Rimske Toplice – A Spring of Health in the Heart of Nature

Slovenia has its fair share of spa and wellness hotels, however, it’s also fair to say that many of them are geared towards medical services, others towards the family market – swimming pools with water slides etc. i.e. great for kids. The Rimske Terme spa, located in the village of Rimske Toplice, near Laško, is, for me at least, out there on its own when it comes to total relaxation and wellness, and is especially suitable for adults.

On approach you can already see that it’s something special, thanks to the thoughtful design of the buildings which manage to both blend into the surrounding countryside and stand out at the same time.


Rimske Toplice is situated in the picturesque valley of the Savinja river. The village itself comprises mainly residential buildings and a notable church (see below), however, it is the spa and the surrounding countryside which makes this place so special, as well as its proximity to Laškohome of the famous Laško beer. Whilst there I also spent a day exploring Laško and will be writing a more detailed post about that soon since there’s way too much to squeeze into just one blog and to do so would be a shame.

The railway line between Ljubljana and Zidani most runs through the valley, which makes it particularly easily accessible for those reliant on public transport; my tip – if, like me, you are a light sleeper and don’t want the distant rumble of the (infrequent) trains to disturb your slumber, ask for a forest-facing room.

Rimske terme is situated beside a fault that is approximately 1000m under the earth’s surface. Thermal water, with a temperature of 39 degrees Celsius, rises from this depth and research has proved the many healing effects of the water, especially for rheumatic, orthopaedic, neurological, gynaecological and dermatological illnesses. As well as being used in medical treatments, there is a spring right outside the front door of the hotel and guests are encouraged to taste the water and enjoy its pleasant and healing effects.


The Amalija Wellness Centre offers a full range of beauty, pampering and medical wellness services. The hotel’s signature treatments are its Roman bath experiences, which take place in authentic stone bathtubs (it does feel slightly like getting into a coffin at first, but you soon relax and forget that!) filled with pure thermal water. If you are visiting with a loved one, you can also indulge in a romantic bath for two.

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A walk around the Energy Path, among the magnificent sequoia trees, was one of the highlights of my visit. Sequoia are not native to Slovenia; these trees were planted in 1879 as a tribute to the visit by Princess Victoria, heiress to the Prussian throne; the saplings were sent by the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew. There are 14 energy points, each with an information board explaining the effects on various chakras.

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As great as the Rimske terma spa is, it would be a crying shame not to get out and explore the surroundings too, so, of course, I did!

The Lurd church (Lurška Mati Božja) was built in 1886 and contains altar stones brought from the famous French Lourdes and is, in fact, the first church outside of France to be consecrated to the Blessed Virgin. Today, it is a popular pilgrimage sight.


The start of the hike to the peak of Kopitnik (910m) begins right on the doorstep of the spa. This was an added bonus for me during my stay as it meant I could indulge my passion for hiking in the morning – and didn’t have to use my car the whole time I was there – then enjoy some well-earned rest, relaxation and pampering during the afternoon. It takes 1-1.5 hours to reach the mountain hut Koča na Kopitniku (865m) – depending on which of the 2 routes you choose. Although it was dry and clear when I set off, unfortunately it was cloudy at the top so I didn’t get a chance to soak up the views. Oh well, I’ll just have to go back again!


The Aškerc Homestead (Aškerčeva domačija) is just a few minutes walk uphill on the road leading to the hamlet of Senožete. The former home of Anton Aškerc (1856-1912) – the poet, priest, journalist, traveller and campaigner for the freedom and education of Slovene people – today the 500-year old house operates as a museum where visitors can see the original black kitchen, the granary and the linden tree planted in Aškerc’s memory in 1856.

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The area is also ideal for cycling – beside the Savinja river for easier, flatter rides, or into the surrounding hills for something more challenging. Bikes can be rented at the hotel and during the summer months there are guided bike trips.

Fortunately, for me at least, this is far from being a ‘fat farm’ and good food is plentiful. Breakfast and dinner are buffet style but for an upgraded dining experience there is also an a-la-carte restaurant, and the cakes in the café were also delicious and very difficult to avoid, especially since I had to walk past them every time I went to use the wellness facilities!

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In short, there is a wealth to do, inside or out, at the Rimske terme spa and in the surroundings of Rimske Toplice. I liked it so much I visited twice in two weeks and I will surely be going back!

Useful links:

Rimske terme –http://www.rimske-terme.si/en/

Aškerc Homestead – http://www.lasko.info/en/askerceva-domacija-na-senozetih

Lurd Church – http://www.slovenia.info/en/religious-heritage/church-of-lurska-mati-bozja-rimske-toplice.htm?sakralna_dediscina=10545&lng=2&rd=desktop

Adventures on Kum – Slovenia’s Best Mountain Hut and Mountain Dessert!

Hiking is very popular in Slovenia. There are over 170 mountain huts spread across the hills and mountains of the Julian Alps, the Karavanke, the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, the Pohorje, Jelovica and Pokljuka plateaus and all the other areas. The huts range in facilities, in general the higher you go the more basic they become. Some, particularly the higher lying ones, are only open in the high season (July-September), others are open year-round though, out of season just at weekends, whilst a small handful, including this one, are open all year round, regardless of the season.

Every year in Slovenia the public votes for their favourite mountain hut to win the title of ‘Best Mountain Hut’. This year the competition was won by the mountain hut on Kum (Koča na Kumu) and since I’d never been there, and since the warm autumn weather we’ve been experiencing of late has meant the hills and mountains beckoning for hiking, I visited Kum last weekend and, well – wow – now I know why!

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At 1220m Kum is the highest peak in the Posavje region. It can be reached from a number of places, including from Trbovlje, Radeče and Zagorje ob Savi. However, having read about the mini-cabin used to cross the Sava river at Zidani most, where one of the routes begins, I decided that sounded like an adventure with my name on it! This little cabin (for want of a better word) is also used by locals wishing to cross the river to avoid an otherwise lengthy detour.


As I wanted to make an early start on Sunday morning, and also because I wanted to suss out the cabin in advance, I decided to stay the night before at my new favourite hotel, Rimske terme in Rimske Toplice. I say ‘favourite hotel’ because I visited once and liked it so much, and there was so much to see and do, that I returned a week later, hence there’ll be much more about that in a coming blog.

Zidani most is one of Slovenia’s most important railway junctions, and is also known for its 3 bridges – two railway and one road – as well as being at the confluence of the Savinja and Sava rivers. Though surrounded by wonderful nature, to be honest, from what I saw of the place, there’s not really an awful lot else to see or do there, though I might be doing it a disservice since I only used it as a base for my walk.

If arriving by train, on exiting the station turn left then walk along the road for about 1km to where the road crosses the railway. If arriving by car then you can park on the dirt road beside the Sava river. Then, its a quick hop into the cabin to wizz (ahem!) over the river to begin the hike. Well, at least that was the plan! If there is a group of you, it would be far easier as those on the opposite side of the river bank can help by winching the cabin if (and when!) it doesn’t quite make it over the river!


So, just get in, take the obligatory photo, close the ‘door’ and let gravity do its thing!

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The cabin is just big enough for 2 people. If, however, you are alone, you might want to ask a friend to help (or flutter your eyelids at a friendly local – though you could have a bit of a wait, there aren’t many!) when you (inevitably) get stuck halfway across the river and don’t have the strength to pull yourself the rest of the way!

The path leads up alongside a stream, steeply at first, crossing the stream in several places (I’d advise against taking this path after heavy rainfall as imagine it gets pretty slippery and treacherous). It emerges to meet a road then continues up along a sunny balcony, passes weekend houses from where the endless and rewarding views begin.


The panoramic views are breath-taking and, despite not being that high, you really do feel on top of the world. On a clear day, you can see all of Slovenia’s mountain ranges and Slovenia’s highest mountain, Triglav, as well as peaks in neighbouring Croatia and Austria.


On the top there is a large antenna, the mountain hut and St. Neža’s church. There is also a small play area for children, farm animals and an orientation table.


Inside the hut, where I was warmly greeted, the first thing that caught my eye was the chiller cabinet full of cakes! That in itself is a rare sight as most mountain huts have the usual fare of soups, stews and strudel. It’s not surprising then that the hut’s kremšnita (a cream slice, otherwise known as ‘Bled cake’) was declared the best mountain dessert of 2015. Of course there’s plenty of other tasty food on offer too.

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Kum is also popular destination during the winter and the hut is open all-year round, so, what are you waiting for?!

Useful links – Kum Mountain Hut – http://bit.ly/1kEitRE