SEPTEMBER 10-22, 2023
SEPTEMBER 10-OCTOBER 1, 2023
If you’ve ever wanted to visit a place that few people even know exists (and fewer still can point out on a map), then come with us to Slovenia; it won’t be long before this smart central European country is setting the tone for fashionable travel.
With less than two million inhabitants, and a few tourists attracted by tales of its idyllic beauty, Slovenia is very tranquil and sophisticated. Its beauty has drawn comparisons with Switzerland, a country twice its size but with some similarities. Slovenia is blessed with fantastic, jagged mountains, turquoise rivers and silver lakes, vast subterranean caves and just enough medieval castles to conjure up a fairy tale or two!
To top all of this it has some of the most stunningly scenic rail journeys in the whole of Europe with many comfortable locomotive hauled trains, quaint stations and welcoming staff.
Day 1 Sunday September 10: (D)
Arrival in Ljubljana either by air or train. Transfer to our hotel and check-in. After time to relax we meet up for our welcome dinner.
Day 2 Monday September 11:(B, L)
Today we will explore Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, with a local guide. It is a fascinating little city, we meet in reception at 9.30am for a guided walk. First, we will visit the castle, via the funicular, that overlooks Ljubljana and the River Ljubljanica which flows through this picturesque city of beautiful bridges and Baroque townhouses. Our tour will end at the quayside where we join our boat for a river cruise on the Ljubljanica. We will have “welcome” lunch on board. The rest of the day is free for your own relaxation or perhaps a visit to the railway museum.
Day 3 Tuesday September 12: (B)
A short walk to the main railway station where we catch our train through the mountains to Postojna. On arrival, we have a short road transfer to Predjama Castle, just 6 miles from the Cave. For more than 700 years it has perched proudly on its 403 foot high cliff: powerful, defiant and impregnable. After our visit we will break for lunch before our visit to Postojna Cave. The caves are a network of 13 miles of passages, galleries and chambers. It is Slovenia’s largest cave in the “classic karst” and the most visited show cave in Slovenia. In 1872 railway lines were laid in the cave; electricity arrived in 1884.
We begin our visit aboard the cave train; the electric lighting allows you to admire the size and splendour of the underground world on an amazing 3 mile ride. We will also see a collection of different cave dwelling creatures including the “Human Fish”, a kind of Salamander. Later we return by train to Ljubljana.
Day 4 Wednesday September 13: (B, L)
Another superbly scenic railway journey today as we head east along the Sava river valley to Dobova, which is near the border with Croatia. We alight here and take our road coach to the nearby wine cellars of Najger’s Repnice. Repnice are caves, dug in the flint-stone which was washed up by the Pannonian Sea millions of years ago. At the top of the Graben valley Jozica and Martin Najger open for us their remarkable Repnice, dug by Martin’s great-grandfather in the 19th century. We have a wine tasting and some specialties in the main room of the cave and see one of the other dug out rooms where the wine is aged. After this we go for a very special late lunch served in a nearby farm. We then return by rail to Ljubljana.
Day 5 Thursday September 14: (B)
Today we take the train to Bohinjska Bistrica, passing Lake Bled, where we return to spent the next 5 nights. At Bohinjska Bistrica we will be met by our coach for our visit of Lake Bohinj and the Vogel cable car. The cable car travels 5,036 feet above sea level to a winter ski resort where you will have the most spectacular views (weather permitting). As we travel in the cable car you can see Lake Bohinj and surrounding mountains.
There will be time for a light lunch here before we return to our coach for our transfer to Lake Bled. Lake Bled is over a thousand years old and is by far the country’s most popular tourist destination because of the fairy tale lake and island, dramatically sited castle and high mountains. Lake Bled is extremely picturesque with its small island in the middle of the lake where many people travel by boat to get married.
Day 6 Friday September 15:(B)
The whole day is yours to explore, our program so far has given us little time to walk around the lake, visit the castle, ride the ski lift, take a horse drawn coach or just relax and enjoy our visit of Lake Bled.
Day 7 Saturday September 16:(B,L)
This morning we have a transfer to the railway station for our rail journey by steam train complete with restored vintage carriages. During our two-hour ride we will be accompanied by knowledgeable Bohinj Railway staff, along the historic Bohinj Railway through stunning scenery. We follow the river ‘Sava Bohinjka’ until we reach the 20,759 foot-long railway tunnel at Bohinjska Bistrica, this will be our second time to travel through the tunnel. We travel further along the line this time to alighting at Kanal. Where we take a coach and drive alongside the river Soča to the wine growing region known as Goriška Brda, stopping in the village of Gonjače to climb a 75 foot-high belvedere tower for marvellous views.
At Dobrovo we have lunch before our return to the Soca Valley, where we also visit the largest wine cellar in the region to taste and purchase some of the prominent wines of Goriška Brda. Return to Bled on the steam train.
Day 8 Sunday September 17: (B)
This morning we will have a transfer to the Vintgar Gorge, where we take a walk and feel as if we are in another world. We see crystal clear waters, lots of different river fish, a waterfall and for some of us the most important, we will walk under the stone railway bridge that we traveled along only yesterday.
Don’t forget your cameras and comfortable shoes. After our walk we transfer to the little town of Radovljica. Built upon a seventy 16 foot high outcrop above the River Sava. Here we have time for lunch, a visit to a most unusual museum (of gingerbread) and a guided (short walk) through the streets of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. We then return to Lake Bled for a short visit, via a boat called a Pletna to the little island in the lake.
Day 9 Monday September 18:(B, L)
Today we take the local train to Most na Soci for our first visit. Located on a rocky crest above the confluence of the Soca (once again you will be amazed by the beautiful color of the river) and Idrijca rivers. Due to the nearby Doblar Hydro Plant, the basins of the rivers were entirely inundated and below the settlement a vast lake was formed which now attracts both fishermen and visitors. We will go on a two hour cruise on the river. Time to relax, have lunch and enjoy the views from the boat. Mid-afternoon return by rail to Bled.
Day 10 Wednesday September 19 (B)
Free day in Bled. Overnight in Bled.
Day 11 Wednesday September 20 (B)
We catch the morning train, at 10:03 from Lesce-Bled station to Villach, just over the border in Austria. The afternoon and evening are free for your own exploration of this vibrant town on the River Drau. Overnight in Villach.
Day 12 Thursday September 21 (B)
After a leisurely breakfast we wave goodbye to Villach and we take the 11:14 am through train to Vienna arriving 3:25 pm. The rest of the day is free. Overnight in Vienna
Day 13 Friday September 22 (B)
The short option tour members depart today. The long option you will have a Free day today. Overnight in Vienna.
Day 14 Saturday September 23 (B, L)
This morning we take the train from Vienna to Graz via the world-famous Semmering Pass. Our coach will meet us for approx. half hour drive to South Styria Wine region, to the village of Stainz. With the local guide, we will discover the history, wine and culinary importance of the area. To verify the excellence of South Styria Culinary we will have lunch at a local restaurant. Later we will take a one-hour ride on a steam train “The Stainzer Flaschenzug – The Bottle train”, that runs on narrow gauge tracks, which first opened in 1892. Today the train is a great local attraction. The name of the train comes from the time when doctor “Höllerhansl” (1866-1935) practiced medicine. He was called to diagnose diverse diseases out of urine. That is why many people travelled with the narrow-gauge railway Preding – Wieselsdorf – Stainz to Höllerhansl with a little bottle of urine in their luggage. The train is normally steam hauled on the weekends. The coach will meet us and transfer us to our 4 stars hotel in the very centre of Graz for our 2 night stay.
Day 15 Sunday September 24 (B, D)
Graz is the second largest city in Austria, situated on the River Mur just 120miles southwest of Vienna. A leisurely morning before our guided tour of this fascinating city. We will start with a trip up the Schlossberg (with the funicular) and literally get the best views of the city. Then we will take a walk from the stunning cathedral, through the amazing renaissance Landhaus courtyard, double spiral staircase in The Burg Graz (official headquarters of the regional government), main shopping street, the main square and town hall to an extravagant steel construction on the river Mur (Island on the Mur). We then have a free afternoon to explore, for ourselves the old centre of Graz. Perhaps visit the fairyland railway beneath the castle or a visit to the tram museum. By now we will understand all the reasons why UNESCO declared Graz old town World Cultural Heritage. Plenty of free time before we meet in the evening for our dinner in a local restaurant near the hotel.
Day 16 Monday September 25 (B)
We will check out of our hotel and take a local train to Maribor where we start our Slovenia Tour, here we will stay and explore many places that we have yet to enjoy to the full. Maribor is the second largest city in Slovenia situated on the River Drava. Don’t be fooled by your first impression, as I once was. The Old City has so much to offer, with beautiful buildings, little streets, the park and the riverside to explore. Our luggage will be transferred from Graz to Maribor for us. After arrival, we have a guided tour of this lovely city including the famous puppet theatre before our visit to the Vinag wine cellar. Vinag is one of the largest and oldest classic wine cellars in Europe, there we will have a wine tasting of locally produced wine before free time for the evening and dinner. Restaurants will be pointed out to you for your evening dinner.
Day 17 Tuesday September 26 (B, L)
Today we will have a lovely railway journey east of Maribor. In the morning, we visit Ptuj, the oldest documented town in Slovenia. The core of the old town is protected as a cultural monument. At every step monuments bear witness to its ancient past, with traces of Roman Poetovio and the periods that followed. At a local restaurant on the bank of the River Drava we will have time for a refreshing lunch. Then we will take the train to Ivanjkovci, from where we will discover Jeruzalem, one of the most beautiful wine regions of Slovenia, the eastern part of Slovenske Gorice, the land of many vales and low rounded hillocks and ridges, where sunny south-facing slopes are covered with vineyards and orchards. At the local winery, we will have a taste of the local produced wine before returning to Maribor.
Day 18 Wednesday September 27(B, L)
Today we are going to visit the third largest town of Slovenia – Celje, which was an important Roman city called Celeia and in medieval times a home to the most important Slovenians (and also one of the most important European) aristocratic families – Counts of Celje. The remains of the castle owned by
this aristocratic family stand on a dominant point on a hill and we will discover the castle stories with our local “medieval” guide.n a nearby local tourist farm we will have a tasting of home produced cheese and other farm products. After lunch, we meet up with our local guide for a tour of this fascinating city before our journey back to Maribor.
Day 19 Thursday September 28 (B, L)
We take a morning train from Maribor to Podčetrtek; the first part of this railway track constitutes the very first constructed railway track in Slovenia. We spend the whole day in the Kozjansko region, which is an area of forests, rolling hills, vineyards and scattered farms. A road train will take us to visit a local brewery where we have a break to sample the local beer and enjoy this lovely countryside before moving onto the renovated Minoriti monastery complex (the part of the convent is also a celebrated pharmacy, which is one of the oldest monastic pharmacies in Europe), we will taste the local produced chocolate in a Chocolate boutique, Olimje.
In this fairy tale-like countryside we will have lunch in one of the welcoming farmhouses. Here they breed deer so we are able to feed them, if you so wish. Tidiness and beauty of these places has convinced even the strict European commission to award village Olimje with the golden medal on Entente Florale 2009 contest. Our road train will then return us to the railway station for our train back to Maribor.
Day 20 Friday September 29 (B, L)
The scenic railway line along the Drava River will take us to Dravograd, from where we take our coach to Mežica lead and zinc mine. With mining equipment, we will take a ride on a genuine mining train right to the heart of the mine. Driving through the 3.5 km long Glančnik tunnel lasts about 15 minutes and can truly be described as a unique experience. We will step out at the station in the heart of the mountain, 600 m below the surface of Veliki vrh. Accompanied by an experienced guide we find out more about the history of mining. Above all, we will have a typical local lunch underground. Later the afternoon train will take us back from Dravograd to Maribor.
Day 21 Saturday September 30 (B, L)
This morning we visit Pohorje mountain range where we take a cable car to the top. We have been able to see these mountains from our hotel since we arrived now let’s see if we can see the hotel from the top of the mountains. Every winter the slalom and giant slalom races for the Golden Fox World Cup for women are held here. From the top, there are wonderful views of Maribor and the Drava Valley. We will have time to have a light lunch here and perhaps a walk to soak in the views. We have some free time in Maribor on our return before we meet up again for a boat tour on the River Drava. This will be followed by our farewell dinner.
Day 22 Sunday October 1(B)
Today it is time to say “Nasvidenje Maribor, Nasvidenje Slovenija” (Goodbye Maribor, Goodbye Slovenia). Our coach will transfer us to the Graz for our return journey to Vienna by rail – giving us a second chance to admire the wonderful Semmering Pass. In Vienna we catch the airport train to the airport for flights home.
PRICES ARE PER PERSON
SHORT OPTION SEPTEMBER 10-22
DOUBLE ROOM OCCUPANCY$2,395
SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT$695
LONG OPTION SEPTEMBER 10-OCTOBER 1
DOUBLE ROOM OCCUPANCY$4,595
SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT$1,295
DEPOSIT TO HOLD SPACE CONDIRMED
FINAL PAYMENT DUE JUNE 10, 2023
TOUR CONDITIONS **PLEASE READ CAREFULLY**
Tour Price: All tour prices are subject to change without notice, at any time. All prices based on double room occupancy. Those people that use a credit card for payments a 3% conveyance fee will be added to the tour price. We reserve the right to change tour prices if necessary without prior notice.