East Loop

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Description

It will be my pleasure and honor to introduce you to the eastern part of Slovenia, often overlooked in behalf of more known destinations on the western side, such as Bled, Postojna Cave, Soča Valley, Piran.

Destinations we are going to visit on the East Loop are crowd-free.
The approach to the visitors is different, often we have a feeling we entered somebody's house.

Despite the simplicity, some places on the loop are listed as European Destinations of Excellence - EDEN (Kolpa, Solčava), others are considered important biospheric reserves by UNESCO (Bizeljsko, Kozjansko).

Except for the Logar Valley, all other destinations make part of the Posavje and Podravje wine-growing regions.
The Alpine peaks around the Logar Valley are slowly extending to the hilly Styria region and finally Maribor, the second largest Slovenia's city.
Hills get flat towards the Prekmurje region, part of flat Pannonian Plain extending to Hungary.
Jeruzalem has an amusing story about the origin of its name.
In Ptuj Castle you can admire the biggest museum collection, in Rogatec the biggest ethnological open-air museum in Slovenia.
Kozjansko and Bizeljsko are the regions of delicious fruit.
Kostanjevica na Krki is a unique town on an island in the middle of the Krka River.
Novo Mesto is the capital of Dolenjska region.
Metlika and surroundings let us have a look to the Bela Krajina, the region with the peculiar folk costumes made of hemp, and the warmest Slovenian river Kolpa.
The mesmerizingly green Krka Valley is the cherry on the East Loop cake.

Loopy tip:
Wonderful destinations away from crowds, including Podravje and Posavje wine-growing regions.

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Program (4 days)

Day One

On the way to the northeast of Slovenia, we first pass the captivating little town of Kamnik, where we can stop for a walk.
Kamnik was a lively trading hub, connecting the Alpine villages with Ljubljana.
It has a well kept medieval center.

From Kamnik on, a curvy serpentined road takes us over the mountain ridges to the other side, to the world of Kamniško - Savinjske Alps.
Driving upstream the Savinja River, we soon reach an incredibly stunning Logar Valley.
Surrounded by over 2000 m (about 6560 ft) peaks, about 7 km (4,35 mi) long, is hiding the cozy life in the lonely farms.
The cultural landscape has been shaped through the centuries with great respect for nature.
Nature and tradition are embroidered into a pattern of sustainable tourism, thus the Logar Valley Park received the Future in the Alps Award by CIPRA - Commission Internationale pour la Protection des Alpes.

Once we enter, there are various places to visit and several things to do in Logar Valley.
The best option for our context of visiting is to walk the path from the beginning passing the legendary linden tree, the woodcutter and charcoal-burner huts, majestic boulders, marvelous corners with specific flora, ending up at the mighty Rinka Waterfall.
The walk is about 3 hours, considered easy with the last part toward Rinka Waterfall considered semi-difficult.

We keep going on with thrilling panoramas taking the Solčava Panoramic Road, leading across the mountain ridges of Koroška region. Breathtaking.

After passing seven valleys, seven hills, and seven rivers, we arrive in Maribor in the late afternoon.
Second-largest Slovenia's city is home to the most successful country's football club and the oldest vine in the world.
The old town with the Lent quarter on the left riverbank of the Drava River boasts the soul of Maribor.
Maribor Castle with an amazing baroque staircase is now a regional museum with an interesting collection of different items from the everyday life of the citizens, including more than 300 years old pharmacy tools.
On Slomšek Square the remarkable buildings St John's Cathedral, University of Maribor, Slovenian National Theatre, Archbishopric, and main Slovenia's Post Office.
On the Main Square, the baroque Plague Statue and the Town Hall with a funky, asymmetric facade.
Back down at the riverside, in the Old Vine House, you can enrich your knowledge of wine production with a glass of superb wine in your hands next to the mighty old vine.

Suggested overnight in Maribor or surroundings.


Day Two

Hills are slowly replaced by the vast plains as we approach the Pomurje region.
Pomurje got its name after the Mura River, the region's vein of life.
The timber rafts carried the cargo up and down, many trading bases developed to present-day towns.
Thus the fortification of the riverbanks, called Bujranje, was crucial to keep the life along the river possible.
We can stop at the Bujranje Museum on the Island of Love in Ižakovci to have a bit more detailed look into this specific activity.

Lendava is located at the far northeast of Slovenia.
The Vinarium Tower above the town is either one of the nicest places where to have a wine tasting in Slovenia or a special viewpoint to the 4 countries.
By standing in Slovenia, you are looking to Austria, Croatia, and Hungary.

By driving to Jeruzalem we're back into the green rolling hills.
The Ljutomer - Ormož wine district is considered to be among the best terroirs for white wines in the world.
We can stop in one of the wineries on the way, randomly or by appointment.

Središče ob Dravi is home to the pumpkin seed oil cooperative.
The best place to learn more about this traditional production, you can even purchase freshly pressed oil.

We arrive in Ptuj in the late afternoon and go for a relaxing walking tour.
The medieval old town is a cultural monument, being one of the best-preserved in Slovenia.
Minorite Square is the closest to the Drava River, on the outskirts of the old town.
In the Monastery's Library, the monks are keeping over 5000 books. Some are over 400 years old.
By continuing towards the Town Square we get to the administrative part of the town.
Both the baroque statue of St Florian and late gothic Town Hall are expressing the fusion of different influences, either Romance or Germanic, in a Slavic world.
On the Slovenski Square, the Orpheus Monument is the biggest Roman monument built of a single stone piece in the world.
The St George's Church with the bell tower and the medieval houses with cutely painted facades are like colorful stones, fulfilling a beautiful mosaic.
Not far, the Dominican Monastery is a venue for exclusive events, being part of the old town for more than 800 years.
We visit the Ptuj Castle in the morning the next day.

Suggested overnight in Ptuj or surroundings.


Day Three

Ptuj Castle is reigning the old town from above.
It is home to the biggest museum collection in Slovenia, including carnival masks, weapons, tapestry, paintings, stoves, musical instruments, and even a wine cellar.

The panoramic road is winding over the Ptujska Gora and Donačka Gora towards Rogatec.
Enchanting villages and hamlets surrounded by farm fields and pastures are expressing the farming background of the region, hidden from the busy rhythm of big cities.

The right place to experience the farming heritage and traditions it the Rogatec open-air museum, the biggest ethnological park in Slovenia.
Through the visit of the farmhouse, granary, shed, and an old shop you are able to meet the cultural background of the region.
In the nearby Strmol Manor, you can even attend some of the workshops and create your own souvenir.

Bizeljsko and Kozjansko areas are on the UNESCO list of important biosphere reserves.
The apples and pears from Kozjansko are reportedly the best to make the famous sweet called Strudel of.
Repnice underground cellars are distinctive sites in the Bizeljsko wine-growing district.
Dug into the quartz sand originally served as vegetable storages.
Today, some of them are turned into probably the most unusual places to have a wine tasting in Slovenia.
Please let me know in advance if you would like to stop in one of them.

Kostanjevica na Krki is the gem of southeastern Slovenia.
The charming little town was built on an artificial island in the middle of the Krka River.
A stone throw from the town the Božidar Jakac Galery, the biggest in the country.
On the permanent and temporary exhibitions, you can admire some of the highlights in Slovenian art.
Around the gallery building, there is a vast forma-viva park with statues made by sculptors from all over the world.
A bit further, Kostanjevica Cave is proving the karstic geological background of the region.
Visit of the cave is possible just by appointment.

The hills around Kostanjevica na Krki are full of Zidanice, wine cottages.
Usually, we don't miss the opportunity to have a wine tasting in one of them.

Suggested overnight in Kostanjevica na Krki or surroundings.


Day Four

The town of Novo Mesto with a quaint old town and a bridge over the bottle green Krka River is the capital of the Dolenjska region.
It is an important industrial site but further out the countryside is mainly used for farming.
The area around Novo Mesto is known for the Cviček wine, a local blend of white and red varieties and the most particular wine of the Dolenjska wine-growing district.
Due to presence of iron ore in the area, the town was an important hub in the Iron Age.
The archeological material is carefully kept in the Dolenjski Museum.
It is considered the richest cultural heritage of that period worldwise.

Bela Krajina region with the towns of Črnomelj, Metlika, and Semič is covered with vast vineyards, tourist farms, and nature sites.
Kolpa River with its tributaries is a significant feature of the region.
The warmest Slovenia's river is a paradise for water sports and outdoor activities, such as rafting, horseriding, cycling, hiking, paragliding.

The road through the Krka Valley takes us back to the center of the country, towards Ljubljana.
Adorable villages scattered all around are inviting to have a closer look.
In Žužemberk we stop to see the mighty castle with torment history, located above the Krka River.
In the hamlet called Gradiček, the Krka River spring is located.
We have a relaxing break there, before continuing to our final destination.


Overnights are not arranged by Loopy Slovenia.
You can extend your stay in any of the destinations to have a day or more at leisure without additional costs.
For information and suggestion please send an email.

  • 1

    Logar Valley

    Enchanting Alpine valley with rich flora and fauna.

  • 2

    Maribor

    Second-largest Slovenia's city is located on the riverbanks of the Drava River.

  • 3

    Lendava

    Lendava is home to the Vinarium Tower.
    From the top of it, you can see Austria, Croatia, and Hungary by standing in Slovenia.
  • 4

    Jeruzalem

    Among the best terroirs for the white wines in the world.
  • 5

    Ptuj

    Ptuj Carnival is the biggest yearly event in Slovenia.

  • 6

    Rogatec

    Rogatec Museum is the biggest open-air ethnological park in Slovenia.

  • 7

    Bizeljsko and Kozjansko

    Picturesque village areas on the UNESCO list of important biospheric reserves.

  • 8

    Kostanjevica na Krki

    Božidar Jakac Gallery is the biggest art pavilion in Slovenia.

  • 9

    Novo Mesto

    The capital of the Dolenjska region.

  • 10

    Bela Krajina region

    The region around Kolpa River is one of the European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN).

  • 11

    Krka Valley

    Once called the Valley of Castles due to the number of castles in such a small area.


What is included in this tour?

  • Pick up and drop off at your hotel
  • Parking fees, local taxes, insurance
  • Professional tour guiding
  • Travelling in comfortable air-conditioned vehicle
  • Bottled water on the way

Location

Reviews


Robyn / Loopy Slovenia FB profile, September 2015

I just completed both tours with Loopy.
After doing one tour I had to do the other.
As well as visiting the usual tourist sites we visited some hidden jewels of Slovenia.
What a fantastic way to see the country.
It's the best tour I've been on.

Sandra / Tripadvisor and Loopy Slovenia FB profile, June 2016

I and my mother had an amazing trip with Loopy Slovenia.
We took the East Loop and saw a beautiful country.
We had very interesting stops, enough time to explore the towns and enjoy the views.
It's a great way of traveling in a country with a poor public transport system.
The guide Jernej, or you can call him Bart is very enthusiastic and knows a lot about the country and Slovenian history.
He's very willing to help you with everything and drives safely.

Jen / Tripadvisor, July 2016

We only had a few days and would never have been able to see all the sights we did without this tour.
It was an incredible value for money.
I booked online from the UK with ease and Bart was a fantastic tour guide.
It was just me and a friend and he tailored the tour and information to us.
He is extremely knowledgeable, entertaining and if we go back to Slovenia we will do another tour with Loopy Slovenia.