Thursday, 4 January 2018

Coffee Stories from Ptuj

I don’t really know when my love for coffee started, but I can remember that my weeks in high school always ended with a coffee with my three best friends in an extremely popular coffee house Maček in the little city at the end of the world. Through years, drinking coffee became a ritual – a time, when you get to talk with people, hang out and just be with them, which is much needed in today’s crazy world. Maček coffee place closed long time ago and I haven’t seen my friends from high school for many years, but the memories are still alive. Travelling around the world always includes drinking coffee and every espresso brings me back to a nice coffee house near Milan cathedral where I met four international friends. We made a joke that every time someone says expresso instead of espresso, an Italian falls off his Vespa. 

Author: Boris B. Voglar
And of course, I was really thrilled that the third Festival of coffee and coffee culture was held in the oldest Slovenian city Ptuj. The festival is the first coffee festival in Slovenia and was held from 28th of September to 1st of October in many places in the city. 1st of October is also the international coffee day. The main theme of this year’s festival was Bosnian coffee and coffee drinking culture. The organizers said that the festival joins historical, cultural, social and culinary elements of coffee and emphasises that coffee is also a reason for socialising. Many events were held. In the monastery of Dominican Order we were able to see the biggest Turkish coffee pot (džezva) in the world, which made sure that the visitors could enjoy in the coffee flavour, named Zlatna đezva. The visitors could also visit the photography exhibition named Skodelica kave (Cup of Coffee) by Boštjan Bračič. 

Author: Boris B. Voglar

Some people may find it weird that the coffee festival is held in the city, famous for its wines but the fact is that Ptuj has an interesting and long coffee house history. The first coffee house was established on Prešeren street in the middle of 18th century. Enterpreneur Jožef Kipertz bought a building where the hotel Mitra is now located from a famous cafe owner Janez Mihael Reitter in 1785.  Kipertz even married his stepdaughter and soon began to import coffee and roast it in his own roasting mill near the city. Because of him we can still enjoy a cup of real Kipertz coffee in today’s cafe in the hotel. The coffee is still roasted by its original recipe and is a great visiting point for every coffee drinker.

Author: Boris B. Voglar
Don’t forget to walk around the city and see for yourself that Ptuj is full of history. If you decide to stay for a few days, you can find an accommodation in hostel Poetovio, which is part of Hostelling International. It’s a cute hostel with 60 beds, which is located in the student dormitories and is only a kilometre away from the city centre and a great starting point to explore the oldest Slovenian city. 

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Christmas Fairy Tale in Postojna Cave

From 25th to 30th of December Postojna Cave will become a festive fairy tale hosting Live Nativity Scenes.

Postojna Cave’s Nativity Scenes are one of the world’s most beautiful Christmas scenes. This year, Postojna Cave will host its 28th annual Nativity Scenes on the 5-kilometre route. In front of the Postojna Cave you will find a Christmas market and other events. So, what can you expect from the nativity scenes? The Living Nativity Scenes features 16 Biblical scenes that make up the story of Christmas with even more than 150 local performers and musicians. Of course winter time wouldn’t feel right without magical lights – the Postojna’s underground will be lit up by 2,100 lights. Amazing!

Highlights for this year’s spectacle are performances by the legendary Slovenian musicians Oto Pestner and Irena Yebuah Tiran. Other highlights include colourful illuminations, performances by the Magic Theatre Serpentes, a photo exhibitions and elements designed by international artists such as Bolivia’s Ejti Štih.

Join us on the five-kilometre long Christmas path, which is also one of the biggest Christmas celebrations in Slovenia.

If you have a little luck (and Santa says that you’ve been good this year), you can see the Living Nativity Scenes completely free. How, you ask? Hostelling International Slovenia has an amazing prize competition. If you enter, you are participating in a prize draw for a free night with breakfast in hostel Proteus for two people and two free tickets to see the Living Nativity Scenes in Postojna Cave. Amazing, right? If you have not participated yet, try out your luck and maybe you’ll join in the fun in Postojna’s underground events.

Be a part of the winter fairy tale.

Kaja Kren

Friday, 15 September 2017

Travel to Slovenia and enjoy in HI member discounts

Long time, no see. Have you already made all the plans for your trip? If not, keep reading. If you have, we might just change your mind. As you may know, Hostelling International partnered with the website BusBud where you can find all the available bus routes. There are many paths from Italy to Ljubljana for example. You can travel from Caldare, Italy to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia for only 33 Euros. And there’s more. If you stay at one of the Hostelling International hostels, you get 15% off your bus trip. You can also book on the go if you download their app so everything is as easy as it can be. Sounds amazing, right?

You might already know that Slovenia is a small country so you can go from the capital to the east or south in the matter of hours. And this is one of the pros – you can visit whatever interests you the most. You want to visit lake Bled while you’re staying in Ljubljana? Take a one or two-day trip and drive a couple of hours to completely change the environment. If you want some amazing spas, you will find them in Prekmurje region, which is again amazing for its nature and for the thermal water. In Slovenia, you have to try the tasty wine, Bled cream cake and a coffee to go with it.

@Author - Klemen Kunaver;
If you’re a Hostelling International member, you will save some of your money on plenty of activities and attractions in Slovenia. Postojna cave is one of the most visited tourist places in Slovenia and offers you a 10% discount on all entrance tickets. And if you’re near the Postojna cave, maybe visit Predjama Castle, which is a real eye-catcher. It is built in a 123 metres high rock wall. Škocjan Caves Park also offers a student discount to all HI members. Both attractions are worth visiting, but Postojna cave is more attractive at the moment with little baby proteus, which you’ll find in a cave.

@Author - B. Bajželj;
HI membership will also get you a discount on many city tours or museum tours. Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, is a must see and you will get a 50% discount on their regular tours, which saves you some money to enjoy a boat ride on Ljubljanica river or a beer by the river, whichever you prefer. The second biggest city Maribor also saves you a bit of money if you want to rent a bike (which is a good way to see the entire city, as it’s not so big) or if you want a guided tour.

@Author - Matej Vranič;
If you’re an adventurous type, there are some sports activities that will get your adrenalin running. Bovec Sport Centre’s activities are 20% off for rafting, kayaking, hysrospeeding, caving and so much more. If you want to try ziplining, Soča Rafting offers you a 10% discount or you can get 15% off on bungee jumping at TOP Extreme rafting centre Bovec.

@ Author - A. Fevzer;
You can see more discounts with your membership card at and see the Slovenian hostels at
Start planning and visit our beautiful Slovenia.


Sunday, 20 August 2017

An inspiration for a poem in the treasury of the First World War

Take a few days off and discover the natural, cultural and sports-related jewels of our turquoise land!

@Avtor - Matevž Lenarčič
The Tolmin Gorges are a part of the Triglav National Park. They represent the lowest entry point to the park. These are the gorges of the waters Tolminka and Zadlaščica. Around the water is a circular path where you can see the gorges from all sides. The most magnificent attractions are the thermal spring, the Zadlaška cave (Dante’s cave), a large triangular shaped rock (the Bear’s head), which got stuck between the walls of the Zadlaščica canyon and of course the Devil’s Bridge, which hangs 60 m above the river Tolminka. Dante’s cave is named after Dante Alighieri, a known poet from Italy. Supposedly the cave inspired him to write the famous Divine Comedy. The Devil’s Bridge was built by Austro-Hungarian soldiers during the Battles of the Isonzo. 

It even more pays off if you decide to visit the gorges in July and August 2017 because they offer the visitors a big discount. You can take a shuttle bus from Tolmin to the Tolmin Gorges and back for the price of 0,5€ per ride, 2 km each way. Here you can find the timetable, the map of the shuttle bus route and the price list. Members of Hostelling International Slovenia get 20% off when buying a ticket. 

It is estimated that you walk 4 km in one hour and a half. Rest your eyes on the beauty that surrounds you, listen to the roaring water as the strength of mother nature and exercise in the meantime. Don’t forget your hiking shoes for the best experience.

@Avtor - Matevž Lenarčič
You can relax at the Paradiso hostel in the centre of Tolmin, on the first floor of the Paradiso bar. As you can see, its name reflects the location – paradise. The common living space contains 2 computers, a TV, board games and a few books to read. Breakfast is included in the overnight stay so you can explore Slovenia rested and with a full stomach. HI Slovenia members get 10% off the regular rate.

Full of adrenaline in the company of world champions

In 2001, two six-time world rafting winners founded the Aktivni planet (in English the Active Planet), sports-tourist agency, which is located in Bovec. Bovec lies between the majestic Kanin mountain chain and the gorgeous daughter of the mountains, river Soča. Guides come from different parts of the world and are ex-competitors in rafting and white-water kayaking. 

There you can book rafting where you can choose a classic or a long slide. They say they adjust the tour to your wishes. They do it for the fearless musclemen as well as for the gentle girls, sceptical grandmas and for the mischievous grandchildren. If this is not a nice presentation, I don’t know what is. It shows that they are good with words and they know how to safely enjoy on the river Soča. You can experience canyoning in the steep riverbeds of the torrents. In the Krnica valley between Mt. Rombon (2207m) and Mt. Kanin (2587m) is one of the biggest zipline parks in Slovenia. You fly freely like a bird 1300m above sea level and you are 200m above the ground. 

See the nature in its most primal form when going white-water kayaking, you can “relax” also in a kayak for two. Test your survival abilities with an Eskimo roll. Hold on to your boogieboard and cruise through the river rapids at hydrospeed. Discover the underground world, which will remind you of a »Swiss Cheese«. Take a hike with the tennis rackets on your boots (or better known as snow shoes) by day or by night. Enjoy in the amazing views while shaping your body at climbing meanwhile the kids distract themselves on the »slackline«. Last but not least, look at this part of Slovenia through the perspective of a bird at the tandem flight. The best is yet to come because the HI Slovenia card-holders get 15% off of the sporting activities. 

To recharge your batteries after exciting adventures in the Soča valley, go to the Bovec hostel with a free wi-fi. You will find it in a more than a century old but now completely renovated house in the traditional provincial style. So that your legs won't tire out, it will take you only 5 minutes from the main square or from the bus station to get to the hostel. In the Bovec hostel, you can get a 10% discount on the overnight accommodation with your HI membership card!

How do mercury and lace go together?

Visit the Idrija Municipal Museum to culturally feed your mind. The legacy of the mercury mine there was put on the UNESCO list of world heritage in 2012. I’m talking about the second oldest and the biggest mercury mine in the world. The Gewerkenegg castle houses the Museum’s main permanent exhibition, Five centuries of the Mercury Mine and the Town of Idrija. 20 years ago, the museum received an award from the Luigi Micheletti Foundation as the best European museum of technical and industrial heritage for its work and this exhibition. 

@Author - Dunja Wedam;
In the castle, you’ll also find the permanent exhibition entitled Idrija Lace, A History Written In Thread which is meant literally. This is the history of the lacemakers, women, who were contributing to their family budgets with their skilful fingers. Today, the lace is in the spotlight on runways as an important part of famous fashion designers’ creations. Among other things in the museum, you can do the shortest 5-minute lacemaking course, presented in a video. In 2008, the Museum got the Valvasor award for this exhibition, which is the highest Slovene award for achievements in museology. 

@Author - Dunja Wedam;
Among other collections, let me also mention the homestead of the writer France Bevk, Slovenia Partisan Printing Shop and the Franja Partisan Hospital. While you are there, try the local speciality, called žlikrofi

Members of the Hostelling International Slovenia are again treated better, because they get a 40% discount when purchasing a ticket to the permanent exhibitions. How cool is that!

@Author - Foto Video Coppo di Marco Coppo;
To best anchor the freshly gained museum knowledge in your heads and to unwind, I recommend staying in the Idrija hostel. It lies atop a hill above the city, where a bed awaits you for only 9€/night. The closest cafes to seize the day are only 5 minutes away by foot. They offer you free bed linen, a towel, as well as free internet and parking. If booked in advance, an all-inclusive package is a great deal. If you decide to be their guest, remember that with the HI Slovenia membership card you get 10% off. Here you can find even more discounts, depending on the country you are visiting. 

What are you waiting for? Tolmin, Bovec and Idrija are so close that you can see and experience all of these sights in a very short period of time. As a member of HI sLOVEnia, the memories will stay with you even for a cheaper price!

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Jump from your comfort zone into the arms of the emerald beauty

You will forget all about your fears.

Company Soča Rafting d.o.o. from Bovec organizes sports programs in the valley of the crystal clear river Soča and elsewhere in Slovenia. Namely all the sport activities are guided by local guides with a licence who will also take care of a good atmosphere.

In the summer season between April and October they offer various unforgettable adventures on the turquoise Soča. More daring ones can try hydrospeed, canyoning, rafting, school of kayak, going down the river with a kayak or a canoe and free style climbing. 

In the winter season after December (well, let's be honest, from the time when enough snow falls because in the last years that happens later each year) you are warmly invited to attend their ski school on Kanin, to sled from Mangart (where we remember sledding adventures from our childhood), to heli-skiing and to walk with snowshoes

The biggest novelty that people are quite interested in Bovec is the zipline which extends over the valley of river Učja. Throughout the entire year, you can go down the wire ropes with the entire length of 4,5 kilometres on the altitude up to 200 metres. All this information makes the zipline in Bovec one of the highest in Europe. Indescribable enjoyment and wind in your hair are at 40-60 km/h guaranteed!

The best is yet to come because the card-holding members of Hostelling International Slovenia have a 15% discount on rafting, hydrospeed, canyoning, going down the river with a kayak or a canoe and 10% discount on the zipline.

To fill your batteries after exciting adventures in the Soča valley go to the hostel Bovec with free wifi. You will find it in more than a century old but now completely renovated house in a traditional provincial style. So that your legs won't tire out, it will take you to the hostel only 5 minutes from the main square or from the bus station. 

@Hostel Bovec
And one reminder, in the Bovec hostel with the HI membership card you get a 10% discount on the overnight accommodation!

@Hostel Bovec
Be courageous and try something different and extraordinary! The only fear is that you will like it so much that you will want to do it again! Then you will be already in your comfort zone and you will have to find a new challenge!

Tito's limos and home-made bread from the farmhouse stove

How to make something homey and traditional

Technical museum of Slovenia is located in Bistra near Vrhnika since 1951 and lies on around 6000 square metres. Here you will find bigger collections and presentations of technical inventions. You can easily and quickly access them at quite a low price from the capital with a train, bus and even a taxi

@Author - Urša Vodopivec
In the collection of motorbikes there are also 15 limousines of Josip Broz Tito, the former president of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. First and foremost here are the vehicles that were given to him as a present by other world leaders from that time. His vehicles were quite refined, modern and luxurious for that period. 

@Author - Blaž Zupančič
On the weekends they organize workshops where you can (among other things) bake bread in the farmhouse stove and learn old techniques of printing. There is a possibility of buying a combined ticket, which also includes admission to the Museum of Post and Telecommunications in Polhov Gradec.

It is really great that HI Slovenia members have a 20% discount on the entrance tickets. 

@Author - Blaž Zupančič
Because the capital city of Ljubljana is very near (around 25 km), you can stop by there and do some sightseeing. If you wish to stay for more days, we recommend you a hostel. Hostel Vila Veselova is next to park Tivoli and it is a good spot to explore our capital because the main attractions are close. Here is hostel Tabor, which also has a hall for different events and the main train and bus station nearby. Quite affordable is hostel Ljubljana which is located in the suburbs of Ljubljana near the BTC shopping center. We shouldn’t overlook the previous bankers home hostel Tresor, which lies in the heart of the very crowded Čopova street and only 50 meters away from the Prešeren square. Last but not least hostel DIC is located in the shelter of the castle hill and offers accommodation only in the summer. 

@Hostel Tresor
You must not forget that HI Slovenia members have a 10% discount on staying in all those hostels in Ljubljana. 

Thank god for all the preserved devices and books of the visionaries. Without them we wouldn't have (so fast) broadband internet, smart phones and exploring the universe!

Monday, 24 July 2017

Jackie Chan and Discovery Channel in the biggest cave castle in the world

Here it is revealed which celebrities you can encounter right here in sLOVEnia!

Yes, you guessed it right, I'm talking about our Predjama castle, which is in the Guinness book of World Records as the largest cave castle in the world, which is definitely worth visiting. In the wall of the karst world with its height of 123m it has been majestically standing for 800 years. 

Its most famous and notorious owner Erazem of Predjama from the 15th century was a brave robber. He was defending the castle from the other conquerors for 1 year. That story has a sad ending. According to the legend one of his servants betrayed him. 

Some years ago the castle was visited by the Discovery Channel team who tried to explain some strange events that were happening there. The movie Armour of gold was shot there with the actor Jackie Chan in 1986. Six years ago the castle was visited by the (screen) writer George R. R. Martin (the author of the extremely popular saga Game of Thrones). Maybe someday the film crew of Game of Thrones will come here because of the mysterious historical background and picturesque karst landscape and decide to film a scene here. Maybe then more tourists will come, who knows. In the last years people like to travel in the footsteps of making famous movies and series. Just remember the films The Beach, The Da Vinci Code and Der Bergdoktor. 

Between May and September visit the cave under the Predjama castle. Only then you can admire many species of bats. 

In the summer months you can attend the knight tournament dedicated to the memory of Erazem, which is inspired by writings and illustrations from the 16th century. You become a part of the country feast where you can eat, drink and compete. The dishes are prepared based on the traditional medieval recipes and also they are served like that. 

Members of the Hostelling International Slovenia are again treated better because they have a 10% discount when buying a ticket in the whole Postojna Cave Park. 

@Hostel Proteus
After an interesting and secretive day in the region of limestone and water you can wake fresh in a new day in hostel Proteus in the center of Postojna around which a genuine park is peeved. The hostel (which is also a dormitory) is only 800 metres away from the Postojna cave and 500 metres from the main bus station. The hostel makes sure to organize colourful events for which you have to ask in advance. By this I mean visiting the natural and cultural heritage of this part of Slovenia. 

@Hostel Proteus
If you decide to be their guest, remember that with the HI Slovenia membership card you get 10% off. One more reason for you to join us and start using all these discounts! Let's explore our Slovenia and the world together!