A day trip to the Slovenian countryside

It was my first visit to Ljubljana (and Slovenia for that matter) and though my trip was focused on checking out Ljubljana (which I absolutely enjoyed!), I wanted to also explore a bit of the Slovenian countryside. There are lots of day-trip opportunities from Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Being in the centre of this small country, it’s easy to plan a day trip and be back for dinner in Ljubljana. Most first-time visitors to Slovenia would choose a trip to the famous Julian Alps and Lake Bled I guess. Me being me, I chose something a bit off the beaten path: the western hinterland of Ljubljana that’s often referred to as Blagaj’s Land. Only a 30-minute drive from the Slovenian capital, this is a land of undulating landscapes, with green meadows interspersed with patches of forest and picturesque villages.

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Verdant hills, meadows and forests, with the mighty peaks of the Alps in the distance.

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A view of Šentjošt nad Horjulom.

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One of the two sisters presenting their dairy products.

It was a lovely drive to the village of Šentjošt nad Horjulom on the western edges of Ljubljana, past verdant, hilly landscapes, farms and orchards. Our first stop was at a farm where we were met by two young sisters. They showed us around the farm and told us their story. The farm has been in their family for several generations but their parents had chosen different careers. The two sisters and their younger brother took it upon themselves to manage the farm and their livestock. I often hear stories of youngsters who choose a life in the city above staying back in the countryside so it was refreshing to hear how they made a deliberate choice to remain at their farm and produce dairy products.

They have a sizeable herd of goats, and from the milk, the youngsters produce all sorts of organic dairy products, from fresh goat’s milk to cheeses and yoghurt. The yoghurt and cheeses were delicious! It was very cool to see how they do everything themselves: from taking care of the herd to production, marketing and sales!

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Visiting the goats.

My next stop was lunch at Gostišče Grič, a rustic-looking restaurant situated on a hilltop above the village. Gostišče Grič turned out to be the biggest surprise of the day! The restaurant specialises in traditional Slovenian dishes, prepared with locally-sourced ingredients, with a contemporary twist. The contrast between the modernist presentation of the food and the restaurant’s traditional wooden interior was certainly striking!

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Exquisitely-presented canapés

Lunch was a delightful affair complemented by gorgeous views of the surrounding hills and the village below.

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The gorgeous view from our table.

After lunch, we moved on to our next stop: the village of Polhov Gradec. Situated in a valley and surrounded by forested hills, this village can trace its roots back to the 13th century. In its heart is the Polhov Gradec Mansion, the former residence of Count Blagaj, a renowned botanist and the first mayor of Polhov Gradec (19th century). Before visiting the mansion, we walked up the road to a bee-keeping centre where we got to learn about the region’s bee-keeping tradition and taste some of the fabulous honey products.

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Colourful traditional bee-houses in Polhov Gradec.

The Polhov Gradec mansion has been in existence since the 14th century but rose to prominence in the 18th/19th centuries when it was inhabited by the Blagaj family. These days, the mansion is home to the Postal Museum and several beautifully-restored rooms.

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Polhov Gradec Mansion

We were greeted at the door by an actor and actress in period costumes (representing Count Blagaj and his wife). I chuckled but quickly began to admire how well they stayed in character as they gave us a tour of the mansion. We were even treated to a little opera, performed by a young singer with a remarkable voice! After the tour, we sat down for afternoon tea with the Count and his wife. It turned out to be a fun, rather surreal tour of the mansion, which ended with a sip of the ‘elixir of youth’, a herbal liquor which the Count served to us in the mansion’s cellar.

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Tea with Count Blagaj and his wife.

It was a lovely tour of the countryside and we were back in Ljubljana in time for pre-dinner cocktails. Hehe! This was just a small taste of the Slovenian countryside but it reinforced my resolve to see more of this wonderful country. I’ll be back for sure! 🙂

For more info on things to do in and around Ljubljana, visit Ljubljana Tourism.



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Note: my trip to Ljubljana was part of the #EuroCityTrip campaign organised by iambassador with Ljubljana Tourism. As always, all views mentioned above are mine, and mine only.

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10 Responses to “A day trip to the Slovenian countryside”

  1. aiman Parween 03/09/2017 7:21 am
    #

    great site and beautiful view.

  2. Keith Jenkins 28/08/2017 4:43 pm
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    Hi Doreen,

    It has indeed been a while! Hope you’re well. It was my first time in Slovenia and I can definitely recommend it. I can’t wait to return and see more of the country.

    And those goats were soooo adorable!

    Cheers,
    Keith

  3. Keith Jenkins 28/08/2017 4:41 pm
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    Hi Edward,

    Thanks so much for your kind comment. I greatly appreciate it. Supporting local communities and local products is always important to me so I was really happy to visit this farm. I thought it was so cool of the sisters and brother too and it looked like they were doing a great job! Three cheers to them! 🙂

    Cheers,
    Keith

  4. Edward Bell 28/08/2017 10:38 am
    #

    Hey Keith, It’s really remarkable how the sisters and their brother are passionate about taking care of the farm and make great products even though their parents have chosen different careers. I love your willingness to go off the beaten path. What you did here helps keep local places alive – just by you visiting and buying things… and more importantly you’re making them proud to share their culture. The world needs more people like you, stepping into the unknown and thirsty to support these travel treasures. Thanks for sharing 🙂
    Cheers,
    Edward

  5. Doreen Pendgracs 22/08/2017 4:13 am
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    Nice to come across your post on LinkedIn, Keith. I was just thinking about you and wondering why I hadn’t seen your name come up.

    Lovely post. I’ve not yet been to Slovenia, but would love to visit someday. Those goats are super cute!

  6. Jessica 19/08/2017 1:36 am
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    Great post! We were also really taken with Ljubljana and Slovenia in general. Had the same feeling of wanting to get back and explore more. In the meantime, you’ve just made me hungry with all that talk of delicious local food!

  7. Keith Jenkins 17/08/2017 11:38 am
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    Hi Rob,
    It’s so pretty! Next time I’m in Slovenia, I’ll check out the Alps and the coast! 🙂

    Cheers,
    Keith

  8. Rob Hermans 17/08/2017 11:24 am
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    What a beautifull countryside, wow!

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