At Bien Venue, we know that Slovenia is an up-and-coming destination for international meetings and events. So, hot on the heels of our Venue Consultant Miriam’s trip to the capital, Ljubljana, our Head of Sales, Zoe, spent a few days in Alpine Slovenia taking in the venues, hotels, culture and stunning surrounds. Here, she shares her insights and experiences.
Alpine Slovenia is largely an unspoiled destination with a modest tourist trade. As such, there are currently no direct flights to the country from Manchester (though it’s just 80 minutes by plane from London). However, I used this to my advantage by stopping off in Vienna for business en route. I then made my way by prop plane to Klagenfurt, which is just a 45-minute drive from Kranjska Gora; the charming town bordering Austria and Italy which was to be the first stop on my tour of Alpine Slovenia. Although it was a long day, looking out as the light aircraft flew low over the Austrian Alps was a breath-taking experience. It was quite the adventure before my stay in Slovenia had even begun!
Hotels in Alpine Slovenia
A big part of my trip was, of course, taking in hotels in the region and I was impressed by the range on offer. Wherever we went staff were warm and friendly and the surrounding scenery was always sensational.
On my first night, I stayed at The Ramada Resort near Kranjska Gora, which consists of three hotels that are all in close proximity to each other. I stayed at HIT Alpina, which has 110 rooms and 4 meeting rooms. The other two hotels at the resort are within three minutes walking distance and all combined they have 639 rooms and 21 meeting rooms. There are lots of team building activities in the area and some lovely restaurants. As the largest of the meeting rooms here seats around 80, I would recommend it as a tranquil retreat/team building setting for a smaller group.
It would be remiss of me to talk about my stay here without mentioning the incredible setting. After enjoying a good night’s sleep in my clean, comfortable room, I awoke to one of the most sensational views I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy. As you can see, opening the curtains was a jaw-dropping moment.
On the second day of our tour we were shown around a number of hotels, the first of which being the Bohinj Eco Hotel. This impressive hotel has 102 rooms and 9 meeting rooms, with a maximum capacity of 140 people – so would be perfect for a medium sized event. The General Manager really couldn’t do enough for us as we were shown round the facilities, which include an excellent dining room, conference centre, spa, theatre, bowling alley and even direct access to a waterpark. We enjoyed a fantastic lunch in the picturesque Alpine surrounds, too.
If you’re looking for something intimate and luxurious then our next stop, SunRose 7 Boutique Hotel is the perfect choice. This boutique hotel has just 18 rooms and is adult-only. When I visited it had only been open for a month, but was so unique to the area and bursting with character that we just had to see it.
Amongst other things, this hotel boasts its own wine cellar that can be used for tastings or booked for private dining; the perfect setting for corporate entertainment or an incentive treat. Whilst there, we also enjoyed a dessert of white chocolate mousse, walnut crumble, fior de latte ice cream, pear brownie and cranberries. It was as delicious as it sounds!
That evening, we set off to Bled, the area we would be exploring the following day, and where the final two hotels on our itinerary were. I arrived first at The Hotel Lovec, where I would be spending the night. The accommodation and conference facilities were quite simple – one meeting room with capacity for 140 people and 59 bedrooms – but once again the views were phenomenal.
Once I had checked in to my hotel, it was off to see another, Riki Balance. This was the largest venue I saw; the eight conference rooms have a maximum capacity of 350 people and there are 150 bedrooms, with other hotels nearby if there is a larger group to accommodate. I was impressed by the facilities and the hotel in general gave off the air of a five star property, despite its four star rating.
Alpine Slovenia may be a tranquil, relaxing destination, but there’s also plenty to do here. In fact, one of our first activities upon arrival was a thrilling zip line ride that begins 533 metres above the ground and goes at 85 kilometres per hour – I loved it. The zipline is located at Planica Nordic Centre, which also boasts facilities for cross country skiing, ski jumping, ski training, Planica Museum, a wind tunnel and all-year-round indoor ski training centre. They can also arrange catering, so this would be a great option if you had a small conference in Kranjska Gora with some team building activities at Planica.
That first evening we walked through the streets of Kranjska Gora with petrol-type torches, which gave everything the feel we were stepping in back in time. It is a very charming town and we enjoyed a meal there before heading back to our hotels for a well earned rest.
The next morning we visited Bohinj Market and sampled a selection of cheeses, cakes and beers. All of the produce sold at this market is local, giving it a real authenticity, and the village setting was just beautiful.
Bicycle rides are another great option for a group activity, with such beautiful scenery and relatively flat trails making it pretty easy going. I hadn’t been on a bike for 36 years but I felt like a kid again cycling the 6km to Lake Bohinj in 22-degree weather.
Once we arrived at the lake, we took a boat ride; another great way to take in the beauty of this region. There are two beautiful waterfalls to be seen on this trip when the weather is wet, but sadly it was too dry when we were there so they weren’t running! The next day we took another boat ride to Bled Island in the morning, which was just as stunning.
That night we had dinner at Bled Castle, an amazing venue that would be an incredible setting for corporate entertainment.
We were sampling so much local produce at meal times that it was nice to get an insight into how some of was made. In fact, we got two chances to do this during the trip. We went to the Dairy Museum, where we learned about cheese-making and we also tried our hand at making traditional Potica cake at local cafe on Bled Island. After being shown how by an expert, we all made an individual smaller one for ourselves. Whilst we waited for the cakes to bake, we went into the local church where it is said that if you ring the bell three times and make a wish then it will come true. I will let you know in due course if mine does!
We then had a bit of free time to look around the island. As well as visiting a souvenir shop, I had elderflower cordial, coffee and cake sitting in the sunshine and taking in the beautiful scenery. It was the last day of the trip but needless to say I wasn’t quite ready to go home yet!
What’s on the menu?
The food in Alpine Slovenia is excellent. As I’ve mentioned, local produce is used all the time and they don’t really serve any other wine than their own, which delicious and high quality. I also developed quite a taste for pumpkin oil – a very popular ingredient in the region which also has all the nutritional benefits of avocado!
In fact, pumpkins in general feature highly on the menu here. I was treated to some delicious soups and stews, including one served in a gourd itself!
Traditional food here is warming, wholesome and delicious. Soups and broths feature highly, as does stuffed buckwheat, which the locals eat quite regularly. Veal is also often on the menu – I was served it three times in three days! But it’s by no means samey, I also had delicacies such as carpaccio of beef, trout caviar and a beautifully cooked steak.
The desserts much get a special mention too. I was truly spoilt by the array of sweet treats, which included apple strudel, chocolate souffle, walnut flavoured creme brulee and a baked apple filled with apple ice cream!
Gingerbread is also big in the region and the cafe we stopped out for our parting lunch had a gingerbread workshop in the basement. We were each gifted a beautiful piece of gingerbread – the perfect snack for the trip home.
Why choose Alpine Slovenia?
I would recommend Slovenia as a destination without a shadow of a doubt. It is an extremely impressive place to visit and would give any conference or event with the wow-factor. I loved it!
If you need further convincing, something to bear in mind is how inexpensive the country is. The cost of living in Slovenia is much lower than the UK, Germany or Spain, which means that prices are also lower for you. You could save up to 30% on conference costs compared to some of these other nations.
I would recommend that for a larger meeting or event that it is held in Ljublijana, the capital, but Alpine Slovenia is just 20 minutes away you it would be easy to incorporate sight-seeing and team building activities here into your schedule. Kranjska Gora would be suitable for smaller incentive conferences and trips. Bled would also be great for a conference as it is easily connected to all the other locations and has lots to see and do – the picturesque scenery would certainly create a wow factor for a company event, too! Wherever you go, I’m sure you’ll fall in love with the place – I certainly did!
Considering a conference or event in Slovenia? Speak to our expert team about creating the perfect programme for your business needs. You can call us today on 01625 877776 or email email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you!