Well that's an issue. But don't worry - you have me - Juliana Dever - and that's almost as good!
When I fall in love with a country that's a little off the beaten path I dig in and start my slow travel, covering as much ground in one region as I possibly can. I make loads of friends locally and ask them to give me the lowdown on their favorite spots. Then I curate a cultural immersion adventure for all of us to go on together.
It's FULLY CURATED by me so that you don't have to google, to guess, to spend hours sifting through sites.
All the planning is done for you.
I want you to experience the kind of travel that fills you up, creates memories (and photos) that you'll return to again and again as one of the highlights of your life.
Imagine you and I, spending our summer together in Slovenia:
Laughing until our stomachs hurt,
doing Sound of Music twirls in the mountains,
playing I Never after a solid wine tasting (yes, this did happen on my last tour and it was IN-sane),
and wandering the roads of a tiny village in the valley that hardly anyone else knows about.
You many not know any locals YET, but by the end of my cultural immersion tour to Slovenia you'll feel like you've made a dozen old friends.
You'll understand the difference between Ptuj and Piran and why even though they are in the same country, they are nothing alike.
You'll probably even be ready to return in the winter like a crazy person just to watch the Kurenti scare away winter and maybe many small children.
Don't have a clue what I'm talking about yet? YOU WILL.
You'll see elephants in the forest
Breathe in the healing air of a beehive
Walk the salt pans of the Adriatic Sea and
Learn about Slovenian wine while you float down a river
and so, so much more. When you travel with CleverDever Adventures you accumulate #experiencesnotthings
ONLY 12 people max + your host, Juliana Dever!
Culturally Immersive, Local Experiences, Guided, Fully Curated
Mix of 3* and 4* Boutique Hotels and Traditional Guest Houses
Easy-Moderate: Walking, optional trekking
So, where is Slovenia?
Once a part of Yugoslavia, Slovenia reaches the Adriatic Sea on its southwest Italian border. This is also part of the area known as Istria.
Austria and Hungary create it's northern borders, adding that Alpine influence. Look at the outline closer there - you'll see why Slovenians call it the "chicken beak."
Croatia shares the largest border to the south.
Here's what's included:
Does not include: Air travel or gratuities for guides, drivers and porters, local transfers
Day 1: Ljubljana
Our tour will kick off in the afternoon.
Meet the group for an introductory city walk followed by a wine reception on a private boat. You'll see the city from the water as we toast and float down the Ljubljanica River.
Enjoy stunning city views from the hilltop overlooking the city during our welcome dinner.
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 serene, historical and behind the scenes.
Then of course, we'll take our own pletna boat across the lake. We'll relax and try the famous Bled cream cake at the former mansion of President of Yugoslavia, Tito Broz.
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 a gorgeous waterfall awaits.
Enjoy traditional buckwheat dumplings for lunch in a hut overlooking the valley, and try a shot of honey schnapps at a bee haven.
Dinner is in the home of locals where you'll get the opportunity to ask questions about Slovenia, Yugoslavia, Luka Dončič (he grew up nearby), or whatever else you're itching to know.
Day 4: Radovlicja and Begunje
Today you'll have the opportunity to learn more about the gingerbread town of Radovlicja, sharpen your photography skills, and more.
Dinner is a big surprise. I'm so excited I want to scream into my pillow. You'll have to come with me to find out!
Day 5: Prekmurje
Heading up into the "chicken beak" of Slovenia we'll visit several local artisans and get a taste of the regions special dark green pumpkin oil at a local mill.
After a delicious chocolate break where you can try some highly unusual but very local flavors, we'll 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.
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.
Day 7: Karst
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 to take 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 winemaking family that is now seven generations strong.
Lunch will take you on a culinary journey of Istria, a sea-faring peninsula filled with fish, olives and pasta.
Day 8: 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 it's neighbor.
Today you'll have the chance to get out onto the Adriatic sea, visit working salt pans and even pepper your morning with an outdoor massage or skin treatment.
Spend your free time climbing the church's hilltop clocktower, getting lost in the laneways, or hiking a seaside cliff.
Day 9: 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.
We'll stay at a chateau, and stroll the streets of a small nearby village where a family is cooking us a true feast.
Day 10: Goriška Brda
On the border of Italian wine country sits this terraced terroir, filled with vineyards and hilltop towns. 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.
We'll take time out to meander through another medieval village filled with artisans, boutiques and carts full of handicrafts.
Later on we'll make our way to the Julian Alps. There's a delicious craft brewery in town if you want to carb up before our hike through the Soča Valley in the morning.
Day 11: Triglav and Ljublana
After a morning hike in the Trenta Valley next to crystal blue waters, we'll grab lunch and head on our way back to the city.
Our farewell dinner will be at a friend's restaurant where we'll have the prized chef's table. You'll enjoy lots of small plates, crafted from local ingredients sourced from nearby farms paired with the perfect Slovenian wines.
That's usually just the beginning of the party, and if you were on last year's trip you know we'll likely find another place to continue the adventure - it's just too hard to say goodbye!
activities subject to change
Award-winning travel blogger, photographer, actor, and travel personality Juliana Dever has visited the country of Slovenia multiple times. It was the starting point for season one of her travel show From A to C with Nowhere to B.
Immediately falling in love with the people, sights, and love of nature that infuses everything in Slovenia, she returned to travel the entire country and create an adventure for other travelers interested in an insider's experience in this former Yugoslavian territory.
In 2018, on a mission to create a tour that takes guests on a cultural journey way beyond Lake Bled, Juliana partnered with guide and native Slovenian Tina Hiti. Tina, who has 20 years experience as a guide both in Europe and across her own country brings a local expert's knowledge as well as an immense sense of fun to the project.
Their aim is to support local Slovenian endeavors above corporate interests, as well as highlight women-owned businesses in Slovenia wherever possible.
Juliana Dever - Founder, CleverDever Adventures
Juliana Dever is a travel writer, photographer, actor, and TV host.
As an avid traveler who has visited more than 60 countries, Juliana is always on the search for the local’s perspective. This has led her to volcano-top gatherings with the entire population of a Greek Island, making truffles with the top chocolatier in Bruges, camping with Bedouins in the Middle East, and visiting with camel breeders in the Gobi Desert.
Juliana's thirst for connecting to other cultures and its people became the catalyst for her travel blog www.cleverdeverwherever.com.
Her undying love of experiencing a country from "the inside" has lead to her to visit her favorite countries repeatedly, enlisting locals and friends in these places to share their culture and traditions. This enables her to curate the best possible itinerary for those who really want to connect and learn about other regions across the globe.
If you get a chance to travel with Juliana, you're in the hands of an expert traveler with an infectious love of the people, scenery and wine of Slovenia. She's also a lot of fun on road trips.
As a travel writer, Juliana has won Gold and Silver medals for her travel stories and photography from NATJA (North American Travel Journalists Association). She also won a Gold medal for Best Travel Blog, 2018 from NATJA.
As an actor you may know her from the television show Castle amongst other shows and movies.
“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.” –Ruth W.
"This is the 1st tour I've ever taken where I felt like I got an actual glimpse of how locals really live, instead of only seeing tourist stop highlights. I could've never done this on my own." - Tammy T.J.
“I would 100% recommend this trip to others. THANK YOU ALL FOR A TRIP OF A LIFETIME!” -Madison B.
Loved loved loved it, so much fun, would 100% do another/more tours! Thank you for doing all of this!! It really was the trip of a lifetime! Also loved that it was in a place most tourists don't go!! - Taylor V.
"Traveling with Juliana is first, extremely FUN! But more importantly, she works tirelessly to uncover authentic, local experiences, digging deep to find the literal and figurative secret ingredients that make a destination delicious.
You’ll make great (local) friends, because Juliana knows that you can’t TRULY experience a place without its people. You’ll emerge with a new perspective that you didn’t have before, and count yourself as a member of a bigger community of world citizens."
-Nicole Bordges, CEO, Wanderlust Media
11 Day Culturally Immersive Tour to Slovenia
Single Supplement is €700 - Have your own space!
WANT A ROOMMATE? Traveling Solo but want to take advantage of the double occupancy rate? Request to share a room with another single traveler. We will do our best to fulfill all share requests, however we cannot guarantee a roommate. If we cannot pair you, the single supplement rate will apply.
*The tour will not be confirmed until a minimum of 8 guests book their spot. DO NOT buy your flights until you receive your tour confirmation letter.
You must be of legal drinking age in your country of residence and at least 18 years of age by the start of the tour.
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. I personally love flying into Vienna and taking the train down.
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, depending on your preference.
Is the tour open to everyone globally?
Yes! Everyone’s invited!
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 is 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 Juliana 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 an entire morning 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 oppotunities 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.