HomeWorld NewsVipava Valley: Slovenia's beautiful hidden treasure

Vipava Valley: Slovenia’s beautiful hidden treasure

(CNN) — It’s lower than an hour’s drive from Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, but the Vipava Valley hasn’t actually registered on the vacationer radar.

This lusciously fertile area that stretches west to the Italian border has a magical mixture of exceptionally nice wine and meals, dramatic karst landscapes and medieval castles towering over fairly villages.

It even has its personal microclimate — a bit of style of the Mediterranean wedged between limestone mountains. It’s a spot made for out of doors adventures — on foot, on two wheels or on a paraglider floating above the valley.

Here are a few of the unmissable sights of the Vipava Valley, for when it is secure to go to.

Follow the Vipava Valley Wine Road

Slovenia’s wines are significantly underrated.

Courtesy Marijan Močivnik/Vipavska Dolina

With the Trnovo Forest Plateau to the north and the Karst Plateau to the south, it is no marvel that the Vipava Valley is one among most fertile areas in Europe.

Here the fierce burja wind — which Italians know as bora and Croatians as bura — slices via the valley, clearing the air and bringing optimum rising situations for Slovenia’s top-class wines.

Scores of wineries — plus numerous extra tiny household vineyards — produce significantly underrated wines, with many utilizing Slovenia’s indigenous grapes, together with the zelen and pinela white varieties.

For an introduction to the area’s wines, begin at wine cooperative Vipava 1894 within the city of Vipava. Running since 1894, the cooperative brings collectively wines from 350 winemakers, and you may get pleasure from a few of the best throughout a cellar tour and tasting.
For an extra tour, you are not removed from Burja Estate vineyard simply to the south of Vipava, or Batič and Lepa Vida boutique wineries additional west in Šempas.

From farm to desk


Vipava’s Mediterranean microclimate helps create scrumptious meals.

Courtesy Miha Bratina/Vipavska Dolina

That identical burja wind that blows via the vineyards is an enormous purpose why Vipava Valley’s air-dried prosciutto is a serious rival for its Italian counterpart.

And this delicate Mediterranean microclimate means the valley is stuffed with orchards groaning with apricots, peaches and persimmons.

For meals lovers, there’s all the pieces from the country to the refined — from home-reared and home-cooked meals in agritourism farms to Michelin-starred eating places.

In truth, two of Slovenia’s six Michelin-starred eating places are within the Vipava Valley: Dam in Nova Gorica and Gostilna Pri Lojzetu set in a beautiful Seventeenth-century Palladian-style constructing, Dvorec Zemono, close to Vipava.

Once or twice a yr, lots of the native farms and wine cellars throw open their doorways for the Slovenian custom of osmica. Over a interval of 10 days, you’ll be able to pattern their wine and selfmade produce in a makeshift tavern over the course of a convivial night.

Visit Vipava


Vipava is an ideal base for exploring the area.

Courtesy Vipavska Dolina

Vipava squeezes in a number of wonders into its compact house, making it a fascinating base from which to discover the area — particularly in case you’re into wine tourism.

Here the Vipava River’s delta-shaped supply and dashing springs convey much more magnificence to this city of pastel baroque buildings, fairly bridges and the medieval Baumkirchner Tower hovering over the river.

For lofty views of the city, there is a hike up the footpath to the ruins of the Eleventh-century Vipava Castle. A gentler choice is a go to to the Wine Museum and the Vipava Wine Shop for a style of the area’s wines.

Discover practically 2,000 years of historical past

Rihemberk Castle overlooks the village of Branik.

Rihemberk Castle overlooks the village of Branik.

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In Ajdovščina, one of many area’s largest cities, sit the stays of the Roman Castra fortress close to the Hubelj River. Built across the third century, it is the most important surviving Roman wall in Slovenia, and guests can discover out extra concerning the Roman legacy within the close by Ajdovščina Museum Collection.

There’s a leap forward of a number of centuries just a few miles to the west within the pretty hilltop medieval village of Vipavski Križ.

Its slim lanes are good for wandering, and highlights embrace its baroque church and a tour of the Capuchin Monastery, with its spectacular library of uncommon manuscripts and assortment of baroque artwork.

For pure romance — and knockout views of the mountainous Vipava landscapes — there’s Rihemberk Castle, which seems to be out over the village of Branik. Dating from the thirteenth century, and added to over the centuries, this sprawling fort has the tallest tower in Slovenia.

It’s an atmospheric setting for live shows and weddings, and, in case you lookup at nightfall, you may see its massive variety of resident bats flitting about.

Peek via the Otlica Natural Window


The Otlica Natural Window frames an ideal view.

Courtesy Marijan Močivnik/Vipavska Dolina

In this limestone panorama filled with beauties, there’s one which stands out. On the sting of the Trnovo Forest Plateau is the Otlica Natural Window (Otliško okno), a gaping gap inside the limestone that reveals an excellent view of the Vipava Valley.

It takes about three hours to do the circuit in case you observe the well-marked path beginning within the Pale Sport Park in Ajdovščina for 5 miles — a few of it over steep, rocky floor, so you may want a good stage of health. But the views shall be well worth the effort.

Get energetic


Activities embrace biking and mountaineering via the vineyards.

Courtesy Marijan Močivnik/Vipavska Dolina

The hike to Otlica whets appetites for extra energetic adventures. There are a number of hundred miles of mountaineering trails all through the area, and whereas many are of medium issue, yow will discover straightforward routes such because the two-mile instructional path alongside the Hubelj River.

The nine-mile path alongside the sting of the Gora Plateau offers sweeping views, whereas the five-mile Vitovlje circuit goes previous Vitovlje Lake, the one pure lake within the Vipava Valley. On a transparent day you’ll be able to see so far as the Adriatic Sea.

Cyclists even have a spread of routes to select from, some involving stress-free bucolic jaunts via vineyards, whereas others take a look at your endurance on peaks reaching 6,000 toes.


Kostanjevica Monastery will be seen on a hike across the decrease Vipava Valley.

Courtesy Matjaž Prešeren / Vipavska Dolina

A mild begin is obtainable by the two-hour circuit around the decrease Vipava Valley from Nova Gorica to Dornberk and again, passing Miren Castle and Kostanjevica Monastery.

Those in search of a problem can deal with the three-hour climb as much as the Gora Plateau and Kovk Hill the place the paragliders take off. It’s tempting to hitch them, as hovering via the sky on a paraglider is among the most exhilarating methods to discover the Vipava Valley.

Along the Vipava River, kayakers and paddleboarders will be noticed making their method via this lush panorama.

Taste two cultures in Nova Gorica


Nova Gorica sits on the border with Italy.

Courtesy Vipavska Dolina/Tina Mihelj

Slovenia actually meets Italy within the cities of Nova Gorica and Gorizia, the place the now seamless border between the 2 international locations runs via Europe Square.

When the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty put Gorizia in Italy, the brand new metropolis of Nova Gorica was developed, and it has since grown right into a vigorous college metropolis. They’ve mixed forces to grow to be the joint European Capital of Culture for 2025, the primary cross-border cities to take action.



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