Holidays in Slovenia
Wine Tour (Silver): A fine cuvée of wines, cuisine and comfort.
A wine tour that spans most of Slovenia, taking in fine wines, fine cuisine and fine hotels. And some very fine people indeed.
Use the buttons for a glimpse of your wine tour of Slovenia...
- San Martin
- Hiša Franko
- Vinoteka Brda
- Gostilna na Gradu
Opened in November 2013, San Martin is a wonderful addition to the burgeoning wine tourism of Goriška Brda. The house itself is very modern, but has been designed to blend in nicely with the local architecture, while giving its guests wonderful views across the vineyards of the Brda and Collio hills.
There is also a fine restaurant (with bar to match), where you can dine on local delicacies while taking in the view.
You will be right in the middle of some of Slovenia's best wine makers - so take your time, settle in... and drink in the... (did we mention the view?).
When they took over Hiša Franko some years back Ana Roš (Katja and Bojan's daughter) couldn't cook and Valter liked a glass of wine. Now Ana runs one of the finest kitchens in the country and her partner Valter Kramer is one of Slovenia's best sommeliers.
We've eaten Ana's marvels many times since our first review in 2005, each time being transported into a dream-like state, marveling how she has developed her taste and technique over the years. We believe that she will eventually gain the international recognition she deserves - then you'll pay (for not getting here earlier)!
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!
A great favourite of our customers since opening in 2006, the Antiq is located on a pretty street on the edge of Ljubljana's old town.
Although it looks rather older, the Antiq is in fact just a youngster among the wizzened old behemoths that populate Ljubljana's centre. But although comparatively new, it does have that feeling of relaxed elegance that you would expect from a hotel of this name. There is a lovely lounge throughout the bottom floor, part of which serves as the breakfast room. During the day it's nice to pop back in and have a coffee and something a little stronger while watching a small part of the world go by.
Until a few years back, the dining options at Ljubljana castle were not great (please note the typical English understatement here).
Then three of Slovenia's greatest restaurateurs - Ana Roš and Valter Kramer of Hiša Franko, and Svetozar Raspopović of Gostilna As - took on the task of making a restaurant the city could be proud of. Between them they trained a team of young chefs to prepare and cook local, organic, seasonal produce, to a standard that befits a city's castle. Best of all, this is no tourist trap, and they're not into airs and graces: Gostilna na Gradu is now the main reason for visiting the castle!
Tucked beside the town hall in the old town, Movia's quaint little wine bar is a cornucopia of Slovenia's ever-increasing wines. As an introduction to the breadth of Slovenia's wines, this is a fine place to start.
Gujžina is a natural extension of one of our favourite Ljubljana eateries, Mencigar Nobile - a place that was damned by its location (slightly outside the touristy bit) and its name (how do you pronounce it?).
Having addressed one problem in locating this gem of a restaurant in the middle of the old town, they compounded the other by using letters in its name that are not even a part of the Slovenian alphabet. So, in order to help get you there, here is how you pronounce it: Goozheena (the 'zh' as in 'pleasure').
The food: the speciality is from the north eastern region of Prekmurje, so there is a lot of Hungarian influence: plenty of pumpkin seeds, prime porky-worky, goose and goulash. The most famous main dish is Bograč, a piquant stew featuring plenty of game and a few potatoes. And the most famous dessert is what we call the Cake of Champions: Gibanica (pron. Gibanitsa), a cake layered with poppy seeds, apple, cheese, nuts, honey and other cakey things. Eat both of these and you'll be replete indeed. Or stuffed, as we say.
It is also worth noting that the wines from the region are also quite exceptional, including Marof and Dveri Pax.
Gašper Čarman, who's mum and dad own and Slovenia's nicest restaurants, Pri Danilu, is one of the go-to people for wine in Slovenia. While still helping at the restaurant, he developed an interest in fermented grape juice... developed a relationship with wine makers... developed his own wine distribution company... developed his own wine bar and shop. Hopefully he's stopped developing for a while, so we can all catch up.
When you get back home you can order Slovenian wines online from e-vino, but while you're here you should spend some time imbibing some of Slovenia's best at Gašper's wine bar.
Owned and run by the Firbas family, this is a tourist farm that just oozes down-homeness (even if that isn't a word).
Sons Bojan and Dejan take care of most of the hospitality, ensuring your stay is as comfortable as possible.
Their mother, Marjan (pron. Marian), is in charge of the kitchen, where she cooks local dishes that will get you through any part of the day you want to attack.
Alojž handles the vineyards... and more importantly, the exquisite Firbas pear brandy, or viljamovka (pron. Villyamuka).
What's more, it's like a year-round harvest festival here, as there are all kinds of produce to consume or take with you: cured meats, breads, fruit juices and pumpkin seed oil.
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.
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.
One of Slovenia's newer wineries, Marof has very quickly established itself as one of the best. A drive through the winding roads and vineyards north of Murska Sobota rewards you with one of the most stunning wine cellars you'll ever see.
First is the chateau, which the company usese for presentations, seminars and the like. Nice, but the real killer is the building that houses the tasting room and cellar: a sleek yet plain looking large shed belies an ultra-modern interior, featuring a beautifully constructed wooden tasting table that snakes its way towards the bar... and past the huge glass wall that looks out over the vineyards.
A perfect venue for tasting some of the region's finer wines.
What you get...
- 10 nights in some of our most popular hotels
- Three traditional dinners
- Two tasting menus
- Six wine tastings
- Price per person (based on two sharing):
Prices are the best estimate, depending on availability, season and personal preferences.
Does not include flights or car hire.