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The Beauty of Slovenia and Croatian Istria

Events Project Executive Caroline Phillips recently travelled to Slovenia and Croatian Istria as part of an Educational trip hosted by Moulden Marketing and Intours DMC. We ask Caroline to share the highlights of her latest travels and what makes these two locations an ideal place to organise an event.

I had never been to Slovenia or Croatia before and colleagues who have been there said it was an amazing destination with beautiful scenery, great local culture and cuisine and it certainly didn’t disappoint!

When is the best time to go to Slovenia and Croatian Istria?

The best part about this destination is you can go all year round. It’s a great winter destination and you have the beautiful snowy mountain scenery ideal for a range of winter sports and other activities. It’s also a lovely summer destination where you can participate in a range of activities such as a jeep safari, a boat trip, wine tasting, truffle hunting, a visit the famous Lipica horses or the Postojna caves.

Why would you take a group to both locations?

Slovenia and Croatian Istria are clean, safe and unspoilt and are two great places to visit which can be combined for an incentive programme or other type of event. Travel between the two is easy and a quick show of your passport will get you across the border from one to the other. Centrally located in Europe, there is good flight access. Quality service is readily offered for affordable prices and everything is within easy reach. Almost everyone speaks English and the locals are very welcoming and proud of where they live. Ljubljana is the green capital of Europe 2016 and Slovenia’s capital city. Only pedestrians, bicycles and buses are allowed in Ljubjana’s centre, this makes it a great city for exploring and getting around without having to worry too much about the traffic.

What was the food and drink like?

The local cuisine is delicious! With Italian and Austrian influences offering a variety of fresh fish and meat dishes accompanied by locally produced wines, you’re spoilt for choice and there is no problem with finding somewhere unique and impressive to eat or drink. Whether it be a rustic local farm house lunch, dinner in an historic ballroom or castle or out in the open air taking in the stunning scenery, there are countless possibilities for a great dining experience. Slovenia has over 28,000 wineries! You can visit the local vineyards and taste locally made liqueurs and wines. We visited Kozlovic vinery and with breathtaking views, combined with a modern design it is an ideal addition to a programme. This trip involved a lot of food and wine tasting at various places. We had the opportunity to go truffle hunting where we were taken to a forest by a local family and accompanied by a couple of excellently trained (and very cute) dogs who were able to sniff out the truffles so they could be carefully and skilfully dug out from the ground. There was such a great sense of achievement when a truffle was found. This is a great activity for groups and to experience the exclusive local delicacies. Once you’ve been truffle hunting, you can then head to a local restaurant and include truffles into a dining experience as well as learn how to cook them.

We enjoyed another culinary highlight after exploring the Slovenian countryside and testing our driving skills off the beaten track on a jeep safari. We were dropped off by a stunning lake where white clothed tables with beautiful table décor awaited us for lunch. Whilst taking in the spectacular views, it was great to experience the outdoors in the middle of nowhere and taste the local cuisine. It was as if by magic, beautifully presented food appeared out of nowhere.

These two unique destinations just a few hours flight from the UK, blew me away.

  • Caroline Phillips
  • Events Project Executive

What was the highlight of your trip?

We got to see so many places in Slovenia and Croatian Istria over three days and one of the highlights for me was being taken for a surprise dinner on the last night. After a short walk around the cobbled streets of Rovinj we ended up by the seafront and there to our surprise were a number of fishing boats. Accompanied by the local fishermen and their oars, we hopped on board and as we rowed on the open sea, the sun was just setting and the fishermen sang beautiful Croatian songs. The whole experience was breathtaking and I felt privileged for that particular surreal moment in time. We were dropped off at Spacio Matika, a rustic tavern, and sat down to a traditional Istrian dinner where we ate delicious fresh fish that were caught that day by the fishermen who accompanied us on the boats. The fishermen joined us for dinner and an impromptu sing song ensued – a real ‘money can’t buy’ moment and truly unforgettable.

What were the hotels like?

We stayed in three different hotels during the trip. The first night we stayed in the Grand Hotel Union which is a very traditional historic hotel and is an iconic building in Ljubljana. Popular for its conference facilities, the hotel offers two huge rooms called the White Hall and Union Hall – ideal for meetings, gala dinners and award ceremonies. We then stayed at the Kempinski Palace Hotel in Portoroz. This was my favourite hotel as it offers a classic ornate style with fabulous design features and décor. I particularly enjoyed the show round of this hotel as we were guided up to the roof top terrace to experience the hotel’s beautifully presented cocktails and canapés. After looking around the meeting facilities we were given a live cooking demonstration by the chef who showed us how to cook a dish with in season, freshly picked asparagus. The staff and service were impeccable. The last place we stayed was at the Lone Hotel in Rovinj. A uniquely designed hotel which is really cool and quirky and just a short walk from the beach. With great meeting facilities, it’s definitely worth considering if you’re looking for a property with a modern twist. Each hotel offered something different and all provided us with a great insight into the types of accommodation and meeting space that can be considered depending on each client’s specific criteria.

Final thoughts?

Overall I was really impressed with both destinations. They both offer so much to see and do and everywhere provided great quality of service. These two unique destinations just a few hours flight from the UK, blew me away, and following this great insight, we will be highly recommending them for consideration for all types of events from meetings and incentives to gala dinners and press launches.

Do take a look at our Pinterest board detailing the sights and adventures.

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