World Bee Day: The Anton Janša Honey Route

Much of the history of beekeeping in Slovenia can be attributed to Anton Janša (1734-1733) and still today barely a word is said about Slovenian beekeeping without his name being mentioned. Perhaps it was fate then that I moved to Slovenia, and particularly to the Gorenjska region, from where more than 150 prominent beekeepers hail, including Anton Janša, with whom I also share a birthday – 20th May – which is now (hopefully) to become World Bee Day! I live in Radovljica, home to the Museum of Apiculture and close to the village of Breznica where Anton Janša, was born.


Slovenia is the only EU member state that has protected its indigenous bee, the Carniolan bee, which means that no other bee can be bred here. The Carniolan bee is the 2nd most widely used breed of bee in the world and originated in this region of the country.


The initiative for a World Bee Day was started by the Slovene Beekeeping Association, who, rightly so, believe there should be a World Day in recognition of something that is of such vital importance to the world. I whole-heartedly support this movement, after all, there are World Days for pretty much everything these days, so bees more than deserve to be recognised.

To mark this, I went on my own little ‘bee adventure’, following part of the Anton Janša Honey Route, which takes in Radovljica, Bled, Vrba, and Škofja Loka.

I began by visiting Janša’s beehive in Breznica which is part of the Žirovnica Path of Cultural Heritage that connects the birth places of many notable Slovenes including Dr. France Prešeren, Matija Čop, Franc Saleški Finžgar and Janez Jalen. More information here –


As with the majority of hives in Slovenia, Jansa’s features original painted beehive panels, unique to Slovenia, each of which depicts a humorous or satirical story – this one shows animals taking over the role of humans.


I also visited the Kralov med hives in the hamlet of Selo, near Bled, where beekeeper Blaž Ambrožič oozed enthusiasm when showing and telling me about the wonders of bees.


I thought I knew a reasonable amount about beekeeping, however, Blaž told me so many astonishing facts about beekeeping that I can but recommend that you go and find out more for yourself! After all, it seems that barely a day passes when there isn’t more astonishing evidence about the importance of bees and the benefits of honey. It really is one of the best foods of nature as well as being credited with alleviating a range of medical conditions and lately has also become the latest trend in beauty products. You can also read about my recent experience of a bee sting facial here –


The star of the show at Kralov med is undoubtedly the hive that was painstakingly transplanted from a tree trunk and transported, bees and all, to where it sits today, and where the bees are still working diligently.


As a measure of the calm characteristics of the Carniolan bee, Blaž encouraged me to put my hand inside the hive and the bees were completely unperturbed by my presence.


I had a chance to try some of the honey and learn about the various characteristics and properties of the different kinds of honey and propolis.


At the time of my visit a brand new hive had just been built which will also be available for apitherapy and visitors will even be able to sleep there, all the while inhaling the intoxicating scents of the bees, which is known to have beneficial effects, particularly for those suffering from respiratory diseases.



Can you find out more about Kralov med here –

The Anton Janša route also includes:

  •  The Carniolan queen mating station in the Završnica valley
  • The Museum of Apiculture in Radovljica, which features, amongst other exhibits, hundreds of beehive front panels including the world’s oldest –
  • The hamlets of Combe and Bitnje in Bohinj, where the internationally renowned bee merchant Jan Strgar kept his bees and who, together with Mihael Ambrožič, was responsible for the spread in popularity of the Carniolan bee

You can also visit the Beekeeping Education Centre of Gorenjska in Lesce and follow developments regarding the World Bee Day Initiative here –

So, come on, let’s unite to support World Bee Day and Save the Bees!

© Adele in Slovenia



A super ‘sweet’ week ahead!

I decided on the title of this week’s blog for several reasons, not least of which because, according to the forecasters if they are to be believed, the weather gods may finally be shining on Slovenia this week, and for the whole week too. If that is the case, it hasn’t come a moment too soon as last week saw unprecedented (for this time of the year) floods in many parts of the country, landslides, and 35cm of snow in the high mountains.

The second reason for the choice of title is that this weekend, on Saturday 20th September, the Beekeeping Education Centre of Gorenjska will host the Festival of Honey (Festival medu in Dan medu v kulinariki)  from 9.30am – 6pm. The centre is located in the town of Lesce, halfway between Radovljica and Bled. It houses a shop, which sells all kinds of honey, honey products and beekeeping requisites and a café where, during fine weather, you can enjoy a drink outside in the patio garden at the rear of the building where you can also see a beehive and watch the bees coming and going. As well as being interesting for visitors, the centre is also a hive of activity (pun intended!) for beekeepers as it offers them facilities to assist with the production of honey and its by-products; a honey bottling and packaging room, a wax processing plant. The centre is also used to provide training and education for existing and prospective beekeepers, as well as promoting beekeeping in Slovenia, one of the oldest and most traditional rural activities, and protection of the indigenous Carniolan bee species.

The Festival of Honey is an annual event which celebrates all things honey-related and in particular aims to demonstrate its versatility. Throughout the day there is a market with stalls selling a wide range of honey and honey-related products as well as demonstrations of the use of honey in cooking, a cocktail mixing demonstration, honey massages, workshops for adults and children and more. The event is free to attend. With my sweet tooth, I’m bound to found lingering there somewhere!

Festival medu 1  Festival medu 2

The Lectar Inn Live Museum and Gingerbread Workshop in Radovljica is another great ‘sweet’ place to spend a short while, come rain or shine. Despite having lived here now for over seven years, I still enjoy going there for a snoop around; the smell of the freshly baked gingerbread, watching the gingerbread makers at their craft, the friendly welcome, the staff dressed in traditional clothing. In fact I was there last Friday, together with Alison and her family from England. Alison had been searching for somewhere to go for a special holiday during which she, and two other family members, would be celebrating their birthdays, one of them being a ‘special’ birthday. She had never even considered Slovenia but having stumbled upon my blog, the decision was made (oh, the pressure!). There followed several months of correspondence whilst I helped her put together the perfect itinerary for their trip. So, of course after all those emails back and forth, we felt like old friends and it was lovely to meet up, proudly show them around my home town, and enjoy a meal together. Their trip covered most of Slovenia and whilst in this area included a guided two-day hike in the mountains (the plan was Triglav but the weather had other ideas), a steam train ride, dinner at Bled Castle, a guided photography tour, a visit to Vintgar gorge and to Bohinj Lake. Their trip also encompassed visiting Ljubljana, the Soča Valley and the coast and, hailing from Wales, they certainly didn’t let the weather stop them – I’m so pleased that it all worked out.

CIMG7936  CIMG7939

The third, and final, reason for the title is that this coming weekend is one of my favourite events of the year, the Istra Sweet Festival (Sladka Istra). The festival, which takes place at the coast in the town of Koper, is a feast of sweet treats of every size, shape and flavour imaginable – cakes, pancakes, biscuits, chocolates, drinks and more – basically the sweeter the better! The festival takes place over 2 days and the date is always firmly noted in my diary. This year, there is also a Coastal Bike Marathon happening on the same weekend and, all being well, I am aiming to participate in that – so I can eat even more sweet stuff of course! More about that next week!

Did you know that Bled lake has just been listed as being among the ’21 Most Spectacular Lakes on Earth’? Read more about it here and, if you haven’t visited yet, what are you waiting for!! –

© AdeleinSlovenia 2014