Summer 2016 in Radol’ca – Hop-On Hop Off Tourist Bus

Regular readers will know that I usually publish my blogs on Mondays. However, I decided to purposely delay this one since yesterday it was raining, again, and I couldn’t face writing, and subject you to reading, yet another blog moaning about the rain!!!

Today, thankfully, is much better and we also had 4 glorious summer days of blazing sunshine last week. So, let’s just focus on more of those to come and not on the other 24 rainy days thus far in June! Woops, there I go again…

There are lots of things to look forward to this summer in Radol’ca*. Here are just a few of the events taking place in July to whet your appetite.


  • The Hop-On Hop Off Tourist Bus begins operating again from 1st July until 31st August. The bus runs on Tuesdays (Bled-Radovljica-Kropa) and Thursdays (Bled-Radovljica-Begunje-Brezje), as well as at weekends to Bohinj and the Pokljuka plateau. Tickets, which are valid for the whole day, cost just 5 euros for adults, children up to the age of 10 travel free. More information here (click where it says Vec o Hop-On Hop Off to see the timetable) –


  • FREE guided tours of the old town centre – Tuesdays at 9am in July and August, other months at 10am. Meet at the Radovljica Tourist Information Centre at the entrance to Linhart Square.

Radovljica SLO 2011

Radovljica SLO 2011


I always attend this event as I love the quaint iron-forging village of Kropa, nestled snuggly into a corner of the Lipnica Valley under the Jelovica plateau, where the tradition of iron-forging is still much in evidence. You can also try some local food, visit the village museums, and have a general nose about the narrow lanes.



* In case of any confusion, Radol’ca is  the name used in the tourism slogan ‘Radol’ca, Honestly Sweet’. The Radol’ca area comprises the main town of Radovljica, as well as the surrounding towns and villages including Begunje na Gorenjskem, Brezje, Kropa, Kamna Gorica, Lesce, Mosnje and other smaller hamlets.

© Adele in Slovenia

A Sunny Saturday on Ajdna!

It’s not exactly something to boast about, in fact it’s a rather unenviable fact that as of today, 20th June 2016, there has not yet been a single day in June when there hasn’t been some kind of precipitation. Even on Saturday, which was a glorious, sunny day, there was a short, sharp shower. However, looking at the forecast, it seems we could be in for plenty of hot, sunny days for the week ahead (didn’t I say that last week too?!).

So, back to last week’s glorious Saturday. I couldn’t decide whether to hike or bike, so in the end did a combination of the two! Or I should say ‘we’, since I had a friend visiting for the weekend from the U.K, so it was lovely to have some company for a change.

We began by cycling from home in Radovljica to the Završnica reservoir then hiked up to Smolnik, beneath Stol in the Karavanke mountains. More here –

We then continued to the Ajdna archaelogical site, which I have blogged about previously, though it was some years back –


We took the steep route up, which involves a little climbing but is secured with iron rope and footholds.


And the easier route back down!


At the top there are well-preserved buildings and remains of buildings that are thought to date back to the late Antiquity, though evidence, some of it dating back as far as the collapse of the Roman Empire (476 AD), shows that it may have been inhabited far earlier. The peak provided locals with an excellent refuge from the troubles taking place down below in the valley. Ajdna is thought to be the highest lying settlement of its kind in Slovenia. Read more here –



By lunchtime the clouds were beginning to gather but the views down the valley towards Jesenice and Kranjska Gora were still more than worth the effort!


With the (promised) sunny days ahead, hopefully there will be plenty more of this to come!

© Adele in Slovenia

Laško: A Festival of Beer, Blooms and More!

Laško is synonymous with beer, and, with it, the annual Beer and Blooms Festival (Pivo in Cvetje).

Though Laško beer is widely known, some perhaps might not even realise that Laško isn’t merely the name of a beer, it’s also a thriving, compact town – and a lovely one it is too! Laško is located just a 10 minute drive from Slovenia’s 3rd city, Celje, and is easily reached by taking the Celje exit of the Ljubljana-Maribor motorway. The town is also well connected by public transport, with fairly frequent trains from Ljubljana taking under 1.5 hours.

The best place to start a visit to Laško is at the tourist information centre, which occupies a prime position at the entrance to the town in ‘Trg Svobode’. The centre stocks a very comprehensive selection of souvenirs, beer-related or otherwise (I bought chocolate made with beer!), organises brewery tours (only offered for groups but even if you are alone, as I was, the centre will try to arrange for you to join another group), and offers bike rental, as well as an extensive range of information on what to see and do in the town and its surroundings. More information here –


The Black Bridge, situated at the outflow of the Žikovca stream

Now, back to the beer! Beer drinkers in Slovenia usually belong to one of two groups, the ‘reds’ or the ‘greens’! The ‘red’ refers to Union beer – the brewery is based in Ljubljana, whilst the ‘green’ refers to Laško.


Laško beer dates back to 1825 when, Franz Geyer, a local producer of mead and gingerbread, founded the brewery, originally located in the Valvasorjev Spital building in the town centre, which is now a hotel. Geyer was later joined by the entrepreneur and developer Simon Kukec. Through the years the brewery has endured wars and economic crises, but has always managed to survive and even thrive. In 1944, when the factory was bombed, it was soon returned to its former glory and production restarted the following year.

Laško was the number one beer in the former Yugoslavia, which had a population of 22 million, and at the height of its popularity in the 1990s it was annually producing over a million hectolitres, with its beer being exported as far as India. Since Slovenia’s independence in 1991, and later the financial crisis, times have been tough for many of Slovenia’s companies, with many falling by the wayside, however, not withstanding a change of ownership, the Laško brewery has continued unhindered.

For many, a tour of the Laško brewery is high on the list of things to see and do, especially since, at the end of the tour, a tasting session is included! I can’t pretend to be a beer drinker, but that didn’t stop me going on a factory tour anyway! Brewery tours last around 2.5 hours, cost 8 euros, and include a visit to the Laško Museum, a guided tour of the brewery and a beer tasting session with savoury snacks.

You can get up close and personal with the ‘King of Beer’.


Technology in the factory means that the production process is far-removed from days gone-by. During my tour I could count on one hand the number of employees I saw as everything is automated. The actual recipe and ingredients, however, have remained largely unchanged. A case of ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it!’


For a special treat visit the restaurant in Tabor Castle. The castle sits atop a small hill just immediately above the town centre. The castle is thought to date back to the 12th century, was razed to the ground by the Turks in 1487, and for the ensuing two centuries it remained in ruins. It was finally bought and restored by the Laško brewery in the mid-1980s. Today is houses an incredibly cute, teeny, not to mention popular, wedding hall (with the emphasis being on ‘teeny’ rather than ‘hall’!), and a fine-dining restaurant.



For a special treat visit the Pavus restaurant, within the castle, which is ranked as one of the top 15 restaurants in Slovenia and one of the Jeunes Restaurateurs of Europe.


There are plenty of walking and hiking paths in the immediate vicinity. A good way to get your bearings is to take a gentle stroll alongside the Savinja river. The small, well-kept city park, with a play area for children and abstract sculptures, is a nice place to linger in fine weather.


Just a couple of kilometres from Laško in the hamlet of Strmca I visited the Šolar beekeepers, where for over 30 years the owners have been keeping bees and producing ‘Lectar‘ – otherwise known as decorated gingerbread, most often in the shape of a heart. Visitors can also experience the benefits of apitherapy. Their honey biscuits (medenjaki) are award-winning and I was treated to a sample together with some delicious honey liqueur.


Now, getting back to the Beer and Blooms Festival. This year’s event will take place on 14th – 17th July.


It actually started out as just a local flower festival, but was later, from 1965 onwards, expanded to include live music, fireworks, parades, exhibitions, and, of course, beer!

Over 135,000 people visited the 2015 festival and 250,000 jugs of beer were consumed. Not quite on a par with the Oktoberfest, but in Slovenian terms this is a pretty major ‘Don’t Miss’ event, and the bonus is that the beer is a fraction of the cost of that in Munich!

The highlight of the event, and that which draws the largest crowds, is the spectacular firework display on Saturday evening, which can last up to half-an-hour.

As with all good festivals, camping is embraced and a special area is set up for tents. Those looking for more comfortable accommodation can stay at the one of the Thermana Laško hotels. The Wellness Park hotel has a thermal centre with indoor and outdoor pools and retractable glass dome, a modern sauna and wellness centre and several restaurants and cafes. More here –

Capturefile: C:Documents and SettingsMatevtzMy DocumentsSTOCKLASKOIZBOR LASKONEFLaskoo_026.NEF CaptureSN: --.000000 Software: Capture One PRO for Windows


© Adele in Slovenia

Spas, Caves, Eats and Other Rainy (and Not So Rainy) Day Ideas!

Anyone visiting Slovenia in the last fortnight might be forgiven for thinking it rains here a lot! Please be reassured, however, that this much rain in June is not the norm. In the 9+ years I’ve been living here, I don’t think I can remember such a prolonged period of wet weather at this time of year. It really is turning out to be a strange year, weather-wise. After having very little snow during winter, we then had snow in late-April, and now, in the second-half of May and early June, it seems to be April! It’s been either raining torrentially or the clouds have been looming ominously, making it frustratingly difficult to go anywhere too far from home.

The good news is that it’s set to improve soon, just a couple more days of these storms then hot, dry weather is headed our way, yippee! In the meantime, I thought I’d share some of my ideas for how to spend rainy, as well as not so rainy, days in the Radovljica area and elsewhere in Slovenia.


It doesn’t matter what the weather is doing outside if you are inside getting wet anyway! All of Slovenia’s thermal spas feature indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, jacuzzis and modern wellness facilities, offering something for all the family. You can read plenty more about spas and the facilities here and read some insider tips from me, here –



A visit to one Slovenia’s caves, such as Postojna Caves or the UNESCO-listed Škocjan Caves, is ideal whatever the weather. There are over 9,000 caves in Slovenia, though only a small number of these are open to the public. The temperature in the caves is constant year-round so it really doesn’t matter if its snowing or there’s a heat-wave! All of the caves are fascinating and unique, and the current phenomena of the newly-hatched ‘baby dragons’ at Postojna Caves provides an additional reason to visit. Read more here –

Underground river Pivka in Postojna Cave_photo Iztok Medja for Postojnska jama


Rainy days always bring an influx of visitors to the Radovljica area as the small town packs in quite a few sights of interest. You can visit the Lectar Gingerbread Workshop, the Museum of Apiculture, the Šivec House Gallery, and the Beekeeping Education Centre of Gorenjska. More here –

Lectar - workshop&museum4

I don’t know about you, but this miserable weather makes me want to eat, eat, and then eat some more! The participating Taste Radol’ca restaurants all offer home-cooked, and locally sourced and produced food. Or why not visit the Sodček Wine Bar for a wine tasting session. More here –




Visit Avsenik in Begunje na Gorenjskem – home to the world-renowned legendary Avsenik music – a popular style of folk music. There are regular live events, festivals and workshops, and you can also visit the gallery and museum. More here –


There are hundreds of museums and galleries in Slovenia and a lot of attention is placed on culture and cultural-related events and activities. Next Saturday, 18th June, is Summer Museum Night, when, from 6pm until midnight, museums and galleries throughout the country offer free entrance and host special events. More information here –



Admittedly, I’m not a fan of shopping, particularly large shopping centres and especially when on holiday in a place where the great outdoors is so ‘great!’ So when I say ‘shopping’ I don’t mean traipsing round clothes shops, and getting hot, bothered and irritated in changing rooms (or is that just me?). Instead, when on holiday, I prefer to browse craft shops, visit local markets, buy and try local produce, and try to find unique buys. I particularly like foodie events such as Odprta Kuhna (Open Kitchen), which takes place every Friday (weather permitting) in Ljubljana. Closer to home at Vila Podvin in Mošnje a market takes place on the first Saturday of every month from 9am-noon, come rain or shine. You can meet local producers, buy food and non-food goods, and enjoy a delicious lunch cooked by one of Slovenia’s top chefs, Uroš Štefelin. More information here –



I hope to have provided some ideas and inspiration, after all, the weather may mean some plans have to curtailed but there’s always plenty more to see and do until the next sunny day comes along!

© Adele in Slovenia



Perfume made with Slovene Honey? Not just an idea, a reality!

As a lover of all things sweet, though not a beekeeper myself, I consider myself a beekeeping enthusiast. So, when I read that Bostjan Noč, President of the Slovene Beekeeping Association, had just launched a perfume made with Slovene honey I buzzed straight over to visit and take a smell for myself!


Fortunately I didn’t have far to go since the family-run Noč Beekeeping is in the hamlet of Selo, near Žirovnica, just a few kilometres from Radovljica. At the front of the family home there is a hive featuring 42 front panels painted with motifs from beneath Mt. Stol – the highest mountain in the Karavanke range. The interior of the hive is used as an outlet for selling honey and honey-related products.


The family have been practising beekeeping for centuries and have over 400 hives spread across various locations in Slovenia.

The perfume ‘Medena Noč’ (med being the Slovene word for honey), is exclusive to Noč Beekeeping and is currently only available direct from them, thus enquiries or orders should be address to:

In future it is planned that the perfume will be available in other outlets, so I’ll provide an update on that here in due course.


The scent is described as being reminiscent of “delicate flowers, warm early-summer evenings, with a subtle undertone of honey” and I wouldn’t disagree. It really lasts too, I could still smell it hours after my test spritz! In a blind ‘smelling’ I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been able to identify honey as a key ingredient, as it’s not immediately obvious, but in a good way, as it means its not too sweet smelling and the combination of ingredients works.


The painted front panels on this small hive are dedicated to the Slovene folk music legend, Slavko Avsenik, from nearby Begunje na Gorenjskem.


And, of course, I couldn’t come away empty handed without some Slovene honey!


More information about Noč Beekeeping can be found here (in Slovene only) –

© Adele in Slovenia



The Phenomenal Postojna Proteus Phenomena!

Whilst I generally tend not to write about those places in Slovenia that are already huge tourist attractions, preferring instead to write about some of the lesser-known parts of this wonderful country that I now call home, the current phenomena that is occurring in the Postojna Cave is hitting the headlines all over the world and really is a major news story, so I decided it was time to find out more and see it up close for myself.

So, what’s all the fuss about? Well, it’s this weird and wonderful creature – the proteus – also known as the olm or humanfish – which has laid eggs and the world has been waiting to see if these amazing ‘dragon baby’ embryos will hatch.

The olm in Postojna Cave_photo Iztok Medja for Postojnska jama - Kopija

Photo: Iztok Medja

Today, Wednesday 1st June 2016, is a momentous day as the first one hatched and made its debut appearance!


Photo: Postojna Cave

The news about this significant, once in a decade, event first broke at the end of January 2016 when a cave guide noticed the first egg attached to the wall of the aquarium. The female then laid over 50 more eggs until she stopped laying on 10th March.


Photo: Iztok Medja

And then the long wait began for the team of biologists at the Postojna Cave, who have been carefully monitoring movements and, like expectant parents, have been eagerly awaiting the happy day! As any expectant parents will know, it can sometimes seem like a long frustrating wait but, hopefully, the end results are worth the wait! Though one has now hatched, it’s still a waiting game for the remainder.

Biologists at their daily work

Photo: Postojna Cave

When talking with the cave’s management team and biologists, and hearing their tales of tears of joy, I could actually sense the expectancy, excitement, and pride in the job. Yes, the Postojna Cave is a huge tourist attraction but it is also a significant place for research and development of cave habitat and it is clear this is something not taken forgranted.

Cave biologists inspect the eggs daily and remove any that are decaying, which is not an easy task. A biologist has to dive into the large aquarium and inspect the eggs in a difficult-to-reach spot that is half a metre below the surface.

These tiny embryos are fighting against the odds to survive, as only a small percentage have a good chance of developing into adults and there is also the risk of genetic mutations.

Photo: Iztok Medja

Photo: Iztok Medja

The more the eggs develop, the higher the pressure for them to survive. Whilst the Postojna Cave has an excellent programme in place for looking after the proteus, this mysterious animal is still at the mercy of nature and its unpredictability. Preparations for the potential newborns will be very demanding and therefore Postojna Cave’s biologists paid a visit to a French lab, returning with numerous pieces of valuable advice.

 Visitors can’t actually see the eggs up-close, since light, noise, and any other elements which could result in harm to the eggs, is avoided at all costs. Therefore, a screen has been provided for visitors where they can watch live footage of the eggs moving and developing.

Photo: Iztok Medja

Photo: Iztok Medja

Take a look at this short mesmerising video showing the movement and progress of the embryos.

As I had already visited the Postojna Cave on 2 previous occasions, this time, instead of taking the tourist train into the caves, I first visited the Vivarium Proteus where you can see and learn about all the weird and wonderful creatures that live in the cave system, then toured the new EXPO Karst exhibition, which is full of interesting and interactive exhibits about the cave’s history and formation. Apparently, if I grew like a stalagmite, I would be 18,000 years old!


You can learn about the fascinating Karst world and meet some of its inhabitants!


Find plenty more information about the Postojna Cave here – and keep up-to-date with developments here in the fascinating Olm Diary, written by the biologists in charge of the eggs –

For those who haven’t yet visited the Postojna Cave, I highly recommend it, it’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced before, and everyone, regardless of whether young or old, loves a ride on the mini-train!

Photo: Iztok Medja

Photo: Iztok Medja

© Adele in Slovenia