“Al mar, al mar …!” Driving & listening to my favourite haunting melody of a song from Catalonia, I really wonder about the fastest way to “reach the sea” here in Slovenia. After all, Slovenia, our country’s neighbour to the south, has successfully managed to wedge in some 40 kilometres of coastline between Italy and Croatia. It is one of the fastest access routes to the sea for us Austrians. This time, we are headed to a city named Portoroz: The “port of the rose”. From Graz, it is only a three hours drive to see the sea …
Slovenia itself has a lot to offer, too, as my most recent exploration of the magic Soča valley has shown.
If headed to Slovenia from Styria, you will not notice much difference in the (cultural) landscape at first. Stopping in a town named Ptuj, we learn that Ptuj has furthermore become known for … Roman festivals, wine & coffee beans!
Who would have thought? After enjoying delicious lunch at the Gostilna Ribič restaurant right by the river Drava, our local guide Boris is happy to show us the picturesque old town of Ptuj. He talks to us about authentic Roman dress up parties, whose fame has spread all the way to Rome (!), from the early proliferation of coffee as well as the many cultural and historical ties with Austria. In fact, the entire area is even called “Slovenian Styria”. Check this out.
Travelling from Ptuj to Portoroz is like a pretty cross-section of what Slovenia is all about: Forests, flowers, hills, fields, mountains and valleys alternate until finally dropping to meet up with … the sea.
What a beautiful road trip through Slovenia, especially the last few stretches before reaching the coastline. It is here where the mighty alps finally make way for the lush overgrow of southern Pine forests, complete with Mediterranean cypress trees. A sweet scent of sea breeze infuses the air. Portoroz, we have arrived … three days of resting and exploring the area around LifeClass Hotels Portoroz as well as their “World of Healthy Pleasures”. Whatever this may be?
It also shows you that Portoroz itself is a perfect starting point for trips into the neighbourhood, such as cute little Piran, Izola or Koper nearby. Piran has easily impressed me the most; do make a point of visiting the “Venice of Slovenia“, as they call this romantic little town by the sea.
The next day, we continue our exploration of fish and the sea: Off we go meeting local lady Irena Fonda and her fish farm, whose organic sea bass has become known far across the borders of Portoroz, and indeed Slovenia.
Irena Fonda has a truly unique story to tell. Daring, almost, as she traces her early hardships in moving against the current and starting to grow fish naturally, at an organic aquaculture farm. A doctor in molecular biology, she reveals that it was actually herself who ended up questioning her own dad in the family business: “An organic, slow-growing fish farm?! To sustain marine life?” How was this going to work?
The answer is: It does. With many years of persistence, hard work and faith in … the fish. Allowing it to grow naturally, feeding it only organic produce so that no chemicals will ever end mixed up in its meat. Informing the public about this particular type of sea bass that they raise and sell here – through kayak trips around the farm, boat trips, even cooking classes with guests from nearby hotels. Irena really enjoys sharing her story and perpetuating the legacy of her visionary father: Full of drive, vision and personality herself. Check this out.
Check out even more stunning travel photography from our trip to Slovenia here …
… as well as more travel stories from Slovenia from these travel blogs:
- TravelWorldOnline: “Portoroz LifeClass Hotels: Wo Anti-Aging Kult ist” & “Piran, das Fischerdorf an der Adria“
- Follow-Your-Trolley: “InstaTrip #20: Portoroz & Piran, Slowenien: Alte Erinnerungen, neue Entdeckungen und ein Sommer wie damals“, “Eine Reise nach Piran: Wo die Blaue Stunde am schönsten ist“, “A Flashpacker’s Life .. im September. Weil der Sommer noch kein Ende hat und Slowenien ein guter Anfang ist” & “My Souvenir from .. Portoroz, Piran & Slowenien: Ein Olivenzweig und das Glück“
- Hallo-Welt: “Ptuj – Die älteste Stadt Sloweniens“
- LifeTravellerz: “Slowenien – Die perfekte Mischung“, “Playground Portoroz – Slowenien” & “Spotguide Slowenien“
- Travelwriticus: “Slovenia“
- Globeastronaut: “Piran – The perfect city to get lost (English version)” & “10 Things to do in Slovenia”
Dobrodošli & see you soon in Slovenia!
Disclaimer: We have been invited by LifeClass Hotels Portoroz on this trip to Slovenia. All opinions are my own.