At the foot of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, tucked beneath the border with Austria, lie three glacial valleys. One of them, Logarska Dolina, is a velvet-green meadow that threads its way between conifer-carpeted slopes towards the mighty granite peaks. It’s considered to be one of the most beautiful valleys in Europe but its green credentials don’t just come from its looks; in Slovenia, green is more than just skin deep, it permeates the culture, tradition and values of this remarkably diverse country.
Living in harmony with nature
In Robanov Kot, the valley neighbouring Logarska Dolina, Mojca’s family has enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with nature since the 15th century. On a half-day guided trail, interwoven with tales from her family history, she recounts how valley residents have farmed sustainably for generations. She also reveals the cornucopia of medicinal and edible herbs growing wild which her mum specialises in cultivating, harvesting and drying.
Up-styled heritage at Sunrose 7
In readiness for the opening of the final connection on the Vienna to Trieste railway, Sunrose 7 was built in 1890 on a chestnut-lined avenue alongside a stream in Bohinjska Bistrica. The hotel was lovingly returned to its former glory in 2019. Using locally sourced wood and retaining original features such as ironwork and the splendid marble balcony that adorns the building’s façade, it’s now an elegant haven of fine food and superb service.
Life with the mountain herdsmen
Scattered across the karst plateau high in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, lie simple herdsmen’s huts, their larch roofs sloping almost to the ground, cattle grazing peacefully around them. Every now and then, you walk past a hut that invites you into its rustic courtyard to try traditional buckwheat and sour milk. It’s an extraordinary place, untouched by time and the ravages of progress, like something out of the pages of a Tolkien novel.
European Green Capital 2016
Vibrant, friendly capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana is characterised by its pedestrianised centre, historic bridges criss-crossing the Ljubljanica river, lively food market and copious green spaces. Pedal power is how most of its residents get around the city, taking advantage of its network of cycle lanes, while a compact centre makes it easy to explore on foot. With multiple bars and cafes, street musicians and riversides, this is a city to savour.
Guardians of the valley
Hotel Plesnik in Logarska Dolina is a boutique hotel on a mission. Along with other valley residents, the owners live in harmony with nature and see themselves as guardians of this paradise. Natural materials dominate the hotel’s design, toiletries are organic, and the outdoor pool is chlorine-free. With tasty homemade produce at breakfast, a staff comprised of locals, and an emphasis on maintaining customs and traditions – mission accomplished.
Around five in every 1,000 Slovenians is a beekeeper. Since the 18th century, richly decorated, cottage-style beehives have been a feature of Slovenia’s northerly meadows. Itinerant artists customarily painted ornate, usually Biblical, designs on beehives in exchange for food and board. Today painted panels help beekeepers identify individual colonies and might even help the bees find their own front door.