Goriška Brda, or commonly referred to as Brda, is one of the smallest wine-growing regions in Slovenia, but don’t let that fool you. What it lacks in size it offers in quality. In fact, Brda is home to award-winning vineyards like Simičič Marjan and Movia, and also Klet Brda, the largest wine cellar in Slovenia.
After my first visit to Goriška Brda, I fell in love. I couldn’t believe such a beautiful place was relatively unknown outside of Slovenia. I decided to learn more about the region as I embark on a new journey and a series of posts exploring Primorska more deeply. Primorska is one of the eight regions of Slovenia, located along the western border. In the below image, you can see where Brda is located, just along the border with Italy.
Wine Production in Goriška Brda
Often referred to as Slovenia’s Tuscany, and while this paints a picture of what to expect, I also think it is a disservice to the region. Brda can stand on its own, and it does. It is also part of one of the oldest wine-producing cultures in the world. The oldest grapevine is in Slovenia. Before the French or Spanish, Slovenian wine-making has been taking place since the time of Celts and Illyrian settlements.
Primorska produces the most wine in Slovenia. It is estimated between 68-75% of the wine produced throughout the country is white. Most wine produced in Slovenia never even leaves the country. Some experts estimate up to 90% of the wine is consumed domestically.
There are four different wine regions in Primorska; Goriška Brda, Kras, the Vipava Valley, and Slovenian Istria. Goriška Brda while the smallest has also produced the most awards. This site has a really nice page about the wine regions in Slovenia
I might sound like a broken record, but because of Slovenia’s location, it is at the cross-hairs not only of influence from surrounding neighbors but also benefits from having very diverse landscapes and climates. The area of Goriška Brda has a Mediterranean feel even though it is not on the coast, and in the same note, you notice the Alpine influence.
Not just wine is produced on these fertile lands but Brda is known for their cherries. They also grow peaches, apricots, and pears among other things.
Vineyards you can visit in Goriška Brda
Klet Brda – the largest wine cellar in Slovenia. It is a cooperative owned by 400 wine growers! You can do a tasting without a reservation. The tasting is available in English and the schedule varies.
Bjana – offers a guesthouse with tastings. Perfect for those who drove to the area!
Kabaj – award-winning wine producers that also offer overnight stay, a restaurant, and tastings. The restaurant offers the local cuisine of Brda.
Gredič – is truly a work of art and high on my bucket list for Brda. They offer overnight stays, wine tastings, a pool, and a restaurant (local cuisine) all while being housed in a small castle.
Edi Simčič – also offers tastings, a wine “school”, and art workshop on the estate. There is also a stunning villa which can be rented (see: expensive).
What to do and see in Goriška Brda (besides wine)
The best way to enjoy Goriška Brda is by car but that isn’t always possible. Luckily there is a Hop-On bus that is available during certain periods. The lovely people from Brda Tourism sent me this info to share with all of you. Note that this bus does not run throughout the year nor every day. Those details are found at the bottom of the schedule.
Šmartno is the original reason for visiting Brda. The entire town is declared a cultural heritage monument. Šmartno is a medieval walled town perched on top of a hill overlooking Brda. Its walls and watchtowers were built to protect it from the Turks and also the Venetians.
The town itself is very small but every little corner is beautiful. There you can visit the Briška House (Brda House), buy from artisan sellers set up inside the walls, and have an incredible meal from Marica Hiša. They only offer two menus each day based on local ingredients and even their wines and other products are produced by them locally in Medana.
Gonjače Viewing Tower
No trip to Brda is complete without climbing the Gonjače Viewing Tower. Dedicated to the 315 citizens of Brda who died in WWII. It is perfectly placed in the middle of the region giving incredible 360-degree views.
Dobrovo is very quiet but a point of interest is the Dobrovo Castle. The castle hosts a museum, art from Zoran Mušič, a restaurant, and a wine cellar! It is 3€ to enter the museum and it is open every day but Monday.
This walking trail takes about 1 hour and is about 5 kilometers in length. It is dedicated to Alojz Gradnik a Slovene poet. The path takes you through Brda and explores the peoples’ relationship with the land. It starts in Dobrovo and ends in Medana. You can see more information and the route here.
YES. There is a wine safari in Goriška Brda. Kontrabant offers a short safari (3 hours for 70 €) or “The Real One” that lasts 6 hours and costs 130€ per person.
Kontrabant hosts a yearly wine festival each June in Brda called BrdaDOK. For a small fee you can visit a range of vineyards around the area, do wine tastings, and wine cellar tours. Read about my experiences attending last year.
While this is not in Brda, if you are driving from Ljubljana this bridge is found right before the road dips into Italy for less than 2 kilometers. Solkan Bridge is famous for being the world’s longest stone arch railway bridge. For me, it was more about seeing the Soča River. The colors amaze me still to this day!
Goriška Brda Gallery
Because there were simply too many beautiful things to share, here are other images not shared in this post.
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