Slovenia’s culinary scene reflects its cultural fusion with neighboring Italy, Croatia, Hungary, and Austria. With more than 20 gastronomic regions, some 170 traditional dishes, and its richly textured rebula wine, this tiny central European country is primed to be the next big thing for foodies.
But cuisine is not Slovenia’s only bounty. During a recent visit, New York City-based Virtuoso advisor Sekita Ekrek was “blown away” to find an inviting mix of Europe’s best: gorgeous wine country, breathtaking lakes and alpine meadows, ancient Mediterranean port towns, castles and caves, and the fairy-tale capital of Ljubljana. “It’s just all there.”
A variety of the country’s famous struklji (filled rolls) are on display at Central Market
(6 Adamic-Lundrovo nabrezje) in Ljubljana’s easily walkable Old Town. “Don’t miss the octopus with passion fruit coulis at JB Restaurant
(19 Miklosiceva), one of the best in the city,” says Ekrek. Then grab an ice cream at Cacao
(3 Petkovskovo nabrezje) and stroll along the river promenade, aka “the beach.”
The Goriska Brda wine region, known as the “Tuscany of Slovenia,” boasts vineyards ripe with rebula grapes (called ribolla in Italy), used by organic wineries such as Kabaj
(4 Slovrenc) to produce the region’s prized golden (or orange) wine. A clifftop castle guards glacial Lake Bled; take a pletna (a handmade wooden rowboat) out to the tiny island church and ring its “wishing bell.” Ekrek also recommends Piran, a medieval town on the Slovene Riviera that “oozes charm.” Pick up some of its famous therapeutic salts at Piranske Soline
(2 Ulica IX korpusa) before climbing the town’s peak for views across the Adriatic to Venice, an easy boat ride away.
GO: Your travel advisor can work with Virtuoso’s local tour provider, Luxury Slovenia
, to design a personalized Slovenian journey that can include experiences such as a gastronomic tour of Ljubljana, tastings in the Brda wine region, and a private violin concert in Piran. “They take impeccable care of clients, create one-ofa-kind experiences, and reveal some unbelievable highlights,” says Ekrek.