It’s Wine Time – the Vinarium Tower and the Lendave Gorice Hills!

St. Martin’s Day is celebrated every November in Slovenia in a big way! Throughout the country, whether in a wine-growing region or not, you will find wine-related events taking place, and, even if like me you aren’t a big wine drinker, soaking up the atmosphere and savouring the excellent accompanying homemade food makes a visit to one of the ‘Martinovanje‘ events a must!

One such wine-growing area is Lendava, in the far northeast of Slovenia, which is a melting-pot of culture and cuisine, with influences from its neighbours – Hungary and Croatia.

The town’s star attraction is undoubtedly the Vinarium Tower, which opened in 2015 and has rapidly become a favourite destination for visitors from far and wide. The 53.5m-high tower offers superlative panoramic views over the Lendavske gorice hills and further to the Mura river and the lowlands of neighbouring Hungary, Croatia and Austria. There is a lift which rapidly takes visitors up to the observation deck on the upper level, or, those up for it, can tackle the 240 stairs instead! Information about opening hours and ticket prices can be found here –


As one would expect from being up so high, the views extend as far as the eye can see. The Lendave gorice hills are prime wine-growing territory, and it would be rude not to try a drop or two of the local wine after your visit! On the drive between the town up towards the Vinarium Tower, there are numerous small domestic wine producers, where you can stop and sample and, of course, buy some to take home – at prices that you will love!


In front of the Vinarium tower, there are a handful of food and drink outlets, where you can enjoy, amongst others, a white wine spritzer – the most typical refreshing drink in this area – and local food such as bograč and langaš.


Lendava is synonymous with bograč, which is a dish fairly similar to goulash, however, the secret is in the 4 different kinds of meat and a few other key ingredients (each cook, of course, has their own secret formula!). Langaš is a potato-based dough, deep fried and topped with lashings of garlic and oil – healthy it’s not, but then you only live once!. My visit to the area coincided with the annual Bogračfest – a festival and competition in cooking bograč.


The centre of Lendava itself has a pleasant relaxed air to it; a mixture of pavement cafes, the imposing St. Catherine’s Church and Lendava Castle perched on a small hill overlooking the town. The castle’s baroque appearance dates from the 18th century, though it was first mentioned in records dating as far back as 1192. Today it houses archaeological, historical and ethnologic collections as well as a gallery.


The Cultural Centre, which comprises a theatre and concert hall, is a magnificent eye-catching building. It was actually designed by one of Hungary’s most famous architects, Imre Makovecz. In this part of the country, you will notice all public signs in both Slovene and Hungarian languages, and there are strong ties between the minorities of both nations living in harmony on either side of the border.


If, like me, you like cycling, then the area is perfect and you can even visit 3 countries in one ride. Not wishing to be greedy (Ok, time was also an issue, as Bogračfest was calling!), I ‘just’ visited 2 countries on my 3-hour, cca. 60km bike ride.


After crossing the border into Croatia, I, or rather ‘we’ cycled alongside the Mura river, which forms a natural border between the two countries.

I was lucky enough to have a cycle pal for this ride, in the form of Paul, a fellow Brit who lives not far from Lendava who knows the cycle routes in this area like the back of his hand. I admire Paul hugely, and he and I share the same virtues, struggles, joy and passion for living in Slovenia. He has painstaking, and single-handedly, renovated an old mill – Slomškov Mlin in Razkrižje (more about that when its time for the official opening!) – and also runs a cycle tour company offering guided or self-guided tours and the chance to hire bikes and e-bikes. Find out more about Simply Cycling Slovenia here –


After having a guided tour of the mill, we stopped at a pleasant picnic area near one of the few remaining famous floating mills which are found on both sides of the Mura river.


This mill, called ‘The Island of Love’, is located on the Slovene side of the Mura river.


The centrally-located Lendava Thermal Spa is an ideal place to base yourself for exploring the area, with its indoor and outdoor thermal pools, saunas, energy park, traditional cuisine, and full range of treatments, many of them based on its unique paraffin water known for its healing and rejuvenating properties. Find out more here –


Enjoy celebrating St. Martin’s Day – wherever you are and however you choose to celebrate it – no excuses needed!

© Adele in Slovenia

Prekmurje – The Land of Storks, Pumpkins, Floating Mills and more….

Having lived in Slovenia for over 8 years, and being a lover of hiking and all things Alpine, I had yet to visit the northeast of Slovenia. I’d long intended to get there but, in truth, I suppose I always assumed it would be a bit ‘flat and boring’. Well, I stand corrected. Yes, it is flat in places, but there are also rolling hills, vineyards, castles, lakes, numerous spas, delicious food, and more. So here’s a brief run down of my visit which will hopefully whet your appetites too!

The Prekmurje region, part of Slovenia’s Pomurje, is named after the Mura river and is known, among other things, for its many storks which can be seen throughout the area nesting on chimneys tops and in large nests balanced precariously on telegraph poles. The hotel where I stayed even had its own stork family nesting on the roof and a live camera broadcasting on a screen in the restaurant so guests can sit and enjoy a meal whilst watching them!


This stork was sat contentedly on its nest whilst I enjoyed my dinner!

Prekmurje is also known for its pumpkins and, at the time of my visit, it was prime harvesting time. Thousands of pumpkins can be seen scattered across fields, though, they are mainly used for their seeds which are extracted to make the delicious pumpkin-seed oil which is another typical product in this area and makes an excellent salad dressing. I also tried ice-cream served with pumpkin-seed oil and, though it might sound an odd combination, it works!


Nearby, in the village of Markišavci, I visited the family run Kodila Ham Producers which produces and sells all manner of delicious meats, as well as other local produce. The firm’s speciality are the dried hams which are first rubbed with salt, being left to air-dry for 18-45 days, then rinsed, smoked, rubbed (in this case with buckwheat flour and pig fat) and left for up to 6 months. The hams have been awarded the status of food of protected geographic origin and a part of the trademark ‘Scent of Prekmurje (Diši po Prekmurju) which brings together a number of indigenous foods, some of which, including Prekmurje ham and the layer-cake ‘gibanica‘ have now been given the status of protected foods.


The Kodila hams. I can’t portray the smell but it was very tempting!


Prekmurje gibanica cake – layers of pastry, apple, poppy seeds, curd cheese and walnuts – delicious!

The Bukovnica lake (Bukovniško jezero) is a 4.5ha, 2-5m deep, man-made lake and is a popular fishing and picnic spot. There are plenty of places to walk nearby, and the area around the lake is home to the renowned energy points that are thought to have special energy that calms, relaxes, revitalises and have healing properties. There is also an adventure park in the forest which surrounds the lake, which offers all sorts of different adventures for all the family.


Bukovnisko jezero lake

The first use of floating mills on the Mura river dates back to the 4th century when flooding was a frequent problem in the area and thus the floating mills were designed to rise with the water levels. At their peak there were 94 mills operating on the river. Many of them were lost along the years due to fires and others mishaps, whilst the advances in technology, the arrival of electricity, and attacks from the German army, saw off the majority of the mills and today just two mills remain. The larger one, seen below, is at Ižakovci, whilst there is another small mill near the village of Veržej. Both these mills are still active and visitors are able to see the process of flour-making and even buy flour to take home.

Here is a link to a popular Slovene song about the mills on the Mura river –


One of the last remaining floating mills on the fiver Mura at Ižakovci

Prekmurje’s most famous and popular church, the Church of the Ascension is situated in Bogojina and was designed by the famous Slovene architect, Jože Plečnik (1872-1957), and built during the period 1924 – 1927. Plecnik’s architecture is well-known in Europe and particularly made its mark on Vienna, Prague and Ljubljana. Ljubljana’s Triple Bridge is among the most notable of his works.


As you can see, there’s more than enough to keep you occupied for a few days, or even longer, in Prekmurje.

Useful links:

The Church of the Ascension –,-Church-of-the-Ascens.htm?cerkev=4735&lng=2

Diši po Prekmurju –

Bukovnica Lake Adventure Park –

Tourism Pomurje –

© AdeleinSlovenia 2015