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Stories of Slovenia

9 days

Never more than 16 guests

Overall Rating
based on 2 Reviews

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Small Group Discoveries for our World Travelers

+ Meet friendly Slovenians in both town and countryside and sample local delicacies like potica, a popular pastry made with sweet dough, ground nuts and honey.
+ Journey through the majestic Julian Alps for a 2-night stay on the country estate where Hemingway convalesced during World War II and wrote much of A Farewell to Arms.
+ Cruise across beautiful Lake Bled to St. Mary’s Church and ring the ancient Wishing Bell!
+ Hear about the daring feats of the 15th-century robber baron who lived in Predjama Castle with its secret tunnels and cunning trapdoors.
+ Delve into the dramatic World War I history of the Isonzo Front at the award-winning Kobarid Museum.
+ Meet a local winemaker for a tasting and lunch in the heart of Slovenia’s beautiful wine country.

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Day
1

Welcome to Slovenia

Upon arrival at Ljubljana Airport, you’ll be met and escorted to Strmol Castle. Set on manicured grounds against a densely forested hillside and tracing its origins to the 13th-century, our enchanting castle hotel blends genuine historic ambience and modern comfort. This evening’s dinner features the fine Slovenian cuisine of our hotel’s esteemed kitchen accompanied by local wine.  Meals D

Day
2

Village Life + Lake Bled

After breakfast, our engaging Slovenian guide will be waiting to show you the cultural traditions and flavors of his native land. Our Small Group sightseeing begins in the small village of Kropa. Set in a forested valley along the banks of a rushing stream, Kropa was long famed for the skill of its iron forgers who formed a close-knit community with their own customs, cuisine and culture. At the Iron Forging Museum, you’ll learn more about these fascinating traditions.
 
In nearby Radovljica, you’ll discover a handsome town filled with fine medieval architecture. Visit the local Apicultural Museum to learn about the region’s centuries-old beekeeping traditions and enjoy a tasting of freshly harvested local honey as well as medica, a Slovenian wine made from honey. We’ll stay here in town to enjoy the farm-to-table cuisine of Lectar, a charming restaurant that’s been owned and operated by a family of bakers since 1766. After lunch, we’ll have time to tour their bakery and a little on-site museum.
 
In the afternoon, we’ll set out across Lake Bled in a traditional wooden pletna; it’s the best way to take in the surrounding landscape of lakeside forests and rugged mountain peaks. Visit St. Mary’s Church, set on a small island in the middle of the lake, and hear the colorful story of the Wishing Bell that has hung for centuries from a roof beam above the church nave. There’s also a cake maker here on the tiny island where you’ll have a chance to sample a slice of potica, a popular Slovenian pastry made with sweet dough and filled with nuts, honey, raisins, rum and other fruits and flavors; you’ll be able to make your selection from the day’s offerings. Then visit Bled Castle - which has stood for centuries high atop a cliff overlooking the tranquil waters of Lake Bled and St. Mary’s Church. After sightseeing, you’ll return to Strmol Castle where you can relax and dine this evening as you wish.  Meals B+L

Day
3

Into the Julian Alps

This morning’s journey takes you into the majestic Alpine landscapes of Triglav National Park. Stopping in the Vrsic Pass, you’ll have captivating views of the Julian Alps as they stretch onward into Italy and Austria. You’ll visit the Russian chapel built by Russian prisoners of war during World War I and descend along the so-called Russian Road into the beautiful Trenta Valley. Marvel at the Mlinarica Canyon and Boka Waterfalls and then make your way into the picturesque Soca River Valley.
 
Today’s scenic drive ends in a picturesque rural hamlet near Kobarid where you’ll check in to Hisa Franko. With only 16 rooms, our inviting boutique hotel is set on the grounds of an historic countryside estate that served as a hospital during World War I. According to local legend, war correspondent and novelist Ernest Hemingway wrote much of A Farewell to Arms here as he convalesced after being injured on the Isonzo Front. Hisa Franko is esteemed not only for its warm hospitality but also for its farm-to-table cuisine. This evening, you’ll sample the chef’s fresh preparation of regional dishes accompanied by local wine.  Meals B+D

Day
4

The History + Charm of Kobarid

Today, Kobarid is a charming village set in a peaceful valley between towering Alpine peaks. But a century ago, this now quiet river valley was the site of fierce fighting – the historic Isonzo Front. Indeed, the historic Battle of Caporetto in 1917 was one of the major battles of World War I and saw the combined German and Austro-Hungarian forces decisively break through the Italian line. After a leisurely breakfast, you’ll delve more deeply into this dramatic chapter of history at the award-winning Kobarid Museum where giant relief maps, a wealth of photographs, and a moving audiovisual presentation detail the battle. Hemingway enthusiasts will be intrigued as these historic events are compared to descriptions and passages in his novel A Farewell to Arms.
 
This evening, we’ve arranged for you to be the special guests of the Medves family! Enjoy a warm welcome and the fine regional farm-to-table cuisine of their family farm - set on the slopes of Matajur Mountain.  After dinner, we’ll take you back to Hisa Franko for the night.  Meals B+D

Day
5

From the Alps to the Adriatic

Check out after breakfast and continue your journey through the Soca River Valley, learning more about the region’s history from our well-versed guide and delighting in the passing scenery. In Stanjel, you’ll enjoy a walking tour through this hilltop town, built on the site of an ancient Roman fort. With its winding streets, old stone houses and fine gardens, Stanjel is regarded as one of the prettiest towns in Slovenia. The imposing fortress walls of the castle and the 17th-century bell tower of St. Daniel’s Church are among the landmarks you’ll discover.
 
Continue your scenic overland journey through the vineyard landscapes of Goriska Brda, fondly known as the “Tuscany of Slovenia.” Meet with a local vintner and enjoy a wine tasting and lunch before traveling onward to the Adriatic Coast, passing through the medieval and now bustling port of Koper. Arriving in the coastal resort town of Portoroz, you’ll check in to the Hotel Marko. Set in an historic 19th-century landmark overlooking the seafront promenade, our charming boutique hotel offers spacious and handsomely-furnished guestrooms.  Meals B+L

Day
6

Excursion to Piran

Set on a narrow peninsula that juts out into the Adriatic Sea, Piran is an architectural gem of Venetian Gothic architecture. Traveling there this morning, you’ll embark on a guided walking tour through the narrow streets of its Old Town. In Tartinijev Trg, a grand public plaza laid out in the 19th century, you’ll see an imposing statue of the square’s namesake – the famous composer Giuseppe Tartini who was born here in 1692 when the town was a part of the Republic of Venice. Indeed, many visitors compare Piran’s captivating charm and magic with the more-famous Imperial capital which lies just over the horizon. Perched on a hill overlooking Piran and visible from Tartinijev Trg is the spectacular bell tower of St. George Cathedral.
 
After your guided walking tour, you’ll have ample free time to explore and enjoy Piran at your own pace. You might browse through its inviting boutiques, sit down in one of the many sidewalk cafes, continue to explore its medieval streets, or enjoy a lunch of freshly caught and prepared seafood. Then return by motorcoach to Portoroz where the balance of the afternoon is yours to do as you please.  If you wish, you can walk along the sea front promenade from Piran all the way back to your hotel in Portoroz. It’s a pleasant stroll that should take you about 30 minutes.  Meals B
 

Day
7

Lipizzaner Horses of Lipica + Ljubljana

The majestic Lipizzaner stallion may be most famously associated with the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, but these thoroughbred white horses have actually been bred at the Lipica Stud Farm for more than 430 years. This morning, you’ll travel to the historic village of Lipica for a tour of the Stud Farm including the stables and a fascinating on-site museum with interactive displays that will deepen your understanding and appreciation of these graceful creatures.
 
Next you’ll enjoy a guided visit of Predjama Castle. Built in the mouth of a cavern situated halfway up the side of a dramatic 400-foot cliff, this 4-story fortress is seemingly impregnable, astoundingly impressive and very picturesque! Your tour of this centuries-old landmark reveals all the required elements of a medieval castle, from secret passageways and dark dungeons to holes in the entry-tower ceiling through which boiling oil could be poured on intruders. You’ll also hear the colorful legends that surround the castle’s most famous resident, a 15th-century robber baron who, like Robin Hood, stole from the rich to give to the poor!
 
Continue your journey to Ljubljana and check in to the stylish Hotel Cubo, our intimate boutique hotel in the heart of the city. After time to refresh, join our guide for a walking tour through the historic core of Ljubljana. With a history steeped in the ancient legend of Jason and the Golden Fleece, Slovenia’s capital is filled with striking architectural monuments, handsome town squares and lovely Baroque fountains. But this university town, with its youthful population, is also abuzz with a cutting-edge exuberance that is sure to captivate you. After exploring the landmarks of Old Town, you’ll ascend by funicular to tour Ljubljana Castle. Set on the top of a commanding hill in the heart of the capital, the oldest elements of this impressive landmark date back more than 500 years. But many of the buildings which you’ll explore within the castle grounds were built in the 16th and 17th centuries. This evening is free for you to dine as you wish in one of Ljubljana’s many fine restaurants. Of course, our in-the-know guide will be happy to offer personal recommendations and assistance.  Meals B

Day
8

Medieval Kamnik + Your Choice of Activity

This morning, you’ll travel to Kamnik. Surrounded by forested hills and rugged mountains, the fine architecture of this picturesque town bears witness to its medieval wealth when it was a flourishing center of trade and home to numerous aristocratic families. After a walking tour through town, you can tailor your sightseeing with the guided activity of your choice:
 
+ Artisan Crafts: Visit an unusual “straw museum” to learn about this traditional local craft and watch as skilled artisans plait and weave straw into remarkable objects of beauty and function – including hats and baskets. You’ll also visit a pottery studio famed for its Slovenian Majolica ware.

+ Highland Adventure: Ascend by cable car to Velika Planina, a pastoral settlement situated on a mountain plateau in the heart of the Kamnik Alps. Enjoy some guided hiking and spend time with the local herders to experience a traditional slice of rural life. 

Back in Ljubljana, we’ve arranged for you to dine with a resident family. Traditional home cooking and congenial conversation with your hosts promise a delightful evening and genuine insight into Slovenian life and culture.  Meals B+D

Day
9

Depart Ljubljana

You’ll be chauffeured to the airport today for your onward journey.  Meals B

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Save $1,000 per couple + $500 solo on all of our Small Group, Small Ship and Private Journeys when you pay-in-full at time of booking.

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Travel is one of  life's most rewarding experiences, perhaps even more so when it's shared with those you love! Combine our limited-time pay-in-full discount with our Family & Friends offers and save even more:
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Book Your Air

Ask about international air service, including business class. See your travel agent or call us for current international airfare associated with this program. We offer both economy and business class fares. Prices are in U.S. currency and are per person based on double occupancy, unless otherwise noted. Availability is limited.