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Contents Basics Map Osrednje Celjsko

5 7 9











Obsotelje & Kozjansko


rogaška Slatina
































Slovenske Konjice






A round of golf is only one of the many sports activities popular with visitors to the region

Taste some of the best homemade cuisine you’ve ever had at one of the region’s inviting tourist farms

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket


ForeWord Dežela Celjska, or the Land of Celje, is a year-round tourist destination comprising 21 separate municipalities all centred around Slovenia’s third largest city, Celje. Stretching over 75km from east to west and nearly as far from north to south, the region is geographically diverse with valleys surrounded on three sides by mountains and high hills. There is much that ties it together though. Six large modern thermal spas are found here, which already receive more than one million visitors every year, but outside of the healing waters, four-star accommodation and state-of-theart facilities that these resorts offer there are countless things to see and do. The countryside is populated with friendly locals, many of whom have opened their doors (and kitchens) to guests. A meal of homemade traditional cuisine at one of the region’s tourist farms is a must for every visitor, and many also offer accommodation for longer stays. Don’t worry about indulging on local cuisine, as there is also ample opportunity for activities and sport. Well-marked walking, hiking and cycling paths criss-cross the entire area, ranging in difficulty and length there are routes suitable for virtually everyone, many of which pass through pristine regional parks and unspoilt natural landscapes. During the winter months skiers can visit one of the country’s premier ski resorts at Rogla in the Pohorje mountains, while in the summer several stunning golf courses are open as well. The region’s cultural and historical attractions also offer plenty of options. Celje was an important crossroad in Europe for centuries and home to one of the most powerful families in this part of the continent during the Late Middle Ages. Nowadays various castles, mansions, monasteries and medieval old towns are evidence of this rich history, and each has its own intriguing story to share with visitors. Regional museums, historical presentations, open air museums and smaller ethnological collections offer insights on how the people have lived here from the earliest settlements thousands of years ago up until modern times. In the following pages we’ve covered the highlights of all there is to see and do in the Land of Celje, including a selection of our favourite places to eat and a comprehensive list of places to stay, from the largest hotels to the smallest private accommodation. Whether you’re coming on a day-trip from a nearby city, a weekend away or a longer holiday, you’ll be able to find everything you need to make it an unforgettable experience, and one that is sure to encourage repeat visits.

The World of In Your Pocket Northern Ireland

Director Niko Slavnic M.Sc. ISSN 1855-3486 ©IQBATOR d.o.o. Printed Tiskarna Pleško Published 2012 Translation KIBORD, prevajalska agencija, d.o.o. Maps Kraft&Werk

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket




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It was 20 years ago this summer that the first In Your Pocket hit the streets of Vilnius, Lithuania. Since then, we have grown to become the largest publisher of locally produced city guides in Europe. We now cover more than 75 cities across the continent (with Ghent, Belgium, the latest city to be pocketed) and the number of In Your Pocket guides published each year is approaching an amazing five million. Always an innovative publisher, we have just launched a new version of our iPhone app, which can be downloaded for free from the AppStore. Search for ‚IYP Guides’ by name. To keep up to date with all that’s new at In Your Pocket, like us on Facebook ( or follow us on Twitter (

Editorial Editor Irena Jamnikar E S S E N T I A L C I TY G U I D E S Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket Drenikova 33, 1000 Ljubljana Slovenia Tel. +386 30 316 602


Writers Yuri Barron, Andrea McVeigh, Richard Schofield, Yuri Barron, Will Dunn Layout & Design Vaida Gudynaitė Consulting Craig Turp Photos Archive of The land of Celje destination and archives of 21 participating municipalities, Yuri Barron Cover photo Matjaž Jambriško

Copyright notice Text and photos copyright IQBATOR d.o.o. Maps copyright cartographer. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, except brief extracts for the purpose of review, without written permission from the publisher and copyright owner. The brand name In Your Pocket is used under license from UAB In Your Pocket (Bernardinų 9-4, Vilnius, Lithuania, tel. (+370) 5 212 29 76).

Editor’s note The editorial content of In Your Pocket guides is independent from paid-for advertising. Sponsored listings are clearly marked as such. We welcome all readers’ comments and suggestions. We have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of going to press and assume no responsibility for changes and errors.



Basic data

A Word From The Mayor

Population Slovenia 2,048,951 (2011 estimate) Celje 48,556 Area 20,273 square kilometres Ethnic composition Slovenian 83%, Former Yugoslav minorities 5.3%, Hungarian, Albanian, Roma, Italian and others 11.7% Official languages Slovenian, Italian, Hungarian Local time Central European (GMT + 1hr) Longest river Sava (221km in Slovenia) Highest mountain Triglav 2,864m. Borders Austria 318km, Italy 280km, Hungary 102km, Croatia 670km

The city of Celje is ver y proud of the tou ris t o f fer th at has d evel oped in our city and in the surrounding region, which is promoted for d om esti c an d forei gn tourists a s TH E L A N D O F CEL JE. 21 municipalities have joined in promotional a c ti vi ti e s fo r o u r lively destination, mostly known as a WELL-BEING DESTINATION based on 6 big thermal spa c e n t re s wi t h ri c h history and modern and luxurious infrastructure. Combined with an active countryside where you will find walkingpaths and cycling routes as well as friendly locals on tourist farms offering delicious home-made food and enchanting cultural heritage, the destination THE LAND OF CELJE will give you lifelong memories!

Drinking Alcohol is only sold to people over 18, and sadly after 21:00 it cannot be bought in stores.

Driving The speed limit is 50km/hr in built-up areas, 90-100km/ hr on main roads, 130km/hr on highways. Cars must use headlights at all times and must have a spare wheel, warning triangle, spare lightbulb, first aid kit and, in win- ter, either snow chains or winter tyres. The alcohol limit is 0.05%. The traffic information centre has road webcams and maps of current traffic problems at


Bojan Šrot, the Major of Celje

Climate Temperature, °C

rainfall, mm


Slovenia adopted the euro in January 2007. Euro coins come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, 1 and 2 euros, while banknotes come in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros. The Slovenian side of the euro coins are decorated with among other things storks, Mount Triglav, Lippizaner horses, a man sowing stars and a Jože Plečnik design.

1 EUr € = 1.25 US$ = 0.80 UK£ = 1.20 CHF =7.95 CnY = 100 ¥ = 40 руб (26 July 2012)






-10 -20

Exchange rates







S O n D


Vinjeta - A Ticket to Drive Vinjeta Slo-

Symbol key P Air conditioning

W Wi-Fi connection

6 Animal friendly

T Child friendly

A Credit cards accepted

H Conference facilities

U Facilities for the disabled F Fitness centre L Guarded parking

R Internet

J City centre location

G Non-smoking rooms

K Restaurant

D Sauna

C Swimming pool

S Takeaway

E Live music

B Outdoor Seating

venia requires all motor vehicles travelling on Slovenian highways to have a vinjeta (veen-yeh-tah) sticker. This system exists in lieu of tolls, and the vinjeta can be easily obtained at nearly all gas stations and kiosks. Yearly/monthly/weekly stickers are €95/30/15 for cars and yearly/half-yearly/weekly ones are €47.50/25/7.50 for motorcycles. Also be aware that border police will likely not remind you to purchase a vinjeta when entering the country, but are highly likely to issue you a steep fine when leaving if you’ve failed to do so. For more info check

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket




Celje A






Rimske Toplice












Slovenske Konjice


Rogaška Slatina ZAGR


Šentjur pri Celju



© All Rights reserved. Kraft&Werk 2012


Celje Arriving in Celje By Bus Compared to the city’s small but aesthetically pleasing mid-19th century railway station a few blocks south, Celje’s main bus depot is, quite frankly, something of an eyesore. Of course if you’re relying solely on public transport you’ll have to spend some time here if you want to visit any of the nearby towns and villages not serviced by trains - which is to say, most of them. On the plus side, the station is within walking distance of pretty much anywhere you’ll want to go (in fact it’s right across the street from Celje’s recently opened and highly recommended MCC Hostel), and also is one of the only places in town where you can find food around the clock.

Bus Station Aškerčeva 20, tel. (+386) 3 425 34 00,

Arriving by Car If you’re coming from the direction of either Ljubljana or Maribor, getting to Celje just means following Slovenia’s main A1 motorway until you see the exit for Celje (Centre). The exit puts you a couple of kilometres north of the city centre, but the directions are well-signposted so you shouldn’t have any trouble following Mariborska Cesta into town. Celje lies roughly 80km from the capital, and the drive should take something less than an hour, while Maribor is only 40 minutes or so away.

Arriving by Plane Although Celje has no international airport of its own, there are three located within 120km of the city - in Ljubljana (90km), Graz (110km) and Zagreb (120km) - all which are well-connected to the rest of Europe. If you’re travelling by public transport, Ljubljana’s Jože Pučnik Airport will likely be the easiest to reach due to the frequency of rail and bus connections.

Ljubljana Airport (Letališče jožeta Pučnika)

Zgornji Brnik 130a, tel. (+386) 4 206 10 00, fax (+386) 4 202 12 20,,

Glavni Trg is the heart of Celje’s perfect medieval old town


Train schedule From Celje First Last. City 05:45 21:23 BELGRADE 09:18 00:02 BUDAPEST 07:59 16:34 KOPEr 04:41 22:07 LAŠKO 04:41 22:07 LjUBLjAnA 05:25 00:26 MArIBOr 05:45 13:34 MUnICH 05:45 00:03 VIEnnA 06:35 21:23 ZAGREB

To Celje First 06:25 07:10 05:25 05:15 04:50 03:40 05:05 08:02 05:00

Last 00:06 23:21 19:12 00:14 22:25 22:20 23:18 22:26 21:15

Most trains run less frequently on Sundays. Schedule valin until 8 December 2012. *Trains per day

* 3-4 4-6 3-5 16-27 20-28 21-32 5 7-8 7-9

Arriving by Train Located on Slovenia’s major East-West railway line, Celje sees more traffic and thus offers more frequent connections than you would find on a less opportunely placed city. That said, train travel in Slovenia, especially when coming and going further south in the Balkans, is not comparable in terms of speed with that in larger (and flatter) countries - although the scenic views are often more than enough to make up for it. A trip to the capital Ljubljana takes anywhere between one hour and an hour and 45 minutes, with the faster trains costing noticeably more. In the other direction, a train to Slovenia’s second largest city, Maribor, takes between 45 minutes and one hour. For the short trip to nearby Laško, trains are far more frequent than buses and take only 10 minutes. The station itself has sufficient, if not overwhelmingly luxurious or vast, facilities, and is conveniently positioned across the street from the old town, within easy walking distance of most hotels and restaurants. Aside from the ticket office (open 05:00-21:00 Mon-Fri, 06:00-21:00 Sat-Sun) and a small railway information desk (open 06:00-17:30 Friday to Saturday), there are a handful of self-service lockers, a couple vending machines and the requisite railway station coffee bar. If you find yourself stick waiting for a train during the wee hours, your best bet for a bite to eat is a few blocks north at the main bus station.

railway Station Krekov Trg 1, tel. (+386) 3 293 35 35,

Celje History

1456 After a series of Machiavellian dealings, Ulrich II, the most powerful member of the Cilli family, manages to expand the Counts’ dominion to wide swaths of present-day Austria, Croatia, Bosnia and most of Hungary. However, in the process he ultimately made more enemies than he could handle, and was assassinated in Belgrade on 8 November. This would prove to be one of the more fateful events in the region’s history, as he was the family’s last male heir, and in accordance with the agreement made 13 years earlier all of the holdings of the Counts of Celje were ceded to the Habsburgs. 16th century Many of Celje’s noblemen convert to Protestantism, by 1580 it has supplanted Catholicism as the leading religion in the region. Early 17th century During the Counter-Reformation many Protestants are driven from the area and Roman Catholicism is once again the dominant religion.

8th to 6th centuries BC During the Hallstatt period, Illyrian tribes settle in the area of present-day Celje, but are later supplanted by more advanced Celts, who name their first settlement Kelea. 15 BC Romans first move into the area, and incorporate it into their Empire. The town begins to flourish as a major transport point. 46 BC The town is granted municipal rights during the reign of Emperor Claudius under the name Municipium Claudia Celeia, expansion of both the population and development continues. Late 4th century Christianity begins to spread rapidly. Archaeological records indicate the building of an early Christian basilica, the only of its kind discovered in Slovenia. 6th century After a long period of increased warfare following the disintegration of the Roman Empire, agriculturally advanced Slavs invade and establish permanent settlement in the area. 824 The only mention of Celje between the 6th and 12th centuries is in a contract signed on behalf of Emperor Louis regarding the gift of a local church. 1241 Celje has been rebuilt into a once again sizeable market town, a fact evidenced by the establishment of the Celje Minorite by Catholic monks. 1333 At the time a smaller fortress, the old castle comes into the possession of the Lords of Sanneck, or the Cilli family, who begin renovating and expanding it. 1341 The Lords of Sanneck are given the elevated title the Counts of Celje by Emperor Louis IV, and go on to become the most powerful family in the region. 1436 King Sigismund of Luxemburg, who some 40 years earlier had had his life saved by Count Hermann II and later married Hermann’s daughter Barbara, elevates the Counts to the rank of princes of the Holy Roman Empire. The Counts strongest rivals, the apparently envious and quicktempered Habsburgs, reacted with a declaration of war. 1443 The war with the Habsburg’s ends with the signing of a mutual inheritance agreement, which states that if one of the families is ever without a male heir, then all of their property and lands are awarded to the other.

27 April 1846 The first service on the newly completed Venice-Trieste railway line stops in Celje. 1867 After the Prussian defeat of Austria, Celje officially becomes part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. 1902 The town’s first telephone line is installed 1910 Celje becomes a hotbed for German nationalism, and a census shows that 66.8 per cent of the population is German. 1918 In the aftermath of World War I Celje, along with all of Slovenia, becomes part of the newly created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes - the forerunner of Yugoslavia. Early 20th century As a result of its strategic position as a transport hub and increased access to the Balkan market, the town experience rapid industrial expansion and population growth. The city’s German population is now a small, but wealthy, minority. April 1941 Germany occupies Celje, and the city sufferers heavy losses throughout World War II. Many people were either imprisoned or deported to camps abroad, while other were conscripted into the German army. 1945 After Yugoslav forces reclaim the city, the remaining German citizens are expelled. Many Slovenes who were thought to have collaborated with the occupying forces are also expelled or killed, with estimates ranging from 10,000 to 100,000, and the bodies are buried in mass graves on the outskirts of the city. The atrocities could not be openly discussed during the Yugoslav era, and even nowadays remain a rather taboo topic. 1991 Slovenia declares its independence from Yugoslavia, precipitating a ten-day war which ends with the withdrawal of the Yugoslav army. A new national flag and coat of arms is adopted, with the latter taking its three golden stars from the coat of arms of the Counts of Celje. 2004 Slovenia joins the European Union and Nato. 2007 On 1 January, Slovenia introduces the Euro as its official currency, and in December implements the Schengen Agreement allowing for visa-free travel to other member states.

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



Celje What to see Churches Capuchin Monastery and Church of St Cecilia Breg

2. One of the few sights located on the left bank of the river Savinja, the church is located on a small hill that is reached by way of 90 covered steps. Dedicated to the patron saint of music, the church and adjacent monastery were both built at the beginning of the 17th century.

Church of Mary’s Assumption Prešernova 18. One of Celje’s most physically imposing churches, it was originally built as part of a Minorite monastery and consecrated at the beginning of the 14th century. It holds the distinction of being the final resting place of the Counts of Celje, whose family vault and tombs can be viewed in the presbytery. Church of St Daniel Slomškov Trg 2, tel. (+386) 3 544 32 80. An obvious first stop on any tour of Celje’s many churches, St Daniel’s is located just beyond of Glavni Trg on the southern edge of the old town. Originally built on the site of an even older church in the 13th century, while the current structure has undergone several major changes and renovations during its lifetime, it still manages to maintain its unmistakably Gothic appearance both inside and out. The church is best known for its exquisite Chapel of the Sorrowful Mother of God, which, in aside from some impressive vaulting and stained glass windows, contains a prized 15th century wooden Pietá. However, don’t miss the various tombstones that can be found along the building’s exterior - the assortment of angels, skulls and multi-lingual engravings is probably our favourite thing about the church.

Historic Buildings Celjski Dom (Celje Hall) Krekov Trg 3. One of the city’s

most instantly recognisable buildings - thanks in large part to it tower, which rises the equivalent of eight floors above Krekov Trg - it was built at the beginning of the last century

by Celje’s German population in response to the Slovene’s construction of Narodni Dom on the other side of the old town. The impressive neo-Gothic building was the centre of cultural life for German residents until the end of the First World War, and as such was originally known as the German House. Today it’s home to Celje’s tourist board, Celeia, as well as several other cultural organisations.

narodni Dom (national Hall) Trg Celjskih Knezov 9.

Home to the municipality of Celje and various other state offices, this 19th-century building is one of the grandest structures in the city. Designed by Czech architect Vladimir Hrasky, the National Hall served as the centre of social and cultural activities for Slovene bourgeois during the last years of the old Austrian empire. On the ground floor along Trg Celjskih Knezov you can find a café, an upmarket gift and souvenir shop and the Likovni Gallery, which presents oft-changing exhibitions of contemporary art.

The People’s Savings and Loan Bank Vodnikova 2.

Constructed during the inter-war period, the bank was designed (although not built) by the well-known Slovene architect Jože Plečnik and is the most important example of his work in Celje. The three-floor colonnaded main entrance, which curves around the corner of Stanetova and Vodnikova Streets, will likely be a must-photograph façade for architecture buffs.

Monuments St Mary’s Shrine Glavni Trg. Standing in the middle of

quaint cobblestoned Glavni Trg, the shrine is one of the most intricate public monuments in the city. A golden haloed Mary is atop a single central column, surrounded at the base by three of her fellow saints: St Rocus, St Florian and St Joseph, who are the patron saints against the plague, against fire and of families and workers respectively. The structure was originally erected in the 16th century for rather more dubious purposes, namely as a shaming pillar to punish criminals and other petty offenders.

Around Celje info office for more details ( Originally created to kill two birds with one stone: contain potential city-centre floods due to the Savinja - and ease a burgeoning water supply problem - the Koprivnica stream (a tributary to the Savinja) was dammed and thus the lake was born. The south-western bank is home to a boathouse and restaurant. Boat rides on the lake are operated throughout the summer months, as are angling activities and swimming competitions. To get here, head north on a minor road from north-western Celje (Nova Vas), continue for about 10 minutes (by car) or 35 minutes (on foot) until you reach the southern embankment of the lake.

Zelen’dol (Green Valley) Tel. (+386) 31 751 780,

Lake Šmartinsko, www.smartinsko- The largest reservoir in Slovenia, covering an expansive 1.07 km², lake Šmartinsko lies north of Celje, close to the town of Vojnik. The lake offers a lot to those looking for some outdoor recreation, with many places around the lake to eat, drink, rent boats or kayaks, and picnic areas are also available for hire - contact Celje’s tourist

OSrEDnjE CELjSKO, For those who love anything quirky, present company’s mother included, the wooden cottages just opened at the peaceful Šmartinsko lake shouldn’t be a well kept secret. Rentable three hundred and sixty five days per year, they feature comfy animal-skin covered seating, cosy round layout and an open fire place for cooking sausages as well as binding your party of friends or family in a sociable evening’s nostalgic conversation. Novel they are, yet in keeping with Slovenia’s conventional ethic of good rural cheer. Celebrations are catered for, picnic baskets provided and basic catering service offered. QOpen , Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun 13:00 - 17:00.

Celje Cultural Events Living History at the Old Castle Tel. (+386) 3

544 36 90,, www.grad-celje. com. Every Saturday and Sunday from 10 April to the end of October knights, archers, fortune-tellers, princesses and all kinds of other medieval folk take over the old castle with various performances, demonstrations and presentations of what life was like back when the castle was the latest specimen of modern architecture. All the festivities come to a head the last Friday and Saturday in August, when crowds pack the castle grounds to see full on battles, royal ceremonies and tons of hands-on activities for children (and parents). It’s easily one of the best medieval events in Slovenia and not to missed if you’re in Slovenia this summer. Q Regular castle admission (€2) applies.

Summer in Celje,

The season-long festival will include more than 200 events at many uniquely atmospheric open-air venues in and around the city, including the Old Castle, the Water Tower, Šmartinsko Lake and the so-called Urban Beach along the river Savinja. The events run the gambit from music and theatre to puppets and fortune telling to yoga in the park - in other words, there’s guaranteed to be something for everyone.

War and Peace (Vojna in Mir) Gledališki Trg. Celje’s Gledališki Trg is home to one of the finest public sculptures in all of Slovenia. Created in 1956-57, by the Slovene sculptor, illustrator and poet Jakob Savinšek, the bronze and stone monument stands some five metres tall and is a tribute to the World War II era as well as a more general reflection on the oppositional states of war and peace. The work was given even more poignancy by the artist’s untimely death, at the age of 39, shortly after its creation.

Museums & Galleries

Countryside in the City Old City Centre, tel. (+386) 3428 79 36, Twice a year (on the first Wednesday and Thursday in June and then again on the first Wednesday in October), residents from the rural areas surrounding Celje come to town in order to promote traditional farming methods and the products they produce. The programme also includes workshops on healthy living, as well as presentations and performances showcasing the cultural heritage of rural areas. Fairy Tale City Tel. (+386) 3428 79 36, tic@celje.

si, For the entire month of December Celje transforms itself into a city of fairy tales, with decorations, events and costumed performers roaming about the old town, while stalls on the main square sell various handicrafts and home-made goods. The festivities culminate on New Year’s Eve with a celebration unlike any other in Slovenia.

Celeia (The city under the city) Trg Celjskih Knezov 8, tel. (+386) 3 428 09 50/(+386) 41 622 907, fax (+386) 3 428 09 66,, While the area of present-day Celje was first settled as far back as the Iron Age between the 9th and 6th centuries BC, it first flourished after being annexed by the Roman Empire and given the status of an independent town during the 1st century AD. However, after several hundred years the town had sunk back into relative obscurity by the 6th century. This long and rich history of settlement has left Celje with quite an archaeological legacy, some of which can be viewed on an underground tour through the cellars of the Princes Palace on Trg Celjskih Knezov. Children’s museum Herman’s den Prešernova 17, tel. (+386) 3 428 64 10, Children are guided through the museum by Herman the Fox, the everpresent museum’s mascot, who encourages them to discover the history and the world through many practical activities and games. It’s located in the same building as the Museum as the Museum of Recent History.Q Open Tues-Fri 09:0017:00, Sat 09:00-13:00, Sun and holiday 14:00-18:00. Closed Mon. Admission €6/3/2/1.5 for Families/Adults/ Over 60 Years/Children. Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



Celje The Old Castle Celje

The Old Castle Celje Cesta na Grad 78, tel. (+386) 3 544 36 90,, stari.grad@celje. si, Arguably the grandest castle in all of Slovenia, while it isn’t as completely restored as Ljubljana castle in the capital and doesn’t possess the breathtaking alpine cliff top location of that in Bled, its sprawling grounds, eventful history, sweeping views over the city and surrounding countryside, and the generally imposing appearance of its partially restored fortress walls and towers are truly unique amongst any and all of its domestic rivals. Originally built by the Heunburg family on the hills to the southeast of the bustling medieval market town of Celje in either the late 12th or early 13th centuries, the oldest parts of the castle are the fortified western walls and the central residential buildings which were surrounded by inner walls as well as a moat. Most of the original castle was destroyed in fighting between competing families not long after its initial construction, and eventually came into the possession of the Lords of Sanneck in 1333 - who became known as the Counts of Celje from 1341 onwards and were the most important medieval aristocrats in the territory of present-day Slovenia. Over the next hundred years the Counts rebuilt, expanded and greatly improved the castle and its grounds, however, when their rule ended with the murder of the last male heir in 1456, the property was bequeathed to the Habsburg monarchy in accordance with a previously signed inheritance agreement. After the change in ownership, the castle managed to maintain its position as one of the most important fortresses


in all of the eastern Alps for some two hundred years, but slowly began to fall into disrepair towards the latter half of the 16th century. It ceased to be a residence in 1795, and was purchased by a farmer eight years later, who began to use the site as a quarry. In 1846 the ruins were bought by the regional governor, and restoration work began which continues to the present day - making it easily the longest ongoing renovation project in Slovenia. Today the castle is the most visited tourist site in Celje with over 70,000 visitors per year, and is also popular with locals, especially during the weekends and for weddings. The grounds are entered from a gate in the southernmost for tifications, where there’s a fully-stocked branch of the Celje Tourist Infomation Office and a little further along a pleasant café. The central part of the site is dominated by the rebuilt Fredrick’s Tower and an open air theatre, which is the main venue for the various performances that take place during the summer long Living History medieval festival. After crossing a wooden bridge over the one-time inner moat, you reach the upper part of the castle, where most of the buildings are located and where you’ll find mesmerising views of the city below and rolling hills and valleys stretching to the alps in the distance. The entire grounds, including some dozen or more sites, are well marked with informative signs giving information and history in both Slovene and English. To reach Celje’s old castle, take the first turn south of the main train station passing under the tracks, cross the bridge and at the roundabout go right and follow the signs up into the hills. While many people recommend walking to the top, be aware that it’s a deceptively lengthy undertaking (around 45 minutes) and the winding road is largely without pavement. Alternatively, a taxi is only around €4 and for our money is a worthwhile expense. Q January Mon- Thur 10:00-16:00, FriSun 10:00-17:00, February, November 10:00-17:00, March, October 09:00-18:00, April 09:00-19:00, May,September 09:00-20:00, June, July, August 09:00-21:00, December 10:00-16:00 Admission €2, which includes a €1 discount at the café. Group tours starts, by prior arrangementstart from €40 and last around 45 minutes. TJULBK

Celje Gallery of Contemporary Art (Galerija Sodobne Umetnosti) Trg Celjskih Knezov 8, tel. (+386) 3 42

65 160, The main venue of the larger Centre for Contemporary Arts, which is comprised of several separate galleries, its collection and exhibitions tend to focus on younger Slovene artists or at least those who have not yet gained substantial mainstream recognition. They also organise a rather full schedule of lectures, workshops and events, so it’s a good idea to check their website (perhaps with the help of Google Translate) if you’re interested. Q Open Tues-Fri 11:00-18:00, Sat 10:00-12:00, Sun 14:0018:00. Closed Mon.

Likovni Salon Trg Celjskih Knezov 9, tel. (+386) 3

42 65 162,, www. A small space located on the ground floor of Narodni Dom, gallery is affiliated with the Celje Centre for Contemporary Art and holds shorter running exhibitions that are commonly video or mixed media and often include some kind of political or social commentary - especially that which tackles issues in Slovenia or the Balkan region. Q Open Tues-Fri 11:00-18:00, Sat 10:00-12:00, Sun 14:00-18:00. Closed Mon.

Museum of recent History Prešernova 17, tel. (+386) 3 428 64 10, fax (+386) 3 428 64 11, info@, Over the past 80 years or so Slovenia as a whole, and Celje in particular, have seen more than their fair share of political, social and cultural changes, and the museum does a commendable job of presenting its collection from that time in way that allows the objects to speak for themselves, rather than trying to make normative claims or allusions. The range of items on display covers virtually every imaginable facet of life, from professional tools and fire arms to currency and postcards to posters and documents to children’s toys and top hats. A truly fascinating look at the recent past. Q Open Tues-Fri 09:00-17:00, Sat 09:0013:00, Sun and holiday 14:00-18:00. Closed Mon. Admission €6/3/2/1.5 for Families/Adults/Over 60Years/Children.

Tourist information

Plevnik-Kronkowska Gallery razlagova 9, tel.

(+386) 41 977 958,, Celje’s Plevnik-Kronokowska Gallery is a must-see for fans of contemporary art. Opened in 2008, the non-profit arts space is dedicated to promoting younger Slovenian artists, but from time to time also presents the work of more established names from both Slovenia and abroad, and works with other mainstream art institutions in Celje. Q Open 15:30-19:30 Tues-Fri, 10:00-13:00 Sat and by appointment. Closed Sun-Mon.

regional Museum of Celje Trg Celjskih Knezov 8, tel.

(+386) 3 428 09 50/(+386) 41 622 907, fax (+386) 3 428 09 66,, Located in a beautiful sprawling late Renaissance palace along the river Savinja - making it the unwitting star of countless panoramic photographs of Celje’s waterfront the museum does a first-rate job of covering the region’s cultural heritage from prehistoric times up to World War I. The collection is organised chronologically, and includes archaeological and ethnographic as well as artistic displays. Q March-October 10:00-18:00, Monday closed. NovemberFebruary10:00-16:00. Sat 09:00-13:00, Mon and Sun closed Admission €3.50/2 for Adults/Students.

Squares & Parks City Park (Mestni Park) Partizanska Cesta. Celje’s city park occupies most of the left bank of the river Savinja opposite the old town, making it the best spot to snap panoramic photos of the buildings along Savinjska Nabrežje. The park itself is not overly vast, but does have a pub or three within the immediate vicinity and is often packed during the warmer months with groups of youths, dog walkers, joggers and the like. Glavni Trg The main square of Celje’s old town (which is even

the direct translation from Slovene), Glavni Trg is a long narrow space that increases its width as it spreads south from Prešernova to St Mary’s Shrine and Gosposka Ulica at the other end. Lined with small shops, boutiques and cafés, it’s one of the more atmospheric places in town to relax with a coffee.

TIC Celje Krekov Trg 3, tel. (+386) 3 42 87 936/ (+386) 31 610 537, fax (+386) 3 42 87 931, tic@, Celje’s tourist information centre is housed in the 100 year-old Celjski Dom, conveniently located directly opposite the central train station. The small but helpful office is stocked with free brochures, maps and monthly events listings, as well as books and souvenirs for sale. The friendly staff are more than happy to make recommendations for everything from accommodation to restaurants to sights, and will gladly look up any further info you need on the web or even make local phone calls. QOpen 09:00 - 17:00, Sat 09:00 - 13:00. Closed Sun.

Slomškov Trg Named after the Štajerska-born bishop Anton Martin Slomšek, who became the first Slovene blessed in 1999, this small but picture-perfect square that wraps around the magnificent Church of St Daniel. The only other building located on the square is Celje’s music school, which often has the sounds of students’ work pleasantly emanating through its windows. The square also overlooks the river Savinja, and is one of the more intimate places in the city to take in a quiet sunset.

TIC Stari Grad Celje Cesta na Grad 78, tel. (+386)

Gostilna Amerika Mariborska 79, tel. (+386) 3 541 9320, fax (+386) 3 491 5771, info@gostilna-amerika. com, Although it’s probably not obvious from the name, Amerika has been serving the best Serbian food in Celje for over 100 years, so if you’re craving plates piled high with every type of grilled meat imaginable then consider this your first and last stop. The often lively atmosphere - especially on Friday and Saturday nights when there’s live music - and slightly cheeky waiters generally make for one of the more entertaining dining experiences in town. Highly recommended. QOpen 09:00 - 23:00, Fri 09:00 02:00, Sat 11:00 - 02:00, Sun 09:00 - 21:00. (€4.50-12). PJALEGBXS

3 544 36 90,, www.grad-celje. com. The city’s second tourist information centre is located inside the entrance to the Old Castle. There’s a friendly staff and plentiful brochures just as there is at the main office on Krekov Trg, but this one keeps longer hours during the late spring and summer - including Sundays. Q january Mon- Thur 10:00-16:00, FriSun 10:00-17:00. February, november 10:00-17:00. March, October 09:00-18:00. April 09:00-19:00. May, September 09:00-20:00. june, july, August 09:00-21:00. December 10:00-16:00

Where to eat Balkan

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



Celje Taverna Carraro Opekarniška 15a, tel. (+386) 51 668 777/(+386) 3 426 70 72,, www. A modern take on traditional Balkan grill restaurants, Taverna Carraro is the result of owner and host Milan Kojić’s long career in the hospitality industry. Specialising in grilled meats of every type imaginable, from veal and roasted goat to lamb and suckling pig, even when they prepare the standard dishes they provide something extra - such as nine different types of čevapčiči or the record setting largest pljeskavica in the world in 2007. Aside from grilled meats, they also do a variety of fish and seafood dishes as well as authentic Dalmatian cuisine, often accompanied with traditional music. Q Open Mon-Tues 10:00-23:00, WedThur 10:00-24:00, Fri-Sat 10:00-03:00, Sun 12:00-18:00. (€5-13). TLBK

Buffet restavracija Interspar Mariborska 100 (CityCenter), tel. (+386) 3 426 7650, Perhaps a notch above your average university or office park cafeteria, this no frills buffet in CityCentre’s food court isn’t going to win any awards for quality. But that being said, it is the fastest and cheapest option around for a warm meal. Perhaps its most impressive attraction is a well-stocked salad bar

Cafés Mali Plac Linhartova 10. Located right in the middle of the farmer’s market, the ultra-modern glass-walled structure would look curiously out of place if not for the fact that the market has also received a modern makeover. Enjoy your coffee, or something a bit stronger, while observing the hustle and bustle of the market on the other side of the glass. QOpen 06:00 - 19:00, Sun 06:00 - 12:00. PJABS Oaza Glavni Trg 13, tel. (+386) 40 337 995, info@, A trendy, as well as socially and environmentally responsible, café on Celje’s main square, Oaza serves mostly organic and fair trade coffees, teas and pastries as well as other light snacks. With lots of brown tones and soft lighting the café is great place to relax and the terrace on the square outside provides for some ample people watching opportunities. There’s also free Wi-Fi and even a laptop available for guests. QOpen 07:00 - 22:00, Fri, Sat 07:00 - 24:00. PJABSW Piercing & Tattoo & Caffe Levstikova 1e, tel. (+386) 31 231 271/(+386) 40 354 132. The name pretty much says it all for this place behind the bright orange façade directly opposite the new MCC hostel. Of the three services offered we can personally only attest to the quality of latter, but judging by the clientele on the terrace outside, they do a fine job with piercing and tattoos as well. QOpen 06:00 - 20:00, Fri 06:00 - 22:00, Sat 08:00 - 20:00. Closed Sun. PJA6BXS Veronika Cesta na Grad 78. A modern café located in the bowels of the old castle, a stop here is almost obligatory on any visit to Celje’s most impressive sight if for no other reason than because visitors get a €1 discount with their admission ticket - although the selection of sweets is quite good as well. There’s also a small children’s play area in the enclosed grassy area right outside. QOpen 09:00 - 19:00. TULB OSrEDnjE CELjSKO

reasonably priced by weight. Be wary of the drinks though, a small water will run you €1.50 and a beer nearly twice that - easily doubling the price of a cheaper meal. QOpen 09:00 - 21:00, Sat 08:00 - 21:00, Sun 09:00 - 15:00. (€2-6). PJALG

International Evropa Krekov Trg 4, tel. (+386) 3 426 9000, info@, The most elegant dining experience in town, from the décor and music to the waiters and sommeliers to of course the food, everything at Evropa is first-rate - although personally our favourite touch is perhaps the Pop art inspired portraits that adorn the walls. If your wallet can’t afford the full dinnertime treatment, you can still stop by during the day to take advantage of an equally well-prepared lunch special. QOpen 11:00 - 23:00, Sat, Sun 12:00 - 23:00. PTJABKW

Gostilna jež Linhartova 6, tel. (+386) 3 492 66 03, This deceptively large restaurant and bar serves up home cooking right across from the central farmer’s market. There’s a different menu every day and you’re just about guaranteed to get your money’s worth, making it a popular lunchtime choice with the blue collar set and other budget conscious diners. Its local claim to fame is the massive ‚Velikan’ hamburger, which weighs in at about four Big Macs and will have you burning through napkins despite coming cut into quarters. QOpen 08:00 - 17:00. Closed Sun. (€4-9). PTJA6G Gostilna Mlakar Teharska 26, tel. (+386) 3 548 8090.

Located on the less populated right bank of the river (with signs directing you there from the train station), Mlakar has the soul of small village inn with a few slightly strange modern touches, such as pop music on the radio and mirrored ceilings. A hearty 3-course meal ‚meat and potatoes’ type meal will set you back €8-10, although you’ll need to include another €2 for the practically obligatory pint of Laško. For what it’s worth it seems to be a popular stop for German tourists. QOpen 08:00 - 20:00. Closed Sun. (€5-17). PALG

Kantina Dečkova 1a, tel. (+386) 5 99 44 304/(+386)

31 635 635, This full-fledged restaurant on the ground floor of Club Casablanca on the Celje Fairgrounds is popular with fair and convention goers during the day, but really comes alive in the wee hours when clubbers decide to grab a bite before heading home. Serving mainly pizzas and other Italian dishes, there’s also a full menu of Mexican fare as well as burgers and hot dogs, none of which is exceptional during the day, but all of which is perfect at 4am. Q Open Mon-Thur 08:00-02:00, Fri 08:00-05:00, Sat 17:00-05:00, Sun 17:00-24:00. (€4-9). PALVBS

Celje Konoba Dalmacija Linhartova 8, tel. (+386) 31 639

114. An atmospheric place located right on the local farmer’s market, it specialises in cuisine from the Dalmatian region of Croatia so as would be expected fish and seafood dishes feature quite heavily on the menu. The décor of the cosy interior compliments the food nicely, with lots of dark wood and maritime paraphernalia, such as fish nets and well-worn life preservers, strewn wantonly about the walls. Unlike many other places in town it’s open on Sundays, but keeps keeps lunchtime-only hours throughout the week. QOpen 08:00 - 16:00, Sat 08:00 - 13:00, Sun 08:00 - 12:00. (€515). PJAG

La Storia Glavni Trg 12, tel. +386 (0)70 733 129/+386

(0)5 90 23 817,, www.lastoria. si. With popular restaurants already operating in several other Slovene cities, La Storia is a great new addition to Celje’s restaurant scene right in the heart of the old town centre. Billed as a combination restaurant and cocktail bar, the premises include several atmospheric dining spaces brightly painted vaulted ceilings, a slightly moodier basement bar and terraces both on the main square and in lovely little garden in the back. The menu is of the typical pan-Italian variety, with a few heavier meat dishes added to please the hungriest customers, and some truly tasty desserts. QOpen 10:00 - 22:00. Closed Sun. PTJABS

Pomaranča Mariborska 100 (CityCenter), tel. (+386) 3

541 05 25,, Originally opened as a premium coffee and fresh-squeezed juice bar, Pomaranča now operates full-fledged restaurants in around a dozen Slovenian cities and towns. In Celje it’s located on the upper floor of the CityCentre shopping mall opposite a large children’s play area - making it a favourite place for parents to get their coffee fix while still keeping an eye on the kids. The menu features a wide selection of pretty much everything, from soups salads to pizza and pasta to steaks and fish dishes. QOpen 09:00 - 21:00, Sat 08:00 - 21:00, Sun 09:00 - 15:00. (€4-18). PTJALGS

Vrtnica A-2, Malgajeva 2a, tel. (+386) 59 07 13 88,, With 30 years of tradition, this American themed diner harks back to at least a decade before that - sporting a ‚59 Cadillac in the front car park, a vintage Harley Davidson above the bar and an abundance of other sixties and seventies memorabilia. The unlikely name (rose in English) aside, you’ll find good coffee, delicious snacks, sinful cakes, hard-working waiters, lively company, and perhaps a summertime concert on the terrace at the front. Q (€3-12). PJAREBK

Pizza Diavolo Mariborska 118, tel. (+386) 3 541 20 24, www. Equally popular for its nearly endless menus of pizzas as it is for the beer produced at its on-site brewery, Diavolo is something of a local institution despite only opening its doors in 1999. The Diavolo brand beer comes in two varieties, light and dark, and can also be purchased to go in 2L and 5L bottles. Aside from pizzas the menu includes various pastas and Italian meat dishes, as well as a Balkan-style grills. Located just north of the CityCenter shopping mall, you can’t miss the big red sign. QOpen 09:00 - 23:00, Sat 10:00 - 23:00, Sun 12:00 - 23:00. (€4-9). PTALVBS Koper Gubčeva 3, tel. 80 16 06/(+386) 59 071 380,, One of the first pizzerias in Celje, the exotically named ‚Koper’ is located in the old town, not far from Hotel Evropa. The menu, as expected, features pasta (ask if you don’t want it

Food can’t get more traditional than this al dente), lasagne, risotto, Italian breads and salads - not to mention several non-typical Italian dishes. Fortunately they haven’t overlooked the importance of a good dessert in Italian cuisine and they also look after the kids (with a special menu). The surroundings are appropriately Mediterranean, if a little overstated inside. Dine in the quaint summer garden if possible. Q Open Mon-Fri 10:00-22:00, Sat 11:00-24:00, Sun 12:00-24:00. (€5.10-11.80). PTJA6VBXS

Oliva Dečkova 41, tel. (+386) 3 492 73 23/(+386) 31 374 652, Located in a commercial and retail district to the north of the city centre, Oliva is a large family-friendly pizzeria with a huge dining terrace and outdoor play area for the kids. The menu is fairly basic, but offers the standard selection of pizzas as well as some burgers and other fired alternatives. Perhaps most convenient for visitors is the fact that they’ll deliver anywhere in Celje from 09:00-22:00 and have their menu available online. QOpen 05:30 - 23:00, Sat 07:00 - 23:00. Closed Sun. (€2.50-12.10). PTA6LVBS

Slovenian Gostilna Francl Zagrad 77, tel. (+386) 3 492 64 60/ (+386) 3 492 64 61, Regarded by locals as one of the best restaurants in the region, if not the entire country, Francl has never left us disappointed and should more or less be considered a must-visit destination. They do all kinds of traditional Slovenian and Savinjska cuisine, in addition to some unique creations of their own. There’s also an ample selection of vegetarian dishes. It’s located in a small village on the right bank of the river a few minutes’ drive south of Celje (just follow the signs), and calling ahead for reservations is probably a good idea. QOpen 10:00 - 22:00. Closed Sun. (€6-21). Gostilna Matjaž Gosposka 16, tel. (+386) 3 544 11 70/(+386) 41 753 773, Among Slovenia’s most celebrated traditional gostilna’s, Matjaž in Celje commands enough ‚je ne sais quoi’ as to close its doors on Saturdays and Sundays. Otherwise serving lunch daily, the speciality is undoubtedly the ‚mladi prašiček’, spring pork (as one might put it) with sour cabbage. Your delicous dish of a classic Slovene menu will be served in modest, simple and comfortable surroundings, by the family proud to be behind this eatery of repute. Located right in the centre of Celje, close to the train station and river. QOpen , Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri 08:00 - 16:00. Closed Sat, Sun. J Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



Celje Nightlife Bars & Pubs Kino Metropol Stanetova 15, tel. (+386) 590 11 991/ (+386) 31 324 400,, www. The first cinema in Slovenia to introduce arthouse programming (getting the jump on Kinodvor in Ljubljana by a year), these days Metropol serves as one of the hubs of Celje’s arts scene. In addition to its varied programme of international films, the cinema also runs a lively café/bar and hosts frequent concerts in its oversized lobby - mostly featuring up-and-coming rock and alternative bands. And if that weren’t enough, it also boasts one of the city’s more memorable façades, which includes four giant orange heads supporting a first-floor balcony. QOpen 06:00 - 23:00, Sat 06:00 - 01:00, Sun 09:00 - 22:00. LE Maverick Pub Ljubljanska 7, tel. (+386) 40 620 069.

One of no less than half a dozen watering holes that are within spitting distance of the intersection of Ljubljanska and Jurčičeva streets, Maverick is also one of at least three American Old West themed pubs in town - don’t ask us why. Gimmicks aside though, the place is right in the middle of the action and sports a huge covered terrace that makes for some prime people watching. Q Open Mon-Thur 06:0024:00, Fri 06:00-03:00, Sat 08:00-03:00, Sun 09:00-24:00. PJLNB

Music Café Ljubljanska 3a, tel. (+386) 31 246 837.

The centre of Celje’s underground nightlife - both literally and figuratively - the place attracts a younger alternative crowd that doesn’t turn up in force till midnight or later at the weekends. In addition to already having some of the cheapest prices in town, they also offer nightly drink specials (usually some alcohol and juice combo) for a scant €1.20 a glass. Located around the corner from Narodni Dom, just look for the pack of youths smoking and pounding store-bought cans of local beer on the steps outside. QOpen 06:00 - 20:00, Fri 06:00 - 04:00, Sat 21:00 - 04:00. Closed Sun. PJALEG

Špital Slomškov Trg 5. Come down to your friendly local on a Friday or Saturday night to find a lively crowd socialising until the wee hours, frequently along with some form of live music - be it rock/pop, ska or dub - and occasionally live stand-up comedy. Otherwise this bar and indeed café has a relaxed atmosphere, for a coffee or something stronger, by day or evening. Perhaps coming from the Germanic word for hospital, Špital is decorated with warm intense colours, has a quirky wooden floor made from a thinly sliced tree trunk.PJAEBW TamkoUčiri Gosposka 1a, tel. (+386) 41 731 774. Tucked away between a couple of courtyards in the heart of Celje’s burgeoning arts district, the cheekily-named Tomkočiri - which translates to ‚the same place as yesterday’, as in the answer to the question: where are you going? - is ground zero for city’s artists and hipsters. As one would expect there’s contemporary art on the walls, well-worn furniture and floors, a social staff and modestly priced booze. During warmer months the seating outside is some of the cosiest in the city. One of our favourites. Q Open Sun-Wed 07:00-23:30, Thur 07:00-01:00 and Fri-Sat 07:00-01:30. PJA6EGBX

Bowling & Billiards Planet Tuš Celje Mariborska 128, tel. (+386) 3 424 12 22/(+386) 59 73 3700, One of Tuš’ signature modern, multi-functional centres includes shops, restaurants, a bowling alley, billiards hall and cinema in addition to its eponymous depar tment Osrednje Celjsko

store. Despite its rather generic all-in-one offering, the Green Planet is guaranteed to be packed at the weekends, when Celje’s youth flock to go disco bowling (although based on the the music it would be more appropriately called Euro-techno or commercial pop bowling, which admittedly doesn’t have the same ring to it) or just hang out at the bar. Located a bit north of the larger (albeit sans bowling alley) CityCentre, taking a taxi back to the hotel is probably a good idea. Q Bowling and bar open Mon-Thur 14:00-24:00, Fri 14:00-01:00, Sat 14:00-03:00, Sun and holidays 14:00-22:00.

Casinos Casino Faraon Ljubljanska 39, tel. (+386) 3 426 0224/(+386) 51 395 750,, With around 75 slot machines and a half dozen seats around a large electronic roulette table, this medium-sized Egyptian-themed casino manages to attract a decent mix of locals and foreigners. First time players get €4 in free credit to play with, which we managed to run up to just over €12 before quitting while we were ahead. All in all it can be quite a bit of fun. QOpen 00:00 - 24:00. Free admission.

Clubs Branibor Club Stanetova 27, tel. (+386) 31 500 058,, The Branibor Club is both one of the newest establishments in Celje and also one of the oldest. Newly renovated in a modern retro style, which combines vaulted brick ceilings with designer furniture, the premises have served as a centre of social life in the city since the location was part of the easternmost town walls. At one time popular with soldiers (the name Branibor refers to the fighters of famed Slovenia general Rudolf Maister) and at others serving as a venue for boxing matches and gambling, the facilities now seamlessly combine a café, bar, nightclub and events space - there’s even a unique children’s play area in the back. QOpen 06:00 - 01:00, Fri 06:00 - 03:30, Sat 07:00 - 03:30, Sun 08:00 - 01:00. TEB

Casablanca Dečkova 1a, tel. (+386) 5 99 44 304/ (+386) 31 635 635, Selfdescribed as ‚the best party in town’, and for better or worse we’d tend to agree. True to its name, the walls are blanketed in still shots of Bogart and Bergman, which can make for some strange juxtapositions with the scantily clad partygoers that begin to pack the place well after midnight. Stay on the lower floor for pop and Yugo rock, or head upstairs if you prefer house and techno. Located on the grounds of the Celje Fair, there’s lots of parking (and lots of police, so even if you drive consider taking a taxi home). QOpen 08:00 - 02:00, Fri 08:00 - 05:00, Sat 17:00 - 05:00, Sun 17:00 - 24:00. Nominal admission charge at the weekends - usually €2-5. ALEGKXS

Local Trg celjskih Knezov 10, tel. (+386) 3 49 00 820,, This trendy subterranean bar-cum-club brings a bit of swank to Celje’s nightlife, and frequently hosts live music and DJs. The long cavernous space has always vaguely reminded us of somewhere we used to frequent in Prague, and would make a great set for any film with vampires partying in Eastern Europe. Despite the glossy veneer, for the most part the place avoids pretention, and there’s a good chance your bartender will have some combination of tattoos, piercings and/or dreadlocks. Like most clubs in town, the crowds don’t start arriving till late. PLEB

Celje to more original handicrafts and art pieces. When you enter the building, turn left. QOpen 09:00 - 17:00, Sat 09:00 13:00. Closed Sun.

Second-Hand Komision Kocenova 4. If you’re looking for an off-the-

beaten-path activity to while away a rainy afternoon, check out this second-hand store on a mostly empty side street around the corner from Hotel Evropa. There are several small rooms packed to the gills with the most random assortment of items you could possibly imagine. On a recent trip we caught sight of a bread maker, a birdcage, bicycles, antique paintings, racks and piles of clothes, a violet fedora, old electronics, a Simpsons-themed motorcycle helmet, a porcelain Elvis, a chainsaw and of course some German porno mags - and we were only window shopping on a Sunday! Definitely some good fun. QOpen , Sat 10:00 - 12:00. Closed Sun.


Shopping Centres

Some locals claim that Celje has the most shopping centres in the country, while other insist that the city only has the most per capita shopping centres in Slovenia. While we haven’t independently verified either claim, suffice to say you shouldn’t have any problems finding what you need while you’re in town. Of course if you prefer a more old-fashioned shopping experience, the cobbled streets of Celje’s old town are lined with various boutiques, bookshops, art galleries and a surprising number of independent design shops.

CityCenter Mariborska 100, tel. (+386) 3 425 12 50,

Bookshops DZS Prešernova 21, tel. (+386) 3 490 13 70, www.dzs. si. Slovenia’s second largest bookshop chain doesn’t have quite the English language selection of nearby Mladinska Knjiga, but if you’re looking for a specific title and can’t find it elsewhere you may get lucky here. Mladinska Knjiga Stanetova 3, tel. (+386) 3 428 52

50, fax (+386) 3 428 52 55,, The Celje branch of Slovenia’s largest chain of bookshops is your best bet for finding English (and German) language reading material, including travel guides and maps. There are several other locations in town, the most convenient-located probably being at the CityCenter shopping mall. While they technically do special order, it’s both faster and cheaper to order from an online retailer. QOpen 08:00 - 19:00, Sat 08:00 - 12:00. Closed Sun.

Gifts & Souvenirs

fax (+386) 3 490 12 50, info@city-, Although its name is a bit of misnomer given that it’s located a couple kilometres north of the actual city centre, it is still easily Celje’s (and the region’s) premier shopping mall. Anchored by a massive Interspar department store, the modern mall is home to dozens of well-known local and international shops on two floors, and is the first place to visit if you need to buy something while you’re in town. There’s a small food court upstairs next to a huge jungle-themed children’s play area, which could be a destination in itself if your young ones have had enough with the churches and museums. QOpen 09:00 - 21:00, Sat 08:00 - 21:00, Sun 09:00 - 15:00.

Mercator Center Celje Opekarniška 9, tel. (+386) 3 426 80 00, Not nearly as large as the CityCenter located a few blocks to the east, the Mercator Center is something of a hybrid shopping mall, with about a dozen and a half mostly smaller speciality shops complimenting a huge Mercator department store. Although it doesn’t boast the same selection, it is likely to be little less hectic than its larger neighbour. QOpen 09:00 - 21:00, Sat 08:00 - 21:00, Sun 08:00 - 13:00. Planet Tuš Celje Mariborska 128, tel. (+386) 5 973 37

10, The mere right arm of Tuš’s edifice in Celje, the Slovene super-firm’s home town, is actually very significant in its field, shopping. Countless different outlets include Mass and Peko for footwear, Babycenter for kids, Skiny for underwear, New Yorker for threads and many more. If you happen to like this passtime definitely more than you should, you can be thoroughly exhausted by the place. If not, there’s always the other entertainment options at Planet Tuš: bowling, cinema or pool. QOpen 09:00 - 21:00, Sat 08:00 - 21:00, Sun 09:00 - 13:00. U

Galerija Celje Trg celjskih Knezov 9, tel. (+386) 3 713 23 00, fax (+386) 3 713 2 308,, A notch (or three) above your usual t-shirt and postcard gift shop, this place is a gallery in the true sense of the word. Featuring a selection of hand-made glass, wood, metal and other works by designer Oskar Kogoj, this is the place to come for truly original gifts and souvenirs. Of course, such quality doesn’t come cheap, and many of the objects on display range in price from ‚more than your accommodation’ to ‚if you have to ask how much it costs, you can’t afford it’. However, it’s always free to look.

Hervis Mariborska 100 (CityCenter), tel. (+386) 3 490 35 60, This large sporting goods retailer is located on the ground floor of CityCenter, and sells both sportswear and shoes, as well as equipment - including skis and bikes. QOpen 09:00 - 21:00, Sat 08:00 - 21:00, Sun 09:00 - 15:00.

Tourist Information Centre Celje Krekov Trg 3, tel.

Intersport Opekarniška 9, tel. (+386) 51 285 045,

(+386) 3 428 79 36,, The recently renovated tourist information centre in Celjski Dom now offers a small, but well-presented, selection of gifts and souvenirs - from the standard books and t-shirts

Sporting Goods Located in the Mercator shopping centre, Intersport offers a wide selection of sportswear and some sports equipment. QOpen 09:00 - 21:00, Sat 08:00 - 21:00, Sun 08:00 - 13:00.

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



Celje The Celjska Koča Hotel Tel: 059 070 400, Mob: 041 718 274, Fax: 05/ 70 90 410,, www.

Hotel Evropa****, Eurotas d.d., Krekov trg 4, SI-3000 Celje. Tel: 00386 3 4269 000, Fax: 00386 3 4269 620. Email:, Web: Hotel Evropa is located in the town center, in the old town core, and is thus a great starting point for tours of historical and cultural attractions, for visiting concerts, the theater, and exhibitions. It is the second oldest hotel in Slovenia, built in the late 19th century, more precisely in 1873. A top team of architects used a touch of modernity to set new standards of comfort and luxury – perfect for guests visiting for business or pleasure. By offering excellent culinary delights and top-notch desserts, Hotel Evropa spoils its guests in a modern restaurant and a pleasant café with a long tradition. It is distinguished by traditional royal hospitality with attention to details and originality, as well as world-class services. Modern business premises have all of the necessary multimedia equipment and are intended for lectures, seminars, social gatherings, etc. In the historic atmosphere of the 16th-century medieval tower, we organize business meetings of the highest caliber, official events and gatherings, unforgettable private events, civil wedding ceremonies, or romantic dinners for two. Free parking is available in front of the hotel for our guests. Single room 62,00€-84,00€. Double room 98,00€-128,00€. Luxury suite 260,00€

The Celjska koča*** (Eng. “the Celje hut”) is a modern hotel (from 2006) situated only 9 km away from the city of Celje. It lies in the midst of nature and is surrounded by a marvellous panoramic view that reaches all the way to the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. The Celjska koča sports centre is suitable for active leisure at all seasons of the year. The hotel has 70 beds mostly in double or triple bedded rooms and one appartment. Families favour the hotel’s connecting rooms – the so-called family rooms.

Leisure activities at the Celjska Koča hotel and sports centre: •marked hiking trails leading up to the hilltops of Grmada, Tolsti vrh, Svetina and Vipota; •a connection to the well-kept surrounding biking trails; •a summer sleigh track – bob cart; •an air mattress chute slide for children; •a ski slope with two ski lifts and a beginner’s slope with a conveyor belt; •a ski school; •a bobsleigh slope; •EkoSmrkolandija – an enclosed children’s playground; •educational paths: the horoscope, the mushroom gather’s and the forest educational path; •the Wellness Centre offers you pampering with a Finnish and a Turkish sauna, a whirlpool and a splendid scenery of the Celje valley. The restaurant offers local cuisine and delicacies made especially for children. It can also accommodate guests at personal celebrations and organise social events. Welcome to the Celjska koča hotel!

MCC Hostel, Mariborska 2, tel. +386 3490 87 42/ +386 40 862 009,, Experience something different! The youth hostel offers 42 beds in 11 rooms, each one theme-decorated by a group of artists to take you into a parallel universe of myths and legends from Celje’s history. You can be tucked to sleep by restless fish on the glittering surface of a lake, or use graphite to leave your mark in the room where you spent your best holiday ever, dress up as a real ninja, sample the spirit of the socialist past, or find out what in god’s name Alfred Nobel was doing in Celje. More than just providing beds, the youth hostel also hosts various events, concerts and activities. The rates include free WiFi, bed linen and towels and bike rental. 42 beds (8-bed dorm €18, 6-bed €18, 2-bed €23, 1-bed €29). TGJHARW

Osrednje Celjsko


The town of Laško is an attractive destination for visitors of all ages Laško: throughout Slovenia and entire region of South East Europe, the name is synonymous with the green cans and bottles of the locally-produced Zlatorog brand pilsner. In fact, in Slovenia the word Laško has almost become the equivalent of beer. This in itself is no small achievement for a small medieval town of only some 3,600 residents. However, there is much more to Laško than its internationally renowned brewing tradition. To begin with the town itself is one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in Slovenia, with a compact old city centre located in an enviable position amongst rolling hills and picturesque valleys that spread out in all directions from the river Savinja. The surrounding area is perfect for exploring by either bike or on foot, and long before beer was produced on a large commercial scale, the town was known for the healing powers of its thermal springs - which made it a favourite holiday spot of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph during the middle of the 19th century. Since then, Laško’s Thermal Spa has grown into one of the most important health resorts and tourist centres in all of Slovenia, with its modern hotels packed year-round with guests from all over the world. There’s also a second thermal spa centre a few kilometres to the south of Laško in the charming village of Rimske Toplice, smaller than the complex in Laško proper, it’s been recently renovated and is a great value. Elsewhere in the municipality,

the main attraction is the ruins of the 12th century Cathusian monastery in Jurklošter (about 15km to the east of Rimske Toplice) and the imposing settlement of Zidani Most, set high above the confluence of the Sava and Savinja rivers at the far western edge of the region. Of course the highlight of the year remains beer-related, with some 150,000 visitors flocking to the area for the annual Beer and Flower Festival every summer - something like Slovenia’s version of Oktoberfest (only with more flowers and cheaper beer). All this is only a scant 10 minute drive, or train ride, south of Celje.


Located along the river Savinja in the southern part of Slovenia’s Štajerska region, Laško is well-connected to the country’s other major cities by both rail and road. There are some two dozen trains per day to and from the capital Ljubljana to the west, and at least as many heading north to Celje and Maribor (although on Sundays there are significantly fewer options). If you’re coming by car from either the west or the east, simply follow the A1 motorway to Celje and then take the route 5 south along the river for roughly 10km. Alternatively, if you’re coming from Ljubljana and aren’t pressed for time, you can take the smaller two-lane route 108 along the picturesque Sava River valley to Zidani Most, and then follow route 5 north along the Savinja from there.

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



laško What to see Churches Church of St Martin Aškerčev Trg. Dominating Aškerčev Trg, the town’s main square, is the massive Romanesque Church of St Martin. It’s nine altars are all typical of the late


Baroque style, and in total there are over 40 works of art depicting the images of saints, including two large frescoes by Vogel in either of the the domes. However, one of the church’s most impressive works is the carved stone lion located on the southern exterior wall of the chapel of St Frančišek Ksaver, which was originaly part of an anceint Roman tombstone, but modified in the 18th century to look more Baroque.

Church of St Mati Božja Marija Gradec. Located a few minutes’ walk south of the brewery in the village of Marija Gradec, the church - which looks larger than it actually is thanks to its position on top of a small hill - is a beautiful example of combined gothic and renaissance styles and is unique amongst Slovenia’s many churches. Until the 18th century local residents regularly performed a passional procession from the centre of Laško to the church, with the crucifixtaion taking place on the front steps, and the event is considered to be the earliest theatrical performance in Laško’s history. jurklošter Monastery & Church of St Mauritius

Beer and Flowers (july) During a modest flower exhibition held in Laško in 1964, the town’s innkeepers had something of a light bulb moment: People like beer! Hard to believe we know, but apparently true. Not only do people like beer, but they’ll use any excuse to get together and drink it - for instance, a flower exhibition (or more specifically, a flower festival held in the same town as the Slovenia’s largest brewery). Thus in 1964, the flower festival was expanded to include a parade and fireworks, and by 1965 the event had already gained a reputation as one of the summer’s can’t-miss festivals. For four days every July, this tiny town of only 3,600 residents is transformed into something a scene reminiscent of Oktoberfest in Bavaria - only with more flowers. Some 150,000 visitors flock here to drink beer, listen to live concerts, drink beer, watch parades, drink beer, look at flower exhibitions, drink beer, enjoy the general atmosphere of unbridled revelry and of course drink some beer. The highlight of the festival is Saturday night, when somewhere around 60,000 visitors pack the town to watch a fireworks display that lasts upwards less that half an hour. Despite Laško’s abundance of accommodation options, in order to cope with the deluge of festival goers the city sets up a free camp site just north of the Thermana Wellness Resort and Slovenian Railways runs additional service to and from town. For more information, a complete programme of events and activities and photos of past year’s festivals check out the official website at

jurklošter 24, tel. (+386) 41 352 997,, Originally the site of a 12th century Cathusian monastery, the initial occupants were forced to return to France not long after its construction, and the premises soon fell into disrepair. Some years later a second monastery was built by a provincial prince, Duke Leopold IV of Babenberg, which still exists in ruins today. Next to the ruins stands the parish Church of St Mauritius, which is run by an organisation aiming to promote the rich spiritual, cultural and natural heritage of the area, and hosts many cultural events and activities towards this aim. The church is located roughly 15km east of Rimske Toplice south of Laško. Q From May- Oct open Sundays and holidays 14:00-17:00, and by special arrangement for larger groups. Admission €2.

Cycling & Hiking With its location nestled amongst seemingly endless rolling hills and picturesque valleys - with villages and churches on every hilltop and natural wonders around every corner - Laško is the perfect base to explore the surrounding countryside either by bike or by foot. The local tourist office has already put together a detailed bi-lingual guide that includes eight different cycling routes of varying degrees of length and difficulty, which can easily be modified to provide even more flexibility. The guide includes a description of the routes, a list of places of interest to be found along the way, a graph charting the altitude and virtually fool-proof topographical maps. And no need to fret if you’ve left your bike at home, as the tourist office hires them out at reasonable rates. For avid hikers there are even more paths to choose from, and the staff at the tourist office will be happy to answer any questions about routes for more arduous journeys.

Folklore events (throughout the year) www. Folkloric practices and traditions are celebrated in Laško at numerous times in the year, demonstrating a rich local culture and remembering the beautiful old customs with joyful hearts. From the end of winter and Pust (Carnival), to jurjevanje festival on the streets of Laško (the equivalent of St. George’s day), ‚‘Ohcet po stari šegi’’ (a traditional wedding), a demonstration of old customs and occupations, the Feast of St. Martin (the day of wine maturation), an event for mining customs, and the Merry December festival. The aforementioned events are in chronological order, see the tourist information website for actual dates.


Laško has a fine old town of its own


One of the best ways to see the sights is by bike

Museums Laško Museum Aškerčev Trg 5, tel. (+386) 3 734 02

36,, Set back off the city’s main square in a beautifully renovated villa, the small but noteworthy museum was originally opened in 1910 in a different location. Dedicated to preserving and celebrating the history of Laško and the surrounding region, its collection is divided into three main areas: Laško throughout the course of time, beer brewing and spa tourism and the geological history of the area, with displays of archaeological findings and fossil records. Occasional exhibitions are also held. Q Open 09:00 - 17:00. Closed Mon, Sun. Admission €3/2/6 for adults/students/families.

The Home of Anton Aškerc Senožete 1, Rimske Toplice, tel. (+386) 3 573 62 98, The family house of legendary Slovene poet Anton Aškerc (1856 - 1912) in the village of Senožete near Rimske Toplice is not only open for tourists, but actually run by the poet’s own grandnephew, who has turned the premises into a museum. Visitors can see displays of Aškerc’s work as well as some traditional furnishings such as a black kitchen, which were commonly used in Slovenia during his life. Best known for his epic poems and romantic ballads, the grounds and area surrounding the house have also been restored and are appropriately worthy of a contemplative stroll after viewing the exhibition. Q By prior arrangement

Sights Tabor Castle Cesta na Svetino 23, tel. (+386) 3 620 07 23/(+386) 51 614 664,, Perched on a small hill to the east of the town centre, Laško’s castle is reached relatively easily on foot and provides great views of the town below and the river valley meandering off in both directions. The castle was likely built in 11 or 12th century, and later came under the ownership of the Counts of Celje, who were the region’s most powerful family for several generations during the 14th and 15th centuries. After being

burnt to the ground by the Turks in 1487, the castle was for a time used as a camp and then left to slowly decline into ruins over the following two centuries. It was finally restored after being purchased by Laško Brewery in the mid-1980s, and today houses a restaurant, summer garden, wine shop and incredibly popular wedding hall - if you visit on any given Saturday you’ll like find the latter in use. Q Restaurant and wine shop open Tues-Sat 12:00-22:00, Sun and Holiday 11:00-20:00 (winter time 11:00-16:00). Closed Mondays. Surrounding grounds open 00:00-24:00.

Squares & Parks Aškerčev Trg (Aškerc Square) B-2. The main square in Laško’s old town is a bit odd both for its circular shape as well as its noticeable slope from north to south, but is nonetheless the most picturesque open space in the town. Dominated on one side by the massive Church of St Martin, the opposite is occupied by a row of old buildings containing various shops and residences. In the centre of the square a column topped by a statue of Mary sits in a small round garden. Park in Rimske Toplice Notwithstanding the new reno-

vations that Rimske terme has received just recently, the Roman spa park contains a wealth and antiquity of trees. Different species have been planted by guests traditionally in gratitude after a recouperating stay. The mild local climate and proximity of thermal springs has allowed the continued flourishing of some ancient sequoias, which were planted in 1879 in honour of the English princess and Prussian heiress, Victoria.

Spa Park in Laško Occupying the long narrow strip of

land between along the river Savinja between the Cultural Centre and Thermal Spas, the city’s well-kept park is the most popular place in Laško for a relaxing stroll at the weekends. Several large white stone sculptures, mostly of abstract forms, give the area the appearence of a sculpture garden and add to the overall charm.

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



laško a place among Slovenia’s must-see attractions. Q Groups of 15 or more can visit the brewery Mon-Fri 08:00-16:00 and Sat 08:00-12:00 with advanced booking made through the tourist information office next to the train station. Individuals can sign up for a scheduled tour on Fridays at 14:30 (although there needs to be a minimum of at least 10 people registered by 12:00). Admission is €6.50 per person, and includes entrance to the museum, beer tasting and a small snack.

Tours in the surroundings At the tourist information

Tabor Castle above the old town

Tours Laško Brewery Tour Trg Svobode 8, tel. (+386) 3 733

89 50,, Founded all the way back in 1825 by a local producer of mead and gingerbread (and a tasty combo that is!), the brewery was originally located in the Valvasorjev Špital building in the city centre. By far the most popular beer in Slovenia, Laško - or more specifically it’s flagship Zlatorog brand (which for those keeping track, means ‚mountain goat’ in Slovene and is a Czech-style lager) - is also widely found on menus at restaurants and pubs throughout the former-Yugoslav states and beyond. For those interested in finding out more about Laško’s eponymous brew, a tour of the brewery is a must. The tour includes a stop by the city museum, where well-presented exhibits outline Laško’s nearly 200 year brewing history - including the short-lived attempt at using water from the city’s healing thermal spring in the process. After the museum, the tour moves across town to Laško’s state of the art facilities and one of the largest breweries in the region, and concludes with a requisite beer tasting. While our all too well-documented taste for drink probably makes us biased, for our money the Laško brewery tour easily deserves

Take a tour of Laško’s famous brewery


centre at Laško you can arrange to given any number of tours. In addition to organised brewery tours, they will be glad to organise a trip for you to the Jurklošter Carthusian Monastery, the Anton Aškerc house or indeed to go rafting on the confluence of the Savinja/Sava rivers. However, perhaps the main reason we would go back is the possibility of a tandem paragliding flight. A full range of possible itineraries can be discussed at the Tourist Information Centre (TIC) in Laško.

Tourism information Tourist Information Centre Laško Trg Svobode

8, tel. (+386) 3 733 89 50, fax (+386) 3 733 89 56,, You can’t miss Laško’s tourist information centre if you’re arriving in town by bus or train, as the large modern building sits directly opposite the central stations. The centre is pretty much a one-stop shop on any visit to town. Aside from providing the standard maps and brochures, the office is also your best bet for gifts and souvenirs. In terms of services the staff arranges guides, rents bicycles and can pretty much fill you in on everything you need to know about the Laško, its sights and history. They are also the only place to arrange tours of Laško’s famous brewery across town. Q Bike rentals €3/5/7/9 for 1/3/5/8 hours, and includes a bicycle helmet and lock.

Laško Tourist Farms One of the best ways to experience the Slovene countryside, and literally get a taste of authentic rural life, is by visiting a so-called tourist farm - many of which can be found in and around the hills surrounding Laško. Often mistaken for something akin to an unpaid working holiday, in reality tourist farms are just active farmstead that open their doors to tourists. They are open by prior agreements, so we suggest to contact them in advance.

Čebelarstvo in Lectarstvo Šolar Strmca 81a, tel. (+386) 3 573 16 36/ (+386) 40 937 765, solar.franc@ Established over thirty years, this apiculture with cultural gem up its sleeve lies 2km from Laško. The cultural gem, you may be asking, is one of the oldest crafts on Slovenian territory, namely ‘lectarstvo’. This refers to the production of ‘lectar’, or what we might term decorated gingerbread. An observation of how lectar is made and decorated is on offer, which, along with every kind of honey/bee-based product you could imagine (honey drinks, pollen, propolis, different kinds of honey, wax products), is available to buy. Čebelarstvo Blagotinšek Jagoče 13c, tel. (+386) 3 734 02 50, A trip to a beekeeper’s, or at least the promise of lots of things sweet, should be enough to excite any small child to an unreasonable level (well, hopefully just almost). At the Blagotinšek’s you’ll have to opportunity to view the apiary, or the beehives in layman’s terms, learn about the life of bees, see the extraction of honey, taste the lovely stuff and buy both honey and beeswax products. The four most significant species of bee in Slovenia are also presented here. Kmetija Aškerc Senožete 2, Rimske Toplice, tel.

(+386) 3 573 62 98/(+386) 31 207 291. Sustainable is the keyword on this farm in Rimske Toplice, 7km from Laško. They breed goats and make sheep’s cheese here, not to mention other dairy products. In addition that they still find time to practice beekeeping and herb preparation. Presumably in their spare time looking after the house of famous poet Anton Aškerc is another activity. The latter has been converted to a museum and also the architectural heritage is preserved. Visits include a tour of the farm, tastings and the opportunity to purchase products. Q By prior arrangement

Domačija Križnik Trobni Dol 42, Šentrupert, tel.

(+386) 3 734 74 00/(+386) 41 931 874, domacija. The homestead of the Križnik family lies in a village 12km from Laško, thus in the middle of relatively undisturbed nature. Known for its excellent salami, sausages, bacon and also stomach (a local delicacy), this is a ‚stara kmečka hiša’, or traditional farmhouse. All of their delicious meat products are made using traditional methods, which your hosts will happily present to you as part of the visit. Their so called ‚Križnikove mesnine z vrha’, or Križnik’s meat from the peak is available for purchase, after the customary tasting of course.

Ekokmetija Tauses Velike Gorelce 13, tel. (+386)

3 573 90 65/(+386) 40 425 513, martina.tauses@ Farming in harmony with nature is what is to be discovered 14km from Rimske Toplice (towards Jurklošter), which itself down the road from the larger town of Laško. Come here to ride horses and ponies under expert guidance in a wonderfully secluded rural spot. Learning about the farm animals is unavoidable and tasting the local organic delicacies unmissable.

A local craftswoman hard at work

Kmetija Slapšak Padež 5, tel. (+386) 3 573 91 61/

(+386) 31 336 431, The distinctness of a visit to the Slapšak estate derives from its special historical importance. A cave, once a mine pit, is preserved here and you can be given an informative guided tour of it, where you will learn about the lives and work of the miners in the old days. At the end of the tour a tasting of local delicacies, always more substantial than it seems beforehand, awaits. Nevermind which of the two is the primary reason for your visit, for the latter will itself take place in the preserved tunnel! Talk about atmospheric. Q By prior arrangement

Turistična Kmetija Kozmus Paneče 3, Jurklošter, tel. (+386) 3 573 50 34,, www. Situated in a secluded village down the road from Laško, and rightly so. The two primary activities at the Kozmus farmstead are baking bread, wedding bread in fact, and harvesting herbs. The former has in fact received several awards for the preservation of heritage in bread-making. Guests can and will see the herb garden, try herbal teas can buy specialities. Accommodation comes in the form of a simple yet homely apartment for four. Saving the best (detail) until last, there’s horse-riding plus horse and carriage trips in the immediate and broader surroundings. Wonderful. Q 1 apartment. Vinotoč Urbanov Hram Udmat 2a, tel. (+386) 31 551 275, This cheerful wine cellar offers an extensive and varied selection of Slovene wines both for purchase and organised tastings. The professionally guided tastings are especially recommended, and can be supplemented with additional wines and/or light snacks on request. Located in a small settlement along the river just south of Laško on the way to Rimske Toplice. Tastings outside of opening hours can be arranged for groups with prior notice. Q Open 13:00 - 18:00, Sat 09:00 - 17:00. Closed Sun. Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



laško Symbol key P Air conditioning

A Credit cards accepted

E Live music

S Take away

T Child friendly

U Facilities for the disabled

R Internet

L Guarded parking

O Casino

J Old Town location

6 Animal friendly

W Wi-Fi

B Outside seating

V Home delivery

Where to eat Aqua roma Toplice 2, rimske Toplice, tel. (+386)

3 573 68 50,, This smaller alternative to the its more upmarket neighbour Rimske Terme in Rimske Toplice and the much larger Termana Wellness resort in Laško, is a popular destination for families for both its outdoor pools and sports facilities as well as its restaurant, and there is also modestly priced accommodation available for those who wish to spend the night. The huge well-regarded restaurant often caters to large groups and hosts organised events, but serves individuals from morning till night as well. The menu is features a bit of everything from pizzas and pasta to seafood and steaks to vegetarian dishes and some creatively named children’s plates. Q Open 09:00 - 23:00. (€4-15). PTAL

not exactly budget friendly, and the sweeping views of the valley from the terrace more than make up for any premium you’ll pay. Q Open Tues-Sat 11:00-22:00, Sat 11:00-20:00, Sun and Holiday 11:00-20:00 ( in winter 11:00-16:00). Closed Mon. (€6-23). PTALB

restaurant and Pizzeria Špica Trg Svobode 7, tel. (+386) 3 734 33 30,, www. Likely the most popular restaurant in town, Špica occupies some prime real estate perched above the river next to the main bridge leading to the city centre and a short walk to the Thermana Laško complex on the other side of the park. Although it’s best known for its pizza - fired in an oven that Guadi would be proud of - the menu is an eclectic mix of pastas, seafood, steaks and even some Mexican dishes. Don’t be surprised to find both of its terraces completely full on warm evenings. Q Open 07:00 - 23:00, Sun 08:00 - 23:00. (€3.50-10.50). TJA6LVBS Sofija Toplice 10, rimske Toplice, tel. (+386) 3 574

20 26,, Attention to detail, modernity and simplicity spring to mind at the sight of the a la carte restaurant attached to the Hotel Sofijin Dvor. Guests of the aforementioned hotel are catered for in these effortlessly pleasant surroundings, themselves hosting up to sixty diners. There are house specialities and culinary delights to be spoiled with after a day’s indolent bathing. Q Open 12:00 - 22:00, Fri, Sat 12:00 - 23:00. PAL

Bezgovšek Trubarjevo nabrežje 31, tel. (+386) 3 573

17 04/(+386) 31 391 193,, A family-run and family-friendly restaurant in a modern building a couple hundred metres south of the brewery, Bezgovšek comes highly recommended by locals and often plays host to weddings, anniversaries and other festive events. If you’re not in town for a catered affair, you’ll find the menu full of typical Slovenian dishes (i.e. meat and potatoes) with a decent selection of seafood, as well as some tasty pizzas. They also occasionally have live music at the weekends. Q Open Mon-Thur 07:0022:30, Fri-Sat 07:00-24:00, Sun 09:00-22:00. (€4-16). P1TA6ILVEBS

Čater Marija Gradec 34, tel. (+386) 3 734 06 80,, Located just south of Laško in the village of Marija Gradec, Čater is a reasonably short walk from the city centre - although be aware that the pavement ends at the railway tunnel. Aside from the lower than usual prices, few people would likely notice if the menus here were switched with those at the countless other inns that dot the Slovenian countryside, but the atmosphere is quite pleasant and service genuinely friendly. There’s also a huge garden and children’s play area surrounding the shaded outdoor dining area, making it a great lunchtime choice for families. Q Open 09:00 - 23:00, Sun 09:00 - 22:00. (€4-7). TA6ILBS

Pavus Grad Tabor Laško Cesta na Svetino 23, tel. (+386) 3 620 07 23/(+386) 51 614 664, info@pavus. si, For a truly unique dining experience hike up to Tabor Castle on the hill overlooking the town. Dating back to the 11th century, the castle was in ruins for nearly two hundred years until the Laško Brewery rebuilt it in the mid-1980s. The compact but beautifully restorted premises are now one of the most popular places in the country for weddings. The food itself is actually quite well-regarded, albeit


Find homemade treats of all kinds


B U S I N E S S | W E L L N E S S | S PA | R E S ORT

Pamper yourself in Rimske terme At the junction of rich history, modern architecture and surrounded by unspoiled nature, Rimske terme offer you a unique pool experience, opportunity for genuine relaxation, culinary delights and services of business-congress tourism. Restore your energy and maintain your health in this relaxing oasis. Information and reservation: 03 574 20 11 | |

Where to stay Wellness Park Laško superior Zdraviliška 4, tel. (+386)

3 423 20 00, fax (+386) 3 42 32 010, info@thermana. si, The newest accommodation addition to the health complex in Laško, the Wellness Park features modern furnishings, internet connection in every room, plus the usual range of amenities. Many rooms boast balconies and some also have views of the river Savinja. The Wellness Park is attached to a new thermal centre with indoor and outdoor pools, modern sauna centre, wellness centre (massage etc.) and fitness centre - competitive packages for all of the above are available. There are also several restaurants, bars and cafés located in the complex including in the actual thermal centre and pool area. Q 181 rooms, 7 appartmens (singles €84-112, doubles €140-208). PTHAUFLEBKDCW

Zdravilišče Laško Zdraviliška 4, tel. (+386) 3 423 20

00, fax (+386) 3 73 45 292,, www. Set in the grounds of a quiet park by the river Savinja, the Zdravilišče, literally meaning ‚spa’, is the pretty much the essence of comfort. Most amenities that one would associate with a room in a spa hotel are here, including bathrobe, hair dryer and mini bar. Only a 15 minute walk from Laško town centre, the hotel is specially adapted for those with mobility difficulties. Ample culinary options are also available on the premises, including a poolside bar and café. Q 208 rooms (singles €70-93, doubles €116-162). PTHAUFLEBKDCW

Around Laško Sofijin Dvor Toplice 10, Rimske Toplice, tel. (+386) 3 574 20 00, fax (+386) 3 734 63 12,, Set in the lush picture perfect Rimske

Toplice valley some 8 kilometres south of Laško, Sofijin Dvor is a newly rebuilt (2008) spa hotel located at the site of ancient roman baths. Well known for its healing powers, over the last century and a half the resort has attracted its fair share of wealthy and powerful guests, many of whom have followed the tradition of planting a tree on the grounds as a token of gratitude after being healed - this, combined with the sheltered climate of the valley, has led to many exotic species taking root, including cypress, cedar and even giant sequoia trees. In addition to its 43 elegantly furnished rooms and suites, the hotel also boasts a modern conference centre, with special package offers available for participants. Q 43 rooms (singles €70, doubles €119, suites, €147). PHAR6UFLKDCW

Rimski Dvor Toplice 10, Rimske Toplice, tel. (+386) 3

574 20 00,, The middle of three hotels at Rimske Terme, Rimski Dvor is terraced from floor to floor, with high quality double rooms and suites. In accordance with the hotels class, all rooms come with air conditioning, mini bar, internet and LCD TV. The eight unique suites have, in addition to that, sauna, whirlpool, circular bed and are named after healing herbs in Latin. From this as your base, you have easy access to the Amalija Wellness Centre for massage, the Varinia Land of Sauna, pools and the Spartakus Fitness Centre. Q 68 rooms, 8 suite. PAFLKDCW

Zdraviliški Dvor Toplice 10, tel. +386 (0)35 74 20 00,, The treasure of Rimske Terme (Roman spa), of course the oldest spa in Slovenia, is the historical part connected with this hotel. The Roman baths here give the site that je ne sais quoi. In addition to single and double rooms with the expected facilities of a four star, there are four rooms specifically designed for the movement-impaired. For those who prize their luxury, suites are also available. PAUILKDCW

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



dobrna Cycling Trips Dobrna - Brdce nad Dobrno - Dobrna Difficulty: medium/hard Lenght: 12 km

Dobrna - Loka

Difficulty: medium/hard Lenght: 5 km

Dobrna -Lovska koča - Dobrna Difficulty: hard Lenght: 12 km Dobrna is essentially half quaint village, half modern tourist centre. The former consisting of typical buildings to be found in picturesque villages - including the lovely church - the latter by virtue of the natural warm mineral spring. Dobrna spa, whilst being the primary reason for most visits to the town, is by no means the end of the story. The preservation of ethnological homes and the old way of life is something absolutely beautiful - visit one of the several tourist farms to come face to face with history: traditional methods of food preparation and the slow pace of life where everyone knows everyone, ensuring that they always have enough to eat and a full glass. Outside the villages, the Dobrna catchment area has been well endowed in terms of nature; pristine forests pervade and tall hills rise up to the north of the town - to be conquered and explored by active walkers and cyclists. Come to Dobrna for any of the above reasons, but above all for health.

Tourist Information Centre Dobrna 1a, (+386)

37 80 10 64,,, www. Municipality Občina Dobrna, Dobrna 19, (+386) 37 80 10 50,

Traditional Events Carnival Celebrations in center of Dobrna, tel. (+386) 3 780 10 64,, Date: Ash Wednesday Bonfire on Marovšek Farm picnic area, Brdce 2a, tel. (+386) 41 851 523. Date: in April

Summer greentings in Dobrna tel. (+386) 3 780 10 64,, Date: in June

Milling Sunday Dolina mlinov, tel. (+386) 3 780 10 64. Contact: KUD Dobrna Date: August Music festival: night under the chestnut trees Dobrna, tel. (+386) 3 780 10 64,, Noč pod kostanji (night under the chestnut trees) is Dobrna’s biggest popular music festival. Date: in August

Martin’s Fair with cultural program Zdraviliški dom, Terme Dobrna, tel. (+386) 3 780 10 64, www. Date: November Children’s Christmas festivities and new Year’s Eve Tel. (+386) 3 780 10 64, tic@dobrna. si, Q Contact: ZTŠK Dobrna Date: In December.

Dobrna - Parož - Krištaje - Dobrna Difficulty: hard Lenght: 24 km

Dobrna - Parož - Sv. jošt Difficulty: hard Lenght: 12 km

What to see Ana’s Trail TIC Dobrna, Dobrna 1a, tel. (+386) 37 80 10

64,,, Named after a local resident and farm owner, Ana’s trail takes two and a half hours of moderate walking and is suitable for families. From the center of Dobrna, the trail leads past the romantic Ružička Villa (1876) and the 17th-century Dobrnica Manor with its Baroque facade to the Knajp spring. From the Ledenice Cave, ascend beside the waterfalls of the Drenovec stream toward the clearing for picnics. On the way you can sample the homemade salami, see the old blacksmith’s shop at the Marovšek farm and check out the “black kitchen” at the Šumej farm. In season you can also pick some mushrooms along the way. The beekeeper’s house, ostrich farm, and the Gothic Church of St. Nicholas are also worth taking a break for. At the end, take in the magnificent panorama from viewpoint bench. Difficulty Easy to moderate, suitable for families route Hills, low mountains, pastures, forests and waterfalls

Loška Trail TIC Dobrna, Dobrna 1a, tel. (+386) 37 80 10 64,,, Taking about two and a half hours, the well-marked Loška Trail runs through the Loka Valley, with its red karst “terra rossa” soil. From the center of Dobrna, head through the spa complex, visit the ethnology collection, the Chapel Gallery and then continue to Klanc. First visit the open-door Pri Minki Tourist Farm (blueberry brandy highly recommended). See the old Dobovičnikov “kozolec” (traditional Slovene hayrack) for yourself. The ‚valley of mills’, among which the Volkov Mill is best preserved, then follows. Treat yourself to ice-cold refreshment in the Knajpov pool, and read all about the ‚Kneipping’ therapy on a sign by the pool. In the paddock of Lamperčkova farm, about 160 red deer, moufflon, and fellow deer await your inspection, and at the Blažič farm they will show you their collection of old local sabers and other antiques. Return to the center of Dobrna past the ruins of the 13thcentury Kačji Castle and three fishponds (fishing possible!). Difficulty Easy to moderate route Hills, pastures, forests and ponds Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



…more than 600 years of feeling good

With just over 2100 inhabitants, the Municipality of Dobrna is famous for its healing spring and its rich cultural and natural heritage witnessed by numerous villas, manors, castles, spa, mills, tourist farms, churches, waterfall, parks, a variety of flora. Dobrna paths are an excellent combirnation of relaxed walking and biking on the flat and hilly terrain. Dobrna is a place that fascinate and cannot be forgotten. … Where the body and soul rest… is a combination of adrenalin, health, relaxation and recreation…

Public Institute for Tourism, Sport and Kulture Dobrna Dobrna 1 a, SI - 3204 Dobrna Tel.: 00386 (0) 3 780 10 64 E-mail:

The Municipality of Dobrna Dobrna 19, SI - 3204 Dobrna Tel.: 00386 (0) 3 780 10 50 E-mail:

More than 600 years of feeling good • Accommodation in hotels: Hotel Vita****, Vila Higiea****, Hotel Park*** • Medical centre • Swimming pools with healing thermal water • Catering • Massage and beauty centre • Sauna land • Sauna studio Tisa • Wine cellar • Business tourism • Sports park • The spa park

Terme Dobrna d.d.,

Dobrna 50, SI - 3204 Dobrna t: 00386 (0)3 78 08 110 f: 00386 (0)3 78 08 111 e:


vojnik Štore souvenirs, home-made products and graphics. The ‚Valvasor’ printing press, according to Jože himself, works better than the original. Q By prior arrangement.

A lot has changed since Hochenecke castle was first recorded in 1164, one of the original fortifications ensuring the security of the area (then Austro-Hungarian ‘Styria’), and subsequently nurturing the prosperity of its arts and crafts culture. The latter, in fact, is still thriving today - the locals enjoy singing, playing music and producing art (see Piros Gallery). The close knit community is bound also by a love of mountaineering (not to mention good pubs); the Savinjske Alpe (Savinja Alps) are not far away and the immediate landscape already feels like the beginning (or end) of the largest European mountain range. Deep green fir trees apparently signal weary hikers to take a break here, in this thoroughly homely and good natured municipality.

Municipality Občina Vojnik, Keršova 8. (+386) 3 780 06 20. Tourist Organisation (+386) 3 780 06 20, (+386) 3 780 06 40, (+386) 51 315 841.

What to see Kaja & Grom Ranch Razgor, tel. (+386) 3 427 01 18/ (+386) 41 63 98 22, fax (+386) 3 427 01 19, ranckaja@, Close to Vojnik and Celje, hidden in the hills and forest, is a very special ranch. Kaja & Grom is home to eleven or so horses, a couple of friendly dogs, three cats, a pair of sheep, a pig, two peacocks and a peahen, a guinea-fowl and her husband, a pair of goats and lots of roosters and hens - not to mention Andrej, Darja, Manca and Aljaž (the exceptionally friendly family of humans). Horse riding lessons are offered for beginners, advanced riders and children, as well as trail riding, tours and ‚TTEAM’ and ‚TTOUCH’ seminars about connecting with the animals. The philosophy of love and respect at the ranch is really something beautiful - only after you get to know the horses, will you be ready for your first ride. Other offerings include children’s birthday parties (3-4 hours of brushing, feeding and leading the horses), archery, kindergarten/school programmes (halfday, full-day or several days of meeting dwarves, treasure hunting, exploring nature, discovering bugs, visiting the farm animals and meeting the horses). Q By prior arrangement. Piros Gallery Globoče 15, tel. (+386) 3 781 40 30/

(+386) 31 798 380, Pay a visit to somewhere the tradition of local art is kept alive. The suitably eccentric Jože has housed his spacious studio in a former barn, part of a farmhouse in the village of Globoče, 6km north of Vojnik. As the surrounding peaks such as Konijška Gora (horse mountain), popular with hikers - are an undeniable inspiration, so his work continues, only interrupted by weekend visitors and cultural events (for example, choir singing). Offerings to visitors inspired by his own creations, those of others and lots of old maps/memorabilia - include

Osrednje Celjsko

Soržev Mlin Polže 1, Nova Cerkev, tel. (+386) 3 781 25 42. Standing in the beautiful village of Polže beside Nova Cerkev, itself relatively unchanged in the last 100-150years, Soržev mill is no less than 700 years old! Fur th ermore th e enchanting watermill is still working, grinding grain (buckwheat, corn, spelt and rye) into flour - which is bagged and sold - the whole process being completely ecological and organic. Guests can buy the flour, try the rustic home-baked bread and cook with fruits and vegetables from the farm. There’s also a Venetian saw, built in 1872 and powered by the largest old paddle-wheel of its kind in Slovenia. Aside from work, the mild mannered yet warm host, Oton, looks after guests in the miller’s house exceedingly well. The simplicity of his hospitality is very refreshing - you’ll find home-made brandy and organic fruit in your apartment - and you’ll wake up to a hearty breakfast (with eggs from his own chickens) and pleasant conversation about the mill’s history, tales of hiking in the surrounding hills and life in general. It’s truly wonderful that a place such as Soržev Mlin can still exist in this modern, urban, hyperactive age - an ethnological and cultural gem. Q One bedroom apartment: from €34 Two bedroom apartment: €66. TILN

Churches Maria of Seven Sorrows’ Church One of four churches in Vojnik (that’s about one per two thousand people), Maria (or Mary) of Seven Sorrows is the highest, with a hilltop position and fantastic views across the valley, Vojnik and Celje. This church is special, with good reason - it houses one of the oldest organs in Slovenia, steeped in history and tradition. Built a few hundred years ago, it still blasts out those hymns at soul-shaking volume. St. Bartholomew’s Church Vojnik. The parish church of St. Bartholomew (Sveti Jernej in Slovene) stands proud, set back from the main road on top of an adequate mound. A grand size, the building itself is the third to have been built in this place (over 100 years ago), older constructions having been destroyed. The elegant interior is very impressive - if you decide to take a look, make sure you’re quiet during Mass-time (all of which are in Slovene).

St. Florian’s Church St. Florian’s is the gothic church, below Maria of Seven Sorrows, and was built in the 15th Century.

Museums Bezenšek’s Birth-House Frankolovo, tel. (+386) 51 31 58 41,, Anton Bezenšek (1854-1915), a famous Slovene linguist, journalist and cultural ambassador to Bulgaria - came from a little village near Frankolovo (Bezenškovo Bukovje), a few kilometres north of Vojnik. Among his biggest achievements was the invention and adoption of shorthand for south Slavic languages - and the publication of a language learning book for German using a modern methodology. His birth-house, now a cultural monument, is open for tours by prior arrangement.

Štore dishes are served. Whatever you plump for off the menu, you can relax afterwards in the garden over a dessert or drink. Open long hours during the week, not always something you can find in the countryside in Slovenia. QOpen , Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat 07:00 - 23:00, Sun 08:00 - 20:00.

It would be too easy just to say Štore = steel factory - end of story. But that wouldn’t quite be accurate. There are lots of typical picturesque Slovenian villages spread over a wide area (28.1 km squared): no major tourist attractions here, just peace, quiet and nice hilly scenery. The first settlements in the area were on the hills rising out of the Voglajna valley, in the 6th Century. Much later, the iron and steel industry grew out of its strategic location and abundant raw materials, but nowadays most of the buildings have been cleared, making the area that bit prettier once again. A nice day- or half-day trip.

Municipality Cesta XIV. divizije 15, (+386) 37 80 38 40,,

Arriving To get to Štore, take the same route into Celje, then leave by the main road east. Continue straight and pass through Slance and Teharje, you will then see the big steel factory on your right. You have arrived!

Where to eat Pekarna/Slaščičarna Buco Cesta XIV. Divizije 32.

One of the few venues in Store itself, this bakery/cake shop is conveniently located by the train station, in the centre. Expect to find bread, pastries, cakes and burek on offer, at very cheap prices. A good option for a quick breakfast, or for stocking up if you’re staying in the surrounding countryside. QOpen 05:00 - 20:00, Sat 05:00 - 12:00, Sun 07:30 - 12:00. JS

Picikato Teharje 21, tel. (+386) 35 41 10 10, A thriving pizzeria and Italian restaurant, Picikato occupies a large house at a junction on the road east from Celje, towards Štore. Upon entrance you’re greeted by agreeable decor: terracotta tiled floors, light walls and vaulted brick ceilings. In all of the sprawling rooms, home-cooked Italian food is served, specialities including ‚domaci’ (home-made) gnocchi and Tuscany ravioli. With a kids menu offering meals from cartoon favourites (including Garfield no less), it’s great for families on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. There’s a spacious outdoor terrace (80 seats) and function room (80 seats) for conferences and special occasions. QOpen 08:00 - 23:00, Fri 08:00 - 24:00, Sat 09:00 - 24:00, Sun 11:30 22:00. €4.90-18.80. PTHAILBS Pizzerija-kavarna Del Moro Opekarniška 3. Offering tasty pizza and grilled dishes to order, the Del Moro is situated conveniently by the Mercator supermarket. Good anytime for a coffee, come late morning brunch and light homemade

Prehrana Tuli Cesta XIV. Divizije 4, tel. (+386) 37 80 26 70/(+386) 40 30 32 35,, www. Both a catering firm and restaurant; Prehrana Tuli is open a mere four hours per day from Monday to Friday. The good news is that, if you do make it during opening hours, you’re likely to be pleasantly surprised - the quality of the food being exceptional. They prepare between 800-1000 meals daily, mostly for distribution to local companies, but also to be served in their own dining room (jedilnice) and for special occasions. Located on the right hand side of the main road from Celje, before you reach the centre of Štore. If you’re in the area at the weekend, Picikato restaurant is nearby, as are many other options in Celje itself. QOpen 09:00 - 13:00. Closed Sat, Sun. PHALVK

What to see Church of St. Florian Svetli Dol. Sitting on higher ground than the church of St. John the Baptist, this one owes its name to the patron saint of firemen - Florian. It’s located in the village of Svetli Dol, five or six kilometres south of Štore. No doubt pretty to look at, it’s worth paying a visit just to see what a really small and typical village in Slovenia looks like.

Church of St. John the Baptist Šentjanž nad Štorami. This church in the village of Šentjanž offers a great vantage point from which to admire the Celje valley. Its bell tower represents a high point in these parts. To get here, head south from Štore on a minor road, passing through Laška vas pri Storah. Sports and Recreational Hiking Trail around Štore

Exactly what it says on the tin! If you’ll excuse the pun, since Štore is a steel town and all, this path gives you athletic challenges within the surroundings of beautiful nature. It may be in Štore, but the specific maps aren’t easy to find on the municipality’s website. A good idea to contact them should you fancy some strutting and flexing in this rural area.

Svetina Village Svetina. Being proclaimed as the most beautiful hill village in Slovenia in 2004 was no small feat, what with the sheer breadth of that category of award. Anyhow, it’s the highest place in the Štore municipality - featuring the Gothic church of St. Marija Snežna (Mary of snow). The cemetery of another nearby church, St. Križ, is the final resting place of famous world traveller and writer, Alma Karlin. The surroundings of Svetina are suitable such outdoor pursuits as hiking, cycling and skiing. Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



rogaška Slatina

The neo-classical façade of the Grand Hotel Rogaška (and its reflection) is the most photographed site on the town’s main square, photo by Jure Kravanja A few kilometres from the Croatian border, Rogaška Slatina nestles in a valley at the confluence of two small rivers, sources of water that along with many others in the immediate area literally spring up everywhere and that

Donat Mg Of all the different mineral waters to come from Rogaška Slatina by far the most famous and arguably the most healthy is Donat Mg. Its history is an interesting and curious one that dates back to 1908 and a certain Dr. Joseph Knett who discovered the source of a particularly distinctive mineral water in the centre of the town that was high in magnesium and that became known as Donat. To keep the water pure and safely away from the possible contamination of other nearby mineral waters, Dr. Knett built a large concrete tank and began pumping the water electronically so it could be enjoyed by the locals. Subsequent damage to the holding tank led in 1952 to another individual from Sarajevo named Josip Bać to do further work on the site, and after a period of experimental deep digging a new water was discovered which was even higher in magnesium content and that became known as Donat Mg. The award-winning water is now bottled and exported around the world, but plenty is kept in town for those wishing to try it. As well as being a refreshing drink in itself, Donat Mg can be drunk in different ways for different ailments, such as warm and quickly to aid the activity of the bowel and cool and slowly for the self-absorption of minerals.


have together contributed towards making the fabulous little spa town of just 5,500 or so permanent residents one of the most popular destinations in the Balkans for visitors seeking restive cures of every conceivable kind. Known to the Celts and the Romans, Rogaška Slatina’s shot to fame rather late in life in 1803 when the illustrious Count Ferdinand Attems bought up all the neighbouring land and declared it an official health resort. Famously founded in legend by the mighty hoof of Pegasus and first mentioned in written texts in 1141, Rogaška Slatina has grown off the back of its mineral-rich water into a bustling town brimming with grand buildings in every conceivable architectural style from Secessionist to Art Deco. World renowned for the extraordinary range of glassware made using centuries-old techniques in the town’s Rogaška Crystal factory and perched on the edge of the invigorating Boč Landscape Park, Rogaška Slatina is considerably more than simply a place to visit for its spas and medical centres. Within easy reach of the town are a magnificent collection of churches, traditional farmsteads offering everything from wine-tasting tours to sumptuous feasts in traditional wooden barns, countless opportunities to hike in the local forests and mountains and the 326-metre Janina Hill, home to a small ski resort for the perfect winter break. Friendly and affordable, Rogaška Slatina has something to offer everyone.

What to See Boč Landscape Park Located at the far eastern edge of the Pannonian Hills and starting immediately to the north of Rogaška Slatina, the Boč Landscape Park covers a little over 20 square kilometres of terrain and consists

rogaška Slatina of a beguiling mix of rolling hills, mountains, streams, rivers and dense forests of predominantly beech but also maple, ash, wild cherry, lime and elm of which five have been designated forest reserves. A protected area since 1992, the park is populated with a wide range of species including wild boar, deer, 65 different species of beetle, alpine goats, butterflies and a wealth of flora including the rare pasque flower (pulsatilla grandis). At 979 metres above sea level, the mighty Boč Hill or Boč Mountain, from which the park gets its name, is visible from the town and features a path to the top for anyone brave enough to take it on. Peppered with a few human artefacts including two small churches, the park offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor types including forest trails, specialist bicycle routes, hill walking and a touch of skiing during the winter. As with all wild places familiar or otherwise, people setting off to explore should tell somebody in case something happens.

Boris Kidrič Boris Kidrič (1912-1953) was a famous

Communist and one of the main organisers of the Partisan war in the country waged against the occupying Germans between 1941 and 1945. Born in Vienna, the muchawarded politician ser ved as prime minister between 1945 and 1946, dying of leukaemia at the tragically young age of 41. A large bust of his likeness, dating from 1983 and the work of the well known sculptor Stojan Batič (born 1952), stands in front of the town’s Rogaška Medical Center.

Count Ferdinand Attems. Serving as the Governor of Styria (Štajerska) and also known as the Baron of Sveti Križ, Ferdinand Attems (1746-1820) was born into noble aristocratic family and is principally remembered in Rogaška Slatina as the founder of the health resort. Originally sited elsewhere in the town and the 1828 work of Leopold Kisling, the Count’s likeness is now to be foundon a spot beneath the Hotel Aleksander. Crystal Hall Zdraviliški Trg 12, tel. (+386) 3 811

20 00,, w w The literal jewel in the crown of Rogaška Slatina is its infamous and exceedingly opulent Crystal Hall. Located inside the Grand Hotel Rogaška, the town’s most important cultural monument was originally designed and built in the first half of the 19th century during the renovation of what was then the Hotel Zdraviliški Dom, which was subsequently destroyed in a fire in 1910. Its

Tourst Information r o g a š k a To u r i s t I n f o r m a t i o n C e n t r e

Zdraviliški Trg 1, tel. +386 (0)3 581 44 14,, www.rogaska-tourism. com. Rogaška Slatina’s official tourist info centre is conveniently located at the south end of the town’s main square, and should be the first place you head if you’re interested in what Rogaška has to offer beyond it’s famous spas. In addition to the usual brochures, maps and leaflets, the young multi-lingual staff can also sell you souvenirs, arrange guided tours and make suggestion about what to see and do in the surrounding countryside. They will also gladly provide you assistance prior to your trip if you email or call them, including helping you with bookings and other pertinent arrangements. Q Open 08:00-16:00, Sat 08:00-12:00, Sun Closed. In July and August 8:0019:00, Sat and Sun 08:00-12.00.

History Known to the Celts and the Romans, the first written documentation mentioning Rogaška Slatina dates from the mid-12th century. The following is a short history of some of the highlights that helped forge the town. 1665 Whilst out on a hunting trip the Croatian Viceroy Petar Zrinski develops a kidney complaint, drinks the local mineral water and is allegedly cured. The date is now considered to be the founding year of the springs. 1803 Provincial governor Count Attems buys land around the springs and establishes the town as a spa resort. The first purpose-built spa is constructed less than a decade later. 1811 The first water pumping system is installed. 1838 The Forest Spring is discovered. 1866 Completion of the Church of the Holy Cross. 1907 Donat Mg mineral water is discovered. 1990 The town is given city status. replacement dates from soon after and is decorated with extraordinary Venetian chandeliers of the most exquisite cu t cr ystal alongside five hand-made examples from the local Rogaška Crystal factory, several large paintings depicting key moments in the development of the town and impressive marble pillars. Attracting the likes of such historical figures as Franz Liszt, today’s Crystal Hall continues to be used for large and exclusive events, business conferences, glamorous weddings, concerts and other high profile celebrations.

Forest Spring One of the oldest springs in town and part of one of the recommended Hiking tours mentioned elsewhere in this guide, th e Forest Spring was first mentioned in local literature in 1883. Notable for its high iron content, tasting the water from the Forest Spring is generally considered to be one of the highlights of a health-related visit to Rogaška Slatina. Find access to it from the bottom of Janina Hill. Ivan’s Spring Dating back to at least 1821 and famously named by Johann von Österreich, the iron-rich water emanating from Ivan’s Spring can be found tucked away somewhere behind the Rogaška Riviera.

Mineral Water Drinking Hall A marvellous round space in which to sample Donat Mg and learn a little bit at the same time. For those genuinely interested in the healthy effects of mineral water, the aforementioned drinking should be approached in a ritualistic manner and carried out at least three times a day approximately 30 minutes before eating. Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



rogaška Slatina Monument to the Fallen in the national Liberation

Struggle 1941-1945 A classic communist-era example of public art, this fine monument celebrates the heroes and heroines who fought and died in the struggle against the German invasion of Slovenia during the Second World

Events january Athlete of the Year Celebrating sporting giants from the town who’ve excelled both nationally and internationally over the previous 12 months. February Carnival Costumes A parade through town of children dressed in a variety of costumes and outfits. March na Gregorjevo Another large event for children, this one in the form of a gathering of children’s folklore groups. April Blessing of Easter Food Miscellaneous events around town including at the Junež Homestead and St. Nicholas’ Church. May Pika Poka Pod Gora By far the best-named event of the year, Pika Poka Pod Gora translates roughly as Dotty Dot Under the Mountain and is a once-a-year celebration of folk songs and traditions. june Summer Music nights A series of concerts for people of all tastes and ages. july na Anino The town’s annual international gathering of tambouri groups. August Festival Musica A new addition to Rogaška Slatina’s cultural calendar, Festival Musica promises a wide range of serious music concerts at different locations around town.

War. Unveiled in 1952, the structure features the collective results of the various labourings of the architect Vinko Glanz, the poet Igo Gruden and the extraordinary Socialist Realist reliefs of Boris Kalin.

Muses of Pegasus The aptly named Muses of Pegasus

are a female vocal group founded in Rogaška Slatina in 2005 and conducted by professor Mihaela Pihler. Originally made up of 15 singers, the group has grown to now include over 20 performers, most of the trained in music, who sing a wide repertoire of music including songs by Slovene composers from the 19th and 20th centuries, Slovene folk songs, sacred songs, arrangements of popular songs and songs associated with festivals including weddings and Christmas. The multi award-winning ensemble have performed all over Slovenia and have released a number of CDs which can be bought in several outlets around town. Keep an eye out on local events when you’re in town to see if they’re performing.

Pegasus The legend of the founding of Rogaška Slatina is

celebrated with a large public statue in the centre of the town in the form of Pegasus, one of the most well known mythical creatures in Greek mythology. The story goes that the god Apollo approached the winged horse and asked it to bang its hoof on the ground, and where it banged its hoof would become the source of the town’s mineral water.

Tempel Pavillion Located in the very centre of the town the fabulous Tempel Pavilion was built to a Classical design in 1819. Sheltering what was known as the Main Spring that allegedly dates back to the 12th century although the first reliable written source on its existence comes from much later in 1680, the water source was blocked in 1952 and the structure is now used as a meeting point as well as a venue for all manner of public and cultural events. The Cactus Collection (Paviljon Kaktej) Cerovec

pod Bočem 22a. When we were first told that there was a cactus collection in Rogaška our assumption was that we had either misheard our guide or something had got lost in translation, but the next stop on our itinerary was indeed a collection of cactuses (or cacti) and a very fine one at that. Located in the large greenhouse at the Rogaška Garden Centre, the collection was first started by a private individual over 40 years ago, and later purchased by the municipality so it could be properly cared for at a larger facility and presented to the public.

September The Delicacies of Obsotelje & Kozjansko A series of special events to celebrate World Tourism Day. October national Children’s Week Miscellaneous special events around the town. november Martin’s Hike One of several events to celebrate St. Martin’s Day, a time of feasting and partying after the harvesting is completed. December na Štefanovo Gala parade, the blessing of horses and other Christmasrelated activities.


You definitely don’t want to sit on this mother-in-law’s cushion, photo by Jure Kravanja

rogaška Slatina There are over 5000 plants in total and nearly 1000 different species, ranging from the smallest cactus on earth (the pebble-like blossfeldia liliputana) to towering giants that nearly reach the roof of their enclosure. Other notable specimens in the collection include the well-known echinocactus grusonii, which is covered in long rigid spikes and joking referred to as Mother-in-Law’s Cushion, and the so-called Dirty Old Man Cactus, which looks strikingly like a large green part of the male anatomy. Perhaps the most interesting plant in the collection is actually not a cactus at all but the endemic Juvan’s Houseleek, which only grows on a nearby mountain and is said to be one of the rarest plants in the world. The place is maintained by the Friends of Cacti Society of Slovenia (yes, this really exists!), friendly members of which are on hand to give tours and answer any questions you have. Smaller cactuses can also be purchased (quite cheaply), with the proceeds helping with the upkeep.

a sweet dish fortified with rum that’s a particular favourite at Easter. Visits to the homestead can be arranged through the local tourist information people.

Museum of rogaška Slatina Some 40,000 individual drawings and etching make up the entire collection, which features European work from the 16th to the 19th century and all of it donated to the spa resort by the Swiss patron of the arts Kurt Műller. The collection used to be exhibited in the Museum of Graphic Art, located inside the city’s Administrative Building, the oldest building in town and well worth a visit even if graphic arts don’t interest you.

rogaška Crystal

Churches Church of St. Mohor in Fortunat Located in the tiny

hamlet of Male Rode a couple of kilometres east of the town, this fine-looking church was constructed in the Late Gothic style towards the end of the 15th century. Despite it’s obscure location and overall plain interior the church is famed throughout Slovenia for its golden altar from 1691.

Church of the Holy Cross Built on the site of two former churches dating back to Roman times, the Church of the Holy Cross was first mentioned in 1304 although the current building dates from considerably later having been completed in 1866. A sturdy stone construction built to a neo-Romanesque design by Joseph Shöble, the church is laid out in a cross shape and features a total of five altars including two side altars dedicated to the mother and father of Christ. Gril Chapel Perched on the hillside in the small village of

Cerovec a few kilometres north of Rogaška Slatina, the Gril Chapel was constructed after a local farmstead dweller fell ill in the 1930s and was miraculously cured. The farmstead is no more, but the chapel remains and is a popular place of interest for people making the climb to the top of Boč Hill.

St. Anne’s Chapel Located on the side of a small hill on

the edge of town, St. Anne’s Chapel was constructed in 1804 and is dedicated to St. Anne, Rogaška Slatina’s patron saint. The interior features an altar depicting Mary, the baby Christ and St. Anne, painted in 1686 by the Baroque master Hans Adam Weissenkirchner. in the year 1686. The church was completely renovated in 1926 to the design of the famous Slovene architect Jože Plečnik (1872-1957). St. Anne’s Day, July 26, is a national holiday in Slovenia.

Museums & Galleries junež Homestead Krpanova 11, tel. (+386) 3 581 44 14/(+386) 41 726 015,, www. On the outskirts of town at the foot of the 326 metre Janina Hill, this gorgeous classic homestead dating from the 19th century has been in the hands of the Junež family of farmers since its construction. Complete with a lovely thatched roof, the building has been an official monument of culture since 1988 and has been completely renovated with the help of local masons, carpenters, stovemakers and restorers to recreate the sense of the traditional local farming culture. Visiting the building just for a look around is a pleasure in itself, although there are other reasons to visit. A local organisation called the Gaja Society organise events here based on traditional country cuisine, offering a range of classic dishes including special breads, cheese pastries and

Photo by Jure Kravanja Ulica Talcev 1, tel. (+386) 3 818 01 70,, One of the leading producers of crystal ware in the world, Rogaška Crystal (Steklarna Rogaška) has been based in Rogaška Slatina since it was founded way back in 1927. Following on from a long tradition of glass-making in the town dating back to at least the mid-17th century, the company both utilises and consciously preserves manual glass-making skills of the highest quality that date back centuries. Balancing functionality with design excellence, Rogaška Crystal employs a full-time team of five designers who work alongside a range of highly skilled technicians who use traditional glass-blowing and hand-cutting techniques to produce lead crystal and crystalline individual pieces and collections made from a blend of the finest quartz sand, red lead and other trace ingredients. Producing everything from decanters to candlesticks to sports trophies awarded to such celebrated names as Björn Borg, Svetlana Khorkina and Michael Schumacher, the company’s products grace the homes of countless celebrities including the American billionaire Donald Trump after whom a range of exclusive glassware is named. Despite the fact that over half Rogaška Crystal’s products are exported abroad, the company does operate a number of shops around Slovenia and a visit to any of them is highly recommended. And if you find yourself in town during the week you should definitely take advantage of one of the twice-daily tours given Monday to Friday at the factory, a fascinating 30-minute experience costing just €4 which also includes a small crystal gift. To arrange a tour, call tel. (+386) 3 818 02 37 or send an email to prodajalna2@

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



rogaška Slatina Sport & Leisure Surplus to all the other fun and energetic things to do when visiting Rogaška Slatina are a few other suggestions. Getting around and seeing things on a bicycle can be a both an interesting and a healthy way of exploring the town and there are a few places dotted around renting bicycles from anything from an hour to a few days. Ask in your hotel or simply keep an eye open and see what’s on offer. Many of the hotels listed in this guide have their own fitness centres, which as well as being open to guests can be used by people not staying in them. Prices can be very good, and it’s an excellent way of burning off all the calories taken on board whilst sampling some of the heavy and delicious local cuisine. Winter time also sees the opening of a small series of ski slopes for skiers of varying abilities.

What to do Kostrivnica Water Trail The little village of Kostrivnica

Cyclists are a common sight around Rogaška, photo by TIC Rogaška Slatina

Hiking Bellevue (1.9km, 45 minutes). A leisurely stroll with the added attraction of a recommended panorama. Things to see on the way include visiting a wine cellar. Cvetlični Hrib (2.9km, 60 minutes). A pleasant stroll

that takes in a number of sights including the lovely St. Anne’s Chapel. Things to see on the way include the aforementioned chapel and the monument to St. Nepomuk.

Grilov Hrib (8.3km, Three hours). A moderately ambitious outing that incorporates a number of sights both urban and rural. Things to see on the way include the Cactus Collection. janina (2.2km, 60 minutes). Scale the 362 metre Janina

Hill and climb to the top of its lookout tower. Things to see on the way include the Forest Spring.

Ložno (14.7km, four hours). Definitely not one for the faint-hearted, this veritible monster of a walk takes in a number of fascinating sights. Things to see on the way include the 18th-century Church of St. Mary of Loretto.

has many secrets and possesses a rich natural and cultural heritage. The trail begins in Spodnja Kostrivnica (or Lower Kostrivnica) a few kilometres northwest of Rogaška Slatina, below Boč by the King’s and Ignacio’s Springs. The former is one of the last of its kind in the region, and with prior arrangement thirsty hikers can still quench their thirst with fresh spring water. In the immediate vicinity of both springs is a more than 200 year-old Slovene double hayrack (or kozolec), which contains a collection of aged farm tools. Further along the path in the centre of Zgornja Kostrivnica (or upper Kostrivnica), are churches dedicated to St Mary and St Lenart, and just beyond that you can visit Raymond’s Spring and Strniša’s Mill. A so-called mineral road, that used to connect a total of 12 springs from Kostrivnica to Gabernik, and a former filling station for the mineral water can be found in the settlement Zgornja Gabernik. From here the path carries on all the way to the Church or St Nicholas on Boč, offering sweeping views of the route just travelled and the surroundings.

Wine trails Two recommended wine trails in the region

around Rogaška Slatina take in a number of things to see and do along the way. Most of the vineyards are small and run by friendly locals, and stops along the way include not just the chance to sample some of the best wine in Slovenia but to also enjoy a few other places of interest. The shorter of the two journeys is just over five kilometres in total and involves visits to a tourist farm-vineyard and a trek or two up some impressive hills with equally inspiring views. At just over eight kilometres, the longer one visits the same farm-vineyard as well as a number of charming wine cottages.

Male rodne (9.9km, three hours). Something altogether more ambitious. Things to see on the way include Pegasus and the tiny settlement of Ratanska Vas. Prnek (4.8km, 90 minutes). An action-packed adventure for pedestrians. Things to see on the way include the Church of the Holy Cross. Tržaški Hrib (1.5km, 30 minutes). A simple meander

that just about anybody with a working pair of legs can enjoy. Things to see on the way include Pegasus.

Tržišče (3.6km, 75 minutes). A similar walk to the previ-

ous one with a slightly lengthier itinerary. Things to see on the way include the St. Mary’s Church.


Don’t forget to take a break on your hike for some local wine, photo by Jure Kravanja

rogaška Slatina Local cuisine

Anyone who’s ever visited Ljubljana is no doubt aware of the local propensity for eating horse meat, an unusual foodstuff in a country awash with other unique and interesting things to eat. The local folk cuisine organisation Gaja do a wonderful job at promoting dishes indigenous to the area around Rogaška Slatina, offering several chances to indulge the taste buds including at the fabulous Juneževa Homestead mentioned elsewhere in this guide. Three dishes of particular note and interest are worth mentioning in more detail. Keep an eye on local menus for them. First up, jerpica is a flat round bread topped with either cream or greaves, the latter for the uninitiated being a residue left over from the rendering of animal fat. Best eaten when still hot, the resemblance of last two syllables of the word to a similar Italian favourite are no coincidence. The fabulous sounding zavihjenča is a simply savoury pastry filled with curd cheese traditionally eaten by farm workers during harvest time. Finally, mlinčofka is an extraordinary-looking layered confection something like a cross between cake and a sweet bun. Sprinkled with icing sugar, the tasty treat is almost unheard of in the west of the country and is traditionally eaten during Easter.

for the name brand beauty treatments administered here, including the Pevonia Botanica body detoxification and the one-and-only Guinot hydradermie treatment. if you’ve always wanted to have a facial with gold, diamonds, pearl and/or caviar included look no further. A full list of services and prices can be found on the centre’s multi-lingual website.

rogaška Medical Center Zdraviliški Trg 9, tel. (+386) 3 811 70 00,, The grandest and most well known of all the town’s treatment centres, the Rogaška Medical Center specialises in a staggering range of ailments and employs leading specialists in the fields of gastroenterology, cardiology, dermatology, urology and a galaxy of other problems. Treatments include everything from full health programmes to more specific things including acupuncture, plastic surgery and physiotherapy to name just a few. The centre works closely with the Hotel Slatina and offers a range of deals for people wishing to visit and stay in the town for treatment. Their excellent website features several pages in English that list every single service on offer including prices. Wellness Centre Donat Zdraviliški Trg 10, tel. (+386)

3 811 30 00,, Part of the impressive Grand Hotel Donat complex this equally impressive wellness centre provides all the usual treatments available around town with the added bonus of a few rarities including crystal massages and a massage conducted with pure gold. Surplus to the saunas, everyday massages and facials is an outdoor pool complete with whirlpools and underwater massages. Longer packages that involve accommodation in the hotel at some extremely affordable prices include anti-cellulite treatments, a 10-day detox and five days dedicated to the removal of stress. See the hotel website for more information on the full range of offers. QOpen 08:00 - 20:00, Sun 09:00 - 20:00.

Wellness Vis Vita Zdraviliški Trg 12, tel. (+386) 3 811 24 70,, www.terme-rogaska. si. Housed inside the oldest surviving building in town and connected to no less than three different hotels, Wellness Vis Vita boasts an astonishing list of treatments including relaxation and sports massages, massages with hot stones, Shiatsu, anti-cellulite procedures, facials and much more. There’s also a sauna, a mineral spa pool, solarium and fitness centre. Note that booking accommodation in one of the attached hotels includes all manner of deals here. Q Swimming pool, fitness every day 08:00-20:00, Fri, Sat 08:00-23:00, Sun 08:00-20:00, Sauna Mon-Thur 12:0020:00, Fri, Sat 10:00-23:00,Sun 10:00-20:00. Massagges, Baths every day 08:00-20:00

Spa & Wellness Lotus Health & Beauty Centre Zdraviliški Trg 6, tel.

+386 (0)3 811 40 00,, www. If a bit of relaxation is what you’re after, then the wellness centre within the Grand Hotel Sava is just what the doctor ordered (literally for some fortunate Slovenes in fact). Specialising in massages of all types, there are over a dozen different Ayurvedic massages to choose from alone, as well as Thai, Japanese, Chinese, aromatherapy, and the house special Lotus massage. However, the most unique massage offering is the Lava Shell massage, which uses heated shells and takes advantage of a natural chemical reaction they have with sea water. In addition to this seemingly endless offering of massages, the centre is perhaps even more well-known

There are limitless possibilities for relaxation at Rogaška’s spa and wellness centres, photo by Medical Center Rogaška

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



Rogaška Slatina

Grand hotel Sava Rogaška Slatina · Slovenia

400 years of tradition in the heart of unspoiled nature • Healthy mineral & thermal water • Health & Beauty center Lotus • Swimming pool, saune, fitness • Restaurant Kristal – Show Cooking • A’ la carte restaurant Kaiser • Cappuccino Bar • Congress Centre Rogaška • Concerts, events, animation

HOTEL SAVA ROGAŠKA d.o.o. Zdraviliški trg 6 3250 Rogaška Slatina Slovenija T +386 3 811 40 00

Where to stay Grand hotel Donat Superior Zdraviliški Trg 10, tel. (+386) 3 811 30 00,, www.ghdonat. com. All the touches necessary for a relaxing, rejuvinating and even fun break, the Grand Hotel Donat Superior’s on-site amenities include a full spa (saunas/pool/whirlpool), beauty programs and a Hit casino. All the rooms and suites are air conditioned, plus there’s a restaurant, bar, conference room and shopping street, basically everything to relax without the danger of boredom for city folk. Some extra exclusevity can also be found here in the private spa, should you want to impress. Q 167 rooms. PHAFLK Grand Hotel Rogaška Zdraviliški Trg 10, tel. (+386)

3 811 20 00,, Former guests at this magnificent hotel in one of the top locations in town include the Hungarian composer, an indication of its pedigree if ever there was one. The grand neo-Classical façade conceals a wealth of opulence including rooms crammed with period furniture, ample en suite bathrooms, some lovely views and complementary bottles of Donat Mg. The price of the room also includes free entrance to countless facilities in two adjacent spa and wellness facilities and use of the next door swimming pool. Q 81 rooms. PAFLKW

Grand hotel Sava Superior Zdraviliški Trg 6, tel. (+386) 3 811 40 00,, www. One of the larger of Rogaška’s ample selection of accommodation, the Sava recognises the power of colour in mood. They want the hotel’s power to relax to start in one’s room, thus soothing green, blue or energising red rooms are on offer, along with themed suites: Lotus, Orchard and Flamingo tree. Aside from this unique selling point, there Obsotelje & Kozjansko

is the usual array of services and equipment, plus a few desirable extras like a hair salon, show cooking in the Kristal restaurant and a cappucino bar. The immediate vicinity of the hotel bequethes well kept gardens, a stroll around which seems the perfect way (aside from Donat mg water) to help digest an a la carte lunch from the other restaurant, the Kaiser. Q 233 rooms. HFLK

Hotel Aleksander Zdraviliški Trg 3, tel. (+386) 3 812

28 00,, Opulent words go little way to justifying the opulence of this five star hotel in the health mecca that is Rogaška Slatina. In a very modern sense five star, they’ve taken advantage of contemporary ideas of luxury, for example the presidential suite (230 sq m) features a sauna, jacuzzi and dedicated ‚relaxation area’, all on the roof! The decor continues the ethic, with an up to date and top quality finish, notwithstanding the building’s obvious antiquity. Since 1905, in fact, the hotel has under different names been welcoming the great and good from near and far, not least for the green forest surroundings. To say any more, other than that numerous health treatments (and the famous Donat Mg water) are all available, would be to spoil the surprise. Just know that if money is no object, be it for love or otherwise, here is your place for indulgence of the highest order. Q 21 rooms. POHARFLBKDCW

Hotel Slatina Celjska 6, tel. (+386) 3 818 41 00, hotel., Another centrally located hotel with the added advantage of an in-house spa centre, the only one in Slovenia dealing with gastroenterology and metabolism, Hotel Slatina is located immediately behind Ivan’s Spring. The accommodation is really

rogaška Slatina very good indeed, and the accompanying treatments, which include baths, wraps and massages come recommended. The hotel restaurant specialises in food for healthy living plus there’s even a swimming pool filled with thermal mineral water. Q 61 rooms. PLC

Mini Motel Mijošek Celjska 36a, tel. (+386) 3 581 36 52/(+386) 41 386 510,, www. The Mijošek family runs both a highly recommendable tourist farm perched at a height of over 400m on a hill overlooking Rogaška Slatina, as well as a hotel - or more specifically a ‚mini motel’ - and the restaurant Sonce in the city centre below. At the former, guests can taste top quality wines and traditional culinary specialities, and even have the possibility of hiring an old-style barn in which to do so. While in the city centre guests can enjoy a meal in a restaurant with over 400 years of tradition, and explore the one of the area’s oldest wine cellars, before retiring for the night upstairs in one of the clean comfortable rooms. Q 19 rooms. LK nočitve Angelina Topole 17a, tel. (+386) 3 820 519 50/(+386) 51 346 872,, This pleasant guesthouse set in the countryside some two kilometres to the west of Rogaška Slatina offers nearly all the luxury of a hotel (even including wellness services) in a quaint rural setting for only a fraction of the price, making it one of the best value options in the entire area. The rooms are all comfortably furnished with lots of wood and soft colours, and are easily large enough to be considered suites with extra space for sitting and/or dining. In addition to wellness, the friendly hosts can arrange for a variety of activities both indoors and out, while this is the only place we know of where guests can sign up for an organ workshop, where they learn how to build and play the so-called Queen of Musical Instruments. Q 12 rooms. THL Apartma Marija Herček Strma 7, tel. (+386) 3 581 66 03/(+386) 41 410 717,, A range of rooms and apartments that can sleep up to eight people in a secluded spot close to the train station. Breakfast isn’t included in the price but pets are welcome, a particularly enticing piece of information for dog owners. Luxury it isn’t, but it’s clean and spacious with some super views and an outdoor terrace complete with barbecue. Q 3 rooms. RLB Sobe Kvesić Šlandrova 44, tel. (+386) 3 581 38 18/ (+386) 41 263 538,, www.rogaska-

Weather House Allegedly built in 1926 and found in the Spa Park, this almost Gothic-looking structure adds a nice and quirky twist to the sights and sensations on offer about town. On its back are five inscriptions, stating the following. - When drinking mineral water one strengthens his health - In the park she and he met and showed their affection with a kiss - Love was ignited, emotions were speaking - She is sitting in the park all alone once more and heals her wounds with mineral water. Her wreath has shrivelled - Rainy days are long and lonely. Two private guest rooms in a residential house as well as a wooden cabin complete with kitchen, wireless internet and small garden a couple of kilometres north of the town centre in a quiet leafy area. Everything is clean and bright, there’s a large barbecue in the garden and, if you don’t mind the distance from the main action, this is a very good offer indeed. Q 2 rooms. TLB

Turistična kmetija Marjanca Sp. Kostrivnica 5/

(+386) 40 625 705,, Located at the base of the 979-metre Boč Hill a few kilometres northwest of Rogaška Slatina, this fabulous small farm offers lots of things to see and do for all the family. Home to pigs, cows, goats, rabbits, chickens, cats and a pony called Neli, this is the ideal place to come to get away from it all, especially for those travelling with young children. Activities include working on the farm (not compulsory), learning about and making local cuisine and a cavalcade of fun things to do for kids. The owners maintain a superb website in English which is positively bursting with information that space here simply doesn’t allow. Q 8 rooms, 1 apartment. LK

Vila Golf - Wellness center Patricia Celjska 8, tel. (+386) 3 5816 524,, www. This Germanic-looking masterpiece of a building functions as both a location for a feast of wellness regimes including massage, aromatherapy and ayurveda as well as an agent for the neighbouring Villa Golf Aparthotel, a series of clean and affordable accommodation options for up to six people. Unlike many similar places in town, this one has built an excellent website in English with extensive details on facilities and programmes. Q 2 apartments. UL

Zdraviliški Trg was made for strolling, photo by Rudolf Krebs

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket




The Thursday fair is one of many events in Podčetrtek Precariously wedged between the Sotla river (and Schengen border with Croatia) to the east and the wine-growing hills of Šmarje to the west, Podčetrtek is a curious little place. Aside from having one of the stranger sounding names in Slovenia (literally meaning ‚on Thursday’ in reference to when its market days were held during medieval times), the village of Podčetrtek is mostly known for being home to one of the country’s premier spa and wellness resorts. The rest of the municipality has plenty of things to see and do as well. From the Kozanjsko Regional Park and vineyard-covered hills in the south to the settlement named for the Slovenian-born St Emma in the north and of course the numerous sites in and around the village of Olimje, metre-for-metre Podčetrtek might just be the most impressive tourist destination in all of Slovenia.

Tourist Information Centre Škofja Gora 1, tel. +386 (0)3 810 90 13,, Located right on the main roundabout leading into Podčetrtek village, here visitors can find various brochures, flyers and maps, receive information about upcoming events, arrange a guide for trips and tours, and also book private accommodation.

What to See and Do Hiša Vin Emino Imeno 84A, Podčetrtek, tel. +386 (0)38 18 38 82/+386 (0)41 36 94 82, Part of a new agricultural cooperative a few kilometres south of Podčetrtek itself, the ‚house of wine’ in Imeno (yes the play on the village’s name is intentional) invites guests to its cellar for tastings. Admission for groups can also include the organisation of special events such as weddings, birthdays, christenings and the like. The co-operative behind Emino, coming from a several Century old co-operative heritage, is OBSOTELjE & KOZjAnSKO

based in the village of Šmarje. ‚Kmetijska Zadruga Šmarje’ provides services for farmers including machinery, servicing, agricultural advice and bulk purchase of market products. The oenological arm of the organisation boasts a shiny new venue at which one can be impressed with the ambience and modern surroundings, delighted with a degustation and merry with up to 70 others. QOpen , Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri 07:00 - 18:00, Sat 07:00 - 12:00. Closed Sun.

Saint Emma While Bishop Anton Slomšek is officially the only Slovenian saint, even most Slovenians would be surprised to know that he is not the first person from Slovenia to be beatified. That distinction goes to Saint Emma (9801045), more commonly known as Hemma of Gurk, who was born to a family of minor Bavarian-Austrian nobility who resided in Pilštanj Castle at the end of the first millennium. Hemma went on to marry a wealthy Austrian count, who owned estates stretching from Italy to present-day Hungary. She was known to have used a great deal of this wealth to support the poor and religious causes, providing the funds to found over ten churches during her lifetime. Her generosity only increased after the tragic deaths of her husband and two sons, and since as early as the 12th century her tomb in Gurk Cathedral in Austria has been a place of pilgrimage. She was finally canonised as St Emma by Pope Pius XI in 1938. Her presence is still strongly felt in the land of her brith, as just north of Podčetrtek there’s a small village and church that bear her name, Sveta Ema, while monuments to her can be found in Olimje Monastery, Podsreda Castle, Hiša Vin Emino and elsewhere.

PoDčeTrTeK Hot Air Ballooning Olimje 90, tel. +386 (0)31 31 47 79,, Imagine ascending in silence, nothing between you and the growing expanse below but a thin (yet absolutely safe) wicker basket, corn fields on the one side, the grand Olimje Monastery on the other, further afield but rolling hills and green forest, and your getting close to how a hot air-ballooning trip in Podčetrtek would feel. Jelenov Greben offers the trips for up to four persons, either a simple ascent or full panoramic flight, the only stipulation being that passengers do not reach outside the balloon basket, for to do so may constitute an illegal entry into Croatian airspace, the border is that close! Contact Jelenov Greben to pre-book your flight or buy gift vouchers. Museum of Farm Equipment. Not far from the four-star

hotels and state-of-the-art wellness facilities at Terme Olimia, you can visit one of the region’s largest collections of farm equipment. From 19th century carts and other human or animal powered machinery to small hand tools for every task imaginable, there’s a lot of feast your eyes on here. Entrance is only €1, but reservations must be made in advance - the tourist office, or your hotel reception should be able to do this for you.

Pečnik Winery Sedlarjevo 21, Buče, tel. +386 (0)3

580 80 42/+386 (0)31 607 427, suzana@pecnikvino. com, Several years ago while enjoying ourselves in the later hours of the Ljubljana Wine Festival, we ran into a former boss of ours, who had apparently been rather thirsty that evening. We made polite conversation and she eventually insisted that we follow her to the table of her favourite vineyard. We did as we were told, and were duly rewarded with a fairly pricy bottle of Traminec featuring a nondescript yellow label. Months later we finally opened the bottle and discovered that it

Walking & Cycling Podčetrtek is an excellent destination for walking or cycling, the area traversed by no less than 20 foot and bike paths. Of those, major routes include the ‚E7’ European walking trails; a small part of the Atlantic to Black Sea route, the Štajerska to Zagorska mountain path (crossing the Slovenia Croatia Sotla river border), the Slomšek and Emina pilgrimage paths from Bizeljsko to Ponikva (see also Šentjur Pri Celju) and from here on to Koroška/ Dolenjska/Gorenjska (respectively). An educational path about geology surrounds Olimia (Rudnica-Virštanj) with views of the Kozjansko Park and suitable for all the family, not to mention those of only ‚average’ fitness. Cycling is possible along many of the same paths as those for hiking, a couple of routes specifically for cycling covering the hills, villages and churches on both sides of the border, winding through the valley itself (easier) and longer distance hilly rides which also pass a farmstead on the way. For these routes and more ideas visit the local tourist information website, was indeed some of the best wine we had ever had, but were later disheartened to find that the bottle had been discarded before we could make a note of the vineyard from which it came. Why did we tell you this story? From here you can probably figure out that it ends with us feeling like a child on Christmas morning when we first visited the Pečnik farm and caught sight of that same yellow label, which by the way has been the recipient of several medals at regional wine fairs. Aside from the awarding-winning wines it also ticks all the usual boxes: friendly hosts, delicious homemade food and beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.

The Minorite monastery in Olimje is an impressive sight both inside and out, photo by Domen Grögl

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket




The pharmacy at Olimje Monastery is said to be the 3rd oldest in all of Europe, photo by YMB

Countryside Villages Imeno Village Wine dictates the pace of life in this

border village by the river Sotla, modern cellars forming an integral part of its identity. Agriculture is ever strong here and a 100 year old fire brigade is alive and well, the latter organising such community events as the traditional ‚Veselica’ street parties, as in the rest of Slovenia. In contrast with one of the local wine cellars, Imeno changed it’s name slightly from its etymological origin, deriving from a Pilštanj Countess, Ema, thus Emino (see ‚Hiša vin Emino’ in Podčetrtek What to see), a mere swap of two vowels dividing the two. Imeno has an airfield, sports park and arena for equestrian shows. A trip to the Imeno mountains rewards visitors with the 15th Century St. Križa church and its late Gothic elements, a hunting lodge and the nearby views, from the top. Imeno itself is located just over 3km south of Podčetrtek.

Virštanj Village Nominally originating from the German ‚Veir Stein’, or four stones, this village and its catchment area have a heritage deeply rooted in viticulture. The four stones themselves divided the viniferous land between landlords previously, the hills around carpeted with vineyards. Nowadays the centrefugal forces pulling the loving work of the farmers together still comes from Virštanj. At its heart, the Banovina knight and wine-cellar (see restaurants) to this day cultivates a 120 year old grapevine, and provides a much needed outlet for the much celebrated Virštanj wine. The bulk of the visitors will (and should) be undoubtedly exploring the ŠmarsakoVirštanj tourist wine road, VTC 10. OBSOTELjE & KOZjAnSKO

Podčetrtek Castle Visible through the trees on the hill

high above the town, Podčetrtek Castle is indeed a sight to behold - at least from a distance. Originally built in the 13th century, the castle was greatly expanded by the Counts of Tattenbach in the 16th century and given a Baroque makeover two centuries later by the Counts of Attems. However, following WWII whatever remained of the castle’s original furnishings was looted, and the entire building was allowed to fall into a state of disrepair. Several years ago a new roof was put on to protect it from deteriorating any further, but this may sadly turn out to be a case of too little too late if investors are not found sometime soon to undertake more extensive renovations. While the building itself is strictly off limits for safety reasons, it is possible to hike up the rutted drive and take a closer look.

Podčetrtek by bike

PoDčeTrTeK Terme Olimia Dežela Celjske is blessed with a number of great spa and wellness resorts, but Terme Olimia has something that none of the others do, the title of Best Spa in Slovenia for 2012 as chosen by the readers of Slovenia In Your Pocket. Although some of the competition may be older, larger or more well-known, it’s not difficult to see why Olimia came out on top. Its modern facilities have been carefully designed to co-exist in harmony with the natural surroundings - with Wellness Ohidelia among the finalists in the category of Holidays at the World Architectural Festival in 2009 - and guests are treated to a true four-star experience whether they are in their hotel, at the pools or enjoying a romantic dinner. Comfort and relaxation at its finest.

Accommodation Aparthotel rosa Zdraviliška 24, tel. (+386) 3 829

70 00,, www.terme-olimia. com. Described as a made-to-measure second home. This large aparthotel really does offer flexibility for those who like a home-from-home and the freedom to make their own food. There are 94 apartments each offering a living room, bedroom, kitchenette, bathroom, satellite TV and phone. An underground corridor connects the Rosa to the Termalija pools as well as the Hotel Breza and Hotel Sotelia. As well as a conference room there’s also a nice lobby bar and handy hair salon. Q 94 apartments. HL

Hotel Breza Zdraviliška 24, tel. (+386) 3 829 70 00,, Warm and welcoming, this hotel offers contemporary rooms and a homey atmosphere. After relaxing in the hotel’s thermal pool you can enjoy a work out in the gym or a treatment in the therapy rooms. The rooms all feature a mini-bar, satellite TV and safe. And in the evening you can enjoy some pampering in the wellness centre Termalija. The hotel also offers a hairdresser’s saloon, a restaurant offering different culinary specialities, a social space and a club room. Q 167 rooms, 18 apartments. PLK

Kamp natura Zdraviliška 24, tel. (+386) 829 70 00,, All the fun of the great outdoors, open from April to October. Camp Natura is perfect for those who love nature. The village-style holiday cottages here offer electricity, water and a satellite TV. So while you are enjoying the fresh air, you are not totally cut off from the outside world. There are also sites for campers and tents. The Aqualuna park is right next to the camp, and features a restaurant and shop, so it’s popular with families. Q 110 rooms for tent LK Village Lipa Zdraviliška 24, tel. (+386) 3 829 70 00,, Like the name suggests, this is set in a lovely village layout and it’s great for families. It’s nice and comfortable and ideal for those who prefer a home-like environment, rather than a hotel. There’s freedom to do your own thing here, with 25 houses and 136 apartments offering a variety of accommodation for between two-five people. The apartments have floor heating, satellite TV and a telephone. Paths take you down to the village market with its shops, restaurant and coffeehouse. Q 136 apartments, 24 houses. TLK

The Hlapon city train will bring you from Terme Olimia all the way north to Rogaška Slatina and south to Olimje village

Wellness Hotel Sotelia Zdraviliška 24, tel. (+386) 3 829 70 00,, An architectural triumph that looks like it has grown up naturally amongst the trees and hills. This is high up on the designer scale. Classy , sophisticated rooms are sleek and chic in design. The whole complex blends beautifully into the landscape. Spacious light-filled areas also help to promote the feeling of being at one with nature. Pampering is offered by the Spa Armonia with its full menu of treatments. Each wellness package is different but all include things such as daily fresh fruit, free entrance into various wellness centres and a daily programme of sports activities, cultural events, entertainment and night swimming. Q 135 rooms, 4 apartments, 6 suit. RLK

Wellness & Water Parks Aqualuna Who says exercise and health have to be serious? This place offers fun all the way from May until the end of September. As its slogan says, it provides ‘a new dimension of fun.’ It’s a summer water complex with a range of slides and pools. The Aqua Jungle area features huge colourful spiral slides. And with its wave pool it’s really popular with children. Meanwhile, parents will appreciate the relaxation pool. Little ones are well catered for with activity programmes, a selfservice restaurant, a themed ‘safari bar’ with fast food and a yummy ice-cream boutique. Thermalja From complete relaxation to physical activity, it’s all offered here. There is a choice of treatments with thermal pools, solariums and saunas plus massage and a fitness area. Sauna World offers nine different saunas in different colours, including four Finnish saunas and a salt sauna. If you feel the need, there’s a nudists’ terrace too. There are also guided salt, beauty and meditation programmes available as well as an ‘energizer’ restaurant offering healthy food. Wellness Ohidelia Modern, chic, grown-up and full of funky designer touches, this is the newest and most modern addition to the Terme Olimia spa. With its unusual flowing shape the complex blends into the landscape and wouldn’t be out of place in a book on design. Lots of wood and glass make you feel like its an organic part of the landscape. Not surprisingly it has won design awards. Thermal treatments and pampering treats include steam baths that wouldn’t look out of place in a 5-star hotel, with their mood lighting and trendy tiles. There are a variety of different sauna programmes, from an algae detox to a mineral mud therapy. And there are a variety of steam baths and saunas, including a bio bath and a Finnish sauna. There are other cool touches such as light caves and underwater music that we love. Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



PoDčeTrTeK Olimje Village Often confused with its most famous site, the large Minorite monastery complex, and/or the nearby thermal spa down the road in Podčetrtek - with both of which it shares its name - the village of Olimje is not really a village at all in the classical sense, as only around 250 residents call it home and they are spread out over several kilometres along a small valley. However, this has not stopped Olimje from being officially recognised as the most beautiful village in all of Europe, winning the gold medal in the 2009 Entente Florale Europe competition. Aside from its undeniable aesthetic virtues and the aforementioned monastery, there are a lot of other things for visitors to see and do here. Not a bad CV at all for a collection of houses with half as many people as some of our classes at university.

Church of Mary on Sand It’s impossible to miss the enor-

mous octagonal belfry on the hill to the right as you approach the village of Olimje. Originally built at the beginning of the 16th century, the church was greatly expanded under the patronage of the Counts of Attems a century of so later, receiving the rocket-like bell tower and two additional chapels. The interior was also greatly improved shortly afterwards, with Baroque frescoes executed by some of the most skilled painters in Slovenia covering the ceilings, the addition of a solid marble main altar and an organ made by master craftsman Janeček from Celje. Visits should be arranged in advanced, either by a licenses guide or directly through the parish church in Podčetrtek.

The unmistakable bell tower of the Church of Mary on the Sand

Pony ranch Ogrizek Mala rudnica 6, tel. +386 (0)31 61 10 93, With 70 inhabitants, this ‚settlement’ lies in a forest clearing not far from Terme Olimia. The 70 though, are not people, but animals. Ponies, horses, Scottish cattle, lamas, goats, pigs, they’re all here living in immaculate nature. Rather than anything related to George Orwell, it’s actually an ecological ranch with 16 hectares of meadows. Guests (by prior reservation) can watch and feed the animals, ride horses, go trekking with lamas. All of the above is sure to thrill all the kids in your party, but the adults may be interested to hear that you can sleep in a barn at the ranch, we definitely were. Open May to October. The Hlapon city train If we claimed to be personally excited by a trip on a city train we would be going some way to concealing the actual truth of the matter, notwithstanding, many a child would almost give their right arm for a tour around on one of these things! This street train’s route takes it (and presumably a throng of families the majority of the time) to Olimje and Rogaška Slatina and along the wine roads should you wish to enjoy some social visits to vineyards along the way. It can be rented for groups of up to 40 and all information should be sought at the Breza hotel reception. A couple of churches may find their way into one’s degustation itinerary, presumably rather than the other way around, one notable example being the originally Gothic St. Philip (Sv. Filip) and St. Jacob (Sv. Jakob) in Sela. The hilltop building features original frescoes from around the 16th Century, later artwork and architectural additions from the 19th Century, including the belfry, and looks Baroque in style (having been remodelled to suit its contemporary function). OBSOTELjE & KOZjAnSKO

Čokoladnica Olimje Olimje 61, tel. +386 (0)3 810 90 36/+386 (0)59 922 189, After spending a lovely time visiting Olimia’s monastery, chatting with the friendly monks about their herbs and an upcoming wedding ceremony, our guide announced that it was ‚time to go to the chocolate factory!’ We of course pictured images from the Roald Dahl classic and assumed that he was joking. But lo and behold, if you follow the path through the monastery’s herb garden and across a little bridge, you will indeed arrive at Syncerus Chocolate. Although the production facilities are strictly off limits to visitors - presumably to protect the diligent Oompa-Loompas from being distracted from their work or perhaps - there is a large boutique where every chocolate creation you can imagine is for sale. From the standard bars and pralines to more extravagant forms such as nearly full-sized chocolate footballs, various musical instruments made from chocolate, and a large glass case full of chocolate breasts (which feels all the more awkward to see after coming straight from the monastery). The tradition and recipes date back to the confectioner Alfonz Videtič, who was well-known in Vienna around the turn of the 20th century and whose descendants still run the place. QOpen 10:00 - 19:00.

Thermal Water The healing properties of thermal water Got

an ailment? The thermal waters of Terme Olimia can probably help. Even if they don’t have a direct healing effect, they’ll increase your wellbeing. It’s magnesium and calcium-rich and temperatures range from 24-36°C. It’s pumped up from 520m below ground, under the area of Camp Natura and Aqualuna. It’s been used to treat many ailments, including rheumatic and skin diseases, circulatory disorders and bone and muscle injuries. At the very least, relaxing in a bath of thermal water relaxes muscles and improves blood flow. It’s great for relieving stress and it’s good to drink too. The thermal water here is clean because there are no factory chimneys in the vicinity and the farmers avoid harmful sprays.

PoDčeTrTeK Land of Fairy Tales and Fantasy Tel. +386 (0)31 309 103/+386 (0)3 58 29 033,, www. Disneyland it is not (or even Euro Disney for that matter), but dare we say that this witches’ hut and fairy tale path in the forests above Olimije monastery is a far more interesting attraction than any corporate magic kingdom. Began as a family hobby by the headmaster of Podčetrtek’s primary school in the late 1960s, this fantasy land consists of a path through the woods along which there are some 60 different exhibitions depicting characters and scenes from various Slovene and international fairy tales, or teaching a lesson about nature, history or geography. First opened to the public in 1990, over the past two decades the grounds have been continuously expanded and upgraded, and many of the installations now feature motion sensors, lighting and some kind of mechanical animation or audio effect piped through hidden speakers. But keep in mind that this is a decidedly do-it-yourself type of project, with much of the material used to create it coming from recycled sources. However, we found this to be half the fun, as many of the characters are unintentionally creepy and some downright scary, especially given the forest setting. Maps and informational brochures are available in English, and there’s also a small gift shop. Q Open Sat, Sun and holidays 09:00-18:00. Closed Mon-Fri. Olimje Monastery One of our favourite attractions in the whole of the region. It’s visually striking, painted grey with architectural details highlighted in white. And it’s in a gorgeous location, on a slope at the end of the valley. But that’s not all. The four monks who run this huge place are incredibly warm and friendly. They’re so welcoming they may even invite you for a tea or coffee if they don’t have other matters to attend to. However, it is a working monastery and so the monks are usually busily engaged in their day-to-day business and chores. Masses and prayers are held in the Baroque church daily and both the church and pharmacy are open all day. Look out too for the black alter in the church, an unusual and impressive feature. Self-tours are the norm, but you can book group tours in advance. The monastery has an interesting and varied history. A fort originally stood here, around 1015. It was remodelled as a country mansion then a castle, before being donated to the

Warning: Mobile networks If you are using a Slovene SIM card, or one from any other EU country for that matter, it’s always a good idea to switch your network mode to ‘manual selection’ before you arrive in Podčetrtek, lest you return home to find that you’ve been charged huge uncapped non-EU roaming fees on a Croatia mobile network, despite never actually leaving Slovenia. There’s a widely believed rumour - which we’ve personally had confirmed by a director of Slovenia’s largest mobile carrier - that the Croatian operators intentionally increase the strength of their signals near the border for just this purpose. Charges can be over €1/min for voice calls, and exorbitantly high for data. And yes, we had to learn this lesson the hard way. Pauline monks in 1657. When Emperor Joseph II abolished the monastery in 1782 it became a castle again, It wasn’t until 1999 that it reverted to being a monastery - again. We adore the monastery’s old pharmacy, said to be the third oldest in the whole of Europe. It is housed in a beautiful round domed room on the ground floor of the south tower. There are frescoes on the walls and ceilings, depicting famous physicians and healers, individual plants and Biblical scenes of healing. When the Pauline monks came to Olimje in 1663, they began a formal study of plant life. A monastic rule was that each monastery should have a room for sick brethren. Some monks even dedicated their lives to the study of herbs and medicine. They cultivated and collected medicinal herbs and prepared remedies. In the shop next to the pharmacy you can try the power of herbal healing yourself, with home-made herbal infusions, tinctures, ointments and various other remedies. You can also buy herbs for making medicinal teas. If you’re unsure of what to buy, they are listed according to ailments. You can also pick up some herbal schnapps which goes by the rather lovely English translation of Monk’s Tears. Outside you can see the botanical garden, with its two hundred species of medical herbs.

Jelenov Greben deer farm near Olimje village, photo by YMB

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



PoDčeTrTeK Where to Stay& Eat Domačija Amon Olimje 24, tel. (+386) 3 818 24 80,, This friendly, family-run homestead started off some years ago as just a farm and restaurant. Today it is a full-fledged eco-resort run by the Amon family, offering accommodation, food, wine and activities. The boarding house Natura Amon is located in an oasis of greenery. To one side there is a forest and on the other there’s a view of the golf course. The large modern rooms are in what used to be a huge barn and each one is different. All are decorated in relaxing colours and some have a balcony, and all offer a wide range of facilities with high-quality furniture made from natural materials. The eco ethos is important here, and camping is also available. On the estate, they grow organic fruit including old, indigenous varieties of apple, plum and pear trees. They also grow organic vegetables and herbs in their gardens. All the organic produce is put to use creating meals for the restaurant. The impressive restaurant is furnished in the rustic style of a wine cellar and is decorated with original objects associated with the viticulture industry. The award-winning food is seasonal and cooked fresh according to traditional recipes. Try the kozjanska mushroom soup or a stew for a treat. It’s all mouth-watering, especially when washed down with some of Amon’s own wines. These come from the vineyards of the Šmarsko-Virštanjski region. There are several wines under the Amon label - red, white and a new sparkling wine with a taste of strawberries. Tastings take place in the restaurant and wine cellar. Check out the weekend golf packages which are a really great deal. The 9-hole Olimje course offers a walk among sand and water hazards. It’s a fairly challenging but ultimately pleasant course. Lessons are available under the guidance of golf pros. Q 14 rooms, 1 apartment. PLKAW

Domačija Haler Olimje 6, tel. (+386) 3 812 12 00,, If you’re the type of person who enjoys and appreciates a finely crafted pint of beer and still haven’t decided where to stay in or around Podčetrtek, look no further than the Haler Homestead. Set just off the main road in the village of Olimje, only 1km from the famed monastery and 3km from Terme Olimia, guests here are within easy walking distance of wherever they need to go, which is probably a good thing with so much premium brew on tap. Clean, comfortable apartments are all equipped with small kitchenettes and refrigerators, and start at only €45 per night. The restaurant here is also one of the most popular in the area, keeping the large parking lot close to capacity throughout the week and overflowing at the weekends, and a tour of the small brewery and accompanying beer tasting is a standard fixture on the tourist circuit even for those not staying the night. Q 8 rooms, 6 apartments. PUL

Gostišče Ciril - YH Podčetrtek Zdraviliška 10,

tel. (+386) 3 580 55 21,, Simple yet still likeable, the Youth Hostel by the name of Ciril is located near the Aqualuna waterpark in Podčetrtek. Offering a lot in the way of food, the hotel and a la carte restaurants making up a large part of the venue and together seating over a hundred people. Accommodation is basic but clean. A good option for single travellers wanting a multi-day spa experience on a tight budget, but larger groups can get a higher standard for the same money per head. Q 9 rooms. THLEK

jelenov Greben Olimje 90, tel. (+386) 3 582 90 46/ (+386) 3 5829 412,, www. The slogan of this multipurpose homestead is ‚Mornings are different here’, which you will likely find to be a truthful statement, unless of course you usually look out your window in the morning and see a herd of more than 100 deer milling about in the yard. The name Jelenov Greben (or Deer Ridge) is also entirely accurate, as it’s set on eight hectares of steep terrain in the hills above Olimje village. Although the deer can be found on both the menu in the large rustic restaurant and in various forms of cured meat in the gift shop, they are technically free to come and go as they please since the entrance to the property is without a gate. However, they seem genuinely fond of the owner and come trotting up to the terrace whenever he grabs a bucket of feed and starts yelling ‚Pika, Pika, Pika!’ - letting guests feed them out of their hands (or both hands at the same time as in our case). Two separate buildings nearby have accommodation for up to 40 people, while a modern well-equipped conference centre and hot air balloon flights round out the tourist offering. Q 12 rooms, 4 apartments. THLK The Virštanj - Banovina Tavern Virštanj 17, tel.

A round of gold before lunch at the Amon Homestead, photo by Domen Grögl


+386 (0)38 09 55 06/+386 (0)41 41 15 51. Virštanj has its very own knight’s cellar, the Banovina Tavern sitting at the centre of the local community both metaphorically and literally. The locals come here to drink, the wine costs between 70 and 80 cents per glass at the time of writing, 120 year old vines still grow outside and food for wine cellar guests is still prepared in the traditional black kitchen (črna kuhinja). Weddings and other special occasions are catered for by prior arrangement, but Banovina is still worth the trip even if the excuse for a celebration escapes you. It’s just a question of the mode of transport, which given the above information, will likely be a bicycle in most cases. Don’t forget your lights for the return journey! Q Open , Tue, Wed, Thu, Sun 08:00 - 24:00, Fri, Sat 08:00 - 02:00. Closed Mon. BK


Prerojeno življenje Revitalise your life Doživite neusahljiv vir nenehno porajajočega se življenja

Experience an inexhaustible source of constantly emerging life

Wellness hotel Soteliasuperior Wellness center Spa Armonia Kongresni center Olimia Wellness Orhidelia  Wellness center Termalija Hotel Breza  Aparthotel Rosa Vas Lipa  Kamp Natura Center zdravja Olimia Termalni park Aqualuna

Wellness Hotel Sotelia superior Wellness Centre Spa Armonia Congress Centre Olimia Wellness Orhidelia  Wellness Centre Termalija Hotel Breza  Aparthotel Rosa Village Lipa  Camp Natura Health Centre Olimia Thermal Park Aqualuna

Terme Olimia d.d., Zdraviliška cesta 24, SI – 3254 Podčetrtek, Slovenia T +386 (0)3 829 78 36,,



The old town of Šentjur We were asked during our visit to Šentjur, ‚what makes it unique?’, an oft asked and very relevant question when it comes to describing a place for visitors. In Šentjur it definitely isn’t the beautiful St. George’s (Sv. Jurij) church or enchanting surrounding hills and meadows. The town and municipality’s neolithic heritage/archeological treasure or Ipavec dynasty/musical-medical prowess may well qualify. However, for us the legend of Guzaj stands out as making Šentjur a distinctly notable spot on the territory of Slovenia. Think about how much Robin Hood means, how Sherwood Forest and Nottingham are very much on the map if for nothing else but his life and deeds. His Slovenian counterpart Guzaj, if he didn’t bring you to Šentjur to start with, should be an inspiration for the area’s exploration. Notwithstanding, a description of Šentjur minus a mention of Slovenia’s beloved (and only) Blessed is tantamount to ignorance, Anton Martin Slomšek having lived the early years of his life and work in this municipality. All of the above make up an enviable list of sights well worth discovering, the relaxation after which can easily be taken

Tourist information Tourist Information Centre Šentjur Ulica Skla-

dateljev Ipavcev 17, tel. +386 (0)3 749 25 23/+386 (0)41 660 091,, www. QOpen 09:00 - 16:00, Sat 09:00 - 12:00. Closed Sun.


care of at the thermal spa centres in nearby Rogaška Slatina or Olimje. Until the construction of the railway station in the town’s lower part, the upper square (Zgornji Trg) of Šentjur was its focal point, that is since the 14th Century (when the town in its current form was first mentioned). Nowadays, needless to say, hiking, cycling and numerous other outdoor activities are part of the fabric of the community and equally open for the enjoyment of visitors here. Etymologically speaking, the town directly means ‚St. George’, and was called ‚Sveti Jurij’ until reverting to its current name, reportedly local dialect, during Yugoslav times so as to avoid any glaringly obvious Religious association. It remains Šentjur, its coat of arms the sole reminder of its original legend, in which the courageous George slayed a fearsome dragon at a nearby lake. In its rightful place, the humble wine cellar gets a mention at the end of this description, as it constitutes the end of many a tour in Šentjur, courtesy of the vineyards around h ere. Not unique, bu t noneth eless glorious.

Arriving Get to Šentjur via the main Štajerska motorway, leaving at the junction named Dramlje. It’s about 90km in total. Located just to the east of arguably the third largest city in Slovenia, Celje, you’re also not far from its second city, Maribor. If you’re

šentjur coming directly from abroad, the nearest airports are Graz (108km), Ljubljana Jože Pučnik (93km), Klagenfurt (132km) and Trieste (213km). Šentjur is well served by trains, lying on the main Maribor to Ljubljana line. If you have a day or two, cycling is also possible from Ljubljana, on the old roads via Laško or Šempeter.

What to see Anton Martin Slomšek The highly revered Slovene bish op, educator, publicist and even tuall y blessed, Slomšek was and still is a champion of the Slovene people. He was reportedly crucial in promoting the Slovene national consciousness and playing a key part in the survival of lower Styria as a Slovene land. Rather than a forceful and ruthless effort, Slomšek merely sought the betterment of his people, that is, the people of his region, through education and instruction in their own mother tongue. A patriot rather than a nationalist, he was praised during his beatification (1999) for promoting the rights of Slovenes without aggressively pursuing national advancement. His early life centre’s around Šentjur, the son of a relatively priviledged farmer. The beginnings of his vocation already evident in adolescance, the young man preaching to the young lay folks on the steps of St. Ožbolt church. Ordained in 1824, Slomšek studied theology and philosophy and lived the proceeding years in Celovec (present day Klagenfurt), where he served as the seminary spiritual director until 1838. The mid-1840’s saw the start of an important era for Slomšek as a teacher and eventually priest and bishop in Lavant. A significant achievement for Slovenia was the eventual success (1859) of a long term push for Lavant (then in Austrian Carinthia) to be transferred to the jurisdiction of Maribor, Lower Styria. This can be attributed as key in the territory having later been seceded to Slovenia and Yugoslavia, ensuring the continuation of Slovene culture in the area, which he gracefully promoted for the rest of his lifetime.

The interior of the Church of St Martin is a sight to behold

Slomšek was a reputed preacher, tireless in his teaching and also found energy for songwriting. As par t of his work in education, he published an abundance of learning literature, including some very important text books. His published works, him having co-founded Slovenia’s first publishing house in the process, totalled 50. Visitors to Šentjur are well advised to get to know the blessed man as part of their experience of the area, and his birth-house is a must see.

Church of St. Martin Where Blessed Slomšek was bap-

tised, St. Martin’s is a very attractive church at the heart of the village of Ponikva. Its Baroque and neo-Baroque frescoes seem to almost overwhelm with detail. The main altar is decorated with the patron of course, and there is a high indoor tower in which Jesus Christ and other key biblical figures look down upon the congregation. A tomb bound Jesus is also hidden in a large cupboard under an impression of Mary of Seven Sorrows, which is opened only one day per year, easter.

Guzaj: Local Hero Comparisons with a certain hero from Sherwood Forest should be foregone here. Notwithstanding, Guzaj from Šentjur’s main ethic was to ‚steal from the rich and give to the poor’. This life of a rolling stone with a seeming heart of gold, loveable rogue, whatever you will, began on a farm in Primož Pri Šentjurju, where a pottery then stood and does again. His path took him first to the nearby Zgornji Trg, Šentjur, where he came across the mayor, Gustav Ipavec and stole some money from his pocket. In another likely story the man Guzaj was falsely accused of stealing a set of silver, at an Inn in Dobrna, the owner of which bore an unrequited love. On a return journey from Jezerce to Šentjur, he was slandered by a woman not having recognised him, later shoeing her with the very hobnails (shoe studs) he requested her to buy him at the destination. Guzaj was always a fugitive, forever on the run from the cavalrymen, or Gendarmes. As a calling card, as it were, he bought them a litre of wine in Planina and left a note informing them of their lack of wits; they hadn’t recognised him for he had been so well dressed. After binding a woman to a tree below Žusem castle (false accusations were not to be endured), the heroic outlaw left an advertisement in Podsreda that he was buying cats, for which he would pay highly. When the cats were brought from near and far, he ran away. Although these tales may seem to suggest his making a monkey out of more folk than aiding, his overriding essence remains. We trust that the man was just and he remains to this day important to the locals. He was also a man of love, Prevorje being home to his Barbka, whose house still stands at Amon’s mill by Bistrica in nearby Lopaca. A hiking trail has in recent times been set up in honour of his legend, with signs and stories in Slovene and English. It runs for 36.9km, along Prevorje, Planina and Dobje. His final tale involved a traditional hay-drying rack in Košnica, a hiding place by habit. But this time the Gendarmerie found him hiding in the stone part of the ‚kozolec’. His ever-heroic effort to pull a stone out of the wall, a final bid for his lifelong freedom, was futile. Guzaj was hit by a bullet through a closed door and killed. His grave is in Prevorje cemetary, where not so long ago a pink wild rose planted by Barbka was seen in blossom.

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



Šentjur Rifnik Hill Whether your choice be to take the scenic hike,

or to drive the winding road, to the top of Šentjur’s most famous hill, you’ll not only be treated to fine views of the green patchwork valley and villages, but also to a fascinating story aswell. Late antique ruins are to be found up here, for the folk at that time were under threat and sought refuge by settling the hillside and peak itself. Archeological digs have discovered an abundance of stuff up here, which you would be well advised to check out also. At Rifnik the walls of houses have been partially restored, a totally reconstructed thatched wooden building adorned with information boards is there. Then you have the late Antique church: small with a raised presbytery, stunning views at the back and a mysterious tale at the front. A grave was discovered there of a young man (around 20 years) and an elderley woman. The guide asked us to guess the circumstances at this point, which was a nice touch. Speculation over, your stroll can be completed and you can pick up some herbs to sniff along the way, should you know your stuff. Climbing the local hill is a must if you’re going to come to the Slovene countryside. Here is no exception.

Exhibition Rifnik and its Treasures (Razstava Rifnik in njegovi zakladi) Skladateljev Ipavcev 17,

The ruins at the top of Rifnik Hill

Memorial Room of the New Swing Quartet (Spo-

minska soba New Swing Quarteta) Skladateljev Ipavcev 17, tel. +386 (0) 37 49 25 23/+386 (0) 41 66 00 91,, www.turizem-sentjur. com. In true fanatic style, the tourism office in Šentjur keeps a secret style room tucked away at the back, plastered with memorabilia and featuring a large TV with vintage videos playing. Their object of obsession, the successful Slovene band, New Swing Quartet, hailing in the majority (three of the original four members) from the municipality’s area. Perhaps the most famous of the group being Oto Pestner, they sang predominantly gospel including International classics such as Amazing Grace and Joy to the World (a Christmas track). Seems there must be something musical in the water, and obviously in the air, in St. George’s little land. Museum of the Southern Railway (Muzej Južne železnice) Pri železniški postaji, Kolodvorska ulica 2,

tel. +386 (0)37 49 25 23/+386 (0)51 31 10 74, tic@, For information and bookings your first port of call should be the Tourist Information Centre, but then it’s off to Šentjur train station and all aboard for a trip into rail history. Although we did, most won’t miss the preserved steam engine at the front on the way in, the prize exhibit. Inside (the former signal cabin) there are lovingly laid out artifacts like signalling equipment, telephonic devices including an old (but working) morse code machine and a telephone exchange for Štajerska. There are also several lamps on display ran on various kinds of fuel, from petroleum to rape-oil, but the highlight perhaps, as with almost any trip in Štajerska, will be the wine-cellar (yes it has one!). A rather large one it is at that, and can be booked/ visited/used by arrangement. The man behind the Southern Railway collection manages it with passion, meticulously taking care of every detail, even giving reproduced old train tickets and actual photos (both officially stamped with handwritten captions) as special souvenirs to guests.

Obsotelje & Kozjansko

tel. +386 (0) 74 92 52 3/+386 (0) 41 66 00 91, tic@, Exhibiting the finds from the extremely important archeological site nearby, Rifnik, this very attractively and newly laid out museum is housed in the same building as the Tourist Information Centre in Šentjur. It tells a story of almost continuous settlement on the said hill (Rifnik), spanning the Copper Age to Late Antiquity. Despite all the information boards thus far being in Slovene only, a guide isn’t hard to find and will explain in as much or little detail as you like. The artifacts themselves are mostly originals, including copper bowls buried under a rock (presumably when the settlement was under attack), coins and tools, several of which interestingly featuring similar impressions of ducks. A bronze bust on display is a replica, the original having reportedly sat on Himmler’s desk in Nazi Germany (for whatever reason) and is now kept by the National Museum in Ljubljana. Also memorable are the objects found in two graves, precious possesions such as belts and colourful jewellery. Of course seeing this haul is one thing, but you need to see the hill itself and hear its stories to paint a proper picture, should you be fascinated by life in those far gone-by eras.

The Garden of Rifnik (Vrt Rifnik) Jakob 7b, tel. +386 (0)35 74 05 21. Local gardner and member of Slovenia’s Horticultural Society, Gorazd Mauer, has developed this wonderful colourful space specifically on the Southern side of Rifnik hill, with the intent of growing plants from different and diverse corners of

Take a ride into history at the Museum of the Southern Railway

Šentjur the world; the drier air and soil here makes for better conditions. Rather than being organised by continent for example, like in Botanical gardens, the plants are arranged aesthetically, thus making visits by non-specialists also enjoyable. One highlight for us included the berry bush from New Zealand (and tasting the berries). While not covering every single climatic zone (for obvious reasons), the gardens are very attractive and full of lovely aromas, the host friendly and welcoming.

Šmid Ethnological Collection (Etnološka zbirka Šmid) Planina pri Sevnici 37, tel. +386 (0)37 49 25

23/+386 (0)34 28 09 50,, Seeing the deterioration of traditional folk practices and rituals around him, one family physician (Dr. Janez Šmid) took it upon himself to collect and display items from the said heritage. His exhibition, after many years of service at Planina Pri Sevnici, has preserved such ethnological objects as tools for the preparation of food in the ‚black kitchen’, tools used by the peasantry in farming, for fruit and wine-growing, and also artifacts connected with the ancient Slavic originating ‚Pust’ (Carnival) celebrations. While the area of Šentjur hasn’t seen as much of the abandonement due to urban-bound migrations as many other economically advanced nations, some of the old methods and processes connected with everyday work and life would have sunk into obscurity, had it not been for Dr. Šmid. Visits are by prior arrangement only.

The Birth-house of Anton Martin Slomšek. Key

figurehead in Slovene nationhood, language and Religious unification, Slomšek, has also recently become its first Blessed (1998). His native village is worth visiting not only for its quaintness, but now his birth-house has been turned into a memorial after it was bought by the Diocese of Maribor in the 1990’s. Again signs are in Slovene only, but an English speaker can be arranged to talk you through his life, achievements and

legacy. Briefly speaking, the house and accompanying ‚Slom’ farm came into the family back at the beginning of the 18th Century (giving the name Slomšek), Anton Martin grew up there a hundred years later having been born in November 1800. The house was eventually sold, a generation or so after his parents’ death, most recently falling into the hands of the Diocese. The corridor features several important artifacts, several rooms telling the story in chapters of his childhood, priesthood and bishop period. The hall (upstairs) serves as space for the presentation and other events. Pilgrims get their own room, but everyone can sit at the stone table outside under the old lime tree, perhaps admiring or reading something bought in the little souvenir shop.

The Ipavec Composers Family House (Ipavčeva Hiša) Zgornji Trg, tel. +386 (0) 37 49 25 23. Seems

Šentjur has something of a connection with music and medicine. Several of its former mayors have been doctors, most notably Gustav Ipavec, brother of Benjamin, who remain the town’s pride and whose home is beautifully restored as a museum. The life and work of the two composers and doctors takes you from the reception room with their busts, to Gustav’s former treatment room in which a piano was played during surgery in some of the first of this kind of therapy. A room is dedicated to each brother upstairs, where you can hear their famous compositions including Benjamin’s opera works and Gustav’s patriotic ‚Slovenec sem’ (I’m a Slovene). The house itself also has a wedding room, wine cellar with a collection from local producers and a garden (preparation underway at the time of writing). Ljubljana’s esteemed architect Jože Plečnik was responsible for renovation work on the house and a well (under a beautiful old lime). A compact outdoor auditorium hosts numerous events through summertime and last but not least, the vine you can see growing at the front of the house is a graft of the oldest in Europe, from Lent in Maribor.

You can still hear concerts at the family house of the Ipavec composers

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket




A massive 89 per cent of the municipality of Kozje lies within the Kozjansko Regional Park, so it’s almost impossible to talk about Kozje without also talking about the park. It’s why most visitors seek out this rural enclave of land lying to the south of Styria, not far from the border with Croatia. But the town itself has a fascinating history - it was first written about in 1016, when it was a manor house with 30 farms. Never fortified, it suffered badly during the Turkish invasions and again during plague years, which wiped out a lot of its inhabitants. It witnessed a renaissance in the mid-19th century and became a bustling market town, with a thriving industry built around craft and inn-keeping. Today, the old town boasts a central market place and several buildings of architectural interest. Worth seeing is the Parish Church of St. Mary’s Assumption - its nave dates back to 1249. The Kroflnov mill in Kozje stands at the end of the Bistri graben stream and is one of two buildings, a house with the former mill and a farm building. Once it was the home of the miller, tinsmith and joiner from the nearby factory. Another triumph of renovation within the area of the Regional park, it now houses a permanent museum exhibition within the former house. Kozje, with its approximately 750 inhabitants (according to 2002 data) is the largest settlement within the area of the park - there are 78 settlements in all, to give you an idea of the scale of the area, although the smallest settlement is only home to around 25 people. But there really are people in amongst all those trees. Yes really.

What to See Kozjansko Regional Park From forests to meadow orchards; endangered birds to castles and old mills; from vineyard trails to concerts - to say that Kozjansko Park (or Kozjanski Park in Slovene) offers an abundance of attractions, both natural and manmade, would be to seriously undersell it. Covering an area of 206 sq. km. It’s a regional park, but not just any old regional park - it’s the largest regional park in Slovenia. As such it offers more than just the usual flora and fauna you find in other, lesser, parks you might pass through on your way to somewhere else. Whether you’re a cyclist or an art lover, a hiker or a photographer, you’ll find something to appeal to your interests. This is a multi-faceted tourist destination in its own right and dominates the region. With its different eco-systems, Obsotelje & Kozjansko

expect to find everything from sub-Alpine rolling hills to fecund vineyards and flat plains. Interspersed within the landscape are churches, chapels, castles, houses and commercial buildings. The park is also rightly famous for its mountain orchards with their numerous different types of old apples. An apple is not just an apple, and across the world various varieties of apple are dying out as supermarkets demand conformity, so the grassland orchards of old apple here are an important part of the eco-system of Kozjansko. As well as providing a vital habitat, the orchards also offer the opportunity to get back to basics somewhat, promoting modern, sustainable and ecological farming with a foundation in tradition. The aim is to keep the landscape in its traditional form and preserve the orchards, protecting the diversity of different varieties of apple and to help producers market their fruit. Traditionally, the Kozjanko Apple Festival takes place on the second weekend of October and of course, all those apples come in handy when it comes to local cuisine, in apple juices,apple pie, vinegar and traditional dried apples - well worth a taste. Twitchers (or birdwatchers as they’re known to non-twitching folk) love the orchards of Kozjansko for providing a habitat for rare and endangered birds. Get your camera ready and prepare to watch and listen for any of the 120 bird species found here, including corncrakes. There are also 40 species of orchids to be seen in the park. The Park was established in 1981 but its boundaries aren’t exactly defined. In general, the area south of the Voglajna river, west of the Sotla river, east of the Savinja river and north of the eastern part of the Posavje hills is known as the Kozjansko region and the park is bounded to the north by the Rudnica mountain, to the east by the Sotla river and to the south the boundary runs over Vetrnik and Orlica to the Senovsko and Bizeljsko hills. But why here? Why a regional park? Aside from the natural beauty and ecological importance of the area, it was deemed fitting to celebrate the historical heritage of the area, including its status as the birthplace (near Podsreda) of Marija Javeršek, the mother of former Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito. Tito was born in nearby Kumrovec and spent a part of his childhood in Podsreda. Originally called Trebče Memorial Park, it was renamed Kozjansko Park in 1996. As well as all that natural beauty - including one of the largest oak tree in Slovenia in the village of Gregovce - there are

kozje manmade attractions to see - nature doesn’t hold all the aces. Among them is a 500-year-old wooden statue of St. John. It’s an architecturally significant place too, with castle buildings dating from the 10th century and ancient stone signs dotted across the landscape. Among those that haven’t succumbed to the elements and the tide of time and thus ended up in ruins, are several impressive structures, the most famous of which is Podsreda. Aside from that (and it’s worth a mention in its own right, such is its importance in the region, see below) there are sights to see in Pišece, Bizeljsko and Olimje, to name but three. The Parish Church of Pišece, to take just one example, dates back in official records to 1651. This Baroque-style church of St. Mihael boasts a rectangular nave, a double hanging dome and a square presbytery vaulted by a dome, which houses four tombstones of the Moscon family, the former owners of the nearby Pišece Castle. Ethnological monuments are also an important fixture of the park and the owners are keen to point to its buildings, groups of buildings, everyday objects and other products that reflect the lifestyle of the Slovenian, Italian and Hungarian people who have made this region their home at one time or another. Of the 96 ethnological monuments in Kozjansko Park one of

the most striking is the Levstik mill in Podsreda. Of the former settlement of mills near the river Bistrica, two still run from time to time, the Levstik and the Kukovič mills. A complete renovation of the Levstik Mill, which was first mentioned in the inventory of early-19th century serf Martin Levstik, was carried out by Kozjanski Park between 1988 and 1990. Today it features farming facilities with a stall, a granary and a new house with new owners who run the farm for their own personal use, although they will open it for visitors who can also pick up some flour and home-made traditional ‘mlinci’ (flat cakes) during their visit. Also in Podsreda is the Slovenian-Bavarian house, located opposite the Parish Church of St. John the Baptist. This former curate’s house, which dates to at least the 17th century, is a typical house of its region and era. Restored in 1996, with the help of Kozjanski Park, the Slovenian-Bavarian Society and the parish of Podsreda, it’s now a major draw for visitors. With five castles, 32 churches and 16 stone signs, plus all those orchids, apples and endangered species of birds, 78 settlements within its borders and various museums, sculptures and attractions as well as cycling and hiking trails, it’s clear that Kozjansko Park is not ordinary park. It’s more a way of life.

Podsreda Castle It’s been called the region’s - if not Slovenia’s - most ‘castle-like castle’ but it’s no Disney-style turrets-andflags affair. This is an example of solid Slovenian medieval craftsmanship, with no distracting fancy fripperies, just a tall watchtower, a chapel and its various rooms and wings built around a central rectangular structure. All very typical, and workaday medieval no-nonsense craftsmanship. Built in the first half of the 12th century, it is one of the most important examples of Romanesque architecture in the country, located high up on a hill with views over Podsreda town from its northern side. So even if you don’t like castles, it’s worth the trip for the views alone. But then, what’s not to like? It’s a typical medieval castle and, luckily for visitors, its main medieval features have been preserved. First mentioned as a castle in 1213 - back then it was known as Castrum Herberch - it has had numerous owners over the centuries, including the counts of, variously, Ptuj, Svibno and Celje as well as, in 1848, the exotically-titled Prince Weriand Windischgrätz. Like so many grand castles in Europe, it became neglected after the end of WWII and began to fall to ruin. But restoration began and 1983 and, unsurprisingly given its location and history, today it’s a popular setting for weddings. Although, naturally, its heritage is revered and capitalised upon, the owners aren’t stuck in the past. In amongst the exhibition spaces, you’ll find a cool exhibition of paintings from a local artist as well as other innovative features. We loved the more traditional paintings elsewhere in the castle but we also appreciate the many concerts that take place in the large hall during the summer. As such, the castle is, rightly so, a monument to an important part of the past, but it’s not stuck there. On a tour of the building, you’ll find, on the first floor, a history of the Castle, with fragments, such as bits of old bottle, glazed tiles and pieces of ceramics, that were dug up during its reconstruction. The tower now houses an exhibition area, while the Romanesque chapel with its apse is still partly hidden. During renovations various forgotten and neglected features were rediscovered, such as Romanesque double windows, the chiselled frames of windows and doors and the remains of paintings and Renaissance extensions. On the ground-floor and below-ground-level rooms there’s a magnificent and very colourful exhibition of glassworks. Even the castle kitchen with its open fireplace has been put to good use and now caters for exhibitions and large-scale events with medieval food and banquets. Spreading beyond the walls of the main castle itself lies the rest of the complex, which includes farm buildings on the western side. The town of Podsreda built up under the castle and has been a market town since at least 1377. The castle is open during the summer months. Out of season, the keys are kept at the administration offices of the Kozjansko Regional Park in Podsreda.

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



rogateC Rogatec is a really lovely small medieval town, set along on the border with Croatia in the far east of the Dežela Celjska region. Looking like a traditional fairy-tale town, it is compact but utterly charming and has been a market town for more than 700 years. Despite its small size, there is a surprising amount to do here. The tourism authority has done a really great job in recent years promoting it, emphasising ‘green’ tourism and preserving its heritage. Many attractions have been renovated and attract visitors from across Europe and the world.

What to See Castle ruins The castle ruins can be found above the

town. The castle was first mentioned in 1192 but was probably built in the 11th century. Gornji Grad Rogatec, as it was called in later years, burned down completely in the summer of 1574. Only the walls, some of the ceilings and other ancillary buildings remained. That same year it was restored and was turned into a three-storey castle with three wings. It stayed unchanged until the 19th century, when it gradually started to disintegrate. It was still standing by 1810, but no longer maintained. It fell to ruin not long afterwards. Sadly, just a few traces remain of this once mighty castle.

Church of St jernej This is the main church in town on the main square. Surrounded by thick fortification walls, it is located on the southern slope of the castle hill. Built in the Baroque style in the years between 1738 and 1743, it

Tourist information Tourist Information Centre rogatec Trg 22, tel. +386 (0)3 810 72 86/+386 (0)51 322 287, tic.,

was located on the site of an older 13th century church. It consists of a bell tower and a main structure. Inside, above the nave and the presbytery is a dome, decorated with stunning Baroque frescoes. The church is one of the better quality Baroque-style sacred buildings in the region and was declared a cultural monument.

Donačka Gora This is the highest mountain in the area,

882 metres above sea level. It is actually comprised of three high hills, which due to height differences make it look like one mountain. The views are spectacular and it is popular with hikers and hard-core cyclists. It’s also a great place to go paragliding - the views from the launch point on the main road up are such that you’ll wish you knew how to paraglide if you don’t already. It’s famous for its Virgin Forest and diversity of flora. Because of its length, the southern end is warmer and sunnier and the northern part is cooler and more shady. Alpine plants dominate the north while heat-loving plants and trees are found in south. Small villages dot the mountain and there’s a mountain hut near the top that offers hearty and cheap food. There’s also basic accommodation should you wish to stay overnight. When we visited the mountain it was also busy with Finnish school children on holiday, and apparently this is not an uncommon sight. Surprisingly for such a beautiful place, it’s at the centre of a dispute. While the locals around Rogatec refer to Donačka Gora as the Styrian Triglav (Triglav being Slovenia’s highest peak), it turns out that those to the west of here, in Rogaška Slatina and Šmarje pri Jelšah, use the same phrase to describe Boč mountain. Who has the stronger case? While Boč is actually some 100m higher (plus the cheeky little tower that’s been constructed at the top to push it’s height just over 1000m), Donačka has three separate peaks (as does Triglav), so for what it’s worth we would side with the residents in Rogatec. Neither of them are anywhere near Triglav’s height (nearly 3000m), so why not grant the title to the one with three peaks?

Strmol Dvorec keeps watch over Rogatec’s old town from its perch just to the north, photo by Domen Grögl


rogateC Open Air Museum the feeling that you have stepped back in time. You can find examples of local arts and crafts as well as folk traditions and customs. It’s a real treat to go on a guided tour and see how everything used to function on traditional farms in the region. And there are hands-on educational workshops that focus on everything from bread baking to basket weaving, blacksmithing, cooking and other traditional trades. It’s easy to spot as you’ll find it just past the equestrian club, which itself it just a few hundred metres past the castle.

Open Air Museum. A real insight into how people here used to live. This fascinating open air museum preserves and presents the architectural and folk heritage and traditions of the Sotla Valley region. It promotes the culture of the 18th and 19th centuries and into the early 20th centuries and is laid out just like a small village. This helps to add to

Equestrian Club Strmol This is a

private equestrian club and stable, but it is open to tourists. You just need to have some kind of experience in riding horses and make arrangements in advance. For more experienced riders it’s even possible to take trips up into the surrounding mountains. Even as far as all the way up Donačka Gora. The Equestrian club is located just a few hundred metres north of Strmol Dvorec, and it attracts visitors from all over Europe. Just this summer a group from Finland took part in an equestrian camp. That perhaps explains why there were so many Finnish children on Donačka Gora! One of the more interesting horses is a bit of a character. The first horse at the stable’s north end is a bit eccentric. A big white steed called Dino, and when visitors walk by or stand near him without petting him or at least giving him some kind of attention he kicks the front of the stable. Constantly. An unrepentant attention seeker, the easiest way to solve the problem is to give him some attention!

Old Town Small but perfectly formed, the old town dates back to medieval times at least. It is neat and orderly with freshly painted buildings and traditional architecture. Since the town itself is small, you can’t expect the old town area to be too big. It’s basically just one long street which widens a bit to a point and this is the main square, and what there is to see is quaint. It’s a charming area and, although it won’t take you very long to walk around, make sure to bring your camera. You might find interesting details such as a stone relief of a winged dragon built into the facade of a building. This relates to the region’s Roman history. Strmol Dvorec This 15th-century manor house, or castle, stands on a low hill above the old town centre. Known as Strmol Mansion in English, it’s the main tourist attraction in town. And don’t worry, you’re unlikely to miss it. It is mostly white, but it features striking architectural details painted onto the walls in grey. The original designs were discovered during excavations and faithfully reconstructed. With the flags flying outside too, it has the appearance of a fairy-tale castle. It is also notable as one of the few castles in Slovenia to have kept its Slovene name throughout its history.

Most of the buildings are original and were relocated here from other locations in the region. The most important building is probably the wooden Šmitova Hiša (Šmitova). This is a former home built in the early 19th century and was typical of the area. It was the birthplace of the Slovenian poet and translator Joze Smit and it forms the core of the museum. It features a straw roof and clay walls that are plastered and whitewashed with lime. Within the site there is also a barn, an old outhouse (toilet), a well, an apiary for beehives, a pig-pen, a hayrack and a blacksmiths forge. The newest buildings on the site is an information point and gift shop.

The castle was first mentioned in 1436 as a simple fortified tower which was owned by the Counts of Celje. By the 16th century, defences as well as a second tower were added and the building was surrounded by walls. Passing between different owners, including the Auersperg family and the Frankopans, its fortifications were demolished towards the end of the 17th century. In 2003, the mansion was renovated and declared a cultural monument. Today it serves mostly as a tourist attraction and a museum as well as a location for weddings and sometimes concer ts too. The stables are also used for events, and are also now home to the Mayor’s office and other municipal administration premises. What appealed to us most was the original black kitchen on the first floor. Complete with open stone fireplace, you can reser ve a table and enjoy a meal here under a ceiling that has been collecting the smoke and smells from the fireplace for five centuries. There’s a castle restaurant and pub on the first floor. In the basement are a furnished wine cellar, tasting rooms and a dungeon. The second floor houses an ar t gallery. On the third floor is the chapel with its restored Baroque frescoes and two halls - a ‘little’ room and a ‘great’ room. Both are decorated with Neoclassical paintings. The chapel was first mentioned in 1682 and is dedicated to St Vincent.

One of the beautiful animals at Rogatec’s equestrian club

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



Rogatec pri jelšah Šmarje

The Calvary in Šmarje is one of Slovenia’s most visited pilgrimage sites, photo by Domen Grögl With a population of just over 10,000, Šmarje pri Jelšah almost passes for ‘big city’ around these parts. Southeast of Celje, the town developed alongside a medieval mansion - or castle - known as Jelšingrad, located on a small hill northwest of the town. In general, the municipality is covered by hills and valleys, while to the north lies the majestic Posavje mountain range that extends beyond Plešivec. It can be a little difficult to get your bearings at first, but once you manage to get to the top of some of the hills you can get a better idea of where everything lies. With all those hills and dales, it’s a really good place for cycling, and with lots of farms dotting the countryside you’ll hear farmers and their kids shouting to each other while they work in the fields. It’s easy to get lost on the small farm roads, but then, sometimes that’s a good thing. The Roman Catholic church, which dates back to the late 13th century, is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary (or Sveta Marija Vnebovzeta in Slovene) and you’ll no doubt end up visiting there. But by far the best-known landmarks are the Church of Saint Rok at the top of the path which takes in the Calvary, or Way of the Cross. The path basically leads from the town up to the church and it’s one of Slovenia’s busiest, and most important, pilgrimage sites. From the church you’ll be rewarded with great views in all directions.

What to See Calvary (Way of the Cross) Arranged in a zigzag formation leading up the hill to the church of St Rok, the calvary in Šmarje pri Jelšah forms part of a pilgrimage which is considered to be the most elaborate of its kind in the entire country. Even if you are not religious, it’s definitely worth a visit, as Obsotelje & Kozjansko

only the hardest hearts can fail to be touched by the scene. It’s clever the way in which the 14 chapels of the Way of the Cross that lead to the church are laid out, so that from each one you can only see the one ahead. Adorned with Baroque decorations, each one depicts a different aspect of Christ’s suffering - Jesus Taking Leave of his Mother; The Mount of Olives; Jesus in Chains and Jesus Carrying the Cross. These stations of the cross, which vary in size and design, were built and equipped in just ten years between 1743 and 1753. The first chapel, the one located closest to the village, is the chapel of St Rok (not to be confused with the church at the top) and the saint’s statue can be found on the rocks above the altar. The chapel of the Mourning Mother of God is the largest of the 14, and features a stone pulpit, which means that mass can be celebrated there. It’s an outdoor theatre of sorts, of course, but no less spiritual or moving for it.

Church of St Mary Sladka Gora 11. It may be another of

the area’s tiny settlement, but don’t dismiss it as boring, as this one has the huge church of St Mary’s, also a pilgrimage site, to distinguish it. And for the non-religious among you, it’s also a famous wine-growing area - it’s one of the stopping-off points on the tourist wine trail. The church is located amidst the fields of vines that line the hills and it’s one of the most important cultural monuments in the area, dating from 1754. Built in a typically Baroque style with striking towers and an undulating roof it’s more grand and ornate on the outside than many rural churches. Inside there are frescoes by Franc Jelovšek and an impressive, imposing statue of the Virgin Mary on the main altar. For stunnign views, climb the hill to St Michael where you’ll be treated to a great vista over the Dravinja valley and Pohorje. And if the weather is good you’ll be able to see the whole of the Kozjansko region if you look in the opposite direction.

šmarje pri jelšah Church of St rok Predenca 33. The pilgrimage is still a very important tradition here. On holy days, such as the Assumption of Mary on 15th August and on the saint’s day of St Rok on 16th August, thousands of people gather to pay their respects according to their religious beliefs. The church is also part of a longer pilgrimage trail that takes in Sladka Gora and Tinska. No-one knows when the building of the church started, but it’s generally agreed that it was completed by 1646. It’s typically rural and unassuming in design, with its high, and extremely narrow, pointed Gothic windows and but don’t let the plain and rather humble exterior fool you. Inside it’s ornate, gilded and just a tad - as is the custom - gaudy, with its angel heads, elaborate frescoes, Baroque art, stucco work and a large statue of St Rok in the central recess of the main alter. The ceiling’s main fresco depicts the Assumption of Mary, with popular saints from the time including St Xavier and St John also represented. There are amazing views from hilltop, taking in 50 churches and the surrounding mountain ranges, even down towards the border with Croatia. It wears its age on its sleeve, but that’s all part of discovering the history of the place and realising how many years and trials this place of pilgrimage and solace has endured. Given its religious significance, the church is a popular place for weddings and if nothing else, even if you don’t receive any spiritual enlightenment when you’re here, it’s a lovely spot in which to contemplate nature and life itself. For guided tours, visit the Tourist Information Centre. jelšingrad Castle Grajski log 13. The castle is historically

important, but privately owned, run down and not open to visitors. There is however, a 9-hole golf course surrounding it, as well as a nice park area. The first mention of the mansion was in 1424, under the name of Drlach. Like many castles (or mansions as they’re also known) in the country, it changed hands over the years until, in 1974, an earthquake hit the region and it was badly damaged. Because of its historical importance to the area, it’s still considered a tourist attraction, and even though you can’t go inside it’s worth appreciating the grand architecture from the outside on a sunny day.

Lemberg Market Town Lemberg pri Šmarju. It’s tiny,

even by Slovenian standards - we’re talking only a few houses and old buildings as well as the church of St. Nicholas, located

Tourist information Tourist Information Centre Aškerčev trg 12, tel. (+386) 3 810 12 64,, If you need to pick up leaflets and brochures on local natural, cultural and historical attractions, you can find the Tourist Information Centre in the centre of town near the cultural centre. It’s also a handy place to drop by if you need advice about places to eat or stay and they can help to arrange a tour guide for those looking for a more formal, guided tour, rather than a DIY-effort.

in the middle of the borough. The town hall has recently been restored to its former glory, and now included a fine collection of Lemberg’s history and heritage. If the door’s not open, the family living directly across the street act as the caretakers and can show you in for a quick look around. One of the best things here is the coat of arms featuring a sheep wearing a crown - that’s definitely worth a photo so that you can upload it to Facebook and impress your friends. There’s also a motocross track up the hill, which is infested with deers, is packed with spectators during races in the summer. If you head down the overgrown path opposite, you’ll come to the old church after a few, and can explore some ruins if you continue further on. You can find Lemberg in a narrow valley by the Mestinje-Poljcane road in the northern part of the Upper Sotla hills.

Tinski Vrh It may be just a hill at the southern end of the municipality, but this hill is an important one. The whole area is covered with vineyards and tourist farms, but it’s most notable for the two large churches situated right next to each other - St. Anne’s and St. Mary’s (or technically, as it’s known, the Church of the Mother of God). Even from a far distance you can see the twin churches on top of the hill. The taller spire belongs to St. Mary’s. According to legend, a long time ago a maiden went missing and the Counts of Celje vowed that they would build a church in the place that she was found. She was found beside the church of St. Anne, and, so the story goes, the second church was built.

As you wonder around the countryside you’re sure to meet some curious onlookers (of the four-legged variety), photo by Domen Grögl

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



Dobje One of the smallest and indeed youngest municipalities in the whole of Slovenia, just over a thousand people call Dobje home. With 13 settlements and a landmass of 17.5km squared, it started to function as a separate area in 1999. The landscape is hilly, part of the pre-Alps, and traditionally agricultural. Dobje’s pride in terms of new endeavors into tourism is the Kozjanska Homestead, exhibiting the true heritage and long standing identity of the place, what will delight most tourists and romanced us to the point of thinking about honeymoon plans. If nothing else, just a cruise through to admire the area’s scenery is rewarding, and perhaps lunch at a gostilna. Srečno! (Good luck!)

Arriving Dobje village itself lies 12km south of its larger neighbour, Šentjur so from the motorway one would be best exiting at Dramlje and heading south. The nearest airports are Graz (120km), Ljubljana Jože Pučnik (105km), Klagenfurt (144km) and Trieste (225km). Dobje is not served by the train network.

Restaurants Gostilna Pri Olgi Škarnice 3, tel. +386 (0)35 79 61

43. Notwithstanding the name (at Olga’s), this traditional ‚gostilna’ is run by a Marjana. The closest English translation for this Slovene institution is perhaps gastro-pub, but this doesn’t go to show all the connotations and expectations tied up with the word. At Pri Olgi you get homemade cold cuts, medallions, traditional potica and gibanica, not to mention štruklji, everything freshly prepared, and for a reasonable price. All of the above are in fact typical for any gostilna, as are rustic surroundings and warm hospitality. Daily set-menus are always available, but for a la carte orders it’s necessary to pre-order. PLB

Sightseeing Kozjanska Homestead (Kozjanska Domačija)

Ravno 13, Dobje pri Planini, tel. +386 (0)35 79 90 04/+386 (0)41 34 06 19, info@kozjanska-domacija. si, What was until recently a single building has now been extended to include several more. The original house is traditional and typical for the western Kozjansko region, with a thached roof, black kitchen. Almost everything was self contained in those days, so the hayrack was incorporated into the north side of the building. It was also common to have your stables (separate for cows and pigs) within the ground floor of your main house. A guided tour allows you to see traditional practices such as processing hay and preparing thatch. In addition to the original house, the proprietor has lovingly added a ‚bee house’: a little wooden house with bee hives on one side, which you stay in and be soothed by the aromas of the honey-making. There’s also a replica old-Kozjanska house, looking totally original (again with everything self contained). Then you climb the steps to the second floor, where the human inhabitants usually resided and explore the beautiful interior. It really is masterful in terms of its combination of old with new, everything corresponding with the former except a huge spa bath and private sauna. Yes you read that right! This is an experience of old with a couple of wonderful luxuries of the contemporary world. Of course, the TV doesn’t really add any sense of romance, so you get a single bee hive to watch instead (sealed from the outside with glass). Throw in the agro-therapeutic area of different foot-soothing materials to tread upon plus herbs to delight you with their aromas and you have the perfect getaway for family or friends. Bojan, the owner, having given up his day job in 2011, is still developing the site, a new addition to be barn accommodation (think: a roll in the hay!). Traditional rural skills are learnt and taught here a few times a year at small festivals. For full details get in contact!

The Kozanjsko Homestead is a multi-functional ethnological attraction

Obsotelje & Kozjansko


Žalec is the capital of Slovenia’s so-called Valley of Green Gold Žalec is the largest town in the Spodnja Savinjska valley west of Celje. It made its first appearance in the annals of history sometimes in the late 12th century, receiving full market town rights around a century later. The period of the Renaissance was a difficult one for the town, as it was frequently the target of Turkish invasions, but by the late 17th century had settled into its role as a hardworking farming community and one of many places to stop on the road from Vienna to Trieste. However, its fate was forever changed in the waning years of the 19th century. The story of Žalec is a classic example of the most popular proverb amongst contemporary MBAs, namely that there’s no such thing as a problem, only an opportunity. After some kind of disease wiped out much of the region’s crops in the mid-1870s, Janez Hausenbichler, a local nobleman and resident of the mansion in Novo Celje, proposed that instead of replanting the same low-yielding crops they had grown before, the local farmers should try to sow the famed Württemberg hop seedlings that he had serendipitously smuggled back home after a recent trip to Germany. The farmers agreed, and it turned out that the climate of the valley was perfect for hops. The rest they say is history.

What to See Bio Park NIVO Ulica Savinjske čete 17, tel. (+386) 41 599 959,, When Nivo PLC, a construction and water company based in Celje, undertook a project to rehabilitate a plot of degraded land south of Žalec near Vrbje in 2003 something strange happened. Workers on the site began experience strange energetic sensations radiating from the land, which seemed to have beneficial effects on their physical health and psyche. Experts from the field of bioenergetics were called in to take

ments with specialised equipments, and it was concluded that the area possessed a special natural energy field that could be harnessed in advantageous ways. Nivo decided to build a park on the site, and open it to the public (for a small admission fee). There are now two artificial lakes and a long walking path circulating around the property. Colour-coded rocks have been set at various points of especially strong energy, each corresponding to a different organ or part of the body. If you visit, keep an eye out for one of the white swans who seems to be at least slightly evil, and will aggressively follow you around the pond (or perhaps he just didn’t like us!). Q Open Sat, Sun, Holiday 11:00-18:00. Announced groups with previous agreement

Church of St Nicholas A virtually brand new church by

Slovene standards, the massive yellow Church of St Nicholas only dates back to 1903, when the town’s increasing wealth from the hops trade necessitated the construction of the new more commensurate place of worship. However, aficionados of Renaissance period religious architecture and art will be happy to find that many elements from the Žalec’s previous incarnations of St Nicholas have been preserved here, including the portal of the bell tower, many valuable monuments and several impressive oil paintings. Outside of official church services (which aren’t really appropriate times for tourists to visit anyway) the interior of the church can only be seen by prior arrangement.

Defensive Tower & Keuder Wine Cellar The squat

round tower immediately to the south of St Nicholas’ Church is all that remains of the once vast city walls that encircled the old town as protection against the Ottomans during the 16th century. In 2002 it was completely restored, and as Turks are no longer seen as a major threat, the premises have been put to non-military functions. On the top floor is a small ethnographical exhibition, with displays of tools used for grape

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket




The Roman Necropolis in Šempeter is one of the best preserved Roman sights in Central Europe

The Valley of Green Gold Eco-Museum of hop-growing and brewing

industry in Slovenia Cesta Žalskega tabora 2, tel. (+386) 3 571 80 21,, www. Known as the Valley of Green Gold, the lower Savinjska Valley is one of the world’s foremost hops producing regions, and since 2009 it has also been home to what is surely one of the most well-organised, informative and interesting hops museums in the world. Set in a building that was formerly used as the drying and processing facilities for the freshly picked hops, much of the premises have simply been restored to their original state, so the building itself is actually part of the exhibition - large rooms with aged wooden floors, a vertical drying shaft that runs the height of the buildings and vast furnaces have all been preserved. The individual exhibitions combine ethnological collections, historical documentation and interactive elements, which together walk visitors through the story of hops, both in the Savinja region and in general. However, the highlight of the visit for us was the short video presentation upstairs. We’re not in the business of trying to building up unrealistic expectations, but the film that is screened here is easily the most entertaining of the countless museum films and multi-vision presentations we’ve watched over the years. An actual reportage made during the early 1960s and taken from the archives of Radio Television Slovenia, the music, humour and commentary are simply perfect, and you even learn a bit about the history of growing and harvesting hops in the area. The tour is not officially over until you’ve visited the newly opened pub on the ground floor and sampled a pint of the museum’s own brew, called Kukec. It’s named for the legendary Simon Kukec from Žalec, who bought and greatly expanded the operations of Slovenia’s Laško Brewery at the end of the 19th century. Q Pon, Wed, Fri- 15:00-18:00, Tue, Thur, Sat 09:00-13:00.Sun Closed. For groups by prior arrangement. SPODnjESAVInjSKO

and wine production over the centuries, while in the basement there is an atmospheric little wine cellar with a comprehensive selection of wine from the Savinja region. On the tower’s façade there is a vine that was grown from a cutting of the oldest vine in the world - Maribor’s so-called Stara Trta - and next door there is medicinal herb garden, where (older) townspeople like to read and enjoy the pleasing aromas.

novo Celje Mansion We love this place. The large man-

sion house is undergoing reconstruction, but right now it’s still mostly unrenovated. Yet it is still one of the most beautiful buildings in the Lower Savinja Valley. That is part of its charm. It’s a magnificent Baroque architectural creation. In the 20th century it has been used as an asylum, a post-WWII hospital for contagious diseases and as a home for the infirm. Renovations are in the early stages and you’ll find peeling paint and holes from previous reconstructions. Its ‘falling apart’ feel doesn’t extend to the large entrance hall room and small chapel just off it. Both of these are used for weddings. Upstairs there is another large hall where they hold concerts as part of the Seviqc Brežice early music festival each year. Time has not been kind to it, but it is still standing. And if its good for weddings and concerts, it’s good for us.

jama Pekel Tel. +386 (0)3 57 02 138, Jama Pekel is perhaps the best value of all the country’s numerous caves that are open for public tours, and easily has one of the best names of any cave in the world, which is literally Hell Cave in English. Don’t worry though, it was given the name because of the steam that can be seen rising out of it during the winter when the constant temperatures in the cave become warmer than the air outside. However, in a bit of ironic twist, the Hell Cave is also home to an extremely rare species of blind beetle that was named after Hitler back in the 1930s. A tour of the cave take roughly one hour and covers a total of some 1200m from start to finish, which includes a climb from the lower ‚water cave’ to the upper ‚dry cave’. Parts of the path are extremely narrow and can get slippery after heavy rains, so proper footwear is recommended. There a great variety of stalactites and stalagmites along the path (some of which resemble various animals, people and borderline inappropriate body parts that your guide may point out to you), and several large galleries. The most interesting sights

Žalec Tourist information Tourist Information Centre Šlandrov Trg 25, tel. +386 (0)3 710 04 34,, Žalec’s tourist information centre is located in the centre of town on the ground floor of Savin’s House. In addition to stacked of promotional materials and maps for all six of the municipalities in the Spodnja Savinjska region, there is also an internet corner and a small exhibition on the architecture of the old market town. This is also the easiest place to buy tickets for local events or rent bikes for the day. QOpen 09:00 - 18:00, Sat 09:00 - 13:00. for us are the silent gallery, where not even the water from the other part of the cave can be heard, and the 4m high waterfall, which is the highest underground waterfall in Slovenia and was only opened to the public in 1997. The entrance to the cave is a short walk along from the parking area on the main road. In the immediate vicinity of the cave, there are various well-marked hiking paths and educational trails through the forests, while near the entrance you can find a café, gift shop and picnic area that can be rented by groups. Q Open 10:00-17:00 Sat-Sun only in March and October, 10:00-17:00 every day in April, and 10:00-18:00 every day from May- Sept. Last entry is one hour prior to closing. Admission €8, groups €6, students and children €5.

Basilica of the Virgin Mary in Petrovče (Bazilika Matere božje v Petrovčah) This is a really magnificent

small town church. We really admire the ornate interior and the fact that even from the outside it looks impressive. The Church of the Visitation in Petrovče is more commonly known as the church of The Madonna or St Mary. It is currently Baroque in appearance, and the interior features stunning frescoes painted by the Venetian painter Jacob Brollo. On the northwest side of the church stands a group of three life-size statues of saints. These are the Petrovški crosses. They once stood on Brundi, at the crossroads of the village. After WWII the spread of the railway meant that they had to be moved to the front of the church. Below the presbytery is the tomb of the former owners of the Novo Celje mansion.

ribnik Steska (Turistična Kmetija Cokan) Studence 9, tel. (+386) 4 354531, info@ribnik-steska. si, Of all the fishing ponds we’ve visited in Slovenia, this one may very well be our favourite - and we’re not just saying that because they gave us a free bottle of their homemade fishing beer. The facilities boast slides and swings for younger children, a basketball court for older ones and actual horseshoes for the older set. The pond, or should we say ponds, are the

The region’s famous Hell Cave is not as frightening as it sounds

Catch your own lunch at Steska Fish Pond central attraction though. Fed by the clear cool water from a nearby karst spring, there’s a small pond where anyone is welcome to catch their own meal, and a larger pond for more serious catch-and-release sport fishing. In addition to baked, grilled and smoked trout, they also offer roasted lamb and complimentary side dishes, but the kitchen is only open Friday through Sunday (or by special arrangement for larger groups).

roman necropolis Even in a place boasting so much in the way of history, a Roman Necropolis is special. No one knew the Necropolis was here until 1952, when it was discovered by accident. During work carried out in an orchard, the statue of a sitting woman was revealed. Knowing that something special had been found, the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts together with the Celje Regional Museum and the University of Ljubljana then took over the excavation, which lasted until 1956. In 1960 the archaeological park was opened with four completely restored tombs and many small tombstones. It is now considered one of the most important Roman remains in Slovenia and also Central Europe. The largest tomb is the 8m high Spectacius tomb. Gaius Spectatius Finitus, mayor of Celeia, had the tomb constructed for himself, his son and probably for his wife too. It is thought the tomb dates from circa 161 to 211AD. On the tomb roof a head of Medusa faces forward, guarding the family. One of the most beautiful tombs belonged to the Ennius family. It looks like a small chapel and its statues and reliefs suggest that it was created around 138 AD. The relief on the front side of the ash container depicts the god Zeus. The Necropolis originally grew up near an important Roman road around 2000 years ago. The road passed through Šempeter and connected several Roman towns. Many powerful Roman men lived nearby and some were buried here. During the excavation it was discovered that a part of the cemetery had flooded in the great flood of the 3rd century. The tombs that were closest to the river fell into the water. They ended up buried and the river sand helped to preserve them.

Ekofest The rise in ‘green’ tourism and organic farming means that Ekofest perfectly caters to an emerging market. With its educational lectures, interesting workshops and marketplace you can find food for both the mind and body. It takes place in March, May, June, September, October and November on the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the month. You can find it at various locations, including in the Ecomuseum Hops and Brewing Slovenia,Bio Park NIVO, the Vrbje pond and Galicia. With Farmers’ Markets proving to be big attractions these days, this offers a way in which you can champion sustainable tourism and support local farmers and producers. A nice way to enjoy the work of man and nature in harmony.

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket




Vrbje Pond is a birdwatcher’s paradise

Savin’s House Šlandrov trg 25, tel. (+386) 3 710 04

34, The birth house of Risto Savin (1859-1948) is the cultural (and geographical) heart of Žalec and the most logical starting point for any visit to the town. Savin, who was actually born as Friderik Širca, was both a decorated officer in the Austro-Hungarian military and an accomplished composer. Although he took an active interest in music at an early age, he joined the army after finishing school. During his long and by all accounts successful military career he was stationed in various cities throughout the empire (Vienna, Sarajevo, Prague), where he received an informal education in the great musical movements of the day, and from time to time even performed in public, either on the piano or as a singer. Following WWI, he retired from the army with the rank of major general, and returned home to Žalec to pursue music full time (and marry a much younger woman!). On the first floor of the house there is a exhibition of items that belonged to Savin spreading across several rooms, furniture, photographs, artwork, military decorations, music sheets and other memorabilia. Several other rooms on the same floor house the city’s permanent collection of 19th and 20th century paintings, while another is used for civil weddings. On the ground floor you will find the tourist information office, which is stocked with information not only about Žalec but also the other five municipalities that make up the Spodnja Savinjska region. During the summer the courtyard behind the building is the place to be, as an open-air café sets up shop and there are frequent concerts and other events in the evenings.Q Open Mon-Fri 09:00-18:00, Sat 09:00-13:00. For groups by prior agreement.

Vrbje Pond This nature reserve is one of the main sites

in the municipality. Vrbje lake is a sanctuary for birds. It is reported that there are more than 130 species here, making it a prime location for bird watching. It’s quite possible to spend a good few relaxing hours here, watching the clouds go by. But you can also be more energetic if you wish. Children can ride horses and the path around the lake is popular with joggers.


The land stretches to 13 hectares and the lake is home to breeding warm-water fish. Around the lake you’ll find rich flora and fauna, dominated by rushes. On the banks of the lake are willow trees. The grounds are filled with wooden sculptures that have been created by a local sculptor, Vinko Kovačec. There’s also an information centre which is open from spring to autumn. It offers a rich programme of children’s workshops and educational workshops. It’s also a good place to pick up tourism leaflets or rent Nordic walking poles. If you feel like a rest, you can buy a coffee or ice cream here too. The area around the lake belongs to the Natura 2000 site, which is a European network of ecologically important natural areas, intended to preserve important plant and animal species. You can discover the lake and park on your own or take a more formal guided tour. If you call the TIC Žalec in advance, they can provide you with a local tour guide. You can then learn more about the secrets and attractions of the lake and its surroundings. A 3 km long ecological trail leads through the park and the area takes in the Hop Path walking and cycling trail.

What to Do Cycling in Žalec Did you know that cycling has become one of the biggest growth sports this decade? Especially for middle aged men. It must be the Tour de France effect! Well, this way you can embark on your own Tour de Žalec. The area caters well for cyclists with main and secondary roads. You’ll very often see lone cyclists or groups peddling along. There are many dedicated bike paths making it a safe past-time. There are around 18 marked cycling routes. On the map, available from the TIC, the routes are marked with numbers indicating different levels of difficulty and lengths. So you can choose between short and flat, to heavy and semi-mountain trails. With its rolling countryside and beautiful scenery, it’s a fantastic place to cycle. One of the ‘must-do’ trails is the Hop Path. It is 14 km long and runs between the Savinja hop gardens and other tourist attractions. It’s a beautiful route, so you can sight-see while you exercise. The path has its

Žalec roots in the traditional annual event - the Mon Hop march, which takes place on the last Saturday in August. You’ll pass the Ecomuseum Hops and Brewing Slovenia as well as castle Novo Celje, through the hop gardens, past the drying of hops to the Vrbje Pond nature reserve. Also on the route is the Roman necropolis in Šempeter. Another route is the Organic Trail Loznica. Since 1998, the area at the Loznica river has been a protected national monument.

is the in-house sauna and wellness centre. If you’re not lucky enough to book a room, you can still arrange to come by for a cheese tasting - we’re not allowed to mention who else is known to drop by from time to time for a bite of cheese, but judging from the photos on the wall you’ll be in good company. Q4 apartments. PRL

Where to stay

Gostilna Privošnik Rimska 10, Šempeter v Savinjski

Gostišče in Penzion Cizej Studence 46, tel. (+386)

3 714 80 60, All travellers need somewhere good to rest and refuel. Halfway between Celje and Velenje, you’ll find this popular guesthouse and restaurant. It is located along the main road leading into the hills north of Žalec. It’s newly built and offers nine single and double rooms of various sizes. Newly furnished, they offer bio-beds, a modern bathroom, TV, air-conditioning and access to WiFi. One of the rooms is a wellness room for two, with an infrared sauna and Jacuzzi. The restaurant is nice and homey with a wood-fired pizza oven and buffet area. It has a nautical theme, designed around the ‘Captain’s Cabin’. There is a wide selection of starters, plus fish, meat dishes and vegetarian options. A speciality dessert is the homemade cheese dumplings dish, baked in the fireplace. In summer families can enjoy the outdoor terrace and playground. Q 9 rooms. PTLBW

Hostel Plus Caffe Petrovče 243, Petrovče, tel. (+386)

40 307 700,, We don’t know who was more surprised: Us upon learning that there is a hostel in Petrovče, or the management of the hostel when we told them that we were going to include their small town in a travel guide. It was probably too close to call. In any event, not only is there hostel in the town, it’s actually quite a good one at that. The building is a converted apartment block with large rooms and modern everything. On the ground floor you can find a café that becomes Petrovče’s favourite drinking spot in the evenings. All that and just across the street from the train station. Q 5 rooms. RB

Where to Eat Dolini, tel. (+386) 3 700 18 03, franci.privosnik@gmail. com, This family-run restaurant in Šempeter has been a popular stop on what was formerly the main road from Vienna to Trieste for longer than anyone can seem to remember, and is still usually the first name off the tip of local tongues when you ask for a dining recommendation. The food is of course excellent and comes in such large portions that finishing your entire plate is nearly impossible, especially if you want to leave the necessary space for dessert. However, the place is probably best know for brewing it’s own beer, which comes in both light and dark varieties and is most often ordered mixed (or mešano). Of course we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the moustache of the gentleman in charge - a throwback to an earlier time that makes the whole experience of dining here at least 15-20% better. QOpen 11:00 - 23:00, Sun 11:00 - 21:00. Closed Wed. L

Štorman Šempeter Rimska Cesta 10, Šempeter v Savinjski dolini, tel. (+386) 3 703 83 00,, This was the first restaurant of the Štorman family, which over the past three decades has grown the family business into a chain of restaurants across the region and large hotel in Celje. This particular restaurant has a tradition going back some 200 years, and still turns out simple, well-prepared traditional Slovene cuisine every day of the week. It’s another popular choice among locals, who show up here in droves at the weekends, and during the week you can fill up with one of several daily lunch specials for only €4.50. QOpen 07:00 - 23:00, Sun 07:00 - 22:00. TLB

Hotel Žalec Mestni Trg 3, tel. (+386) 3 713 17 00,, This place may look like just a functional 1970s block from the outside. But it is probably one of the major centres for entertainment and nightlife in the area. As well the usual hotel features, such as a fitness room, it also has a casino, a nightclub and Franci’s Pub. Casino Rubin has 37 gambling machines and 2 electronic roulette wheels. The hotel has been family-owned for a long time, and it offers 44 rooms, two apartments and two rooms with Jacuzzis. Look away now if you are easily offended - there is also a strip club in the basement. The hotel is right next to the town’s main sports field and a lot of sports groups stay here when training. Q 44 rooms, 2 apartmens, 2 rooms with jacuzzi. PHRL

Turistična Kmetija Podpečan Galicija 51, tel. (+386)

3 572 80 45/(+386) 31 676 729, kmetija.podpecan@, An old farm with somewhere around a quarter of a millennium of tradition and countless generations worth of experience raising cattle and dairy cows, relatively recently the family decided to get into both the cheese and tourist business, and they have done exceedingly well in both fields. The main building - which has a gift shop and modern cheese producing facilities on the ground floor, a tasting room above that and guest rooms on the top floor - was formerly the old barn. Of the four rooms, the largest one is in the highest demand, with a huge living room, high ceilings and windows featuring the original brickwork designed for drying hay it’s really a sight to behold, as

Taste the wonderful cheese creations at Podpečan Tourist Farm

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



Prebold Compact, quaint, picturesque and one of those places that’s ‘ideal for getting away from it all’ - that’s the small municipality of Prebold. Even within a semi-rural region such as Dežela Celjske, Prebold’s something of a rural idyll, lying to the west of Žalec on the edge of the valley near the Savinja river, and with the rolling Posavje hills to the south. The town is surrounded by seven smaller villages, including Sveti Lovrenc to the east and Dolenja Vas immediately to the north. The first settlements in the Prebold area date back to the Middle Ages, when it was owned by Prebold Žovnek lords. Most of the landscape - around two-thirds of it - is comprised of hilly countryside and agri-tourism is starting to develop in the area, offering a new direction for businesses and a future path for the local farmers and producers. The municipality is surrounded by seven smaller villages, including St. Lawrence in the east and Dolenja in the middle, but north of, Prebold. Historically the town got rich on the back of the textile trade, and although it’s been downsized over the years, the factory there is still a centre of production. The traditional village crafts are still practised in pockets around the municipality, including carpentry, blacksmithing and shoemaking and because of the location of the textile mill, dressmaking and related services built up around here too. With a population of just 4820, and with good roads to the larger towns, it’s close enough to the larger regional towns while also being far enough away to provide an escape. Having promoted the ‘getting away from it all’ angle of course there’s also plenty to do once you get here. Rising towards hills and mountains in the south, the town offers lots of opportunities to partake in all those outdoor pursuits that you either love doing, or else feel like you should love doing - such as hiking, climbing, playing tennis and golf or going para-gliding. Added to that list are some things you might fancy trying your hand at for the first time, including archery, microlight aircraft flying and horse riding. Even runners and walkers are well served with jogging paths laid out alongside a lot of the busiest roads. There are usually numerous activities and events taking

place year-round in Prebold, from farmers markets to themed historical walks and concerts. There’s a good range of accommodation too, with two campsites and enough hotel rooms to cope with demand - the same goes for restaurants, and, given it’s semi-rural location you can be sure of tasting some authentic home-made Slovenian dishes.

What to See Prebold Mansion On the edge of town stands Prebold

Mansion (or castle as it’s also known). You won’t be able to miss it - it’s the main sight in town and it even features on the town’s coat of arms. The first record of it can be found in books dating from 1436, when the mansion (or castle) also incorporated a mill, an orchard and three meadows. During the peasant risings of 1635, rebels vandalised and looted the house and it wasn’t until 1855 that it was thoroughly rebuilt and renovated in the Renaissance style, meaning that today’s mansion is probably the third dwelling to have been built on the site. It passed from owner to owner during the 19th and early-20th centuries, and during WWII it was home to the German army. Until recently the mansion featured a museum with exhibition spaces showing the history of the town, as well as the local tourist information centre. We say ‘until recently’, because recently the family of the original owners of the mansion, who had it appropriated after WWII (when it became nationalised), had it officially returned back to them after a long court wrangle. But not all is lost, the municipality bought an old farmhouse a little further down the hill and moved it’s fine collection there.

Prebold Municipal Collection Dolenja Vas 49, Režajeva Farm, tel. +386 (0)3 703 64 00/+386 (0)3 705 35 35. Only recently moved to its new home on the Režajeva homestead in the village of Dolenja Vas, just down the road from its former premises in Prebold Mansion, this comprehensive historical and ethnological collection is officially titled

Picturesque Prebold at the edge of the Posavje Hills, photo by Matevž Lenarčič


Prebold Prebold Through Time. The items on display seemingly cover every aspect of life in this part of Slovenia, with significant attention placed on agricultural tools and machinery (much of which was generously donated by local residents), the history and products of Prebold’s textile industry, social and professional organisations (detailed with some great old group photos), and many common household items that can now be appreciated both in terms of function and art. The traditional crafts of woodworking, lacemaking and blacksmithing are also well-represented, and a special part of the exhibition is also dedicated to several notable figures who once called Prebold home, including the writer Janko Kač, the composer Anton Schwab and amateur filmmaker Lojze Fric. Q Open in July and August 09:00-12:00 and 15:00-19:00, other times by prior arrangement.

Recreational Trail This one might strike you as a little odd, but bear with us. For lazy types, like us, who like their walks to be gentle and untaxing, this lovely trail offers a gentle wander through trees and foliage. You can watch out for birds and insects or simply look at the sky and scenery, whistling a jaunty tune as you go merrily on your way, hands in pockets. But if you must insist on burning up as many calories as you can and making the most of every potential fitness opportunity then you’ll love the signposts along the way, suggesting exercises to do en route. The trail starts at the municipal pool (at Bazen 6) and is around 500m long, and those bits of old tree stumps and wooden structures that you see along the way are cunningly disguised pieces of fitness equipment - nature’s gym. See those two parallel benches? Sit on the bench and do your abdominal crunches and sit ups. And that series of small benches is actually for trying out your skipping and low-jumping skills. Those tree trunks with a role attached are for pull-ups. A walk in the forest will never be the same again. Tito Museum (Private collection) Graščinska 11,

tel. (+386) 41 783 370. This private museum offers, as the name suggests, a collection of artefacts and memorabilia connected to Josip Broz Tito, the former Yugoslav President who died in 1980. The museum is open on Sundays for a couple of hours for groups, but only by prior arrangement (tel: 041783370/041472545). If you can make it, it’s well worth a look. Owned by a former police officer in the protective militia unit, the museum is a real labour of love, with a collection of uniforms, flags, photos, paintings, statues, busts, books, guns, knives and medals as well as an engraved brass cannon sheath that was fired at Tito’s funeral. The collection covers the years between 1945 to 1990. QOpen , Sun 10:00 12:00. For groups by prior agreement

Where to stay Kamp Dolina Prebold Dolenja vas 147, tel. (+386) 3

572 43 78/(+386) 41 790 590,, www. This is a must for campers, caravanners and backto-nature types who want to bed down in a room in a family-run camp site. Dolina is notable for being the first private camp site in the whole of Yugoslavia and it has won a bunch of awards - for the past eight years it has been voted the best in Slovenia in the ‘smaller campsite’ category by the Tourist Union. It is child-friendly, pets are allowed, a variety of languages are spoken (including English) and there’s a bar and a BBQ on site. A few years ago they even upgraded the facilities by adding a swimming pool for guests, although its size is not such that you’ll be doing laps in the mornings. The site is indeed small, as it’s basically just a large grassy yard on a normal residential street, but you’ll be staying in a historic (albeit 20th century modern-historic) site and the family atmosphere is hard to beat. Q4 rooms, 2 apartments, room for tent.

An early relic from Prebold’s textile industry, photo by Franci Škrabe

Sport Hotel Garni Graščinska 9, tel. (+386) 3 703 40

60,, www.garnisporthotel. com. It may have a bit of a 1980s feel to it still, but that’s great if you’re into retro things. So it’s not a chi-chi boutique hotel, but so what - this is quite possibly the entertainment heart of the town. Not only is this three-star hotel one of the main places to stay in this part of the region but a lot of events take place here too. Located at the foot of the hills, the neighbourhood it is in offers plenty of walking, hiking and jogging trails nearby, plus the opportunity to visit local spas and ski resorts. It has its own wellness centre, with a sauna, Jacuzzi, gym and massage facilities too. Local art adorns the walls, which you can buy to take home - so that takes care of the souvenir dilemma. It’s also a handy place to pick up tourist information or ask at reception about booking tours. There are 28 rooms, comprising of 24 double and four single rooms, plus one large luxury apartment. Q 28 rooms, 1 lux apartment. THRLW

Where to Eat Izletniška Kmetija Potočnk Matke 5, tel. +386 (0)3 5724 597, This place is not easy to find, but when it comes to tourists farms the good ones usually aren’t and Potočnk is no exception. Run by the hardworking Veber family, the farm is located in the hills to the east of Prebold, in at the end of an idyllic little countryside valley, and is popular stop with hikers and volunteer firefighters - two groups of people who can appreciate a hearty traditional meal. Open year-round, the best time to visit is during the warmer months so you can take advantage of the huge terrace out front. As of summer 2012, there was no accommodation available here, but they were expanding the house to include a few guest room at the time, so with any luck you will be able to spend the whole weekend here by spring 2013. T6LB Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



Vransko restored the house in the centre of Vransko where Schwentner was born in, and opened it as a museum. Q The house is officially open every day, but visits should be arranged in the advance. Admission €1.50. Children, students and groups €1.

Vransko Motorcycle Museum (Muzej Motocilkov Vransko) Vransko 31a, tel. +386 (0)3 70 550 66, muzej.

Vransko city, photo by Alex Reberšek Vransko is the westernmost municipality in Dežela Celjska, and actually closer to Ljubljana than it is to Rogatec or Rogaška Slatina at the opposite end of the region. Its name (which means crow Slovene) is said to have originated from the time when the area was a marshy swampland populated with the crafty black birds. A town had existed here since at least the beginning of the 12th century, which is when the parish Church of St Michael was first mentioned. The church is still Vransko’s most impressive building, with its most notable feature being the marble altar crafted in the 18th century by the hands of Italian’s most famous sculptor, Francesco Robba. Nowadays the town is likely most known by Slovenes as the home of the Vransko Motorcycle Museum and the National Automobile Association’s newly-built 16 hectare safe driving course, but there are lots of other things to see and do as well, including the birthplace of Slovenia’s first modern publisher, one of the largest firefighter museums in the country, karst springs and caves, and some well-kept hiking trails that offer sweeping views of the entire Savinjska Valley., Anyone who has driven by the town of Vransko on the motorway has seen the huge brown cultural attraction sign for the Vransko Motorcycle Museum - you can’t miss it thanks to the size, and you can’t forget it thanks to the comical illustration of an oldtimey motorcyclist (or at least we can’t). The museum itself contains one of the largest private motorcycle collections in Europe, and is an absolute must-see for anyone with even the slightest interest in motorcycles, industrial design or works of technological heritage. The collection of well-over 100 bikes are displayed in three large exhibition spaces, which are roughly divided between normal bikes, racing bikes and ‚oddities’. While most of the older and more valuable pieces of the collection are found in the first room, and second room has a fine selection of Slovene-made Tomos racing bikes, the ground-floor hall containing the oddities is likely the most interesting for nonafficionados. Here you can find military equipment and other bizarre-looking items, including something that is essentially a tank built around the frame of a motorcycle. Most of the bikes in the collection have been restored in the museum’s own workshop using vintage machinery and equipment, and are in fully functioning condition - if you’re lucky, you may even catch the owner flying down the streets of Vransko on one of them! QOpen 10:00 - 18:00. Closed Mon.

Where to Eat Gostilna Grof Čeplje 12, tel. 05 923 37 85, kovego@t-1. The Firefighter Museum in Vransko has one of the largest collections of firefighting equipments, tools, uniforms, special decorations and other memorabilia in Slovenia, all of which has been carefully restored and is wellpresented. For most visitors the highlight of the collection is 19th century sprinkler system mounted on a wooden cart, although when we were here most of our time was spent looking at the old photographs of volunteer fire brigades - which still play an important role in Slovenia, and currently count over 150,000 people among their ranks. Visits here are usually combined with the nearby Schwentner House for a discounted admission price. Q Open 10:00-18:00. Closed Mon & Thurs. Admission €2.50, groups €2, children and students €1.50.

si, One of the most known and loved restaurants in the entire region, Grof has roots going all the way back to 1901 and the winery of Johan Goričan, but has twice had to move locations due to major roadworks. Most recently the construction of the Ljubljana-Maribor motorway forced the owners to relocate, this time choosing to build a huge new restaurant just off the Vransko exit. This seems to have been a blessing in disguise as the place is more popular than ever, especially with long-distance travellers stopping here at the weekends, and after sampling the food it’s easy to see why. The pizzas from the brick oven are delectable, the daily set-menus are so large that they’re nearly impossible to finish, and locals have told us that they come here just for the desserts, but it would be a shame not to spend some time perusing the entire menu before ordering. Q Open 08:00-23:00 Mon-Thur, 08:00-24:00 Fri, 09:00-24:00 Sat and 10:00-23:00 Sun. TALBS

Schwentner House (Schwentnerjeva Hiša) Tel. +386 (0)3 703 1211/+386 (0)31 210 298, www.zkts-vransko. si. Slovenia is one of the most literate countries in the world not only based on its literacy rate of virtually 100%, but also on the fact that until very recently more books were published per capita in Slovenia than anywhere else. One of the people most responsible for this is Lavoslav Schwenter, who was born and raised in Vransko and is often referred to as the first modern Slovene publisher. After secondary school the ambitious young Schwentner travelled abroad, first to Vienna and then later to Prague and Germany, to work in as an apprentice. During these years he both learned how the publishing industry worked and established valuable connections. In 1898, Schwentner established his own company in Ljubljana, and went on to co-found the Association of Publishers and Booksellers of Yugoslavia in the 1930s. After WWII he returned to his hometown, where he died in 1952 at the age of 87. In 2001, the municipality

A small part of the collection at Vransko Motorcycle Museum, photo by YMB

What to See Vransko Firefighter Museum (Gasilski Muzej Vransko) Tel. +386 (0)41 919 829/+386 (0)31 210 298,



Braslovče is a charming little town north of Žalec, whose hills are home to the splendid ruins of Žovnek Castle Like most places in Dežela Celjska you don’t have to go far in Braslovče to come face to face with history - it’s all around. Dating back to at least 1140 (the first time it was officially mentioned in documents) it’s another of Dežela Celjska’s market towns, having been granted market rights by the Counts of Celje in the late 14th century. Located to the northwest of Celje, most of the municipality, apart from the northern part of the village of Letuš, lies on the Savinja River. With its market town history, it’s little surprise that the main square in the old town is still the heart of the place and it’s a picturesque space with its traditional white buildings and their pitched red roofs. Visible from most parts of town is the spire of the parish church of the Assumption of Mary. The church itself is built on a small hill and is Roman Catholic. Although there has been a church on the site since around 1120, most of the current building dates from only the 18th and 19th centuries.

What to See Braslovško Lake Picture perfect, this lake lies about 1km

northwest of Braslovče, in the valley just below the castle (you have to drive by it to get there). We wouldn’t recommend it for swimming, but come summer some hardy youths can invariably be found jumping in order to cool off. Formed in 1961 by damming a stream and creating a lake, it was, from the outset, intended for tourism and community events. It’s a popular spot for fishing too - there are pike, carp, bream and catfish among the teaming mass of life under the surface of the water. In all, it’s a lovely spot for getting back to nature and embarking on a walk in the forest around the lake. Or you can just sit and enjoying a picnic, admire the scenery or lie back and indulge in a spot of cloud spotting.

Žovnek Castle Northeast of Braslovce is the castle. Now

lying in, mostly, ruins above Lake Žovnek, it was named after the Lords of Žovnek, later the Counts of Celje, but the original owners and builders are unknown. One of the oldest castles in Slovenia, it was first mentioned in official records in 1278 but was then known as Castrum Sevnekke. Later it became Castle Sannegg before it was named Žovnek. Wild chestnut trees circle what’s left of the building and you can see how it would have

been an impressive home for its various former residents (like many European castles it changed hands a number of times), the last of whom left in 1816. But it’s not all ruins, as what began as a labour of love, and has since developed into a remarkable feat of achievement and hard work, means that although there are weeds and overgrown foliage sticking up through rocks, the castle hasn’t crumbled into the ground as so many others of its age have. A volunteer society, made up of hardworking enthusiasts, has been painstakingly restoring the place for more than 20 years now. And its their dedication and devotion which has once again breathed life into the castle, creating a restored twoway entrance portal, intentionally split into two for use by both horsemen and pedestrians, among other restoration projects. To the left of the entrance is the round defence tower; to the right are the remnants of the southern outer and inner walls. From the castle you are also rewarded with great views of the whole valley, down to Lake Žovnek. But if it looks like something is missing in the landscape that’s because it is. There should be more trees, but a massive freak windstorm knocked down hundreds of them on the nearby hillsides a few years ago, and the empty space that was left behind is still quite noticeable. Only time will heal that ecological wound.

Where to Stay Gostilna Pizzeria Ferlič Spodnje Gorče 3, tel. (+386) 3

570 90 74,, www.gostilna-ferlic. si. Perhaps it’s the tranquillity of the region, or the fresh air, of the greenery, or maybe it’s the cuisine that is the secret to long life. Whatever it is, when we visited this restaurant and guesthouse in the lower Savinja valley, next to the main Braslovè e-Gomilsko road, a local family was celebrating their grandfather’s 80th birthday. Pretty impressive, and we think the home cooking here could certainly have played its part in his longevity. As well as offering daily lunches, dinners and à la carte meals if you feel the need after a big feed, you can rest your head here, as the venue also offers overnight stays in its modern double rooms and apartments. With a playground for children, a winter garden and summer terrace, this is an example of Slovenian family values at its best. And what’s the betting that grandfather we saw will still be around to celebrate his 100th birthday?

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket




Komenda Castle has only recently reopened after extensive renovations Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown would approve - Polzela and its main tourist attraction, Komenda Castle, have an interesting connection to the mysterious Knights Templar. Even the town’s coat of arms references the Knights of Malta, with the Maltese cross featured above a lion (a stone version of which stands at the entrance to the castle and who represents the noble virtues of chivalry, power and strength). But more on that later. The history of the castle aside, the town occupies an important geographical position, standing on an ancient road junction that connects the western parts of the Celje basin with Šaleška and the upper Savinja valley, both of which were areas of early settlement. Fast forward to the 20th century and the town developed a more humdrum association, less exciting than the Knights certainly but more essential to the nation’s wellbeing - socks. The Polzela sock factory, established in 1927, catered for the needs of the nation’s feet (and still does today, in the form of the modern hosiery factory). Lying on the left bank of the Savinja River, the area surrounding, and encompassing Polzela, is a hilly, foresty one, good for walking, hiking and cycling.

What to See Birth House of Neža Maurer In the village of Podvin just

north of Polzela (not to be confused with the village of Podvin just north of Žalec nearby) you can visit the birth house of acclaimed Slovene poet and writer Neža Maurer, who was born there in 1930. The homestead, which was built sometime in the middle of the 19th century, doubles as both an homage to the great writer and a well-preserved ethnological exhibition. The structure itself is one of only a few surviving examples from this time period, built using a combination of stone and timber, and including a traditional black kitchen. A prolific writer for well over six decades, Ms Maurer is still active in her work, and currently resides in the town of Škofja Loka. In recent years she has been the recipient of several prestigious awards, including being named Slovene of the Year in 2008 and receiving the Poetry Gold Medal in 2010 in recognition of her life’s work.

Gora Oljka First mentioned in 1243 as Cross Mountain, this is another place associated with the Knights Templar - an early ownership contract shows that they were here since at least since the mid-17th century. The current church, an impressive


building on top of a hill, was built between 1754 and 1757 and is notable for its main altar, created by the sculptor Ferdinand Gallo. The facade was renovated in 1998, and exterior lighting erected. The Mountain Lodge at Mount Olive is a beautifully maintained and renovated resting place in typical ‘mountain lodge’ style. On the way up the mountain you might be lucky and come across the Bolcinova House, one of the oldest houses still standing in the area, with a engraving dating it to 1725.

Komenda Castle Situated on a small hill, the castle was first mentioned in 1170 as Hallenstein and, as mentioned above, it has an interesting connection to the Knights Templar - the famous Christian military order that existed for around two hundred years during the Middle Ages. And of course, they’ve become somewhat notorious again since all that Da Vinci Code hype and hoo-ha. A former owner of the castle left it to the ancient order in his will in 1323 and it was under the ownership of the Knights until 1780. Decay and neglect took the inevitable toll over the years until the EU, and its (formerly) large wallet, stepped in a few years back and, with the necessary funding, it was renovated and reopened at the end of 2011. It now boasts a café and houses the municipal library as well as the main tourist information office, so it really is the hub of the tourism industry in the area. We loved one exhibition in particular though - the photos documenting a special global journey taken by one hardy Slovenian. A Polzela man, Dejan Glavnik, decided - as you do once you hit 30 - to cycle around the world. The whole world. He started in 2006 and the journey took him five years. Today the bike that he used takes pride of place in one of the castle’s exhibition area, and the photos of the journey are for sale with the proceeds going to charity. Šenek Mansion Still a beauty to look at although it is now

used as a pensioner’s home (lucky OAPs), you can take to the education path around the house to identify the various trees, leaves, flowers, foliage, conifers, cones and ornamental plants that have been planted there. A magnificent building with an inner courtyard, the mansion site, which is surrounded by parkland, dates back to the 15th century although the lateBaroque building you see today was built in the 18th century. The park was formally developed towards the end of the 19th century, when the vegetable gardens were ripped up and replaced with ornamental pools, formal gardens and walking trails. The site also features a chapel dedicated to St. Florian.

Tabor Straddling the Zasavje Hills that form the southern border of the Lower Savinjska Valley, the municipality of Tabor is one of the least populated in Slovenia. This makes it a popular place for cycling without having to worry about traffic, although as many of the more remote roads are unsealed a properly equipped mountain bike is a must. Tabor village is a pretty little settlement in the foothills, which you are almost sure to pass through as most of the area’s attractions are located to the south it, but accommodation is limited to a single tourist farm well outside the village (albeit a lovely one), so visitors mainly come here on day trips.

What to See Krvavica Hill One of the most popular hiking spots in the

Lower Savinjska Valley is Krvavica Hill in Tabor. Even if you’ve never heard its name - which it somewhat strangely shares with Slovenia’s famous black pudding or blood sausage - you’ll likely have seen it to the south of the motorway if you’ve ever driven from Celje to Ljubljana. With an odd squarish shape and height of over 900m, Krvavica is a fleeting curiosity for many passing motorists. There are several different trails leading to the summit, but the most people opt for the one that begins closest to the settlement of Loke, just south of the strange triangular roundabout. This path takes roughly one hour up and goes past the famous rock window near the top, where the red soil has led some to believe that this is where Veronika of Desenice was actually killed (see our description of Ojstrica Castle for more about this). The other most common trail is further to the east, leading past Zajčeva Koča (the Rabbit’s Hut), where you can stop for a drink at the weekends, and through Tesen Graben (Tight Gorge), which is more difficult but also more scenic.

Ojstrica Castle (Stari Grad Ojstrica) Little remains of

this 13th century castle other than some overgrown stone walls that once served as fortifications, and completely surrounded by forests it more closely resembles an ancient archeological site rather than a medieval nobleman’s residence. In fact, the castle was already in ruins at the beginning of the 17th century, after being abandoned following the Slovene peasant revolts of 1635. So why do people from all over the country know the name Stari Grad Ojstrica? Because this was the setting of Slovenia’s version of Romeo and Juliet, only in this case the tragedy was sadly not a work of fiction. In the 14th and 15th centuries the Counts of Celje rivalled the House of Hapsburg for power in this part of Europe, controlling vast lands across modern day Slovenia, Hungary and the former Yugoslav states. However, as the saying goes, money cannot buy happiness, and Count Hermann II was incredibly unhappy with his son Frederick II’s choice for his second wife, a lady of lesser nobility called Veronika of Desenice. He was so unhappy that he imprisoned his son and put his daughter-

Hikers flock to Krvavica Hill all year

Lisjak Pond is a popular venue for weddings and other events in-law on trial for witchcraft in 1425. Despite being found innocent of the charges by the court, Veronika was nevertheless imprisoned by Hermann in Ojstrica Castle, and was shortly thereafter killed, supposedly by being drowned. After gaining his own freedom, Frederick had her remains buried at the Carthusian Monastery in Jurklošter, and sensibly spent the rest of his life as a widower. Since the early 19th century the tragic love story has been a popular source of inspiration for the works of many Slovene playwrights, poets and authors, and since 1997 the Veronika Award has been given annually for the best work of Slovene poetry during a festival of the same name in Celje. The ruins of Ojstrica Castle are located on the forested hill just south of the settlement of Loke.

Where to Eat Ribnik pri Lisjaku Miklavž pri Taboru 12, tel. +386 (0)3 5725 785/+386 (0)51 365 040, mirko.laznik@gmail. com, It doesn’t get much more serene than this: a small lake (or large pond) in the middle of the forest, completed isolated from any development and accessible only by unsealed roads. More of a catering facility than actual restaurant, Lisjaku (the Fox) is an incredibly popular venue for weddings, but arrangements can also be made for parties, business meetings, family celebrations and picnics with smaller to medium groups. Set in the hills above Tabor, the place can be a bit tricky to find, but on days when guests are scheduled to come they helpfully put out signs to show the way. And if you’re wondering why their logo is a cartoon fox riding a motorcycle, it’s because they also run a restaurant at the Safe Driving Centre in Vransko. Q Open by prior arrangement.

Where to Stay Turistična Kmetija Weiss Miklavž pri Taboru 37, tel.

+386 (0)3 57 27 111/+386 (0)41 706 433, kmetija., A bed and breakfast in the classical sense that just happens to be located on a farm, we have so many good things to say about this place that it’s hard to know where to begin. Set high in the hills near the end of a steep valley, when you arrive here you’ll feel like you have reached the middle of nowhere, but the drive is actually only 30mins from Celje and 45mins from Ljubljana. The family who lives here and runs the place painstakingly rebuilt the house in traditional style several years ago, and the attention to detail is apparent everywhere you look: a large drawing room with a fireplace in the basement, bikes for rent, a grill and small swimming pool in the yard, and free tea, coffee and homemade pastries (the owner’s mother even makes some of the best potica we’ve ever tasted). Truly the perfect destination for a relaxing weekend away. TILDW

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket




Zreče is nestled amongst nature at the foothills of the Pohorje mountains, photo by LTO Rogla-Zreče, GIZ Located at the foothills of the impressive Pohorje Mountains in a region of outstanding natural beauty and diversity, the history of the small town of Zreče dates back almost 4,000 years to the end of the Stone Age. First mentioned in written texts in 1244, the town and the immediate region has been until recent times an area of intense activity in a number of traditional industries including the timber trade, glass-works, and perhaps the trade that best symbolises the region, blacksmithing. Today’s Zreče is a fascinating mix of industry, agriculture and an ever-increasing tourist industry. With a total population of less than 7,000 people in the entire municipality, Zreče has an extremely laid back feel to it and is the ideal place to come for rest, relaxation and a wide range of cultural adventures in the fresh mountain air. The recent development of the large Terme Zreče spa and the ski resort at Rogla 15km to the north have added a new buzz to the region and its popularity among both locals and foreigners is gaining on an annual basis. Famously twinned with the English town of Sedbergh in 2005, an event that became a well-known event thanks to a BBC documentary made on the subject, Zreče offers the perfect blend of tradition and modernity in a truly charming setting. Enjoy.

What to See Brinjeva Gora Immediately east of Zreče is the impressive Brinjeva Gora, the site of one of the earliest known high altitude settlements in the region that dates back to at least 3000BC. Archaeological excavations started in the 1960s and going on for a total of 11 years uncovered many ancient artifacts confirming that the site was once a thriving community. The dig was closed decades ago and there’s nothing left to see nowadays, although like so many other hills in the region it’s worth the effort clambering to the top along one of several paths for the magnificent views. There’s also a small road that leads to the DrAVInjSKO

top. Those interested in what was found at the site should visit the lobby of the Hotel Planja in Rogla, where a permanent exhibition of a collection of things found at the site is located.

Forma Viva Dating back to 1973 and added to over the years until 1989, the collection of bizarre sculptures made from a variety of different metals and artificial grindstones that grace one of Zreče’s small parks aim to celebrate the traditions of the blacksmith whilst simultaneously celebrating the emotions and expressions of the region. The result of an original collaboration between the artist Vasilij Četković and former director of Unior d.d. Marjan Osole, later contributors to the ensemble of pieces include Moma Vuković, Tone Lapajne and Dušan Tršar. In total the works are made up of eight individual large pieces. Freudenberg Castle Just to the northeast of Zreče on the steep slopes of Brinjeva Hill are the crumbling ruins of Freudenberg Castle, a scattered collection of carved stones in a large tangle of forest whose history is little more than speculation but that’s worth the struggle up the hill for the wonders the site does to the imagination. Close to a farm named Podgrašek (Under the Castle) and 588 metres above sea level, the castle is believed to have been built at the end of the 12th century and was passed through several different families and feudel lords before falling into a state of disrepair some time in the 15th century.

Tourist Information TIC Zreče Cesta na roglo 13b tel. (+386) 3 759 04 70, , www.destinacija-rogla. si.

Zreče Luschberg Castle The remains of Luschberg (Lušperk) Castle are to be found a shade under three kilometres north of Zreče at the confluence of the Dravinja and Ljubnica rivers. Like the other castle remains in the immediate area, little concrete information exists as to the history of the structure, to the point that nobody even knows when Luschberg Castle was built. Perched on the side of the steep Loška Gora, what is know is that at some time in its history the castle was donated to an order of Benedictine nuns from Krka. The first written records of a castle of this name date back to 1279 and are connected with a Henrique of Lušperk who also remains more or less a mystery. By 1502 the castle had already been abandoned and the subsequent 600 years have been far from kind to the building despite many of the walls being over one metre thick. Despite its tragic state of decay, a visit is still highly recommended. The surrounding nature is a pleasure to walk in at any time of year, and the few remaining sections of castle wall, some still with their doorways intact, offer a truly mysterious glimpse into the ancient past of the region. Ošlak Forge Skomarje 2, tel. (+386) 3 759 04 70, www. This is a first-rate blacksmithing shop if we’ve ever seen one. In operation since the late 18th century, after more than two-hundred years of turning out all manner of forged metal items for the local inhabitants, the shop now sees a steady stream of tourists stop by to make sure that this difficult but integral craft continues for at least another two centuries. With two waterwheels set in motion by a photogenically long ramp of gushing liquid, the shop has some unique tools that are powered this way, including a large hammer-like device called a repač. We’re not sure exactly what it does, but you wouldn’t want to get any part of your body caught in it, so be sure to keep your distance. Skomarje House Skomarje 30, tel. (+386) 3 759 04 70, A beautifully preserved building constructed in 1803 and incorporating elements of the traditional late medieval smoke house style alongside later advances including the so-called black kitchen, everything has been laid out to resemble as faithfully as possible how the building operated both as a place of business and a family home. One of the most important cultural sights in the region, a trip to house should be combined with a walk around Skomarje, the lovely village in which its located which also happens to be one of the highest villages in Slovenia in which farming is still practised. The house also hosts a number of cultural events throughout the year including monthly literature meetings organised by the KUD Vladko Mohorič in Zreče.

See traditional blacksmithing methods at Ošlak Forge, photo by LTO Rogla-Zreče, GIZ

jurij Vodovnik While Jurij Vodovnik (1791-1858) may not be a household name all across Slovenia, he is a legend around the region of the Pohorje Mountains, often mentioned in the same breath as other famous Slovene poets, especially his contemporary France Prešeren. Born to a family of poor farmers in the tiny town of Skomarje, a sickly disposition forced him to become a weaver by profession. But at a young age he learned to read and write from his father, which was a rare skill in those day, especially for those who lived in the countryside, and was soon devoting most of his time to writing and singing songs. While much of what he wrote about was religious in nature - Anton Slomšek was actually a mentor of Vodovnik’s when the future Catholic saint was only a chaplain in a nearby town - often involving pilgrimages, feasts and generally leading a pious life, many of his songs also praised the virtues of farm work and provided detailed descriptions of rural Slovene culture at the time. We’ve heard Vodovnik described as being a transient singer, but a mountain troubadour may be a more romantic and apt term, and we personally like to think of him as a sort of 19th century Slovene Bob Dylan, telling simple stories that everyone could relate too. Perched on a hillside at an altitude of almost 1000m, Skomarje is such a picturesque little village that you don’t really need any excuse to visit, but if you’d like one, the Vodovnik collection is housed in the lower part of St Lambert’s Church in near the highest point in the village. Most of what is on display takes the form of texts and histories, but there is a great video that you can and must watch. It’s a simple but beautifully animated version of one of Vodovnik’s most famous songs, A Beautiful Sunday at St Jacob’s Church in Resnik - the latter being the next village over on the opposite hill. It even has subtitles in English so you can follow the story, parts of which are quite humorous. If you come here, you should pop into the small workshop on the ground floor where surprisingly comfortable wooden slippers are handmade.

Šrekl-Zajc Blacksmiths’ Forge Dobrovlje 57, tel. (+386) 3 759 04 70, Just south of Zreče is the tiny settlement of Dobrovlje, home to the combined workshops of blacksmiths Ivan Šrekl and Ignac Zajc. The Šrekl-Zajc Blacksmiths’ Forge was officially founded in 2007 when Ignac Zajc Jr. organized the deconstruction of machiner y and tools from the Šrekl blacksmith’s and moved it to the site of his late father’s shop. The premises also include a small museum dedicated to the history of the blacksmith and his trade. The Old Vine Cesta na rogla 15. While it may still be some time yet before it produces a significant amount of wine grapes, the vine growing in a special enclosure along the main road in town just outside the Terme Zreče complex comes from some prodigious lineage - it’s actually a cutting from Maribor’s 400 year-old Guinness recording holding vine, which was planted in Zreče in April 2010. The site is already the centre of several wine related events held throughout the year, culminating in the traditional festivities around St Martin’s Day in November. Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



Zreče St Jacob’s Church. Dating from approximately the middle of the 15th century, the diminutive St. Jacob’s church is the smallest house of worship in the region. Legend has it that it was built by the Counts of Celje as a hunting chapel, although this is pure conjecture as no evidence exists to prove the theory. What is known about the church however is that it once sat in the middle of a splendid larch forest, although these trees have long since been chopped down. There are also records of a now long-vanished statue of St. Jacob which used to be kept behind the altar and that was ‚horribly ugly’. The statue was once carried on a pole in the place of a cross during religious processions and is the subject of one of Jurij Vodovnik’s tongue-in-cheek ballads. St Kunigunde’s Church First mentioned in 1391 the

The vine growing in the centre of Zreče is a cutting from Maribor’s 400-year-old Stara Trta, photo by LTO RoglaZreče, GIZ

Zreče Lake The artificial Zreče Lake was created when the valley in which it’s located was flooded in 2000. Purpose-built for the local tourist industry, the lake is split into two sections covering a total surface area of 1.6 square kilometres and is used as both a place for leisure and, in the smaller of the two areas of water, a spawning ground. Approximately one kilometre in length and eight metres at its deepest, the area immediately around Zreče Lake has been partially landscaped and now functions as a place for tourists to enjoy a number of educational paths. Rumour has it that the lake is home to a number of mutant and seriously over-large ducks [Editors note: they are actually a special breed of geese]. Find it less than 100 metres west of the town.

Churches St Agnes’ Church Visible from Zreče if you look to the

east, the unmistakable sight of the lovely St. Agnes’ Church sat in a wooded area at the top of the 608-metre Golika Hill is so tempting that one feels like walking there immediately on catching sight of it. Dating from 1723 and constructed at the behest of an order of Carthusian monks from neighbouring Žiče, although named after St. Agnes the church is dedicated to three religious figures, the other two being St. Sebastian and Pope Fabian. St. Agnes’ Church is perhaps best known by the locals as the destination at Christmas for a group of local pilgrims to walk there with lanterns.

St Giles’ Church Zreče’s imposing St. Giles’ Parish Church with its unusual angular belfry is thought to date back to the 11th century although it’s not mentioned in any written accounts of the region until 1375. Essentially Romanesque in design, the church has seen a series of mostly Gothic and Baroque elements incorporated into the building over the centuries including four Baroque altars of which the main altar depicts the church’s namesake under the Holy Trinity. The altar is the work of Janez Rangus from Vojnik and was completed in 1850, although the current version was restored a century later by Miloš Hohnjec from Celje. Eagle-eyed visitors will no doubt notice the church’s most conspicuous feature, namely an entirely new structure tacked onto the old one. This dates from the late communist period and as such gives a certain amount of pleasure to the locals who are proud to have received a new religious building during the predominately Godless period in post-war Yugoslavia. Dravinjsko

austere-looking St. Kunigunde’s Church is located at an altitude of 748 metres above sea level and as such affords some marvellous views of the surrounding valley as well as Boč Hill. Originally made entirely of wood, the only remaining original part of the building is its tower, the rest having been added some half a century later. Containing no less than five altars, the main altar is dedicated to the Empress Kunigunde after whom the church is dedicated.

St Martin’s Church Set in the hills just above Zreče to the north, St Martin’s has served the good people of Zaklova village since sometime in the 14th century, when it was built by the prolific monks from Žiče. In addition to its photogenic perch on a grassy knoll dotted with trees, it also has the distinction of being the second oldest church in the entire parish, as well as one of only five sites in Slovenia that are official stops on the Path of St Martin. The latter is indicated by the symbol of a footprint and a milestone alerting pilgrims to the distance they’ve covered.

Museums & Galleries Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Kovaška 31, tel. (+386) 3 759 04 70, Housed inside the town’s former train station this fascinating museum charts the history of the former narrow gauge railway that ran through the area serving freight and passenger trains from 1921 until it was closed for economic reasons in 1962. Built to connect the Ljubljana-Maribor line with the upper Dravinja Valley at the end of the 19th century, in its heyday the narrow gauge railway moved everything from coal to timber to people. The museum is divided into several sections dedicated among other things to the history of the local railway and the local Zreški Kovači music group. Highlights include a a restored train engine similar to the ones that once steamed their way through the countryside here. Although the trains stopped running half a century ago, long-term plans are under way to restore part of the track and open it for tourists.

On the Path of St Martin, photo by LTO Rogla-Zreče, GIZ

Zreče Frankolovo Atrocity

Part of the solemn exhibition dedicated to those killed during the Frankolovo Atrocity, photo by LTO Rogla-Zreče, GIZ

What to do Educational water path A fun, educational and

healthy way to spend some time when visiting Zreče is to follow the specially prepared water-themed educational path. Designed to instil a sense of awareness on the subject of the importance of water in the town throughout history, the path connects elements of both the region’s natural and cultural heritages and offers a fascinating and unique tourist opportunity. The path starts at the old train station, now home to the town’s fascinating Narrow Gauge Railway Museum where water played such an essential part in the lives of almost everyone back in the age of steam and continues along the Dravinja where so many water mills of varying kinds once existed and takes in several other water-related features along the way. Although it’s recommended that a local tour guide accompanies people on the walk, it’s possible to do it independently. Accordingly a map of the trail is posted on a large board at the train station.

Cycling & Hiking A number of cycling routes around Zreče have been created by the local tourist information people aimed at all ages and abilities. Varying in length from a little over 10 kilometres to about 35 kilometres, the routes feature a number of themes, take in various natural and manmade sights, and involve cycling both on the roads and in the countryside. Maps and basic information about the routes are all available on the website in English at Be warned that several routes involve the negotiation of some extremely steep hills. Likewise, similar outings have been designed for hikers, with walks ranging length from less than five kilometres to a monster 44-kilometre hike for serious enthusiasts. See th e same websi te as above for more in formation.

In February 1945, Slovenian resistance fighters, or partisans, ambushed and killed one of the most important Nazi functionaries in the country, the Celje Gauleiter and provincial councillor Anton Dorfmeister. In retribution, just over a week later the local Nazi occupational authorities chose 100 prisoners at random from the concentration camps in Maribor, Celje and Trbovlje, most of whom were captured partisan fighters, and moved them to the Stari Pisker prison in Celje. The next morning, 12 February 1945, they were brought to a quiet stretch of road in Graben na Stranicah near the settlement of Frankolovo, and hung them from the apple trees that lines the road. In all it took over three hours to carry out the executions with up to five people being hung from the same tree. Several hours later other prisoners were forced to cut the bodies down and bury them in two mass graves nearby. This gruesome event, known in Slovene as Frankolovo Zločin (the Frankolovo Atrocity), has been commemorated with the establishment of a small but moving exhibition in a built along the road where the executions took place. The exhibition include mirrored portraits of many of the victims, which have been made in such a way that the faces are only visible from certain angles, giving them an ephemeral quality that chills the spine. Also presented are some of the letters that the prisons wrote to their loved ones after being told that they were to die. Opposite the house there is a large memorial sculpture, next to which has been posted a reproduction of the original announcement - in German and Slovene - of the names of those who were were to be executed. The designer and curator of the exhibition, Tone Kregar, received the Valvasor award for his efforts in presenting this tragic but important event to the public, while at the same time helping to forever preserve the memories of the heroic Slovenes who were killed. tive name of Idila, the wellness centre in Terme Zreče is unsurprisingly idyllic. Bringing various kinds of far-eastern therapy to Slovenia, you can choose from such delights as Thai massage with herbs and/or oils, Sawaddee massage, Ayodhaya, Hanakasumi (JPN) or Ayurveda. That being the first program, the second comprises a series of enticingly named treats for two; ladies shall undoubtedly melt upon sight of a ‚Divine Bath’ or at the thought of ‚Chocolate Dream Luxury’ (they also host weddings). Not content with how you look? The ‚Water Lily Pampering’ or ‚Green Coffee & Firm Skin’ are a couple of the many beauty offerings here.

Spa & Wellness Terme Zreče Pools We love relaxing at Slovenia’s spas

as often as possible, and at Zreče that can be all year round. The compact centre’s summer season attractions are the pools with slow river, forest park with water chutes, toboggan and childrens’ splash pool. In winter come and warm up in the indoor winter garden with eight waterbeds, two massage pools and therapeutic pool, the kids still being occupied in the splash pool.

Terme Zreče Wellness Cesta na roglo 15, tel. +386 (0)3 75 76 000, fax +386 (0)3 57 62 446, unitur@, Going by the

Cycling is one of the many sports activities popular with visitors in Zreče, photo by LTO Rogla-Zreče, GIZ

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



Zreče rogla At 1,517 metres above sea level, the small mountain resort of Rogla some 15km north of Zreče offers excellent value winter sports holidays between December and April in one self-contained resort all on the southwest face of the mountain that gave the resort its name. The origins of Rogla as a holiday destination date back to the decades preceding the Second World War, although much of the original village was destroyed during the German occupation of Slovenia between 1941 and 1945. Featuring modern facilities including the addition of snow machines, the resort is a popular favourite with many locals as well as the scores of ever-increasing visitors from abroad who appreciate the excellent value for money the resort gives. Accommodation in Rogla includes just about everything from dormitory-style barracks for the ultimate low budget holiday to swanky new hotels complete with expensive restaurants and Jacuzzis. Either as a holiday destination on its own or as part of a larger itinerary that takes in a few of the other marvellous locations in the region, Rogla deserves more attention. The following provides an overview of the facilities on offer.

What to see

Church of jesus Christ The highest church in Slovenia

according to altitude and arguably one of the most striking, unusual and strangely beautiful houses of worship in the country, at 1,517 metres above sea level the brand new Church of Jesus Christ was officially consecrated in 2010 and was built to a highly unusual design by the architect Vera Klepej Turnšek on land donated by a local wealthy family. Looking not unlike a large tent into which a giant ice-cream cone has been plunged, the church features three bells honouring Sts. Peter, Roch and Barbara, patron saints of professions dear to the hearts of the locals, a magnificent altar made by the local blacksmith Milan Očko and an impressive organ. Work continues on the interior, with a planned mosaic due to be completed in the not too distant future.


Lovrenc Lakes Close to Rogla at an altitude of just over

1,500 metres are the Lovrenc Lakes, a series of between 11 and 22 small bodies of water depending on water levels that aren’t actually lakes at all. Essentially small indentations in the boggy peat of little more than a metre in depth, the Lovrenc Lakes were formed around 8,000 years ago some time after the end of the last Ice Age and cover an area of about 16 hectares between the peaks of Planinka and Mulej. Surrounded by scrub-land, dotted with dwarf pines and spruce, the Lovrenc Lakes are a popular tourist attraction and there are a number of specially designated walks along wooden paths.

What to do

Cross Country Center For those who prefer a slightly less frenetic pace of life on the snow, the Rogla Unitur Ski Resort also offers an international standard cross country ski centre. More than just a place for recreation, the centre is laid out as a fully functioning series of tracks for big international events. For those who’ve never experienced cross country skiing Rogla’s acclaimed School of Snowsports has instructors on hand to put newcomers through their paces.

Zreče rogla Accomodation

Bungalows rogla & Gaber, Apartments jurgovo

Cesta na roglo 15, tel. (+386) 3 757 60 00, unitur@, A total of 43 bungalows and six apartments that can sleep up to six people each and including just about everything for a comfortable selfcatering stay. Facilities include fully equipped kitchens, sofa beds, satellite television, showers and telephones. Close to a number of hotels, guests can choose to combine their stays with special deals in several hotel restaurants. Q 43 bungalows 6 apartments. TLAK

Cottage Pesek Lukanja, Oplotnica, tel. (+386) 3 757 60 00,, More of a mansion than a cottage, this fine accommodation offering geared towards the skiing community as well as climbers, trekkers and those interested in the horse-riding opportunities at Rogla features 47 beds in dormitory-style accommodation with shared bathroom facilities and a restaurant. 6LK Hotel Planja-rogla rogla, tel. (+386) 3 757 60 00,, A good selection of rooms, suites and private apartments in this familyorientated, four-star hotel. Facilities are in abundance, there’s internet to keep you in touch and the views are simply superb. Like many places in the resort, the Hotel Planja-Rogla has an excellent selection of facilities for children including a large outdoor playground. Q 16 rooms, 11 suits, 3 apartment rooms. TRLC

rogla Unitur Ski resort Cesta na roglo 15, tel.

(+386) 3 757 60 00, The nerve centre of the resort, this multi-purpose facility spread out over just under 100 hectares at elevations between 1,050 metres and 1,517 metres guarantees over 100 days of snow-related sports and activities a year. Featuring 11 well-maintained runs totalling 15 kilometres (beginner, intermediate, advance, expert) for people of all ages and abilities plus nine ski lifts and two chair lifts, the resort really is a serious affair and well worth further investigation. There’s also a fun park on the side of Mašin Žaga for skiers and snowboarders featuring a half pipe, jumps and other bits and pieces for the new generation of snow-sports fanatics who’ve recently taken both disciplines to exciting new levels. There’s cross-country facilities too, and the chance to ski at night on two well-lit slopes. All types of teaching are available in English from a range of highly qualified staff and there’s even the opportunity to ride horses. Last but not least, there’s also plenty of facilities for those who can’t resist a little après-ski. Depending on precise weather conditions, the resort is open from some time in December until the middle of April.

Hotel rogla rogla, tel. (+386) 3 757 60 00, unitur@, Inside the same building as the town’s Hotel Planja, which contains a small collection of some of the ancient artefacts dug up at Brinjeva Gora and mentioned elsewhere in this guide, Hotel Rogla is a large modern hotel geared like many others with families in mind. The comfortable rooms are all doubles and the extra facilities include bicycle rental, a souvenir shop, cocktail bar, meeting and conference facilities, indoor swimming pool and a medical centre with a pulmonology clinic. Q 88 rooms. RLDC

School of Snowsports Tel. (+386) 03 757 74 68,, A well-run affair offering a mind-boggling choice of tuition types from short skiing lessons to half-day introductions to snowboarding to full week-long packages for the more ambitious. Some of seven full-time staff who work here and who support a part-time team of around 60 instructors are involved in the national Olympic winter sports team.

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



Zreče Where to Stay Garni Hotel Zvon Slomškova 2, tel. (+386) 3 757 36 00,, In the middle of Zreče and just a couple of minutes away from the Terme Zreče Spa, Garni Hotel Zvon features a small range of rooms and private apartments with all the trimmings. The rooms all contain minibars, there’s internet available and the apartments all come with fully fitted kitchens for the idea self-catering holiday. Q 8 rooms, 7 apartments. ULB

Hotel Atrij Superior Cesta na Roglo 15, tel. (+386)

3 757 60 00,, Zreče’s premium accommodation option is bestowed with a tasteful combination of the modern and traditional. A sleek interior throughout features touches such as warm cosy colours in the rooms and an ‚apple veneer’. The latter is connected with the area’s apple orchard heritage. The Gala Suites are great for romancing (with saunas and massage tubs), the family room being spacious and comfortable. Culinarily speaking, the Atrij superior offers nutrition with tradition, and pleasant views of the atrium itself. Q 35 rooms, 8 suites. PTHAULBKDCW

Hotel Klasik Cesta na Roglo 15, tel. (+386) 3 757 60 00,, Part of Zreče’s spa hotels, with shared reception and facilities, the Klasik does proclaim itself as the place to stay if you’ve come to the spa after some kind of surgery. On a totally unrelated note, the rooms have a minibar. On a slightly more related note, there’s a children’s nook to keep THEM happy while you self rehabilitate. Actually, there a lot of facilities which the Klasik shares with its sister hotels here, including a conference hall, snack bar and souvenir shop. Perfect. Q 39 rooms, 1 apartment. PTHARULBKDCW Hotel Medico Cesta na Roglo 15, tel. (+386) 3 757 60 00,, Offering the standard hotel room format of singles, doubles and triples, the Medico is the part of the Zreče hotel family accommodating those who need medical attention. All rooms have modern nursing beds, an on-call system meaning care is on hand 24 hours a day. Needless to say, the other amenities are numerous and guests benefit from those shared with the other hotels at Terme Zreče. Q 8 rooms. PTHAULBKDCW Hotel Pod Roglo Boharina 2, tel. (+386) 3 757 68 00,, A superb sprawling hotel and restaurant complex, the Hotel Pod Roglo is located just outside Zreče, close to the remains of Luschberg Castle and on the main road to Rogla. The impressive facilities including a good selection of rooms, family and luxury apartments all en suite and all featuring internet connections and balconies. The in-house restaurant specialises in local cuisine and is notable for its Blacksmith Beer which is brewed on the premises. Q 13 rooms, 2 lux apartmetns, 4 family apartments, 2 double apartments. TLBKD Hotel Smogavc Slomškova 4, tel. (+386) 3 757 66 00,, Close to the Terme Zreče Spa and handy for many of the main attractions in town, this small hotel offers a limited but affordable range of rooms and apartments complete with guarded parking, the option to rent bicycles and plenty of diversions and activities for people travelling with young children Q 25 rooms, 5 suites, 1 apartment. HRULBK Hotel Vital Cesta na Roglo 15, tel. (+386) 3 757 60

00,, Zreče’s mid-range residence is very well equipped, sharing lots of amenities with


its sibling hotels: the multipurpose hall, snack bar and range of swimming pools (indoor, outdoor, kids and whirlpool). There’s even a gallery. Of course, being named the Vital, you can lap up the virtues of the wellness complex on your doorstep, but if the doorstep is a little to far, you should stay in one of the suites and take advantage of your own Finnish sauna. The restaurant is divided between self-service buffet and A la carte. Q 51 rooms, 7 apartments. PTHAULBKDW

Turistična Kmetija Arbajter Skomarje 46, tel. (+386) 3 576 23 90/(+386) 41 753 846,, As soon as you approach the Arbajter farm you notice something different - the property is surrounded by high fences and you’ll need to press a button to open the gate on the drive. This is not to keep people out, it’s to keep in the dozens of deer who live on the steep grassy slopes. These beautiful animals are not only elegant and graceful, but they also taste divine in the dishes that comes out of Ms Arbajter’s kitchen - which in addition to proper meals includes several different forms of cured meat and the only deer pâté we’ve ever tried. Ostensibly located in Skomarje, the actual village and all other homes are quite a ways off, but there is a steady stream of groups that make the winding journey up the mountain for both the cuisine and the views, which are unobstructed all the way down the valley towards Zreče, Slovenske Konjice and beyond. Several rooms and a huge apartment are available, all of which have a bit a of hunting lodge type feel thanks to the ample amounts of wood, various animal skin rugs and mounted heads. You’ll sometimes hear the place referred to locally as Kotnik, since this was the name of the family who first lived on the farm back in the 14th century.Q 4 rooms, 1 apartment L

Turistična Kmetija Gričnik Planina na Pohorju 36, tel.

(+386) 3 57 60 493/(+386) 41 802 432, info@gricnik. com, Mid-way between Zreče and Rogla, this excellent strawberry farm in a lovely location offers several deals with or without a bed for the night. The accommodation is simple and rustic, but more than adequate for everyone and the food, including traditional bread baked in a wood-burning oven and even several dishes for vegetarians is hearty and recommended. The aforementioned strawberries are only available in season, but like everything else here are worth further investigation. Children will particularly enjoy the small and baby animals that live on the farm. Q 4 rooms. L

Turistična Kmetija Urška Križevec 11a, Stranice, tel.

(+386) 3 759 04 10,, This 12-hectare farm at the foot of Pohorje combines the authentic experience of rural Slovenia with modern comforts and a friendly familial atmosphere. The Topolšek family is not new to the hospitality business, and the attention to detail here is readily apparent. The farm is one of the most child-friendly around, with family rooms, a large play area in the yard and plenty of animals to feed, but there are additional rooms in separate building where guests without kids can be guaranteed a relaxing, peaceful stay. The newly added wellness centre is one of the nicest (and largest) we’ve ever seen on a tourist farm.Q 7 rooms, one large room has been adapted for disabled access. ULD

Vile Terme Zreče Cesta na Roglo 15, tel. (+386) 3

757 60 00,, Set in lovely woodland, parkland and near lake Zreče, the villas here are very attractive to active families. In fact, your pets are welcome, and should the decision be to self cater you’ll find fully equipped kitchens with dishwashers. There’s also a balcony and living room in the apartments, which can be combined with a double bedroom for slightly larger groups. Q 40 rooms, 40 apartments, 10 apartments house. THALBKDCW

Welcome to ZreĹĄko Pohorje, where the grass is still snow sports school, while others have fun in the green, streams are clear and the air still smells kindergarten on snow. fresh. In Terme ZreÄ?e you can enjoy swimming in nice In the embrace of nature, with numerous warm thermal water, which has a beneficial effect regulated hiking and cycling regulated pathways, on the well-being and it also relaxes and reduces you will discover the beauty both near and far, and stress. Furthermore relaxation, physical activity learn about our cultural and natural heritage with and movement in the nature will fill you with the new energy. Give yourself a little time and let us experienced guides. pamper you. In winter Rogla is like a fairytale at 1,517 metres of altitude, where the plains rest under a thick H A H fluffy blanket of snow and the mighty pines of Pohorje are bending under their carpet of snow. Maribor Rogla Rogla, Unitur Ski Resort, provides excellently Celje prepared ski slopes, snowpark and ski-run tracks. Ljubljana A family-friendly centre offers pleasures also for I small children. Some enjoy their first turns in the HR Slovenske Konjice | T: + 386 (0)3 75 76 000, E-mail:,


Slovenske Konjice

Slovenske Konjice, city of flowers and wine, photo by Vito Jerman. It’s called the city of flowers and wine, and there really is an abundance of both in Slovenske Konjice. The town regularly wins awards for its public floral displays, including the gold medal in the pan-European Entente Florale competition. It has also won the Most Beautiful Excursion Destination award from the Tourist Association of Slovenia for many years in row. And as for the wine - it lies near the wine-growing hills of Škalce. This is vineyard country so be prepared to enjoy a glass or two. Slovenske Konjice’s patron saint is George, known from the local legend as a hero who rode into town on a white horse, killed a horrifying dragon and saved the people of Konjice from the beast’s intimidation. The name of the town is derived from the word “konj”, which is “horse” in translation and the symbol of town is white horse, which you can also find on local coat of arms. The town is divided between the new town centre (Mestni Trg or Town Square) and the old town (Stari Trg or Old Square) and is easy to navigate by foot. With the Slovenske Konjice mountain on one side and the sunny golden hills of Škalce on the other, it’s in a charming location. It enjoys good weather too, with an average summer temperature of around 28°C and at least 90 sunny days a year. In July and August you can often find summer concerts in the old town. There are also regular events elsewhere in the town, including in the Cultural Centre in the town square, where theatrical and film performances, concerts and lectures are held. You can find the tourist information centre in the centre of the Old Town. Here you can ask for information, pick up leaflets and shop for souvenirs.

TIC Slovenske Konjice Stari Trg 27, tel. (+386) 3 759 31 10/(+386) 51 444 141,, www. QOpen 07:00 - 16:00.

What to See Čebelarstvo Žvikart Mizarska 21, tel. +386 (0)3 575

55 23/+386 (0)41 548 135, cebelarstvo.zvikart@volja. net, On a residential street just southwest of the city centre there’s one large yellow house that may look like all the others from the outside, but


its basement contains one of the sweetest attractions in all of Dežela Celjska: the honey-making facilities (and gift shop) of the Žvikart family. In the honey business for over 50 years, they are not only the foremost experts on honey and beekeeping that we’ve ever met, but are also incredibly nice, welcoming people, who genuinely have a passion for their trade and are eager to share it with visitors. In the production room you can see how exactly the panels from beehives are transformed into honey, which is a surprisingly straightforward process. The real art (or science) in beekeeping is knowing where to keep the bees, and for this purpose the Žvikarts have a small fleet of specially-built trucks that can hold some 60 hives each and are parked all over Slovenia, as different environments allow the bees to produce different types of honey. In the small gift shop you can taste and purchase seven completely different types of honey, each with its own distinct flavour and healing effects, as well as dried pollen by the kilo (incredibly healthy and tasty!), creamy honey spreads flavoured with vanilla, hazelnuts or beets, and of course bottles of honey schnapps called medica. Visits are best arranged in advance, either directly or through the tourist office.

Church of St George Located in the old town, this is a striking building and still very well preserved. A parish church was first mentioned on this site as far back as 1146. Today’s church is named after the town’s patron saint, George. It’s imposing and impressive, with a tall steeple, so you won’t be able to miss it. Inside there is a main altar dedicated to St George and five side alters. Also noteworthy are the four statues in the corners of the presbytery around the main altar. They are all life-size and represent St Peter, St Paul, St Jerome and St John the Baptist It is thought the sculptures date from the 17th century. Church of St Mary Early Gothic in origin, this is what’s known as a ‘lower house’ of the Charterhouse Žiče. It was built in 1190 for the needs of lay brothers and it is Romanesque in design. Later additions in the Gothic style include a slightly narrower square choir and a two-pole nave. Located at the bottom of a hill and with a graveyard surrounding it, it is a traditional rural church, albeit more grand than most.

SlovenSke konjiCe Fishing at jernejček Pond The Fishermen’s Association maintains the fish pond at Jernejček where there are good fishing opportunities in an attractive location - on clear days there is a direct view to the Pohorje mountains to the north. The lake is filled with carp, Prussian carp, bream, grass carp, pike and perch as well as other varieties of fish. The area also has good, carefully-maintained, walking trails where you can enjoy the natural forest environment while looking out for wildlife and birds.

Žiče Carthusian Monastery

reimer Town Gallery Stari Trg 15, tel. +386 (0)51 444 141, This is a charmingly restored townhouse in the heart of Slovenske Konjice‘s old town. It houses both the Museum of Konjice and a permanent exhibition of paintings and antique furniture, which belongs to the local entrepreneur, Franc Riemer. The permanent museum exhibition features a collection of art works dating from the early Renaissance to modern times. Despite the nondescript entrance, and somewhat shabby appearance from the exterior, there are more than 70 paintings by both local and foreign artists, including masterpieces by Klimt, Cezanne and Rodan. Pride of place is the painting from Venetian school of Leonardo da Vinci. Škalce Wine Growing region This is the place to go if you want to find out more about the wine of the region. It’s known as the ‘natural park of vineyards’ and takes in a huge area of land in the hills above the Dravinja river. Visitors can find carefully cultivated fields and meadows as well as forests. A walk along the wine route will open your eyes and senses to nature in all its glory. There are numerous wineries here, and the best thing to do is just explore it at our own pace. There are some wonderful views to be seen and miles of neatly kept vineyards. Wines from the area have been winning awards since 1994 when the Golden Hill Company first produced its Viteško vino (Noble wine). Stari Grad The Stari Grad (Old Castle in translation) is

notable as one of the oldest castles in Slovenia. Standing high on a hill above the town, it is in ruins but is still in good condition and is currently being restored. Dating from the 12th century, it’s first inhabitants were the Lords of Konjice. In 1597 it passed into the hands of the Tattenbach family. When Prince Windischgraetz became the owner in 1828, it was already in ruins. The current restoration will ensure it doesn’t suffer from any more deterioration and it can retain its position as a landmark site.

Stari grad (Old Castle) Slovenske Konjice, photo by Tomo Jeseničnik

Serene, tranquil and fascinating. This is an important cultural monument with a museum attached and it is a beautiful place to visit. Dating from 1165, the partially ruined monastery sits in the St Janez Krstnik (St John the Baptist) valley, and is a drive away from Slovenske Konjice. It was the oldest Carthusian monastery in Slovenia and it also boasted one of the oldest pharmacies. In a beautiful location surrounded by rolling hills and forest, it attracts around 20,000 visitors a year. Although the monastery of brothers closed in the 18th century, the monks’ houses, dining room, kitchen and church remained. The ruins that are left are remarkable, with towers, stone walls and exposed brickwork and renovation work is ongoing. Even the cathedral, which has no roof and is overgrown with plants, is so impressive that it is still used for weddings. But, as lovely as the gothic arches and round watch towers are, there’s much more to it than just a building. In summer, benches are set up in the middle of the main courtyard and concerts are held here. It even has its own wine cellar featuring Zlati Grič sparkling wines. The monastery shop is a treat too, selling medicinal herbs from the herb garden, elixirs and schnapps. The schnapps are mostly herbal (and so they’re good for you!) but they also sell beer schnapps, which is possibly unique to here. Once an important centre of influence, the monastery was attacked during the Ottoman raids of 1531. After this its fortunes started to decline. It changed hands from the monks to the Jesuits of Graz and back to the Carthusians again before being abolished in 1782 by Emperor Joseph II. The charterhouse fell into ruin and was owned by Prince Weriand of Windisch-Graetz and his family until the end of World War II. It is now owned by the municipality of Slovenske Konjice. The Carthusian order placed a great deal of importance in writing and creating texts and the main section of the monastery has an exhibition of old manuscripts. There is a permanent exhibition in the restored upper section of the outbuilding. Here, you can learn about the history of the charterhouse by taking your own tour with an audio guide or joining a pre-booked group. At the entrance to the monastery is the Gastuž Inn which is said to be the oldest inn on Slovenian territory, dating back to 1467, and is one of the oldest still operating in Central Europe.

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



SlovenSke konjiCe Myths and Legends Like most towns and villages in the country, Slovenske Konjice comes with numerous myths and stories attached. One of them is that there was once an angry dragon that lived in the area. It raged and roared so much that all the mountains in the region shook and shuddered. The people who lived at the foot of the mountains were afraid of the dragon and worried that the mountains might explode and the water from the lake would flood their homes and fields. In fear of their lives and livelihood, they asked a wealthy and wise man who lived among them for advice. He suggested that they try to negotiate with the dragon. One brave local got up the courage to speak to the dragon and explained their fears. The dragon said he wouldn’t harm them if he was given six virgins a year. The people weren’t happy with this, but they understandably wanted to save their homes and land. Year after year, young maidens were sacrificed to the dragon. One day St George rode to the rescue on his white horse and cut the dragon’s neck. The Lord, whose daughter was next in line to be sacrificed to the dragon, was so happy that, it is said, he erected the church of St George.

Stari Trg Once a roadside settlement, the old town (Stari Trg) dates back to 1146. It has been in the process of being renovated for many years and it’s estimated that the renovation work will finish relatively soon. There are numerous attractive buildings in the old town including houses No 2 and No 38, with their frescos of St Florian. The best way to see the town is to start walking, remembering to look up at the buildings and be aware of the sights. Above the stream there is a monument to St Florian and statues of four saints, St Francis Xavier, St Roch, St George and St John of Nepomuk. Konjice, as it was originally known (the Slovenske part only dates from 1934) was destroyed by fire at least four times. After the last fire, the buildings were rebuilt in stone from the Charterhouse Žiče and this building work gives the old town its character. Trebnik Mansion and Herbal Gallery Grajska 4, tel. +386 (0)3 757 48 32, Located at the bottom of the old castle, this has a long and illustrious history. It was first mentioned in 1362. The mansion was built probably between 1630 and 1636 and it is typical of the era in terms of architecture. There are steep roofs, barrel arches and Baroque details and two rooms are decorated with stucco ceilings. The core of today‘s castle is its central wing, which is thought to date from the first half of the 17th century. Tropic Park Ob Potoku 4, tel. +386 (0)3 75 90 270,, We were surprised to learn that there was a zoo - or mini zoo, as it is officially billed - on the outskirts of Slovenske Konjice. But not only is the place real, if we had been living in Slovenia between the ages of seven and eleven, this is definitely where we would have wanted our parents to take us to celebrate our bir thday. Don’t expect to see any lions, elephants or mountain gorillas around here, but the reptile house does include some large snakes and an alligator (or perhaps crocodile, we always get those two confused), and outside you’ll find a few wallabies and a laid-back little monkey named Ficko, who comes close enough that visitors are tempted to ignore the sign warning against touching him. If you or the kids would like to pet some animals, there’s a barnyard area in the back fully stocked with goats, sheep, cows, rabbits and more, as well as riding ponies. The petting zoo also contains the most


unusual par t of this already unusual place, a scale sized recreation of a town in the American wild west - complete with gunfighters at the saloon, police drinking whiskey and packs of Slovene children celebrating bir thdays. Q Open 09:00 - 18:00.

Žiče Village. The village of Žiče lies on the right bank of the Dravinja River and is best known for giving its name to the Charterhouse Žiče. However, the monastery is not actually in the village, but 6 km further up the valley. It’s a charming village which, like Slovenske Konjice is also known for its abundance of flowers. The Roman Catholic village church is dedicated to St Peter. It dates from the 14th century, but was rebuilt in 1660.

Zlati Grič Škalce 80, tel. +386 (0)3 758 03 50, info@, This new winery covers the entire region to the east and is set amidst beautiful countryside. Being new, everything is modern and state-of-the-art. The grapes are used to cultivate vintage wines, and although this winery is new, the tradition for producing wine here dates back eight hundred years. The winery is known for its highquality red, white and sparkling wines - you can try these in the huge tasting room. The wine cellar and visitor centre are located at the lower end of the vineyards in a large modern building that is mostly underground. There‘s also a restaurant within an old vineyard cottage, in the middle of vineyards. And if you like golf there‘s a challenging 9-hole golf course surrounding the vineyards. If you fall in love with the scenery as well as the wine, you can stay over. A centuries-old villa in the middle of the vineyards offers three apartments for rent. It looks like something from a painting or a movie and the rates are remarkably cheap.

Accommodation Penzion Kračun Slomškova 6, Loče, tel. (+386) 3

759 06 00,, Not far from the Celje-Maribor motorway, in a small village called Loče, you’ll find the Pension Kračun. As well as offering a beautiful location for weddings, it provides accommodation and a restaurant for both tourists and locals. There are 12 modern rooms, all with satellite TV and the usual facilities, which are named for Slovene and international cities. Clean, smart and modern, it’s a popular destination for visitors and the village itself is charming. Also associated with the Pension is a wellness centre offering a range of treatments. The freshly prepared a la carte meals in the restaurant are a big draw, and rightly so, while judging by the rate at which they come out of the big oven, the pizzas here seem to feed about half the town on a daily basis. Q 12 rooms. LBK

Winery Zlati grič, photo by Archive Zlati grič d. o. o.


Look closely at the centre of the quaint village of Vitanje, and you may notice something unusual, photo by Miha Turšič Tucked away in Slovenia’s northeast, the small town of Vitanje has a big history. It was a thriving market town as far back as the mid-13th century, and was officially recognised as such in 1306, making it one of the oldest medieval markets in the country and it has been an important regional centre since the 11th century. In fact, you can still trace the layout of the original market to this day, such was the slow pace of development in the municipality and the lack of bulldozers and overzealous town planners. The old town, with its market layout and quaint buildings, still has the feel of a medieval market, and even the modern parts that have built up around it retain a community feel. Slovenians have inhabited this area since the 6th century and in 2006 Vitanje celebrated a landmark - 700 years as a market town, and it’s still going strong, so another 700 years of history isn’t out of the question. Lying on the Hudinja River, Vitanje boasts a number of attractions alongside its two castles (the ‘new’ one, and the ‘old’ one). Hilly countryside, an abundance of greenery and a laid-back pace add up to make Vitanje a charming town.

What to See Beškovnik’s Granary A step back in time to how people in

the area used to live, this old granary now houses a museum featuring the everyday items, tools and instruments that were once vital for grain sowing and bread baking. It’s worth the 7km journey from Vitanje to see this early 19th century homestead, once part of the Šentvid settlement. It’s hard to imagine that people once toiled daily at this job, and the equipment and tools of the craftsmen who lived here show that it was a hardworking, if not an easy, life. Consisting of a plastered wooden house, a farmer’s retirement home, the shingle-covered wooden granary itself and an outhouse, you’ll find it on the slope of a hill. Nearby is the Church of St Vid and a Roman cemetery with its Catholic shrine.

Church of the Mother of God at Hriberca Dominating

(if anything in this picturesque small valley town can be said to ‘dominate’) Vitanje, this is the ‘summer church’ as opposed to the ‘winter church’ of St. Peter and St. Paul. Built on the hill that overlooks the market and village houses, it’s another fine example of medieval architecture, built in a Baroque style between 1747 and 1754. Nice as it is from the outside, you have to step inside to really appreciate the frescos and the colourful baroque detailing in the walls and arches. Of particular importance is the main alter, dating from 1770, and the organs, from 1803 to 1870.

Cultural Centre for European Space Technology (KSEVT) Na Vasi 18,,

Rub your eyes as much as you like, the futuristic silver and glass object you see on the outskirts of Vitanje is not an illusion or mere a figment of your imagination, its the new Cultural Centre for European Space Technology (or more simply KSEVT to use its Slovene acronym). Set to open in September 2012, the centre owes its existence to one Herman Potočnik Noordung (1892-1929), one of the most influential minds behind the development of space technology in the early 20th century, his family had roots in Vitanje going back generations. After retiring from the army for medical reasons following WWI, Potočnik studied in Vienna, and published his groundbreaking work The Problems of Space Travel in 1929 under the pseudonym Noordung. Sadly he died of pneumonia less than a year later at the age of 36. In addition to a comprehensive exhibition of Potočnik’s life and work, KSEVT will present a range of space related exhibitions including early missile technology, space architecture and Slovenia’s role in space exploration.

Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul The beautiful Roman Catholic ‘winter church’ is so-called because between All Saints Day and Easter it holds regular services. Undoubtedly one of the most impressive pieces of architecture in the area, the original church dates from the early 13th century, and it was first record as the seat of the parish in 1296. Built in a Romanesque style, a Gothic makeover in the 15th century and more modern additions, including a 1930 restoration, haven’t affected its impressive charm. Go inside and see the 14th century frescos, the four carved alters that date from the 1660s and the 18th century side chapels. Stari Grad Castle Offering everything you could hope for in terms of a romantic location, a fascinating history and a great photo op, the Old Castle as the locals call it (there’s is also a Novi Grad, or ‘new’ castle), is perhaps the town’s most historic attraction. It certainly dominates the steep hill on the left bank of the river that it’s situated on. Little more than a picturesque ruin now, it was once known as Castrum Weitenstein, after the family of knights who lived there circa 1140. In its history it has been damaged by an earthquake and changed hands numerous times before being abandoned in the 17th century. But you can still see traces of the brilliance of the builders, who incorporated what are known as ‘Romanesque fillings’ in the gaps between the quarry stones.

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



Where to stay OSREDNJE CELJSKO Celje Hotel Celjska Koča Pečovnik 34, tel. (+386) 5 907 04 00, fax (+386) 590 70 410,, www. 20 rooms/ 20 sob. PTA6I� FLBKDXW Gostišče Hochkraut Tremerje 2, tel. (+386) 3 429 31 00,, www.hochkraut. com. Q 10 rooms / 10 sob. MCC Hostel Mariborska 2, tel. (+386) 3 490 87 42/ (+386) 40 756 009,, www. Q 42 beds / 42 ležišč.TJHAR6 GBXW Hotel Evropa Krekov Trg 4, tel. (+386) 3 426 90 00, fax (+386) 3 426 96 20,, Q 61 rooms/61 sob. PJHA6ULBKXW Hotel Faraon Ljubljanska 39, tel. (+386) 3 545 20 18,, Q 30 rooms/30 sob. OA6LBKXW Hotel Grande Superior Bežigrajska 7, tel. (+386) 342 55 100, fax (+386) 3 42 55 129, hotelgrande.celje@, 28 rooms/28 sob .PALW Hotel Štorman Mariborska 3, tel. (+386) 3 426 04 26, fax (+386) 3 426 03 95,, www. 53 rooms / 53 sob. PJA6LBK

Laško Apartmaji Carpe Diem Kidričeva 39, tel. (+386) 3 734 17 83/(+386) 31 859 640, apartmaji-carpediem@t1.s, apartments/3 apartmaji PTA6LW Apartma Pod gamsom Paneče 48a, Jurklošter, tel. (+386) 41 753 593,, ww.freeweb.siol. net/queckm. Q 1 apartment 2-4 person/ 1 apartma za 2-4 osebe. 6 Apartment Veno Jagoče 2c, tel. (+386) 3 898 57 81/ (+386) 31 625 561,, Q 6 apartments / 6 apartmajev. PRL Gostilna Čater Marija Gradec 34 tel. (+386) 3 734 06 80, Q 6 rooms / 6 sob TA6LBK Hotel Aquaroma Toplice 2, Rimske Toplice, tel. (+386) 3 573 68 50,, Q 21 rooms /21 sob HTLABKC Turistična Kmetija Kozmus Paneče 3, Jurklošter, tel. (+386) 3 573 50 34,, www. Q 1 apartment /1 apartma. Turistična Kmetija Nemec Sedraž 3, tel. (+386) 3 573 65 49, Q 6 rooms/ 6 sob. Turistična Kmetija Pirc Lahomšek 1, tel. (+386) 3 573 14 55/(+386) 31 704 930, katarina_praznikar@t-2. net, www.kmetijapirc.comQ 3 apartments/ 3 apartmaji T6ILBW Vila Aina Jagoče 3d, tel. (+386) 5 922 76 52, fax (+386) 5 922 76 53,, w w w. 7 rooms, 2 suite, 3 apartments / 7 sob, 2 suite, 3 apar tmaji PTAUFLGBDW Vila Monet Savinjsko Nabrežje 4, tel. (+386) 8 205 07 51/(+386) 41 435 902, fax (+386) 8 205 07 58, info@, Q 6 rooms / 6 sob PJALBW Vitapark Zdraviliška 22, tel. (+386) 3 573 16 10/(+386) 3 734 33 18,, 8 rooms / 8 sob PTA6LKW

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket

Dobrna Hotel Park Dobrna 50, tel. (+386) 3 780 81 10, info@, Q 43 rooms /43 sob. TJHAR6LBKDC Hotel Vila Higiea Dobrna 50, tel. (+386) 3 780 81 10,, w w TJHALBKDC Hotel Vita Dobrna 50, tel. (+386) 3 780 81 10, info@, Q 174 rooms /174 sob. (double: €65, twin: €61). PTJHARF� LBKDC Zdraviliški dom Dobrna 50, tel. (+386) 3 780 81 10,, Šumečnik Strmec nad Dobrno 11, tel. (+386) 3 577 86 17/(+386) 41 856 622, TJHALBKDC

Vojnik Apartment Huba Rakova steza 10, Frankolovo, tel. (+386) 31 650 157, for 3 persons/ Apartma za 3 osebe. Okrepčevalnica, Prenočišča Stolec Nova Cerkev 28, tel. (+386) 3 577 22 02/(+386) 41 763 405. QOpen/Odprto 08:00 - 22:00. Closed Mon./Pon zaprto LBS Soržev Mlin Polže 1, Nova Cerkev, tel. (+386) 3 781 25 42, 24/7, Prior arrangement recomend/Po predhodnem dogovoru. . TILN

OBSOTELJE & KOZJANSKO Rogaška Slatina Apartmaji Pak Mladinska 3, tel. (+386) 41 242 766,, Q 3 apartments, summer house (2-8 persons)/ 3 apartmaji, počitniška hišica /2-8 oseb. JW Apartmaji Vita Spodnje Sečovo 33, tel. (+386) 41 364 167,, Q2 apartments/ 2 apartmaja. TLW Apartma Ljubljanski dom (Zdraviliški trg 2), tel. (+386) 3 811 20 00,, Q 4 apartments/ 4 apartmaji.TL Apartma Ljubljanski dom Zdraviliški Trg 2, tel. (+386) 3 819 23 85,, Q 1 apartment/ 1 apartma. PJL Apartma Marija Herček Strma 7, tel. (+386) 3 581 66 03/(+386) 41 410 717, marija.hercek@gmail. com, Q 3 rooms/ 3 sobe. RLB Apartma Ungar Zore Stritarjeva 3, tel. +386 (0)3 581 33 19/ +386 (0)41 433 165, Q 3 rooms/ 3 sobe. RLB Grand hotel Donat Superior Zdraviliški Trg 10, tel. (+386) 3 811 30 00,, 167 rooms/ 167 sob. PHAFLK Grand Hotel Rogaška Superior Zdraviliški Trg 10, tel. (+386) 3 811 20 00, marketing@terme-rogaska. si, w w Q 81 rooms/ 81 sob. PAFLKW Grand Hotel Sava Superior Zdraviliški Trg 6, tel. (+386) 3 811 40 00,, www.rogaska. si. Q 233 rooms/ 233 sob. HFLK Hiša Koražija Ivanov hrib 10, tel. (+386) 3 581 37 89/ (+386) 51 847 848,, Q 3 rooms, 1 apartment/ 3 sobe, 1 apartma. L

Where to stay Hotel Aleksander Zdraviliški Trg 3, tel. (+386) 3 812 28 00,, www. Q 21 rooms/ 21 sob. PO� HARLBKDCW Hotel Manzato Partizanska 5, tel. (+386) 3 581 61 40,, Q 19 rooms/ 19 sob. PTK Hotel Slatina Celjska 6, tel. (+386) 3 818 41 00, hotel., Q 61 rooms/ 61 sob. PLC Hotel Slovenija Celjska 1, tel. (+386) 3 811 50 00,, Q 65 rooms/ 65 sob PAFK Hotel Strossmayer Zdraviliški Trg 10, tel. (+386) 3 811 20 00,, Q 66 rooms/ 66 sob. PHFLKW Hotel Styria Zdraviliški Trg 10, tel. (+386) 3 811 20 00,, Q 46 rooms./46 sob. POAFLK Hotel Zagreb Zdraviliški Trg 6, tel. (+386) 3 811 40 00,, Q 51 rooms/ 51 sob. PHALK Mini motel Mijošek Celjska 36 a, tel. (+386) 3 581 36 52/(+386) 41 386 510,, www. Q 19 rooms/ 19 sob. LK Nočitve Angelina Topole 17a, tel. (+386) 3 820 519 50/(+386) 51 346 872,, Q 12 rooms/ 12 sob. THL Park hotel Rogaška Zdraviliški Trg 7, tel. (+386) 3 819 23 85,, www.oranzno-poletje. com. Q 1 apartment/ 1 apartma. JL Planinski Dom Na Boču Drevenik 7, Podplat, kamensek.b@ Q 1 apartment/ 1 apartma.JL Počitniška hiša Lara Pod Bellevujem 29, tel. (+386) 41 613 769, tr, Q 1 apartment/ 1 apartma. PRL Počitniški dom Rogaška Ulica XIV. divizije 14, tel. (+386) 5 660 70 00, Q 13 rooms/ 13 sob. L Počitniška hiša Vila Zlatorog Ul. XIV. divizije 22, tel. (+386) 41 639 770, Q 1 apartment/ 1 apartma. L Sobe Kvesić Šlandrova 44, tel. (+386) 3 581 38 18/ (+386) 41 263 538,, Q 2 rooms/ 2 sobi. TLB Sobe Natalija Pisek - Hrepevnik Prešernova 23, tel. (+386) 31 890 610,, www.n-taxitours. si. Q 1 apartment/ 1 apartma. L Turistična kmetija Marjanca Sp. Kostrivnica 5/(+386) 40 625 705,, net. Q 8 rooms, 1 apartment/ 8 sob, 1 apartma. LK Vila Cosmopolitan B&B Rjavica 29, tel. (+386) 31 774 266, Q 1 apartment/ 1 apartma. Vila Golf -Agencija Flucher Celjska 8, tel. (+386) 3 819 0200,, Q 2 apartments/ 2 apartmaja. UL Vila Golf - Wellness center Patricia Celjska 8, tel. (+386) 3 5816 524,, www. Q 2 apartments/ 2 apartmaja.UL

Podčetrtek Aparthotel Barbara Zdraviliška 27 a, tel. (+386) 8 205 24 40/(+386) 51 341 319,, Q 1 room, 11 apartments/ 1 soba, 11 apartmajev. RLK Aparthotel Rosa Zdraviliška 24, tel. (+386) 3 829 70 00,, Q 94 apartments/ 94 apartmajev. HL

Apartma Dirnbek Sveta Ema 42, Pristava pri Mestinju, tel. (+386) 31 615 156, Q 1 apartma/ 1 apartma. L Apartma in sobe Helena Kocjančič Sodna vas 25, Pristava pri Mestinji, tel. (+386) 3 582 35 89/(+386) 41 756 424,, Q 3 rooms and 2 apartments/ 3 sobe in 2 apartmaja. L Apartmaji Arzenšek Cesta na Grad 28b, tel. (+386) 3 581 39 25/(+386) 41 667 473, arzenšek.anze@siol. net. Q 2 apartments/ 2 apartmaja. L Apartmaji in sobe Plevnik Pristava pri Mestinju 38a, Pristava pri Mestinju, tel. (+386) 70 436 972, plevnik., Q 3 rooms, 1 apartment/ 3 sobe, 1 apartma. RL Apartmaji Sole Zdraviliška 12, tel. (+386) 31 888 500,, Q 3 apartments/ 3 apartmaji. L Apartma Lara Cmerška gorca 12a, Pristava pri Mestinju, tel. (+386) 3 582 31 21/(+386) 31 479 376, info@, Q 1 apartment/ 1 apartma. L Apartma Seba Trška 47, tel. (+386) 3 582 92 87/(+386) 41 794 105, Q 1 room and apartment/ 1 soba in apartma. L Domačija Amon Olimje 24, tel. (+386) 3 818 24 80,, Q 14 rooms, 1 apartment/ 14 sob, 1 apartma. L Domačija Haler Olimje 6, tel. (+386) 3 812 12 00, info@, Q 8 rooms, 6 apartments/ 8 sob, 6 apartmajev. PUL Domačija Mlaker Trška 98, tel. (+386) 3 810 92 10/ (+386) 51 381 079,, Q4 apartments/ 4 apartmaji. L Domačija Stiplošek - Jožetov Grič Sela 27, tel. (+386) 3 582 91 09/(+386) 41 720 506, jozetov-gric@volja. net.Q 1 room and apartment/ 1 soba in apartma. L Gostišče Ciril - YH Podčetr tek Zdraviliška 10, tel. (+386) 3 580 55 21,, w w Q 9rooms/ 9 sob. THLEK Gostišče Jelenov Greben Olimje 90, tel. (+386) 3 582 90 46/(+386) 3 5829 412,, Q 12 rooms, 4 apartments/ 12 sob, 4 apartmaji. THLK Hotel Breza Zdraviliška 24, tel. (+386) 3 829 70 00,, Q 167 rooms, 18 apartments/ 167 sob, 18 apartmajev. PLKC Hotel Jasmin Zdraviliška 5, tel. (+386) 3 812 05 00,, Q 20 rooms/ 20 sob. TLK Kamp Natura Zdraviliška 24, tel. (+386) 829 70 00,, Q 110 rooms for tent/ 110 prostorov za šotor LK Kavarna Olimje Olimje 79, tel. (+386) 3 812 12 00, b, Q 5 rooms/ 5 sob. L Turistična Kmetija Mraz Olimje 19, tel. +386 (0)3 582 90 91/+386 (0)31 515 836. Q 5 rooms/ 5 sob. L Vas Lipa Zdraviliška 24, tel. (+386) 3 829 70 00,, Q 136 apartments, 24 houses/ 136 apartmajev, 24 hiš. TLK Velbana Gorca Gostinca 18, Lesično, tel. (+386) 3 580 55 40, Q 1 room, 1 apartment/ 1 soba, 1 apartma. TL Wellness Hotel Sotelia Zdraviliška 24, tel. (+386) 3 829 70 00,, Q 135 rooms, 4 apartments, 6 suit/ 135 sob, 4 apartmaji, 6 suit. RLK

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket



Where to Stay Šentjur Gostišče Marjan Bohorč Ul. Dušana Kvedra 44, tel. (+386) 59 746 14 30,, www. Q 7 rooms/ 7 sob. ARL Gostišče Miran Trnovec pri Dramljah 56, tel. (+386) 5 997 00 87/(+386) 51 438 038,, Q 1 room, 1 apartment/ 1 soba, 1 apartma PAL Hiša s Tradicijo Zdolšek Okrog 16, Ponikva, tel. (+386) 3 748 2250,, Q 1 apartment/ 1 apartma . L Hotel Žonta Valentina Orožna 4, tel. (+386) 3 746 12 50,, Q 28 rooms/ 28 sobPRL

Kozje Motel ribnik Kozje Kozje 50a, tel. (+386) 3 809 03 40/ (+386) 41 290 326,, Q 10 rooms/10 sob.L Slovene-Bavarian House (Slovensko bavarska hiša) Podsreda 36, Podsreda, tel. (+386) 3 800 71 00, Q 1 room and apartment/ 1 soba in apartma. L

Rogatec Gostišče jutriša Ceste 80, tel. (+386) 3 528 70 70/ (+386) 41 419 713, Q 9 rooms, 1 apartment/ 9 sob, 1 apartma. LW rudijev dom Donačka gora Donačka Gora 37a, tel. (+386) 3 527 79 79/(+386) 31 344 640. Q 22 beds/22 postelj. L Vila Dona Donačka Gora 4b, tel. (+386) 3 810 7110/ (+386) 41 655 185, Q 3 apartments/ 3 apartmaji. RLB

Šmarje pri Jelšah Turistična Kmetija Bizjak Orehovec 3, Pristava/ Mestinju, tel. (+386) 3 810 30 50/(+386) 40 846 967, Q 4 rooms, 2 apartments/ 4 sobe, 2 apartmaja. L Vrbekova Gorca Tinsko, tel. (+386) 41 362 190. Q 12 beds/ 12 postelj. L Zidanica Zdolšek Vrh nad Šmarjem, tel. (+386) 41 214 950, Q 1 apartment house/ 1 apartma hišica. L

Dobje Apartmaji Franc Salobir Dobje pri Planini 5c, Dobje

pri Planini, tel. (+386) 3 748 70 02/+386) 41 794 168. Q 5 rooms/ 5 sob. L Kozjanska Domačija ravno 13, Dobje pri Planini, tel. (+386) 3 579 90 04/+386) 41 340 619, info@, Q 4 rooms/ 4 sobe. TL

SPODNJE SAVINJSKO Žalec Dragov Dom na Homu Migojnice 6, Griže, tel. (+386) 3 571 77 90/(+386) 31 776 753,, Q 4 rooms/ 4 sobe. Gostišče in penzion Cizej Studence 46, tel. (+386) 3 714

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket

80 60, Q 9 rooms/ 9 sob. PTLBW Hostel Plus Caffe Petrovče 243, Petrovče, tel. (+386) 40 307 700,, Q 5 rooms/ 5 sob. RB Hotel Žalec Mestni Trg 3, tel. (+386) 3 713 17 00,, Q 44 rooms, 2 apartmens, 2 rooms with jacuzzi/ 44 sob, 2 apartmaja, 2 sobe z jacuzzijem. Pension rajh Ob Strugi 5, Šempeter v Savinjski dolini, tel. (+386) 3 897 16 90/+386 (0)40 170 800, reich., Q 1 apartment/ 1 apartma Turistična Kmetija Podpečan Galicija 51, tel. (+386) 3 572 80 45/(+386) 31 676 729, kmetija.podpecan@, Q 4 apartments/ 4 apartmaji. Turistična Kmetija Tratnik Pongrac 165, Griže, tel. (+386) 40 741 942,

Prebold Dom pod reško planino Hmeljarska 3, tel. (+386) 3 572 47 23/(+386) 41 783 391. Hotel Prebold Graščinska 9, tel. (+386) 3 703 40 60,, Q 28 rooms, 1 apartment. /28 sob, 1 apartma. Kamp Dolina Prebold Dolenja vas 147, tel. (+386) 3 572 43 78/(+386) 41 790 590,, www. Q 4 rooms, 2 apartments, room for tent/4 sobe, 2 apartmaja, prostor za šotor. Prenočišča in kamp Park Latkova vas 227, tel. (+386) 599 25 306/(+386) 41 472 496, info@campingpark. si, Q 4 rooms, 30-40 tents./ /4 sobe, 30-40 šotorov.

Vransko Bed & Pizza Hostel Golobček Vransko 31, tel. (+386)41 608 298, Q 14+3 beds/ 14+3 ležišča Močnikov Mlin jeronim 49, tel. (+386) 3 703 16 00/ (+386) 3 703 16 02,, Planinski Dom Čreta Čreta 2 a, tel. (+386) 31 361 922. Q 18 beds/ 18 ležišč.

Polzela Planinski Dom na Gori Oljki Ločica ob Savinji 85a, tel. (+386) 3 541 77 34/(+386) 41 790 618.

Braslovče Gostilna Pizzeria Ferlič Spodnje Gorče 3, tel. (+386) 3 570 90 74/(+386) 31 875 052, ervin.ferlic@gmail. com, Q 5 rooms, 1 apartment/ 5 sob, 1 apartma.

Tabor Pr` Brišnk (Stanislav Geržina) Ojstriška Vas 28, tel. (+386) 40 242 837, Q 6 apartments/ 6 apartmajev. Turistična Kmetija Weiss Miklavž pri Taboru 37, tel. +386 (0)3 57 27 111/+386 (0)41 706 433, kmetija., Q 4 rooms/ 4 sobe. TILDW

Where to stay DRAVINJSKO Zreče Apartma CDR Ul. Jurij Vodovnik 3, tel. (+386) 3 576 23 31/(+386) 51 206 107,, www. Q 1 apartment/ 1 apartma.L Apartma Jagoda Bezovje nad Zrečami 2b, tel. (+386) 31 562 995,, www.apartmajagoda. si. Q3 apartments/ 3 apartmaji.L Apartma Jasa Rogla 38, Dobroveljska 5, tel. (+386) 41 681 382,, Q 1 apartment/ 1 apartma.L Apartmaji Cokla Šarhova 19, tel. (+386) 41 506 959,, Q2 apartments in Zreče, 1 apartment in Rogla/ 2 apartmaja v Zrečah, 1 apartma na Rogli.L Apartma Lipa Dobroveljska 1, tel. (+386) 3 757 65 52,/ (+386) 41 647 549,, Q 4 apartments/ 4 apartmaji.L Apartma Nacek Cesta talcev 2, tel. (+386) 31 79 08 36, info@apartman-zreč, Q2 apartments/ 2 apartmaja.L Apartma Pohorski zvonček Breg 23 a, tel. (+386) 3 752 05 03/(+386) 41 367 116, info@franclevabukovnik. com, Q2 apartments/ 2 apartmaja.L Apartma Potnik Kovaška 14, tel. (+386) 3 576 22 07/(+386) 31 762 728,, www. Q 1 room, 2 apartments/ 1 soba, 1 apartma.L Apartma Tinček Ogljarska 12, tel. (+386) 31 725 825/ (+386) 41 785 336, Q 2 apartments/ 2 apartmaja.L Bungalows Rogla & Gaber and Apartments Jurgovo Cesta na Roglo 15, tel. (+386) 3 757 60 00, unitur@, Q 43 bungalows, 6 apartments/ 43 bungalovov, 6 apartmajev TALK Cottage Pesek Lukanja, Oplotnica, tel. (+386) 3 757 60 00,, Q 47 beds/47 postelj 6LK CŠOD Gorenje Gorenje pri Zrečah 19, tel. (+386) 3 576 13 33/(+386) 31 607 572,, www. Q 17 room/ 17 sob.L Garni Hotel Zvon Slomškova 2, tel. (+386) 3 757 36 00,, Q 8 rooms, 7 apartments./ 8 sob, 7 apartmajev.L Gostišče Smogavc Gorenje pri Zrečah 27, tel. (+386) 3 757 35 35,, Q 12 rooms, 1 apartment/ 12 sob, 1 apartma.KLB Hotel Atrij Superior Cesta na Roglo 15, tel. (+386) 3 757 60 00,, Q 35 rooms, 8 suites/ 35 sob, 8 suit. PTHAULBKD CW Hotel Klasik Cesta na Roglo 15, tel. (+386) 3 757 60 00,, Q 39 rooms, 1 apartment/ 39 sob, 1 apartma. PTHAULBKDCW Hotel Medico Cesta na Roglo 15, tel. (+386) 3 757 60 00,, Q 8 rooms/ 8 sob. PTHAULBKDCW Hotel Planja Rogla, tel. (+386) 3 757 60 00, unitur@, Q 16 rooms, 11 suits, 3 apartment rooms/ 16 sob, 11 suit, 3 apartmajske sobe TRL KC Hotel Pod Roglo Boharina 2, tel. (+386) 3 757 68 00,, Q 13 rooms, 2 lux apartmetns, 4 family apartments, 2 double apartments/ 13 sob, 2 lux apartmaja, 4 družinski apartmaji, 2 dvojna apartmaja. TLBKD

Hotel Rogla Rogla, tel. (+386) 3 757 60 00,, Q 88 rooms/ 8 sob. RLKDC Hotel Smogavc Slomškova 4, tel. (+386) 3 757 66 00,, Q 25 rooms, 5 suites, 1 apartment/ 25 sob, 5 suit, 1 apartma. HRULBK Hotel Vital Cesta na Roglo 15, tel. (+386) 3 757 60 00,, Q 51 rooms, 7 apartments/ 51 sob, 7 apartmajev. PTHAULKDCW Turistična Kmetija Arbajter Skomarje 46, tel. (+386) 3 576 23 90/(+386) 41 753 846,, Q 4 rooms, 1 apartment/ 4 sobe, 1 apartma. L Turistična Kmetija Gričnik Planina na Pohorju 36, tel. (+386) 3 57 60 493/(+386) 41 802 432, info@gricnik. com, Q4 rooms/ 4 sobe. L Turistična Kmetija Kovše-Kočnik Resnik 33, tel. (+386) 3 576 11 28,, w w w. Q6 rooms/ 6 sob. L Turistična Kmetija Ločnikar Skomarje 47, tel. (+386) 3 57 62 262/(+386) 3 759 04 70,,, Q4 rooms/ 4 sobe. L Turistična Kmetija Pačnik Resnik 21, tel. (+386) 3 576 22 02, Q 4 rooms, 2 apartments/ 4 sobe, 2 apartmaja. L Turistična Kmetija Ramšak Padeški vrh 2, tel. (+386) 3 752 08 23,, www.kmetija-ramsak. si. Q5 rooms/ 5 sob. L Turistična Kmetija Urška Križevec 11a, Stranice, tel. (+386) 3 759 04 10,, Q 4 rooms, 1 room for disabled/ 4 sobe, 1 soba za primerna za invalide. ULD Zeleni Apartma Loška gora 39, tel. (+386) 3 576 03 32/(+386) 41 218 237,, Q 2 apartment in Zreče, 1 apartma in Rogla/ 2 apartmaja/ 2 apartmaja v Zrečah, 1 apartma na Rogli. L Vile Terme Zreče Cesta na Roglo 15, tel. (+386) 3 757 60 00,, Q 40 rooms, 40 apartments, 10 apartments house/ 40 sob, 40 apartmajev, 10 apartmajskih hiš. THALBKDCW Zimzeleni Apartma Ogljarska 10, tel. (+386) 3 576 25 45/(+386) 41 228 532,, www. Q 2 apartments/ 2 apartmaja. L

Slovenske Konjice Apartmajska Hiša - Vinogradniški dvorec (Zlati Grič d.o.o.) Škalce 80, tel. (+386) 3 758 03 76, marketing@, Apartmaji Topo Spodnje Preloge 15, tel. (+386) 40 599 104,, Q 2 apartments/2 apartmaja.L Gostišče Fink Spodnje Preloge 44, tel. (+386) 3 757 37 00, Q 7 rooms/ 7 sob. KLB Gostišče pod Orehi Kraberk 9, Loče, tel. (+386) 31 850 629/(+386) 41 220 403,, www. Q 2 rooms/2 sobi. BK Gostišče Ulipi Zeče 35, tel. (+386) 3 752 06 16,, Q 17 rooms/ 17 sob. TLBK Gostišče Wi-King Tovarniška 10, tel. (+386) 3 757 25 82/(+386) 3 757 25 80,, Q 4 rooms, 1 apartment/ 4 sobe, 1 apartma. KLB Penzion Kračun Slomškova 6, Loče, tel. (+386) 3 759 06 00,, Q 12 rooms/ 12 sob. KLB

Dežela Celjska In Your Pocket


Land of Celje In Your Pocket - 2012/2013  
Land of Celje In Your Pocket - 2012/2013