What to do and see in Brda region?
Hilly wineland of Brda region, the hidden corner of Western Slovenia, with its rolling hills, hilltop villages, vineyard terraces is unique part of Slovenia fortunately (still) neglected by tourist flow and mass tourism. Due to award winning wines (believe it or not, but Brda region has the highest number of medals in wine industry per hectare in Slovenia!) Brda region is slowly but surely stepping on a world wine map. What is more, extra virgin olive oils from Brda region, which is the northernmost area for olive growing in Europe, are gaining more and more awards every year.
MY TOP things to do in Goriška Brda
Enjoy stunning views over countless vineyards and hilltop villages
Regardless in which part of Brda you are, there is always a view over vineyards, orchards, olive groves and hill top villages. Brda region with its hilly landscape is ideal place for vines and fruit growing. In a region that covers the area of 80 km², almost 6000 people are living, among them 150 are wine producers. Just driving around the whole area is an experience by itself!
Climb up to the viewing tower Gonjače
23 meters high Gonjače tower is a center of Brda region. From the top (well, you need to climb 144 steeps!) the tower offers excellent views over high mountains Alps, Friulia Venezia Giulia, Vipava valley and Adriatic Sea. Šmartno villages lies just beneath the tower. When the weather is nice and clear, you can even see Venice at the distance. Close to the tower you can find a memorial monument which is dedicated to 315 victims of the WW2.
Take a walk through picturesque village of Šmartno and taste extra virgin olive oil
Once you arrive to Šmartno, you really get a feeling that you travel back in time. This small charming medieval village with less than 30 inhabitants is a cultural monument. Stroll down through narrow alleys, visit Hiša Kulture and learn more about extra virgin olive oils.
Walk through the vineyards on Alpe Adria Trail
Alpe Adria Trail that passes through Brda region is definitely a walk you should put on your bucket list while exploring Brda region. Walk and sample wine, seasonal fruits, fresh wild edibles. A real walk into the finest Slovenian deli on the countryside! If you want to learn more about Brda region through your walk, book Alpe Adria Trail Experience here.
Visit family run wineries
Visiting family run wineries in Brda region is unique experience. Keep in mind that you need to call them beforehand and not just knocking on their door. If you don’t know which wineries to visit, which winemaker is available on a certain day, then I would advise you book Wine Tasting Experience here. You cannot leave Brda without tasting its excellent wines, right?
Visit Dobrovo castle
You can spot impressive Dobrovo castle from every corner of Brda region. It is one of the nicest renaissance castles dating back in 17th century with a Hall of Knights and Hunter’s room. Nowadays it is used for different cultural events, exhibitions and weddings. Pop next door to the tourist information center and get some brochures about Brda region.
Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 12pm and from 1pm to 3pm.
Saturday, Sunday, Holidays: from 1pm to 5pm.
Ticket price: 3 EUR (adults); 1,5 EUR (children); 6 EUR (family ticket).
Visit Krčnik natural bridge and enjoy apitherapy
Natural bridge at Krčnik with its 5 meters long arch is one of the most beautiful bridges created by nature in Slovenia. Only a drive away you can visit a beekeeper and indulge your taste buds in honey products. Join my Bee Happy Experience and learn more about bees, beekeeping and apitherapy here.
Admire Slapnik abandoned village before reality show is filmed
Slapnik village, the only entirely abandoned village in Brda region, lies underneath of Korada hill, is waiting for a prince. Read more about sleeping beauty of Slapnik here.
Pay a visit to the newly rebuild Vipolže castle
Vipolže castle, once a magnificent hunting mansion, is today, after renovation, the most beautiful renaissance villa in Slovenia. It is the new heart of cultural, business and wedding tourism, exhibitions and events in the Brda region. Walk through the park and admire oldest cypresses in Slovenia. Up for some food and wine? Check the menu at wine bar Kruh & Vino.
A bit of culture: visit gothic church of the Holy Cross
Above Kojsko village reigns gothic pilgrimage Church of the Holy Cross. The tower used to be a watch tower during Turkish Turkish incursions. Its true pearl lies in the main gothic winged altar dating back in 1515. Due to its fantastic position, it is adviced to come here before sun goes down and take some great selfies.
Get to know the history WW1 and visit Sabotin hill
Sabotin hill is a popular hiking and cycling paradise (especially during the weekends!) for locals and daily visitors. During WW1 Sabotin played an important role at Isonzo front fights between Italian and Austro-Hungarian soldiers due to its strategic position. Sabotin hill is scattered with caverns, trenches, defense positions, shelters and warehouses, and is now known as a Peace park, reminding us that a bloody history should never happen again. In case you get hungry, there is a local restaurant (open during the weekend only!).
Eat, eat and eat in Brda
Check what you can is typical Brda cuisine and where you can taste local delights here.
Where to sleep in Brda region?
There are many attractions to visit in Brda region, right? And one day is not enough though. Last but not least, at the end of the day you surely want to stay and rest in Brda region. Check family-run Posestvo Pintar in Brestje village.
Posestvo Pintar offers 2 nice apartments, 1 wooden cottage in the vineyard and a huge swimming pool. I was glad the wooden cottage was not occupied the day I was exploring Brda region so I could experience it by myself ;).
Zvonko and Jelka greeted me with a big smile and invited me to take a snack. Home baked tarte and a peach juice were fantastic. We chit-chatted about wine production and Open Wine Cellar event which they are hosting as well.
Posestvo Pintar has its own fruit orchards (cherries, apricots, peaches, pears, plums, persimmon), 4000 vines from which they are producing 2000 bottles of Rebula, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines and a flourishing vegetable garden where seasonal herbs for a herbal omelette are growing.
Tjaša’s mum Jelka who is taking care of the guests led me to the wooden cottage. She even invited me to their wine cellar where I tasted their excellent wine. I was overwhelmed by family generosity and hospitality.
From Posestvo Pintar I enjoyed picturesque countryside with endless terraced vineyards. It felt like those hill top churches could have been reached by my hand. I could even spot Sabotin mountain at the distance as well. »I prepared some salami, prosicutto, olives and cheese for you.« and she placed a plate with delicacies on a chair in front of the wooden cottage.
A wooden cottage surrounded by the vines provides basic accommodation: comfortable bed, a lamp with a battery and cloth hangers. In the Pintar house there is a super clean room with all facilities (even a washing machine!) where you can take a shower, recharge your mobile phone and leave all of your extra luggage. After leaving the room, do not forget to take a battery with you because the nights here are very dark and you need extra light to follow the path to the wooden cottage. It was a night sky full of stars. I felt asleep immediately. Extra blanket was not needed during the night. I woke up with a sun rise and observing how the nature was slowly awaking. The birds were singing, a gently wind breeze was bending vines and a church bell was ringing.
The specialty of Posestvo Pintar offer is a huge and tasty breakfast which is served in a nice dinning room offering a fantastic view on Brda wine region. For the breakfast Jelka prepared homebaked bread, herbal omelette, Tolmin cheese, salami and prosciutto, jam, honey and butter, egg, cake. Fresh strawberries from a local producer were extra morning treat. Highly recommended!
Traveling to and around Brda region
I need to admit that for strolling around Brda region you need to have a car. Please read a blog post about how to get to Brda region here. If you are into cycling, Brda region is also really nice to explore by bike.