenian wine making for a long time, and have established a fine reputation for their elegant wines. I say a long time: in fact wines were produced in their Jarenina chateau cellar by Benedictine monks as far back as 1139!
The chateau was renovated in 2007, since when the company's headquarters have been housed there. Wine tastings are held in the manor, following which a light snack on the lawn might be a fine idea.
Whenever we are in Prekmurje, we make a beeline for Rajh, as it manages to sum up all that is good about Slovenian cuisine - and good restaurants in general.
The welcome is always warm and friendly, the ambience is free of airs and graces and we know that the cooking will be special-but-not-daft (you know what I mean). Behind this ease of itself, is the fact that the restaurant is owned and run by four generations of the Rajh family, all of whom have contributed their individuality to the whole shebang.
Since the dark days of Yugoslavia, Janez Istenič has been producing sparkling wine by the traditional method (méthode champenoise) - indeed he was for a time the first and only producer in the region to do so.
He has since won many awards around the world for all of his wines, his Prestige Extra Brut being one of our favourites.
What you get...
- 12 nights in some of our very best hotels
- Two traditional dinners
- Six tasting menus
- Six wine tastings
- Price per person (based on four sharing)
Prices are the best estimate, depending on availability, season and personal preferences.
Does not include flights or car hire.