When I first visited Slovenia on holiday in 2006, I came on a cycling trip to Radovljica. I immediately fell in love with the small, medieval old town and especially the views from towards the Jelovica plateau and the Julian Alps.
When I decided to move to Slovenia in 2007, I initially set out on a journey around the Gorenjska region to decide where to base myself in order to be reasonably close to Ljubljana, where I was due to be working, but also within close proximity to the countryside and mountains, in order to be able to easily pursue my passion for hiking and cycling, and to enjoy the peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Despite visiting several other areas, Radovljica was always the one that stuck out for me as it has a little of everything: It’s not too big but also not too small and occupies an idyllic location on the broad plains nestled between the Karavanke range, the Jelovica plateau and the Julian Alps. The motorway is on the doorstep but not obtrusively so. There’s a cinema, an Olympic-size swimming pool, a medical centre, numerous cafes and restaurants, and a small but sufficient range of shops. The medieval old town centre is one of the three best preserved of its kind in Slovenia and, most importantly for me, there are endless places to walk, hike, cycle and enjoy nature.
Radol’ca is the name for the tourist area which includes the largest town, Radovljica, and the surrounding villages of Lesce, Begunje, Kropa, Kamna Gorica, Brezje as well as other smaller settlements such as Mosnje, Podnart, Ljubno and Lancovo.
Below I have listed just some of the highlights and things to see and do for visitors to the area:
* Radovljica old town – the frescoed renaissance and gothic townhouses in Linhart Square, the Radovljica Manor housing the Museum of Apiculture and the Municipal Museum, the Šivec House Gallery, St. Peter’s Church, the Town Moat (the only of its kind in Slovenia). Find out more about Radovljica here – http://www.radolca.si/en/radovljica/
* Begunje – The home of Slavko Avsenik, the pioneer of Slovene popular folk music, the Avsenik Restaurant and Museum. St. Ulrich’s Church, Katzenstein Mansion and Park, the ruins of Kamen Castle, the Drava Valley – the start point for numerous hikes in the Karavanke mountains. Begunje is also home to the headquarters of Elan, the world renowned innovative sports manufacturer. More information can be found here – http://www.radolca.si/en/begunje/
* Brezje – Most known for its Basilica of Mary Help of Christians. It is one of, it not the, most renowned pilgrimage destinations in Slovenia. Visit the Canticle of the Sun Museum or walk the Path of Peace. More information can be read here – http://www.radolca.si/en/brezje/
* Kropa – This quaint village is nestled snuggly beneath the Jelovica plateau and is known as the cradle of iron-forging in Slovenia. Visit the Iron-Forging Museum, the Vice Spike Forge, hike up to the Vodiška highland. Read more about Kropa here – http://www.radolca.si/en/kropa/
Radovljica is also just 7kms from the popular tourist town of Bled, with its famous lake, island and fairytale castle.
A variety of accommodation is available in the Radol’ca area, including tourist farms, apartments, small boutique hotels, guest houses, bed & breakfasts, private houses and camping.
The Radol’ca Accommodation Catalogue with full details can be found here – http://www.radolca.si/db/radolca/file/accommodation%20catalogue.pdf
Taste Radol’ca (Okusi Radol’ca) is a project which began in November 2013 with the aim of uniting the best restaurants in the Radol’ca area, showcasing the talented chefs who work there, and highlighting the best of the local food available.
The project began with a launch event held at Gostilna Kunstelj. It was a fantastic evening and I was honoured to be a part of it and delighted with the results of the co-operation among the restaurants. Read more about it here – https://adeleinslovenia.wordpress.com/2013/11/
Following the success of the first Taste Radol’ca week, the project continues to go from strength-to-strength. There are currently 9 participating restaurants which now regularly unite at events such as the annual Radol’ca Chocolate Festival and the Shrovetide Ball.
In November 2017 a new, updated Radol’ca Culinary Guide was published, which features all the Taste Radol’ca restaurants and, since the focus is on local food, their suppliers are also included, together with some recipes for readers to try at home. The guide can be found here (click on Katalog Okusi Radol’ce, the brochure is in both Slovene and English – http://www.radolca.si/okusi-radolce/)
If you are looking for somewhere to eat whilst visiting the area, I have done some of the hard work for you by visiting all of the restaurants involved, sampling the food and ambience, and blogging about it here. Below you will find a quick link to each blog together with a direct link to the restaurants’ websites.
If you’d like to know any more, feel free to ask!
The restaurants that participate in the Taste Radol’ca project are:
* Gostišče Tulipan, Lesce – A friendly, local restaurant with accommodation and a wide menu, specialising in game, and always the freshest seasonal produce – http://wp.me/p3005k-fE
* Gostilna Kunstelj, Radovljica – A restaurant with a long family tradition of delicious home-cooked and locally sourced food, and magnificent views from the terrace – http://wp.me/p3005k-ev
* Lambergh Chateau and Hotel, Dvorska vas – A luxury boutique hotel, spa with indoor pool, and medical centre – http://wp.me/p3005k-db
* Vila Podvin, Mošnje – Fine dining from one of Slovenia’s top chefs, Uroš Štefelin. Vila Podvin is also a member of the JRE Jeunes Restaurateurs Group – http://wp.me/p3005k-ai
* Lectar Inn, Radovljica – Restaurant, accommodation and working Gingerbread Museum in the heart of Radovljica’s medieval old town, with a long tradition of making decorated ‘lectar‘ honeybread hearts – http://wp.me/p3005k-e1
* Draga Inn, Begunje na Gorenjskem – Located in the Draga Valley, home to the ruins of Kamen Castle and an excellent start point for walks in the Karavanke mountains, Draga Inn is particularly known for its game, fresh river trout, and other specialities including a variety of types of homemade struklji – http://bit.ly/2gYYMGa
* Joštov Hram, Podnart – Located in the tranquil Lipnica Valley, Joštov Hram is the place to come for great ‘Balkan’ cuisine, specialising in grilled meat, as well as a range of other dishes – http://wp.me/p3005k-gr
* Gostilna Avguštin, Radovljica – In the heart of the medieval old town, Gostilna Avgustin is a traditional Slovenian restaurant which offers great food and amazing views from its terrace! In 2016 it was taken-over by a new young team who have brought a fresh vibe to this local restaurant. Read more here – http://bit.ly/2gpXSlc
* Gostilna Tavčar, Begunje na Gorenjskem – Under new ownership since the end of 2015, Gostilna Tavčar is a homely local restaurant, with a particularly friendly atmosphere thanks to its owner Mitja, who likes to mingle with guests as well as cooking up great Sunday lunches, daily specials and other traditional Slovenian dishes. More here – http://bit.ly/2gMoafA
* Sodček Wine Shop, Radovljica – At the entrance to Radovjlica’s old town, the Sodček wine shop and bar offers wine from all of Slovenia’s wine growing regions. Guided tasting sessions are available – http://bit.ly/1Frkiu Although it doesn’t offer Taste Radol’ca menus, the Sodček wine shop participates in many Taste Radol’ca events by providing matching wines for the food.