Recently my husband and I spent a little bit of time in the Bela Krajina region of Slovenia. This southeastern Slovenian region is on the border with Croatia, about an hour and a half from both Ljubljana and Zagreb airports.
Bela Krajina has a long and varied history and geologic landscape. It has a predominantly karstic typography and features plenty of karstic features. The one-time industries in Bela Krajina were metal and wood processing, milling, textiles, and farming, and there are remnants of the mills, sawmills, and blacksmiths, especially noticeable in the river’s dams. Today, the primary industries are farming and tourism. Wine-making has also expanded; the region is at the perfect altitude for vineyards.
Big Berry Kolpa River
We stayed at Big Berry Kolpa River, an eco-friendly glamping experience on the bank of the Kolpa River near Primostek. This is the first site in the Big Berry brand, which consists of fabricated, contemporary, mobile homes. Here, they all have full length porches and floor to ceiling windows that look out over the Kolpa River. All of the cabins also feature hot tubs, free WiFi, and complimentary parking. Breakfast is included in the room rates, while guests have personal kitchens to prepare other meals.
There’s plenty to do here in the Kolpa River area. It is well known for its leisurely hiking and bicycling trails, fishing, and swimming holes. Guests of Big Berry have access to canoes and bicycles to explore, swimming holes and hiking trails, and lounge chairs for more sedate relaxation. However, there are also off property activities to participate in.
Activities at Big Berry
One of the coolest things about the Big Berry concept is the emphasis on partnerships with local tour companies, local farmers, and local businesses to strengthen both the brands and the community.
We took part in the below activities, all arranged by the Big Berry staff.
This family farm (Kmetija means farm) in nearby Metlika grows fruits and vegetables both in indoor and outdoor spaces. Some of the production is in greenhouses which can grow the strawberries and raspberries in the shoulder seasons. We picked and tasted our own strawberries. In 2013, they began producing jams and tea, which now they allow guests to try.
We also got to try the local strawberry wine. Along with raspberry wine, this is one of their specialities.
Domače Dobrote Mojca
Domače Dobrote Mojca is a traditional bakery and baking school that makes traditional Slovenian breads and pastries. To perfect their recipes, they only use local ingredients to create the perfect balance of flavor and atmosphere.
This is another family farm homestay, located in the Metlika vineyards. In addition to selling their own oils, they also demonstrate the traditional ways of oil production. They are most well known for their walnut and hazelnut oils, but they produce over 20 different oils. They also produce chocolates, pralines, and seeds. A one-hour degustation is available upon request for both large and small groups.
Domačija Kuzma is a 16th century flour mill. They demonstrate how the mills worked by processing various grains into flour. The homestead and milling production is incredibly well preserved and worth a visit. We also tasted some liqueurs here.
Izletniška Kmetija Zupančič
This is a really cool experience! It’s kind of like a homestay, except you’re not staying there. Rather, it’s a farm to table, interactive and educational dining experience. We learned about the salamander, dined on fresh caught trout, and drank locally produced Slovenian wine.
Domančija Šrajf is another family operated bakery. The owners use their grandmother’s traditional recipes and include things like walnut cake, tarragon cake, Gottschee cake, and more. They place special emphasis on the buckwheat potica and Belokranjska pogača. These are both very local delicacies. Belokranjska pogača is a flat bread prepared on special occasions, like weddings, confirmations, and religious holidays. We enjoyed a home cooked lunch here.
Gostlina Müller, or Restaurant Mueller, is a local favorite. It’s been around since the 1960s and offers a wide selection of local wines, popular dishes, and more. Their specialty is their home baked bread, but they can prepare almost anything for their guests.
We had dinner at this local restaurant in Podzemelj. The food was exceptional and the staff very friendly.
This is just a sampling of the many activities available to guests at the Big Berry in Kolpa River. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in this unique Slovenian region, and we recommend it be on your list of places to visit in Slovenia!
I was a guest of Big Berry, but as always opinions are my own.