Zalec town is situated in the south eastern part of Slovenia in Lower Savinja valley. Zalec and its surrounding areas are world famous for hop, bitter flower that represents Lower Savinja valley, and because of the hop the valley is called the land of green gold. Hop-growing and brewing industry have significant impact on local architecture, food and landscape. Get to know the tradition and culture, diverse nature and history and very hospitable locals. 150 years of hop-growing heritage is in their genes.
What to visit in Zalec town and its surrounding?
Beer fountain is a tribute to the hop growing heritage of the Lower Savinja Valley and Zalec, which is the hop-growing center of Slovenia. The beer fountain with 6 beer taps can be found in the town center, next to the marketplace. Until now more than 400 000 visitors have already visited beer fountain in Zalec. Read more about beer fountain here.
Beer and hops facts:
- Slovenia is 4th largest producer of hops in the world (after USA, Czech Republic, Germany),
- the first hop plantation in the Lower Savinja Valley was planted in 1876 at the Novo Celje Mansion by Josip Bilger,
- the Styrian hops is declared by European Commission as a protected geographical indication product,
- Slovenian hoppers produce Slovenian hop varieties of aurora, bobek, celeia and savinjski golding,
- there are 21 hop-growing families dealing with hops in Lower Savinja valley,
- 99 % of quality Slovenian hops is exported,
- hops are picked in late summer (mid-August to beginning of September) and they give the beer its pleasant bitterness, fullness and aroma,
- the hop can grow 1cm/hour in the season,
- beer is made from four primary ingredients:hop, malt (mainly barley), water and yeast,
- beer, with its a several thousand-year long tradition, is the third most popular drink overall after water and tea,
- in 2011, Hop Trail was selected as the second best themed trail in Slovenia.
Eco museum with its 4 floors is located on a former hop-drying facility. The place smells of the freshly picked hops. You will love it!
The museum shows comprehensive hop-growing tradition in Lower Savinja valley where the visitors can learn more about hops-growing tradition, hop-related products, tools for growing and collecting hops, traditions and customs so as tasting locally produced Kukec beer, the father of Slovene brewing industry.
In 2019 the museum started offering 3D movie related with hop-growing tradition and its customs where a visitor takes active part in it.
Entrance fees: 4 EUR/adult, 3,50 EUR/senior, 3 EUR/child.
Enrance fees and 3D movie: 5 EUR/adult, 4,50 EUR/senior, 4 EUR/child.
Opening hours for Eco Museum:
April-May: Tuesday to Friday: 9am-6pm, Saturday: 9am to noon.
June, July, August: Tuesday to Saturday: 9am-6pm.
September-October: Tuesday to Friday: 9am-6pm, Saturday: 9am to noon.
November-December: Tuesday to Friday: 9am-5pm, Saturday: 9am to noon.
T: 00386 3 571 8021
Vrbje pond (soon Hopslandia) is a natural reserve at Savinja river that stretches on over 13 hectares. The pond has diverse and interesting flora and fauna and over 170 species have been spotted here. The major of Zalec Janko Kos has bold plans to build Hopslandia within 3 years here. There will be a place for motorhome stopover, swimming pool, camping grounds and glamping. Around the Vrbje pond there are several theme trails (Eco-Learning Trail, Hop Trail, Trail along the Savinja River, Healthy Heart Walking Trail).
The magical Pekel cave, the karst jewel in Lower Savinja valley, offers a great insight into the underground world. The cave (with year-round temperature of 10 °C) was created by the Ponikvica stream that disappears in front of the cave and reappears in the cave as the Peklenščica stream. Use your imagination while trying to spot a Devil at the entrance. The legend says that the local people named the cave Pekel (Hell) due to the steam that comes out in the winter time.
The cave has 2 levels: wet level and dry level. The underground walk on a well-protected path (1159 metres) which lasts 1 hour is very picturesque and numerous stalactite and stalagmite formations and the highest (4 metres high!) underground waterfall are on a show.
Opening hours for guided tours in Pekel cave:
March: Saturdays and Sundays (11am, 1pm, 3pm).
Every day from 1st April to 30th September: 10am, noon, 2pm, 4pm.
Every hour on holidays 1st May, 2nd May, 25th June, 15th August.
October: Saturdays and Sundays (10am, noon, 2pm, 4pm).
Price: 8 EUR/adults, 6 EUR/child, students, seniors.
T: 00386 3 700 20 56, 00386 31 645 937.
Roman necropolis, one of the most important monuments from the Roman era in Slovenia, is comprehensive arheological park and an open-air museum situated in Šempeter town which lies on the important Roman road connecting Roman towns Aquilea (Oglej), Emona (Ljubljana), Celeia (Celje) and Poetovio (Ptuj). Rich and powerful class Roman and Celtic families from Celeia established tombs in the valley close to Celeia town. The most beautiful tombs, each of them tells its own 2000 years old story, are made out of Pohorje marble and decorated with high-relief statuses of the buried families.
Opening hours for guided tours Roman necropolis:
April: 10am to 3pm (every day, including Sundays and holidays).
May: 10am to 4pm (every day, including Sundays and holidays).
June, July, August: 10am to 5pm (every day, including Sundays and holidays).
September: 10am to 4pm (every day, including Sundays and holidays).
October: 10am to 4pm (Saturdays and Sundays).
Price: 5 EUR/adults, 4 EUR/child, students, seniors.
T: 00386 3 700 20 56, 00386 31 645 937.
Zalec offers many possibilities for leisure time activities (cycling, hiking, horseback riding, climbing, fishing) so as mouth-watering local cuisine which you can taste in many family owned restaurants and tourist farms.
Don’t know where to sleep? Search no more! There are various accommodation options in Žalec. Have a look here.
But one of the most unique accommodation options where we stayed is called Lavender Hill Eco Resort.