Where there are mountains, there are valleys. We will only mention a few of them now as we couldn't even begin to list them all, but if you avoid the excellent motorways you will find equally excellent country roads sweeping through unpronouncabubble valleys whose names will quickly leave your memory, but their simple majesty will remain with you for life.. Only then will you really begin to understand the incredible beauty of Slovenia.
There are numerous stunning valleys here, packed full of walks, features and other little gems for you to find and enjoy. You can spend the whole day exploring a single valley or wind your way in and out of different ones in your day's adventure.
Possibly the best kept and biggest secret in the whole of Slovenia.. (and this is saying something), is the huge Vipava valley, (15 mins). Just on the other side of our local Nanos mountain runs a beautiful long valley stuffed with vineyards, Roman villas, deserted castles, hilltop churches and riverside villages, with some very, very good restaurants hidden away.
The steep mountain slopes form a stone wall along one length of the valley, (for Games of Thrones fans, it’s a little bit like a natural “Wall in the North”, but of course much bigger and infinitely more beautiful). From these towering cliffs you get amazing views 1,000m down to the valley floor, across to the Italian foothills on the other side of the valley and to the right, the snow topped peaks of the Italian Dolomites.
The slopes on both sides of this valley are the perfect height and temperature for growing a variety of high quality wine grapes, including several wines where this is the only place in the world you can get this wine! For example a Vipava Zelen (Green) or Pinella. Indeed, there is such a passion for producing wine here that most producers we have gotten to know would prefer to sell just one bottle of wine to a guest interested in wine and the vineyard than 1,000 to someone who doesn’t care.. There is even a wine university here in the pretty little town of Vipava, (25 mins), where 7 rivers gush down from the mountains under bridges and trout swim freely.
A great way to explore this valley is maybe to visit one of our partner vineyards, which will encourage you to drive off the beaten track into the grape covered hills to find hidden villages, remote churches and stunning views at every turn. Within minutes you can drive up past Vipava vineyards, immediately sensing at the top of these rolling hills when you enter the completely different Teran wine region, with stony, rocky vineyards, the Italian coast and cliffs just minutes away and of course, another completely new and world unique wine to try!
A quiet, narrow motorway sweeps visitors through this valley, which is very handy for accessing other parts of Slovenia for our guests, but also the main reason why so many people completely miss the wonders of this enchanting place.. just venture off the main road and you will encounter miles of smiles.
Using this fast road connection through Vipava puts the attractions of the incredible Soca valley, (60 mins) easily into reach for our guests.
The valley is defined by the unbelievably beautiful Soca river, which flows down from the Alps near the Vrsic Pass down to the town of Nova Gorica, itself well worth a visit for its castle and old town. The very difficult to pronounce Goriska Brda, (Gorica Hills) wine region is accessed from here, where yet another world unique Rebulla wine can be found. Here you are not sure sometimes if you are in Italy or Slovenia as the curvy roads twist around the river and mountains and in May it is the best place to get the new cherries and even visit the cherry festivals.
It is so worth planning your daytrip to the Soca valley as there are so many things to do. A few moments taken to create a carefully planned route can open up so many possibilities, including several waterfalls, gorges, pretty riverside towns and of course the Soca river itself, with loads of extra water sport or relaxing possibilities.
The Loska Dolina, (dolina means valley) (40 mins) is another secret valley and home to the amazing Green Heart Walk. The valley is just past the wonders of the Krizna cave, (35 mins) and we recommend guests park in the village of Loz (40 mins) to access the 4-6 hour heart shaped walk through villages, forest and along the outer reaches of the largest disappearing lake in Europe, Cerknica.
Its perfectly possible of course to do shorter treks here and many of our guests have gone horse carriage riding near the stunning Sneznik, Snow mountain castle. This is where the oldest and thickest forests in Europe expand out towards Slovenia's largest non Alpine Mt Sneznik, (Snow mountain, 1,796m) and Croatia. It would be just great to cycle around here as well and we even know a wonderful man made lake where, if you can find it.. you can swim and relax in the sunshine.
We were very excited to visit wonderful Logarska Dolina (Hunters valley) (120 mins) and were not disappointed at all to find a huge valley floor carved out into the Alps, with rivers, pretty little villages and lots of hiking and biking. You pay a small fee to enter the valley, which goes into the upkeep of all the natural facilities there.. it's a really good blueprint for tourism in Slovenia.
At the very end of the valley you really must walk up to see the waterfall and the "Eagle's Nest" café, the walk is not too demanding and it's a fab place to sit up in the clouds sipping a coffee and enjoying the water gushing down against the steep mountain sides. This valley is like a less busy "Bled-like" valley with lots of water sports and hiking available. This valley is located in the lesser known Kamnik Alps region and is really close to the stunning Big Mountain Meadow, Velika Planina, (70 mins).
We found hidden waterfalls, walks and sleepy little villages all along the Logarska mini region and we are looking forward to going back to explore more.
Lipizzaner Lodge is itself located in the very pretty Postojna Valley dominated by the Nanos mountain range and there are numerous places to walk or climb up to see across the Valley and try to pick out the cute village of Landol! You can even walk direct from the Lodge to the best viewpoint that has been tried and tested for over 2,000 years in the next village to Landol, called St Michael. This hilltop in the last village before the mountain was where Celts and other tribes held off the Romans for centuries and has magnificent controlling views across the entire valley.
There are many routes up Nanos to see the view across 2 valleys, the Vipava valley & coast on one side and our Postojna valley & Ljubljana on the other. You can also pick and choose your own local mountain or hill to climb up for a view of our valley and a very popular spot is "the Cottage", only a few hundred metres walk up from Postojna, where you can sip a drink, admire the majesty of Nanos towering above the Postojna valley and try to pick out the solar panels glimmering on our roof.