Dolenjska is a region located in southeastern Slovenia. Sometimes also written as Lower Carniola in English. Known for its vineyards, rolling hills, rivers, and thermal springs this hidden gem should not be missed when visiting Slovenia. It is just a short drive from Ljubljana and full of surprises. I wanted to share five of my personal recommendations and what I think are the most unique things you can see or do in Dolenjska.
See a castle on an island in a river.
I couldn’t resist not including a castle on this list. In fact there are a lot of castles scattered around Dolenjska but I chose Otočec Castle (Grad Otočec) because it is on an island in the Krka River. The castle houses a hotel and restaurant but you can still walk around the grounds. The area around the castle is more like a park and it’s really beautiful to visit with lots of wildlife around.
See the Venice of Dolenjska.
It might take longer to say Kostanjevica na Krki than it does to walk across it but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit this tiny town near the Slovenian-Croatian border. Built on an island in the middle of the Krka River this town is something off the beaten path. On the island you can visit Lamut’s Art Salon which is a small art gallery which doubles as a great tourist information center.
This is when I learned about Kostanjevica na Krki Monestary which I highly suggest you plan to stop at if visiting Kostanjevica na Krki. It is just a 3 minute drive down the road.
Go to the Land of Hayracks.
Traveling around Slovenia you might have seen these wooden structures near farms, in fields, or even next to some homes. In Slovene they are called kozolec and they are (almost) exclusively found in Slovenia. They are often historical structures but some you will see still in use today. Hayracks are for drying and storing hay or grain. In Dolenjska, you can visit the Land of Hayracks (Dežela Kozolcev) a museum all about these hayracks, which sounds funny but honestly it was really interesting and cool to see them up close and even go inside them.
Cviček is only made in Dolenjska and is a very unique wine made from a mix of red and white grapes. It contains grapes from the oldest known type of grapevine found in Europe. It has a ruby color and low alcohol content (7.5-10% compared to average ~12% as are most wines). Because of the low alcohol content this wine is not very sweet, but rather more acidic. It is said that because of the flavonoids in Civček, it has healing properties so don’t be shy to have another glass!
Visit the First Lady’s Birthplace.
Thanks to Melania Trump, Slovenia has become more familiar to Americans. You can visit her birthplace in Sevnica, and more of my personal interest, you can visit the Sevnica Castle. This castle has been around (in various forms) since the 1300s! It is thought that the first Bible translated into Slovene was done here. Also the views from the castle are quite beautiful. For those who love to wander around the smaller lesser known towns this is a perfect stop.
As always, thank you so much for checking out this article and if you have any additional suggestions or recommendations drop them in the comments below! And be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram for daily updates of my adventures.
Owner of wanderinghelene.com. Anthropologist, content creator, castle explorer, coffee drinker, and lover of markets and very old places!