5 Days in Slovenia: Discovering the Country’s Eastern Region

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A tiny country in Central Europe, Slovenia is often overshadowed by its neighboring countries. Glacial lakes, hot springs, medieval towns, vineyards, and a thriving gastronomy scene; it's arguably one of the most underrated places to visit in the EU. 

While most people tend to stick to exploring the Western region, the diverse landscapes and lesser-known areas of the East make it an attractive option for travelers looking to experience beautiful Slovenia in its entirety. 

Views from Monstera Estate

The heartland of the country, the Eastern region portrays Slovenian culture and a local way of life through its abundance of outdoor activities, charming city-squares, unique gastronomic finds, pumpkin oil mills, & hundreds of Vineyards. Cities such as Maribor and Celje serve as springboards to enjoy the best the East has to offer. With far fewer visitors than the West, you'll have the chance to explore this area at ease- even during peak months. 

First Stop; Prekmurje

You’ll notice you’ve crossed into Eastern Slovenia once you’re met by rolling hills and the unmistakable neat rows that can only mean one thing: vineyards. A little over an hour from Ljubljana and one of the most remote areas in the country, Prekmurje excels in production. Due in part to its untouched natural surroundings, this area is best known for its pumpkin oil, wine making abilities, and fresh foods. 

Radgonske Gorice Winery

Home of the sparkling wine for over 170 years, Radgonske Gorice Winery is upping the ante when it comes to production cycles and its wines. Fancy sampling a sparkling wine completely untouched by light in every part of its production cycle? Vinification and maturation are carried out in centuries old cellars, and the sparkling wine is put into dark bottles and completely sealed for guests to try in the dark!

Radgonske Gorice Winery Tour Prices;

Untouched by Light Experience; €200/experience. The experience is for a maximum of 10 people

Group Cellar Tour; The price is EUR 13/person incl. VAT

Tastings at Kocbek Oil Mill

Ever wondered where the pumpkin oil you’re tasting in Slovenia is from? Dating back to 1929, discover the intricate process of transforming various pumpkins into liquid gold at the family-owned Kocbek Oil Mill. Followed by a tour of the oil-making process, be prepared to have your taste buds heightened as you sample 5 different oils and an array of pumpkin-infused goodies; from pumpkin chocolate to a Gin & Tonic sprinkled with pumpkin seeds.

Kocbek Oil Mill Tour Prices;
Price of the entire offer for groups up to 25 people is 160 EUR
Over 25 people there is an additional cost of 6,50 EUR per person

Rajh Restaurant

Where To Eat In Prekmurje

Nothing says Slovenia like family-run establishments – and Rajh Restaurant is no exception. Breathing new life into the culinary landscapes of the region, Rajh uses traditional methods with international flair. 

Helmed by Chef Leon Pintarič, his dedication and passion have earned the Restaurant recognition in the esteemed Michelin Guide. Be sure to start with the Langos; fried dough, yogurt, chives, radishes, grated-smoked ham, horseradish, and hemp seeds!

Where To Stay in Prekmurje

Lush hills, winding streets, and charming neighborhoods. The Goričko region of Prekmurje is home to some of the country’s best natural resources and parks, and is home to a few accommodations that embody the meaning of rest and relaxation. 

Coziness and hospitality go hand in hand at Monstera Estate in the Western foothills of Goričko. Helmed by Chef Bine Volčič and wife Katarina, the couple shifted their way of living in an effort to open their home to guests looking to experience the culture and gastronomy of the country. The 6-bedroom home is ideal for those looking for a country escape with an added element of meeting new people. Sourcing ingredients from local farms and nearby Korina Herbs, you can feel the sense of community and flavor in each dish. A tranquil haven nestled in a forest, Korina Herbs is run by biologist and herbalist, Lovro Vehovar, and ethnologist and anthropologist, Monika Vehovar. 

The property and entire experience nourishes your soul. From the welcoming family to the farm-to-table ingredients, Monstera is one not to miss on your travels through Eastern Slovenia.

Dining at Monstera Estate

Monstera Estate Culinary Weekend Pricing;
From 884,52 eur (2 persons in a double room) - Includes; 2 night half board, breakfast, relaxed communal family dinner, several course dinner experience, and optional morning yoga

Located between two inactive volcanoes, Gjerkeš Estate is the epitome of a nature stay surrounded by lush greenery and serenity.. Housed amongst the wine, many of the hotel’s rooms offer direct views to the vineyards in the backyard. Minimalistic rooms with just the right amount of comfort, common spaces, a fine-dining restaurant, and wine tastings all showcase the flavor of Slovenia in one way or another. 

Gjerkeš Estate Exteriors

Second Stop; Maribor

Rolling up to Maribor’s charming canals, cobblestone streets, and colorful facades- visitors are often in awe that somewhere like this exists outside of Ljubljana. Straddling the Drava River, Maribor is a hub for those looking to explore the East without the crowds. 

The city's claim to fame, the Old Vine House is something not to go amiss. Home to a 400-year-old grapevine that still produces a small amount of wine, you can’t travel to Maribor and not partake in a wine tasting inside the Vine House. 

Though Slovenia does not grow coffee, it is home to a number of artisan coffee roasters wanting to give it their own personal touch- Slovenian style, and one of those spots is located right in Maribor! Located on an unassuming side street with a beautiful outdoor garden, Hikofi creates various coffee drinks from cold brews to coffee cocktails. 

Old Vine House, Maribor

If coffee isn’t enough, pop next door to Polek Wine Bar for an impressive collection of Slovenian wines or venture over to LeVino Wine Bar where you can sample Slovenia’s infamous orange wines from a beautifully enclosed outdoor patio.

An eclectic mix of pink walls and red carpeting, you’ll wonder where you are when you enter the Maribor Regional Museum. Portraying the history of Maribor through its many exhibits, the highlight is the Knight’s Hall and Loreto Chapel. Though Slovenia is known for its history, the food culture is definitely one that needs further exploring. The digital culinary table at the Museum allows guests to explore the intersection of technology and gastronomy.

Maribor Regional Museum

Where To Eat In Maribor

Once left to the artistic guidance of Chef David Vračko, the show begins. Guests can expect an eclectic evening filled with unique flavor combos and improvisation during a 5-course tasting menu and wine pairing. At Mak restaurant, there is no menu.. So anything goes!

Mak Restaurant, Maribor

Where To Stay in Maribor

In the main square, Hotel Maribor’s central location and local hospitality make it an excellent place to stay when visiting the city. Boutique-style accommodations are found in the hotel’s two main buildings; chic city apartments or garden rooms with a private garden terrace. 

Third Stop; Celje

As the fourth largest city in Slovenia, Celje is just a short drive from Maribor and around an hour from Ljubljana. Steeped in history and medieval culture, Celje has a way of making all feel welcome the minute you arrive. Stand along the River Savinja to admire the town forest and impressive Celje Castle.

River Savinja, Celje

Locals are extremely passionate about the city’s past and present, so there’s no better way to begin a trip than with a local walking tour. If you stop by the tourism center in the old town, you can easily sign up (and also catch a glimpse of ancient ruins carefully preserved within the building too). 

Passing by the famous K67 Kiosk and continuing to the riverbank, the shining star of the walking tour is most definitely the Pelikan House. Learn the history of photography as you explore the home and studio of Slovenian photographer, Josip Pelikan. Immerse yourself in the full experience, with options to dress up in traditional attire and try your hand at old-school photography.

Pelikan House Admission; 10 euros for adults and 5 for children

Pelikan House Museum

Where To Eat In Celje

Inspired by his worldwide travels, self-taught Chef Marko Pavcnik has created an appetizing menu at Lalu. Featuring local and wild ingredients from Slovenia paired with natural wines from Freser Wines, Lalu is a culinary haven in the heart of Celje. The cozy spot marries flavors beautifully and the passion shines through in the interiors, team, and food presentation. 

Where To Stay In Celje

A subtle yellow building with a welcoming seating area out front, Hotel Evropa sits proudly in Celje’s town center. With sweeping views of the castle and hustle and bustle of the city on your doorstep, Evropa is the perfect base for exploring the history and cultural landmarks of Celje. 

Lalu Restaurant, Celje
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