And head to a place where:
on a cultural immersion tour filled with abandoned villages, seaside breakfasts, and white stallions
You know where coastal Italy and Croatia almost kiss?
Slovenia's like right there. But it also stretches to meet the former lands of the Austro-Hungarian empire. It's as if Slovenia was in the center of a group hug between Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia.
While Slovenia was once a part of Yugoslavia, it's a very independent Balkan country.
With regions like Istria, Drava, Mura, and Carniola, Slovenia already *sounds* like a fairy tale, but wait until you *experience* it.
Influenced by its situation in the Mediterranean, Ancient Rome, and the Alps, Slovenia comprises a storied history that includes the Venetians, the Croats, the Hapsburgs, and Sleeping Beauty. Probably.
I’ve spent months exploring, researching, and curating under-the-radar immersion adventures for you in Slovenia.
My trips are hand-crafted to bring you the full scope of a culture, stopping places others can't or don't even know about.
Like eating lunch in an abandoned village. Where the mother makes spectacular dishes, the daughter is the pastry chef, and the father makes wine AND is known to pull out his guitar to serenade you while you eat on their terrace.
Or eating gelato in Europe's second smallest medieval village, with fresh olive oil as a topping...because what else do you do when you've got an old fortress for a backdrop and olive groves dotting the valley?
The days of Slovenia being an under-the-radar destination are about to end.
National Geographic just named it BEST IN THE WORLD for 2023 and avoiding the crowds in the future is going to be more of a challenge.
Slovenia is a rising star in Europe. Meaning get there immediately while it's still emerging so you can say you were there before it started changing.
Most people are spending their vacations squeezing into overcrowded spots that are losing their culture and becoming little more than a movie-set façade.
Beautiful architecture, sure, but these places are no longer filled with locals and authentic experiences.
Instead, it's become a Disneyland of old buildings, tourist traps, and mediocre food.
This trip to Slovenia is like being welcomed home with generous locals eagerly waiting for guests to share their country with.
The cherry on top? Getting to see it all without the crowds that surround you at over-touristed spots.
Because one-of-a-kind experiences aren’t enough. Memories are made with people. The right people. You know what I mean.
Top-shelf people who respect your privacy and start stellar conversations. Group dynamics can make or break a trip. That's why we make sure everyone's a good fit for these types of culturally immersive experiences before we finalize the guest list.
You're getting years of expert reconnaissance, relationship-fostering, and lowkey travel spycraft. All rolled into 1 dreamy trip. Your itinerary is designed with enough free time to absorb every nuance, dig deep into a new culture, and enjoy the heck out of it. It's also full enough that you return home with no regrets.
None of this tourist restaurant crap where they're trying to make a buck by getting you in and out. No faded menus with pictures or sad iceberg lettuce lunches. It's all the real deal here baby. Your meals are made with love, very often in the homes of locals. And the restaurants? We'll never let you eat anywhere less than memorable.
When you travel with us, you're a name and a face we remember, not a booking reference. Once you're in, you're IN. You get preferential booking and first dibs on all future trips. There are plenty of perks for being part of the inner circle. If you know, you know.
Remember the whole Travel Fam thing? We mean it. Need more travel info? A packing list? Flight advice? Whether or not you should bring that third suitcase (answer: probably not, unless it's just for wine). We're here for you if you need anything. (3 doors down, room #12. The password's "hotbubblingcheesybread.")
We take you places where your dollars are invested directly into the community, not skimmed into global corporations’ coffers (looking at you, Airbnb experiences). We're always striving to DIRECTLY and positively impact the regions and people we visit.
We also have a policy to work with women-owned businesses first, and then family-owned businesses so that we can contribute to the autonomy of the individuals we visit. This means you feel good about it, locals benefit, and they love sharing the finest of their culture with us even more.
Ungoogleabe itinerary? Check.
Well that's an issue. But you have me - Juliana Dever - and that's almost as good!
When I fall in love with a country, I dig in and start scouting. I criss-cross a region, wander off the beaten path, and make loads of friends.
I sit and visit with people, learn from them, and ask them if they’d like to share any favorite spots that I can share with you when I bring you back.
I have an innate knack for cutting through travel noise and getting past hollow theme-park-like tourist traps. What can I say? It's just a superpower of mine.
I've created this Slovenia adventure and I want to take you with me so you can connect with the culture in ways you wouldn't if you went by yourself.
If you're going to spend all that time and money to experience a destination, it needs to be meaningful.
I've had tour operators tell me I don't need to work so hard to bring you the little gems because you "won't know what you're missing."
But I will. That's why my itineraries are so special.
And I know you - that's not why you and I travel. We want to explore to the fullest and really understand a culture.
We love to make real, authentic human connections (and eat all the food, too. Ahem.).
During my travels throughout this Balkan oasis, I've made close friends with a sommelier and restaurant insider, a winemaking family on the Italian border, and Slovenians who've dedicated their lives to welcoming guests to their home country.
All of whom you'll meet on this 'castles to coasts' caper!
Tina, your guide, is a born and bred Slovenian. For the last 25 years she's guided privately, for Rick Steves, and now also with CleverDever Adventures. What was once a hobby has become her life's work and she loves every bit of it.
We met during my first visit to Slovenia and spent an entire day laugh-crying through the Julian Alps. That's when I knew we had to collaborate on a cultural deep dive to share with you.
Tina's deep knowledge of her country, and close personal relationships with her hospitality-school classmates (who now own hotels, are Michelin-star chefs, and run agritourism experiences), means she brings lots of secret nooks and locals-only gems to our itinerary.
With a master's degree in tourism management, Tina occasionally teaches at the University. She speaks Slovenian, English, Italian, German, and Croatian fluently and can come by with some French, Czech, and Slovak.
She cannot wait to welcome you to her beautiful homeland, Slovenia.
Because of these relationships, I'm able to create experiences and introduce you to people you wouldn't have access to if you traveled here on your own.
You'll only get that kind of authentic adventure by traveling with locals, not by spending 17 hours reading reviews of the same 10 things on TripAdvisor.
ONLY 12 people max + your host, Juliana Dever!
Culturally Immersive, Local Experiences, Guided, Fully Curated
And the Pillows?
Mix of 3* and 4* Boutique Hotels and Traditional Guest Houses
How Active Will it Be?
Moderate - Intermediate: Walking for 1-2 hours at a time, some hiking, you must be able to carry your own bags on cobblestone and up stairs
My guides are local Slovenes who are also fluent in English (among other languages)
Independent, kind, respectful, curious, absolutely inclusive, and a bit silly.
Do I Get Free Time?
Oh yeah! While we have a plan every day, you'll have plenty of time to explore on your (Or lazy gazing at the gawk-worthy scenery)
Slovenia is a foodie's dream! We can accommodate almost any restriction - please enquire.
Your inclusive tour price covers all of this:
Does not include: Air travel, airport transfers, your meals during free time, gratuities for your guide, drivers and porters
Day 1: Ljubljana
Our tour will kick off in the afternoon.
Slovenia is truly the rising star of the foodie world. With 12 Michelin stars handed out this year, we're going to taste why this little country why this perfect little country is getting so much attention.
Combined with a city walk that gives you the local perspective of this gorgeous town, you'll try dishes from some of Ljubljana's top chefs.
You can't visit Slovenia and NOT go to Lake Bled. But you don't have to get stuck in the tourist throngs.
Our private guide grew up here and knows everyone in town. She'll take us to visit local artisans that are behind the scenes. We'll also relax and try the famous Bled cream cake at the former mansion of the President of Yugoslavia, Tito Broz.
Meals: B, L
Take in the unbelievable beauty of the Kranjska Gora region. With water so green you'll think it's a filter, you'll have the opportunity to hike along a gorge deep into the forest, where gorgeous waterfalls await.
Today you'll be immersed in nature from breathtaking mountain views to icy streams you can wade through to wake up your circulation.
Meals: B, D
Today you'll have the opportunity to revel in the "sweetest town in the world," Radovljica.
Historically known for its gingerbread arts, this picture-perfect medieval village is obsessed with chocolate. It's also low-key home to one of the best restaurants in Slovenia where you'll have another opportunity to have your mind blown by the flavors and textures of this alpine country.
Meals: B, L
Heading up into the "chicken beak" of Slovenia we'll visit several artisans and get a taste of the region's special dark green pumpkin oil at a local mill.
After lingering with Grega the potter to watch him handmake traditional baking dishes on his wheel, we'll collect ourselves and check into the old Roman city of Ptuj.
You'll have a free night to wander the cobblestones, checking out bistros, cafes, live music, or wine tasting.
Meals: B, L
Day 6: Ptuj
Learn about the pagan ritual of the Kurenti, a terrifying group that assemble every February to scare away winter. We'll go behind the scenes to one of their workshops and have the opportunity to see the costumes up close.
Enjoy more free time in the city to explore the castle, stroll the riverfront or take an old roman ruin tour.
Meals: B, D
We'll drive from the Austro-Hungarian side of the country clear down to Istria on the coast of the Adriatic. Good thing Slovenia's not that big!
Our marvelous migration will be interspersed with stops in the Karst region. We'll grab some insta-shots at one of the most photogenic castles in a cave, and refresh ourselves at the home of a winemaking family that is now seven generations strong.
Meals: B, L
Part of Istria, Piran was once a part of the Republic of Venice. This medieval town is sandwiched between Italy and Croatia and shares a fair bit of cuisine with its neighbors.
Today you'll have the chance to get out onto the Adriatic sea, visit working salt pans, and spend your free time climbing the church's hilltop clocktower, getting lost in the laneways, or hiking a seaside cliff.
Meals: B, D
Day 9: Goriška Brda
On the border of Italian wine country sits this terraced terroir, filled with vineyards and hilltop towns.
We'll take time out to meander through another medieval village filled with artisans and a natural cosmetics shop that just this year was featured in Vanity Fair.
Meals: B, L
Another day, another gorgeous view of Slovenia's non-stop landscape. This morning visit 300 white stallions at the birthplace of the famous horses of Austria's Spanish Riding School.
We return to Ljubljana for a farewell dinner fit for a Queen. This swoon-worthy sunset meal is prepared just for you by one of the city's famed Michelin-star chefs.
Meals: B, L, D
*activities subject to change
MEMBER OF / IN COMPLIANCE WITH
(and joyous, make-a-foodie-cry-with-happiness, wine-sipping, gut-busting, loud-singing, laugh-crying memories with new friends?)
10 Day Culturally Immersive Tour to Slovenia
Includes lodging, daily breakfast, lunch or dinner every day, wine and beer tastings, professional guides, all planned activities including, bonuses PLUS travel with Juliana Dever!
(Hi! Yes, I'll be there from our first hello to the final joyfully teary 'goodbye'.)
Save $100USD total when you pay in full!
“I loved every minute. It was so well organized, planned, and we had such great guides - it made this the best holiday of my life. I would definitely go on another CleverDever Adventure, it is worth every penny.”
Upgrade to a private room for the entire trip for only $650USD.
Just check the "private room" option.
Traveling Solo but want to take advantage of the double occupancy rate?
We recommend this ONLY if you already have a friend or relative traveling with you as some of our small European hotels do not offer twin beds. You may find yourself sharing a queen bed, so make sure you are cool with that.
We will do our best to fulfill all share requests, however, we cannot guarantee a roommate. If we cannot pair you, the private room rate will apply.
Health and safety is our first priority. If we must reschedule this trip due to COVID-19, we will reschedule you onto the future trip of your choice with *no* penalty or fees. More info here.
If the tour needs to be postponed due to covid, your paid-up funds are transferrable to any trip through 2024!
Please read our Slovenia Terms, Conditions, Refund and Cancellation Policy here.
FOR YOU, MY GORGEOUS FENCE-SITTER
I'm here for you!
Book a free 15-minute call with me and we'll have a no-presh chat about whether this trip's for you.
Because I want you to be so happy (and happy travelers make better friends both off and on the road).
"I would recommend this tour absolutely - this tour was well planned out. It was so nice not to have to worry about details. And so much was included. You won't go hungry or want for great wine or beer!"
Is it safe to travel to Slovenia?
Yes. Slovenia is actually one of the safest countries in the world. It's in the top 5 and rates higher in the Gallup Law and Order report than the United States. The capitol city of Ljubljana is very safe and while of course one should always exercise normal precautions, I walk alone at night there and have never felt unsafe at all.
What city do you fly into?
The main capital city of Ljubljana is accessible to fly into from most European gateway cities. It’s also where we’ll start our tour. You can also fly into other cities like Trieste Italy, Zagreb Croatia, and Vienna Austria and come by land into the city.
What is the currency? What is the best way to get it?
Slovenia uses the Euro, which is very easy to get at any ATM or bank.
Is the tour open to everyone globally?
Yes! Everyone’s invited! CDA tours tend to be all women, but you're definitely invited if you're great in groups.
What language do they speak in Slovenia?
Many people in cities and towns speak English. Slovene, a Slavic language, is the nation's first language and you will hear it spoken amongst locals. We’ll also have a native Slovenian guide with us to help prevent anything getting lost in translation!
What's the climate like?
Rain can show up at any time, it's a bit fickle there. The sun also breaks out just as quickly, so it's rarely one type of weather for long.
On the coast near Italy, it can be mild, rainy and sunny all in one day. For the most part, the areas that we will be visiting will be sunny, nice and warm. Expect highs up to 85°F/ 30°C and lows of 60°F/15°C everywhere but in the mountains where it is typically about 5-10 degrees cooler.
How should I dress?
Slovenia is very western with respect to dress, so you don’t have to make any special considerations when visiting other than dressing for the weather. Because we will be going up in the mountains, you'll need light layers and a rain jacket. We’ll also be doing some hiking, so you’ll want some hiking clothes and appropriate footwear for both terrain and comfy shoes for city walking. We'll also have a few nice dinners, but Slovenia tends to be casual, so no formal wear necessary. ;)
Don’t worry, I’ll send everyone who’s going with me a suggested packing list. 😉
What's the food like? How can food restrictions be accommodated?
Depending on where we are, Slovenian food changes. Expect hardy Central European dishes like potato dumplings with sour cream, fresh farmer's cheese croquettes, and pumpkin oils near the border of Hungary.
When we are closer to Italy you'll find more fish, olives, and pasta. In the regions near the Julian Alps you'll find dishes with buckwheat dumplings (you will see these in a lot of area), meats, and soups. Slovenians love soups and often have them every day.
Slovenia is also going through a bit of a food revolution, so you'll find a lot of elevated modern dining as chefs try new things and push boundaries. This is prevalent throughout the country so expect really delicious small plates of things like beetroot pancakes with sage sauce or a delicate ravioli with roasted mushrooms.
We can accommodate for celiac, vegan, vegetarian, kosher and other food restrictions. There'll be an opportunity to let us know about any allergies or dietary needs after you book the tour.
What is the wine like?
It's not NOT a wine tour. But seriously it's not the main event - the culture and meeting locals is.
Slovenia has some unique wines and we will be visiting several winemakers during this trip. The reds can be rustic and earthy, the whites crisp and fragrant, and the ORANGE wine…oh it’s my favorite by far. It might take a few tastings to appreciate it, but it just might become your all-time favorite!
What kind of adapters will I need?
Slovenian power sockets are type C and F, which are standard euro round prong plugs. The voltage is 230, so plan to have dual-currency electronics or bring a voltage converter to prevent burnouts.
How much hiking will we be doing?
The Julian Alps soar across Slovenia's northwest border and there's no way we're going all the way to Slovenia and not spending time in nature - it's one of the countries' favorite pastimes.
We'll be spending a morning doing some easy hiking the Soča valley near Triglav. It's a fairly easy trek, but you can also opt to stay back at the guest house or explore the town. There will be several other opportunities to hike, how much or how little is up to you.
What nearby countries should I visit before or after our Slovenian adventure? If you're looking to visit neighboring countries or cities, look to Croatia, Italy, Austria, or Hungary. I've been to all of them and you won't go wrong no matter what you choose.