We arrived at our beautiful B&B hotel Vila Castanea as our first stop in Kostanjevica na Krki, excited to begin a new adventure. Across the street we met up with our first guide who gave us a historical tour of this small island town and took us to his micro brewery to try his beer selection and home made liqueurs. They were honestly all delicious. I particularly liked the beer made from chestnut honey and the liqueur brewed from green tea. Our kids were mighty thirsty and got to sample his homemade elderberry juice, which was also refreshing and tasty. There was an orchard on the property and they got to experience picking fruit straight off the trees and playing along the banks of the river Krka with our lovely guide Anže.
After the tasting we sampled the local cuisine at Gostilna Žolnir. The highlight of the meal was the chocolate melting heart souffle with berries and ice cream. Next we were taken on a tour of a former monastery turned art gallery. The grounds were absolutely breathtaking and my favourite art exhibit was of a series of paintings by a famous local artist inspired by Klimt. The kids really enjoyed running around the long outdoor passageways of the monastery. While we had a lovely wine tasting with snacks, the kids enjoyed coloring and juice amidst the huge barrels lining the cellar.
We headed off to the cave for a private tour. I’ve been to some caves in Slovenia before but this visit felt more intimate and special as we were the only ones inside. At one point our guide turned off all the lights so we could experience the total darkness. The kids felt like real explorers as they each had a flashlight to inspect the stalactites and stalagmites for themselves. After a nice dinner, we enjoyed a nice bath back at the hotel and turned in for the night.
On day two, we woke up refreshed and enjoyed a tasty breakfast buffet with locally grown organic fruit on cereal as well as a typical Slovenian spread of bread and cold cuts. Unfortunately due to the rain, we were unable to try the boat ride and stand up paddle board water activities but it’s a good reason to come back and visit this town again! We decided to drive around the surrounding towns and checked out Terme Čatež as well as a couple of ancient oak trees. We met up with our next guide who took us up to a tower on a hill and told us exciting stories of the Uskoks who were pirates of the Adriatic that settled on those hills hundreds of years ago. We had a look around the heritage trail which would take 3 hours to complete (another reason to come back). We finished off our trip with another highlight- a visit with one of the best local winemakers of the region, the Jelenič winery. We were greeted with homemade bread and lamb stew, and then headed down to the cellar to sample some truly excellent wine accompanied by homemade salami and bacon. My favourite was the refreshingly sweet dessert wine. We were gifted a bottle of red Frankinja to take home, which we will really enjoy opening in later on while we savour the memories of our first family trip in Slovenia.
Jean and Matevž
Photos: Jean & Matevž