Bela Krajina, Slovenia – the country of hospitality and serenity

With its delicious and wines, warm people and beautiful nature, Bela Krajina made us feel home

Kolpa (or Kupa in Croatian)

River Kolpa looks like a border between Slovenia and Croatia only on paper. It is hard to imagine a border when you are seeing a river with beach goers on both sides, swimming together in its crystal waters. However, it bears different names at each side – for Slovenians it is Kolpa, for Croatians – Kupa. The river flows by the beautiful Slovenian region of Bela Krajina – a fascinating area that made us fall in love immediately.

There we crossed the Croatian-Slovenian border – above River Kolpa, at the town of Metlika, one of the most important towns in Bela Krajina. Just after the checkpoint, Kolpa turns its way into Croatia where it flows into Sava River.

Where is Bela Krajina?

loading map - please wait...

Бела Крайна 45.581367, 15.261383

Kolpa appeared to be a quite popular place to visit in . Beachgoers are flowing its coasts from both sides, sunbathing on the small pebble beaches and swimming in the clean water. Camping in the area is a popular summer attraction and we did not miss the opportunity to try it, too. However, we chose a slightly different type of camping experience – the so-called Glamping.

The home of the BIG BERRIES

The reason we visited Bela Krajina was BIG BERRY glamping resort near the village of Primostek, a few minutes from Metlika. We had heard a lot about it before we visited and we were thrilled to discover that it was even better than we expected. We immediately fell in love with the wide spaces, nature, comfortable houses and clean river. It was all we needed for our perfect family holiday. BIG BERRY also proved to be a perfect escape from the 38 degrees heat.

Big Berry

Big Berry

Despite being a tourist resort, in BIG BERRY we met some local people that told us about the past of this area. It was a popular place for beachgoers and sunbathers even before BUG BERRY was built and hundreds of people were gathering there in the summer. Just across the river, the Croatians were obviously doing the same things, having a lot of fun.

BIG BERRY house

BIG BERRY house

For what we loved Bela Krajina?

If you ask me what are the biggest attractions to visit in Bela Krajina, I will not know how to answer. As you might have noticed, we do not like making lists of places, classifying the best, and the worst among them. Instead, we think of each place as of a single attraction with its unique atmosphere and spirit. So Bela Krajina itself is one such place – it made us fall in love and feel home with its serenity, hospitality and atmosphere. For us Bela Krajina was a desired escape from the noisy cities.

Lahinja River

Lahinja River

Despite Bela Krajina is not rich of old castles, towers and other physical historical monuments, it is attracting visitors from all parts of the world. We spent a lot of time talking to a family from Netherlands. They had come in Slovenia just for BIG BERRY and they were really enjoying the beauty and tranquillity of the area.

Kolpa River

Kolpa River

River Kolpa is a beautiful and fitting addition to this idyllic. Clean and full of fish, it is a source of fun for both children and adults. The children were enjoying the many small fishes swimming around them and the adults were happy to escape from the heat in its cool waters.

Thanks to BIG BERRY and their hospitality, we were lucky to have the opportunity to explore this wonderful region and visit places where we could not see just by ourselves.

Chasing trout, old mills and Bela Krajina

Our kind hosts had organised a wonderful and easy program for our stay – visits at local farms, guesthouses, old mill and a winery. Our favourite part of travelling is meeting local people and learning more about their style of living. We would happily trade an Eiffel tower tour for a 2-hour visit to a village farm. Therefore, we were eager to explore the hidden and unknown Bela Krajina and its people.

Ice cream with pumpkin seed oil

We had our first lunch at the restaurant in Podzemelj village. We had wonderful calamari and mushroom soup. It might sound simple but they make wonderful mushroom soup in Bela Krajina and I advise you to try it is you have an opportunity.

But the cherry on the cake was the dessert – amazing vanilla ice cream with pumpkin seed oil topping. It is actually popular in Austria to use pumpkin seed oil for salads and desserts and it is indeed very good.

Domačija Kuzma, the old mills and the healing rakia

One of the popular places for beach goers on Kolpa River is the pebble beach near Domacija Kuzma – an old family-run mill that has existed for more than a century. I would never find this place without a guide but the trip was absolutely worth. We were welcomed from our friendly host Urska Kuzma who told us about the history of this magical place on a glass of home-made rakia.

Domačija Kuzma

Domačija Kuzma

Urska told us that the stone mill has existed on this place for more than a century. Before it was a smaller building and the nowadays mill is actually built on its ceiling. Once near the mill was the Pobrežje fortress, which was destroyed during WW2. During those past times, the mill was serving the whole area around and two people were working round the clock to make sure that anybody in the village has flour to make his bread. We watched an impressive demonstration how the mill works. And even more attractive was the demonstration of sharpening mill stones. This job takes a lot of time and patience!

After the mill, we sat on the benches to enjoy the most interesting part – rakia tasting. Urska insisted that this pretty strong drink is actually healing, especially if you have a flu or stomach bug. There might be some truth in this.. The rakia with chilly was really impressive (get ready to sweat!).

Izletniška kmetija Zupančič and its trouts

It was already evening and we were eager to see what our next surprise for the day was. We headed to the Izletniška kmetija Zupančič, a farm near Črnomelj. There we were welcomed by our host and cook for the night – Rihard Zupancic who was already preparing the delicious trout.

Izletniška kmetija Zupančič

Izletniška kmetija Zupančič

Rihard had also prepared for us some home-made white wine which went perfectly well with the trout. It was probably our most delicious dinner at Bela Krajina. In Rihard’s farm they also grow organic apples and produce amazing organic juice.

Chef Rihard

Chef Rihard

Another good place to eat in Crnomelj is Gostilna Muller – a nice restaurant with wonderful food and service.

A walk around Lahinja natural park – Krajinski park Lahinja

Lahinja is the most important river in Bela Krajina and we had a tour to its source by the guides from the regional tourist centre. The area is a protected natural park with beautiful ponds and walking trails. The most notable places in it are the source of Lahinja, an old church once belonged to a castle and some historical houses now turned into museum. The most popular thing to do in Lahinja park is walking the many trails. The park is actually small and you can walk it all in a few hours, but it is really beautiful and serene place. We did not have this chance because of the unbearable heat.

the source of Lahinja

the source of Lahinja

Another small but beautiful river in Bela Krajina is Krupa. Its karst spring is among the best sights in Bela Krajina.

Wine tasting in Bela Krajina

Slovenia is not a popular wine destination but for us is important to try local wine wherever we go. We were happy to discover that in Slovenia they actually produce really good wines for a reasonable price and we did not miss an opportunity to taste them. Luckily, we had plenty of opportunities.

Kmečka hiša Bahor – Bahor Guest house

Bahor Guest house is 150-year old house, renovated and turned into a small family hotel. It is located in the village of Zorenci, near Crnomelj. We had the pleasure to meet the owners – Bahor family, and have a delicious brunch and pleasant talk with them. The most we were impressed by their white wine – Belokrajnsko belo – a widely produces wine all around Bela Krajina. The most notable grape variety in it is Laski Riesling (also Italian Riesling), and in Croatia they call it Grasevina. The red wine was good, too, but in the heat, we appreciated the white one more.

Bahor Guest house

Bahor Guest house

We learned that the guesthouse is open year-round and it is a great idea to visit in the winter. It can accommodate up to 7 people who receive home-made wine and snacks. We are already considering a winter visit there.

Vinska Klet Metlika – the biggest winery in Bela Krajina

A full wine tasting was another thing we dreamed of before visiting Bela Krajina. And this dream came true when we visited Metlika Winery – the biggest winery in the region, producing 750 000 liters of wine a year. We have been to many wineries but this one impressed us with its size.

Vinska Klet Metlika – the biggest winery in Bela Krajina

Vinska Klet Metlika – the biggest winery in Bela Krajina

Metlika has its own vineyards and  also buys grapes from the local people. The winery itself was established in 1945 and is located in a 108-metre tunnel. The old concrete fermenters are still present but nowadays the use huge inox fermenters instead. We were also impressed by the huge barrels, some of them still in use, for over 40 years now.

40 years old barrels

40 years old barrels

As any big winery, Metlika is producing many different wines of any colour. However, we enjoyed the Rose most and its sparkling version. Later we learned that the rose became so good by accident. In autumn 2015 they had such a rich harvest that they did not have time to process all the grapes flowing in the winery. There was not enough time to complete the red wine technology so they made a lot of rose instead.

A typical local wine is the Yellow Muskat (Rumeni Muskat) which is actually semi-sweet. Quite sweet for our taste, indeed.

Wine testing

Wine testing

Despite visiting so many places and meeting so many people in Bela Krajina, we actually were able to have good rest. We really enjoyed the hospitality of the people in the region and we keep very warm feelings to Slovenia.

Booking.com


Related Posts

Copyrighted Image