"Slovenia, you are amazing, and I'm sad to be leaving. I'll be back soon!"
It's time to run away to Slovenia, one of the last great 'under the radar' European countries
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, Eastern Europe, and Sleeping Beauty. Probably.
Slovenia is almost to perfect to be real
A fairy tale, a Michelin Chef, and pristine nature walk into a bar...
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.
"This has been the most magical week I could have imagined. Sometimes when you save and plan and sacrifice for something it’s hard for it to meet your expectations.
This was my first time to do ANYTHING like this and it blew my expectations out of the water."
— Holly K.
Welcome to a slice of Paradise. Where the regional specialties are unusual experiences in unexpected places.
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 staying at a 300-year-old Homestead. (with goats for neighbors!) And the kitchen just happens to a Michelin-starred chef.
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?
My trips are all FULLY CURATED by me, personally. You'll go deeper, feel a sense of place, and come away with a first-hand cultural understanding that will stay with you forever.
Go to Slovenia now, before everyone else figures it out
The pandemic travel bubble is about to burst and avoiding the crowds is going to be like outrunning hornets. They'll be EVERYWHERE.
And Slovenia's not France or Italy. It's a rising star in Europe. Meaning early adopter travelers are clue-ing in and numbers are rising from here.
Now is the time to visit and still capture that uncrowded, "all this... for ME?" feeling. During 2020, Michelin came in and for the first year ever, granted stars to a few of Slovenia's excellent chefs and restaurants, effectively causing the rest of Europe and all the travel writers to start shining attention on the area. If you want to experience Slovenia and its generous hospitality before they are filled to the gills with admirers, NOW is the time to go!
Remember what happened to Iceland 5-10 years ago? Almost overnight it became THE destination. Now the best spots there require reservations and limit daily entries.
Which is great for sustainability, not so much for intimate experiences.
Say hello to the perfect trip after two years of not traveling
(and get immersed in places no other tour companies go to)
Most people - and their pent-up wanderlust - will spring for beaches and cocktails and plastic loungers by a pool. Relaxing, sure. But far from bonfire-story worthy.
This trip to Slovenia is like being welcomed home after being away for waaaaaaaay too long.
While everyone rushes back to Paris, Rome, and Dublin, breathtaking Slovenia and its generous locals will be 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.
Experience Slovenia like you've lived there without, y'know, having lived there:
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.
Slow Travel Style
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.
Authentic Meals and Time with Locals
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.
High Touch Service
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.")
Community-Based Female First Tourism
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.
“I would 100% recommend this trip to others.
THANK YOU ALL FOR A TRIP OF A LIFETIME!”
Skip the "everyone is here from the same guidebook" sights
(and the tourist traps, the lines, the exhausting forced-marched schedule, and anything else that doesn't inspire "this is the best trip of my life" vibes.)
Don't have a travel buddy to go with? You don't need one. 95% of our guests are solo travelers.
Don't like rigid schedules? No worries. You'll have plenty of free time, plus we adjust on the fly depending on how everyone is feeling.
Unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime memories? Check.
Wanna go somewhere different but don't know where to start? This behind-the-scenes access tour is already curated. Just waiting for you to join us.
You want to explore the country of Slovenia like a local...but you don't know any locals
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.
When you travel with me, you go where the locals go
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.
Imagine you and me, spending our summer together in Slovenia dipping our feet in an icy spring while walking on pebbles in the name of "therapy," in a park up in the mountains. Who does that? Slovenians for sure.
And now you, me, and the rest of our new BFFs on the trip.
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.).
That’s why my tours are so unique
That and the most awesome people go on my adventures, so having a blast traveling with each other is all but inevitable. You'll have more fun with your new traveling companions than binge-ing a season of Ted Lasso.
"Juliana and Tina made this trip amazing from start to finish. The other travelers are amazing women and so fun to travel with. We were able to have time to get to know each other and become more than acquaintances, we became friends!!!"
Do Slovenia the way locals prefer travelers do it:
With an expert who's been there.
Like, a LOT
I've traveled the world avidly for 20 years
Journeyed through more than 60 countries
Lived in France, Greece, the USA, and Russia
...and I've been to Slovenia so many times it's like I live there.
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.
Together our knowledge and experience mean we create trips to the country of Slovenia like no one else.
Tina's deep knowledge of her country, coupled with her adventurous spirit 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.
"Tina was amazing!! She made me feel so welcome. I never once felt like she was our "tour guide" but rather a friend showing me around her beautiful country."
Your Slovenia Trip At-a-Glance:
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, optional trekking, 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.
What's Included in the Cultural Immersion Tour to Slovenia?
Your inclusive tour price covers all of this:
All hotel accommodations - 7 nights in 3* and 4* hotels
Local and regional transportation via private van
Lunch or dinner daily - including wine and beer. Fair warning that it will probably be more food than you can humanly eat because Slovenians are just like that
Wine and craft beer tastings
Entry fee to all planned activities
Private guided tours
Gratuities at all restaurants
Gratuities for your guide
High-touch guest services - we're always accessible if you have questions or concerns
Intimate group tour - There are ONLY 12 spots total!
Does not include: Air travel, airport transfers, your meals during free time, gratuities for drivers and porters
Plus These Bonuses!!
Access to our Slovenia Adventure Private Facebook Group - Make friends in advance!
Exclusive Pre-Tour Group Planning Session. Virtual travel jam, just for trip members. Get your individual questions answered by the trip leaders.
Natural Fiber Tote Bag - Say No to Plastic Bags and Stay Sustainable!
Slovenia Packing List - Must have!
Before Your Trip Countdown Checklist - Don't forget a thing!
Meet the group for a progressive food and drink tour of Ljubljana's old city center. But first a ride through the heart on a private boat. You'll see the city from the water as we toast and float down the Ljubljanica River.
Day 2: Lake Bled
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.
CleverDever Exclusive: Visit the home of a woman who has captured the feel of the Yugoslavian countryside over the last 100 years, and snack on her handmade products.
Meals: B, L
Day 3: Bohinj
Take in the unbelievable beauty of the Bohinj 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.
Enjoy traditional buckwheat dumplings for lunch in a hut overlooking the valley, and try a shot of honey schnapps at a bee haven.
CleverDever Exclusive: Feast at the home of locals. You'll get the opportunity to visit different families in small groups and feel like you're having a night in with friends.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 4: Goriška Brda
We'll make our way through the Julian Alps, stopping to take in the beautiful Soča Valley.
There's a delicious craft brewery in the mountains where we'll chill, have snacks and taste their local beers.
Then on to the border of Italian wine country with its terraced terroir, filled with vineyards and hilltop towns. We'll take time out to meander through another medieval village filled with artisans.
CleverDever Exclusive:We'll have lunch at a family estate that makes one of the best orange wines I've ever had in my life from a very rare grape.
Meals: B, L
Day 5: Vipava Valley
Another day, another gorgeous view of Slovenia's non-stop landscape.
Today we'll tuck into our guide Tina's favorite little town to visit a friend and set out on an epic adventure throughout the walls of this medieval charmer.
CleverDever Exclusive: Lunch in an abandoned village with a family affair making everything from the wine to the desserts.
Meals: B, L
Day 6: Piran
Part of Istria, Piran was once a part of the Republic of Venice. This medieval town is right next to Croatia and shares a fair bit of cuisine with its neighbor.
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.
CleverDever Exclusive:Dinner is at a true farm-to-table kitchen. We'll take you on a culinary journey of Istria, a sea-faring peninsula filled with fish, olives, and pasta.
Meals: B, D
Day 7: Karst and Ljubljana
Our marvelous migration back to the city will be interspersed with stops in the Karst region.
Lunch is at the home of a very welcoming winemaking family that is now seven generations strong.
Our farewell dinner will have a swoon-worthy view and a meal fit for a Queen. We can talk about our favorites parts of the trip and plot where to travel together next year - it's just too hard to say goodbye!
Includes lodging, daily breakfast, lunch or dinner every day, wine and beer tastings, professional guides, all planned activities including, bonusesPLUS travel with Juliana Dever!
(Hi! Yes, I'll be there from our first hello to the final joyfully teary 'goodbye'.
Spend your summer in stunning Slovenia!
Deposit today: $395 USD (non-refundable)
Balance due by June 3rd: $4,600 USD
Pricing based on: Double occupancy
Single upgrade: $420
“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.”
Want Your Own Space?
Upgrade to a private room for the entire trip for only $640USD.
Just check the "private room" option.
You must be of legal drinking age in your country of residence and at least 21 years of age by the start of the tour.
Want a Roommate?
Traveling Solo but want to take advantage of the double occupancy rate?
Request to share a room with another single traveler upon checkout.
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.
*Please note there may be instances in some of our small European hotels where you share a bed. This is the nature of small village guesthouses and we cannot change this, so please consider this when booking.
New COVID-19 Policy
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.
You MUST be fully vaccinated no less than two weeks prior to departure and provide valid proof of vaccination.
You must also adhere to all mask and social distancing requirements as required by law.
Covid-19 Safety Guarantee
If the tour needs to be postponed due to covid, your paid-up funds are transferrable to any trip through 2023!
"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 bankomat 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 Eastern 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.