April 23, 2024


Food & Travel Enthusiast

Vipava Valley: Slovenia’s lovely hidden treasure

(CNN) — It really is less than an hour’s travel from Slovenia’s funds, Ljubljana, still the Vipava Valley has not seriously registered on the tourist radar.

This lusciously fertile location that stretches west to the Italian border has a magical combination of exceptionally high-quality wine and food items, spectacular karst landscapes and medieval castles towering over pretty villages.

It even has its possess microclimate — a small flavor of the Mediterranean wedged among limestone mountains. It is a place designed for outdoor adventures — on foot, on two wheels or on a paraglider floating earlier mentioned the valley.

In this article are some of the unmissable sights of the Vipava Valley, for when it is harmless to go to.

Abide by the Vipava Valley Wine Street


Slovenia’s wines are seriously underrated.

Courtesy Marijan Močivnik/Vipavska Dolina

With the Trnovo Forest Plateau to the north and the Karst Plateau to the south, it can be no marvel that the Vipava Valley is one of most fertile areas in Europe.

Here the fierce burja wind — which Italians know as bora and Croatians as bura — slices through the valley, clearing the air and bringing optimum increasing disorders for Slovenia’s best-course wines.

Scores of wineries — in addition innumerable much more little relatives vineyards — produce critically underrated wines, with numerous utilizing Slovenia’s indigenous grapes, which include the zelen and pinela white varieties.

For an introduction to the region’s wines, start at wine cooperative Vipava 1894 in the city of Vipava. Jogging since 1894, the cooperative delivers collectively wines from 350 winemakers, and you can appreciate some of the very best during a cellar tour and tasting.
For a even more tour, you are not significantly from Burja Estate winery just to the south of Vipava, or Batič and Lepa Vida boutique wineries further more west in Šempas.

From farm to table


Vipava’s Mediterranean microclimate allows create mouth watering foodstuff.

Courtesy Miha Bratina/Vipavska Dolina

That exact same burja wind that blows by way of the vineyards is a massive reason why Vipava Valley’s air-dried prosciutto is a significant rival for its Italian counterpart.

And this moderate Mediterranean microclimate implies the valley is loaded with orchards groaning with apricots, peaches and persimmons.

For foodstuff fans, you will find all the things from the rustic to the refined — from property-reared and residence-cooked food in agritourism farms to Michelin-starred places to eat.

In point, two of Slovenia’s 6 Michelin-starred restaurants are in the Vipava Valley: Dam in Nova Gorica and Gostilna Pri Lojzetu set in a wonderful 17th-century Palladian-type building, Dvorec Zemono, in close proximity to Vipava.

Once or twice a 12 months, many of the regional farms and wine cellars toss open up their doors for the Slovenian tradition of osmica. About a period of time of 10 times, you can sample their wine and handmade deliver in a makeshift tavern in excess of the training course of a convivial evening.

Pay a visit to Vipava


Vipava is a excellent foundation for discovering the region.

Courtesy Vipavska Dolina

Vipava squeezes in a whole lot of wonders into its compact house, creating it an enchanting base from which to check out the location — in particular if you are into wine tourism.

In this article the Vipava River’s delta-shaped supply and speeding springs bring even a lot more natural beauty to this city of pastel baroque structures, very bridges and the medieval Baumkirchner Tower hovering above the river.

For lofty sights of the city, there is certainly a hike up the footpath to the ruins of the 11th-century Vipava Castle. A gentler alternative is a go to to the Wine Museum and the Vipava Wine Store for a style of the region’s wines.

Find nearly 2,000 yrs of heritage

Rihemberk Castle overlooks the village of Branik.

Rihemberk Castle overlooks the village of Branik.

Adobe Stock

In Ajdovščina, a single of the region’s biggest cities, sit the stays of the Roman Castra fortress near the Hubelj River. Constructed all-around the 3rd century, it truly is the major surviving Roman wall in Slovenia, and site visitors can obtain out a lot more about the Roman legacy in the nearby Ajdovščina Museum Assortment.

You can find a jump forward of quite a few centuries a couple of miles to the west in the pretty hilltop medieval village of Vipavski Križ.

Its narrow lanes are excellent for wandering, and highlights contain its baroque church and a tour of the Capuchin Monastery, with its extraordinary library of exceptional manuscripts and selection of baroque artwork.

For pure romance — and knockout views of the mountainous Vipava landscapes — you can find Rihemberk Castle, which looks out around the village of Branik. Relationship from the 13th century, and additional to over the generations, this sprawling castle has the tallest tower in Slovenia.

It is an atmospheric placing for live shows and weddings, and, if you seem up at dusk, you will see its large quantity of resident bats flitting about.

Peek as a result of the Otlica Organic Window


The Otlica Purely natural Window frames a fantastic look at.

Courtesy Marijan Močivnik/Vipavska Dolina

In this limestone landscape packed with beauties, there’s one that stands out. On the edge of the Trnovo Forest Plateau is the Otlica Pure Window (Otliško okno), a gaping hole within just the limestone that reveals a glorious check out of the Vipava Valley.

It normally takes about 3 hrs to do the circuit if you observe the properly-marked path starting up in the Pale Activity Park in Ajdovščina for five miles — some of it more than steep, rocky floor, so you will need to have a good amount of physical fitness. But the sights will be well worth the hard work.

Get energetic


Routines incorporate biking and hiking via the vineyards.

Courtesy Marijan Močivnik/Vipavska Dolina

The hike to Otlica whets appetites for a lot more lively adventures. There are many hundred miles of climbing trails all over the area, and although lots of are of medium issues, you can locate effortless routes this sort of as the two-mile instructional trail along the Hubelj River.

The nine-mile path alongside the edge of the Gora Plateau presents sweeping views, although the five-mile Vitovlje circuit goes past Vitovlje Lake, the only pure lake in the Vipava Valley. On a obvious working day you can see as far as the Adriatic Sea.

Cyclists also have a selection of routes to pick out from, some involving calming bucolic jaunts via vineyards, while other folks examination your endurance on peaks achieving 6,000 ft.


Kostanjevica Monastery can be seen on a hike all around the reduced Vipava Valley.

Courtesy Matjaž Prešeren / Vipavska Dolina

A gentle begin is presented by the two-hour circuit spherical the decrease Vipava Valley from Nova Gorica to Dornberk and back again, passing Miren Castle and Kostanjevica Monastery.

People hunting for a obstacle can deal with the three-hour climb up to the Gora Plateau and Kovk Hill where by the paragliders take off. It is really tempting to sign up for them, as soaring via the sky on a paraglider is just one of the most exhilarating means to check out the Vipava Valley.

Along the Vipava River, kayakers and paddleboarders can be noticed generating their way by way of this lush landscape.

Style two cultures in Nova Gorica


Nova Gorica sits on the border with Italy.

Courtesy Vipavska Dolina/Tina Mihelj

Slovenia practically meets Italy in the towns of Nova Gorica and Gorizia, the place the now seamless border concerning the two nations around the world operates by means of Europe Square.

When the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty place Gorizia in Italy, the new city of Nova Gorica was developed, and it has considering the fact that developed into a energetic college town. They have put together forces to turn out to be the joint European Funds of Tradition for 2025, the to start with cross-border metropolitan areas to do so.