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European Destinations of Excellence – hidden pearls of Slovenia. 2008: The Soča Valley

2011: Idrija

2009: The Solčavsko region

2010: The Kolpa River

The “European Destinations of ExcelleNce” project or, in short, EDEN was designed by the European Commission in accordance with the guidelines of the European tourism policy. The overall objective of the project is to draw attention to the value, diversity, and shared characteristics of European tourist destinations, and to promote destinations, where the economic growth objective is pursued in such a way as to ensure the social, cultural, and environmental sustainability. In Slovenia we decided to participate in the EDEN project in order to identify and award the most sustainable or green destinations, which act in accordance with the principles of environmental, socially responsible, and cultural sustainability, and thus facilitate their further development. Visit EDEN destinations and discover the hidden pearls of Slovenia!

Project is financed under the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP.)

SURPRISINGLY! VERY DIFFERENT. Former mines, monasteries, castles, museums, and adventure sites in buildings, where you would not expect them – Slovenia is replete with such diversities! The revival of immovable cultural heritage creates new surprises for visitors, who want to experience the green country in a new, surprising way. Visit the town of IDRIJA, which connects its heritage enriched attractiveness with new tourist experiences and with the former world-renowned mercury mine, received the title of the European Destination of Excellence in Slovenia for 2011!

EDEN 2011: Idrija

The town with the once second largest mercury mine in the world boasts an amazing technical heritage: water channels (“rake”), the mighty wooden water wheel (“kamšt”), and the biggest preserved steam engine in Europe (“Kleyeva črpalka”). You can descend into the ANTONIJEV ROV shaft, the best arranged part of the mine for visitors. Here you can get lost in the memories of a 500-year-long mining tradition and maybe even chance upon the cave dwarf! The nearby IDRIJA MINER’S HOUSE from the 18th century provides you with an insight into the mining heritage. The CHURCH OF THE HOLY TRINITY, the oldest church in Idrija, which stands on the site, where, according to folk tradition, the tub-maker discovered mercury. Above the city reigns the GEWERKENEGG CASTLE with the Idrija Municipal Museum that goes deeper into the mining heritage, and displays geological valuables and famous Idrija laces. The Idrija Lace-making School preserves the special style of hand bobbin lace-making technique, whereas the luxury of this tradition is presented during the annual IDRIJA LACE FESTIVAL. Enter a different life! Get to also know Idrija as the world of wild waters – it was one of the EDEN 2010 finalists!

+++ Don’t miss:

Idrija flour dumplings “Idrijski žlikrofi” :: Theme trails through Idrija and its surroundings :: The Idrija Lace Festival with the displays of bobbin lace-making and fashion show (EDEN 2008 finalist).

EVENTS IN 2013: 14-16 June 2013 THE IDRIJA LACE FESTIVAL There are various events taking place during the festival: lectures, workshops and demonstrations of lace making, exhibitions of lace and home craft, and an entertainment programme (concerts, events) accompanied by a diverse culinary offer. 15 August 2013 ASSUMPTION DAY OR PRFARSKI ŠTRUKLJEVC The venue of this holiday is the Church of Mary on the Rock, where a ceremonial holy mass takes place, followed by a feast and celebration. Traditionally, rolled dumplings are made, wreaths are woven and so on. 25 August 2013 CHARCOAL SUNDAY (Krnice) This is an ethno event that offers a cultural and entertainment programme, traditional food and a charcoal-making competition. 7 September 2013 THE CELEBRATION OF IDRIJA FLOUR DUMPLINGS (Idrijski žlikrofi) This is a culinary event that aims to promote the regional and European protected dish carrying the label “traditional speciality guaranteed”. 17th ALTER-ART FESTIVAL (9-10 August 2013) and the 12th TANGO FESTIVAL (12-13 July 2013) Two traditional festivals that host young cultural creators from Idrija and elsewhere presenting their work through language, image and sound.

FRESH. VERY ACTIVE! Rivers, lakes, waterfalls, the sea, springs of thermal and mineral water -- when it comes to water, Slovenia is the treasure house of Europe. Slovenian tourism develops in coexistence with water. Sustainable principles of development are inseparably connected with the conservation of natural features and the purity of water. Tourist destinations which have found their own special advantages in water competed to become Slovenia’s European Destination of Excellence in 2010. The title was won by THE KOLPA RIVER: TOUCH THE STORY.

EDEN 2010: THE Kolpa RIVER


At the southern edge of Slovenia the unique river Kolpa links a picturesque destination to neighbouring Croatia. Here, the river Kolpa is full of surprises with its natural channel, rapids, gorges, and gravel beds, while the countryside along its banks is remarkable for its biodiversity and a wealth of natural and cultural features such as steljniki – stands of birch trees with bracken undergrowth. One of Slovenia's warmest rivers offers a variety of experiences 'DOWNSTREAM ALONG THE KOLPA, UPSTREAM ALONG THE BANK'. The numerous walking trails running along the river are also great for cycling. Rafts and canoes are available for trips down the river. The river is suitable for swimming and, with many different species of fish, is popular with anglers. Experience the EXUBERANCE OF NATURE – in an area of extraordinary biological diversity you can encounter as many as 30 species of fish (nine of them on the list of endangered species) and around 100 species of birds. Karst waters are home to the endemic black proteus or 'human fish'. Other species found in the area include the European pond turtle, otters and beavers. The wider area of the Kolpa is an area of unspoilt nature which is still home to bears, lynx and wolves. Over the course of history, the Kolpa area has been a point of contact for three religions and five different peoples. As a result, some truly special KOLPA STORIES are preserved here. Allow your imagination to be stirred by figures of myth and legend such as Green George and Peter Klepec and creatures such as the Bilpa Devil and the Kolpa Fairies. Feast your eyes on brightly painted Bela Krajina Easter eggs, embroidery, pottery, ceramics, wicker baskets and other local crafts products. Delight your taste buds with genuine local specialities such as Bela Krajina flatbread, Kostel-style stuffed pig's stomach and rusk-filled sausages. Make sure you sample the excellent local wines, Kostel brandy, fruit juices and natural mineral water. Fill yourself with energy with a visit to the vital energy centres and natural temples that form part of the 'World of the Kolpa – A Gift for the Soul' programme.

+++ Don’t miss:

Peter Klepec :: Downstream along the Kolpa :: Krajinjski park Kolpa.

17-19 May 2013 On the third weekend in May each year, Metlika hosts the event VINSKA VIGRED, the largest Slovenian cultural, tourist and wine event. 19-23 June 2013 50th JURJEVANJE IN BELA KRAJINA 2013 – this is the oldest folklore festival in Slovenia, which takes place in a natural amphitheatre in Jurjevanjska draga in Črnomelj. 12-14 July 2013 19th SEMIČ WEDDING – a true wedding ceremony carried out by ancient customs and in traditional costumes typical for the region of Bela Krajina (White Carniola). 15 August 2013 ‘TAMBURANJE VA KOSTELE’ – a traditional cultural-ethnological event that, in kostelščina – a unique dialect – means playing the tamboura, and various events that take place during celebrations of High Mass. Every Thursday in July and August 2013 at 8 p.m., you can visit the SUMMER EVENINGS at the town square in Kočevje.

River Kolpa

NATURAL. VERY HOSPITABLE! National parks, regional parks, protected landscapes, nature reserves and natural monuments and areas of outstanding biodiversity – all of these are examples of nature conservation. Over a tenth of Slovenia falls into specially protected areas, while more than a third of the national territory is protected as part of the Natura 2000 network, which protects the habitats of endangered plant and animal species important for the European Union as a whole. Tourist areas that concern themselves with sustainable development in connection with areas of this kind were the subject of special attention from the European Commission within the context of the EDEN 2009 project. In Slovenia, the title of European Destination of Excellence on the theme of tourism and protected areas was won by THE SOLČAVSKO REGION: THREE VALLEYS IN UNISON.

EDEN 2009: The Solčavsko Region

Solčavsko is an area comprising three valleys below the peaks of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and the Karavanke range. The LOGARSKA DOLINA Landscape Park is one of the most beautiful alpine valleys in Europe; ROBANOV KOT is a valley of large mountain farms; MATKOV KOT, the smallest of the three valleys, is full of surprises. The Solčavsko Panoramic Route leads to the Church of the Holy Spirit, the starting point for the route to the POTOČKA ZIJALKA CAVE below Olševa. Thirty thousand years ago this cave was the home of Ice Age hunters! The extensive Natura 2000 area is evidence of an outstanding level of nature conservation, a cause for admiration and respect and an invitation to discovery and enjoyment. In summer the valleys are the starting point for hillwalking tours, hikes and mountain biking. In winter, for ski touring, cross-country skiing and tobogganing. In this land of big old farms, venerable trees and waterfalls, you can experience ancient stories and treat yourself to typical local specialities!

+++ Don’t miss:

Alpine Valleys: Logarska Dolina, Robanov Kot, Matkov Kot, The Solčavsko region Panoramic Route :: Rinka Center: exhibitions highlighting the area, local products showcase.

EVENTS IN 2013: 24-26 May 2013 MOUNTAIN TIMBER FESTIVAL Presentation on mountain forests, special trees and properties of mountain timber, demonstrations, workshops and sale of timber products, special culinary features offered by the forest, hikes and fun in nature, etc. 26-28 July 2013 DAYS OF SOLČAVA – a traditional ethnographic event The presentation and tasting of homemade culinary specialties, exhibitions of local produce, medicinal herbs, indigenous animals, presentations of the most attractive sights, entertainment and musical programme. 20-22 September 2013 THE “BICKA” SHEEP WOOL FESTIVAL Presentation on the indigenous breed of sheep called jezerskosolčavska, a demonstration of sheep shearing and wool processing, a workshop for the manufacture of felt products, a fashion show featuring wool clothing, traditional mountain pasture cooking, a cultural and musical programme, etc. Throughout the year Exhibitions and themed events in the Rinka Centre –a multipurpose centre for tourism and sustainable development.

Robanov Kot

INTANGIBLE? VERY MUCH ALIVE! Traditions and customs, countless forms of knowledge and beliefs, historical consciousness and geographical horizons, mythology and folk creativity, traditional skills and crafts – there is so much variety hidden in intangible heritage! Attractive areas of Europe capable of weaving these intangible elements – that are nevertheless very much alive – into original tourism experiences, competed for the title of European Destination of Excellence in 2008. In Slovenia the winner of the prestigious title was the SOČA VALLEY, with its unique stories on the theme of peace.

EDEN 2008: The Soča Valley


Every year the mighty KLUŽE FORTRESS is the venue for STORIES OF THE SOČA: a re-creation of times past in the valley of the river Soča, from local cultural curiosities to the remains of the heritage of a cruel war. Stories of the surprising valley draw visitors to the Path of Peace, which connects the beauties of nature with memories of the First World War and the Soča (Isonzo) Front. The message of peace echoes among the Alpine peaks above the emerald river and into every corner of the TRIGLAV NATIONAL PARK. No one who walks the Path of Peace from Log pod Mangartom near Bovec to Drežnica near Kobarid and to Mengore near Tolmin will forget the obligations of peace! One of the best conserved areas in Europe, it is popular with hikers, cyclists, lovers of water sports (canoeing, rafting, canyoning), anglers, hillwalkers and climbers, paragliders, skiers and others seeking an active holiday.

+++ Don’t miss:

The enchanting beauty of the river Soča :: The Triglav National Park with all the special features of the Alpine world :: Stories of the Soča (Isonzo) Front along the Paths of Peace!

March Freeride Battle Kanin (Bovec)

An international contest in freestyle skiing and snowboarding accompanied by a musical programme and film projections. May THE KOBARID OUTDOOR SHOW (Kobarid) A sports spectacle featuring various disciplines including kayak competitions, bouldering, mountain bike downhill and paragliding. In addition to the competition, workshops and performances take place. June Štrukljada (Kobarid) A culinary festival of delicious rolled dumplings from Kobarid that takes place within the frame of the Kobarid Fair. Avgust ČOMPARSKA NOČ (Bovec) A traditional ethno event offering delicious local specialties, such as čompe (potatoes) with cottage cheese, and workshops during which the youngest visitors can create art using potatoes.

River Soča

September, October THE HIKING FESTIVAL – the Soča Valley (Bovec, Kobarid, Tolmin) Guided trips in the Soča Valley suitable for both families and the more experienced.

Slovenian Tourist Board

Dimičeva 13, SI - 1000 Ljubljana tel.: + 386 1 5898 550 fax: + 386 1 5898 560 e-mail: Interact with us on: SloveniaInfo

Feel Slovenia

Slovenian Tourist Board


EDEN 2009: The Solčavsko region The Rinka Centre – the Solčava Tourist Information Centre Tel.: +386 (0)3 83 90 710 E-mail:

EDEN 2008: The Soča Valley TIC Bovec Tel.: +386 (0)5 38 96 444 E-mail: Bovec

EDEN 2011: Idrija TIC Idrija Tel.: +386 (0)5 37 43 916 E-mail:

EDEN 2010: The Kolpa River RIC Bela krajina Tel.: +386 (0)7 30 56 530 E-mail:

Finalists: Velenje: Underground Adventure TIC Velenje, Stari trg 3 SI-3320 Velenje Tel.: +386 (0)3 89 61 860 E-mail: Mežica: The Underground Podzemlje Pece, d.o.o. Glančnik 8, SI-2392 Mežica Tel.: +386 (0)2 87 00 180 E-mail:, Žiče Charterhouse: Žiče Charterhouse in the Valley of st. John the Baptist TIC SLOVENSKE KONJICE, Stari trg 27 SI-3210 Slovenske Konjice Tel.: +386 (0)3 759 31 10 E-mail:

Bohinj: U Bohinj ma dž tamlade – The Riches of the Waters of Bohinj Turizem Bohinj, Triglavska cesta 30, SI-4264 Bohinjska Bistrica Tel.: + 386 (0)4 57 47 590 E-mail: Velenje: The Šalek Valley – the Dragon Awakes TIC Velenje Šaleška 3, SI - 3320 Velenje Tel: + 386 (0)3 89 61 860 E-mail: Between Poh2orje and Boh2or: The Waters of Two Worlds RA Kozjansko, Ulica skladateljev Ipavcev 17, SI-3230 Šentjur Tel.: +386 (0)3 74 71 307 E-mail:

Tolmin-Kobarid: Land of Living Water LTO Sotočje, Petra Skalarja 4, SI-5220 Tolmin Tel.: +386 (0)5 38 00 480 E-mail:

EDEN Project Slovenia: European Commission:

Kozje - Bistrica ob Sotli - Krško: The Kozjansko Regional Park: JZ Kozjanski park, Podsreda 45, SI-3257 Podsreda Tel.: +386 (0)3 80 07 100 E-mail: Kranj: the Prešeren Fair TIC Kranjska hiša, Glavni trg 2, SI-4000 Kranj Tel.: +386 (0)4 23 80 450 E-mail:

Publisher: Slovenian Tourist Board / Design: Terminal Studio / Text: Ines Drame / Translation: PRELEST, Tanja Dabanović s.p. / Photos: Samo Trebižan, Dunja Wedam, Tomo Jeseničnik, Aleš Fevžer, Archive ICRA d.o.o., Archive Center Rinka, F.A. Bobo, Janez Skok / August 2012


EDEN IN SLOVENIA, European Destinations of Excellence, hidden pearls of Slovenia.


EDEN IN SLOVENIA, European Destinations of Excellence, hidden pearls of Slovenia.