I know many people, who are charmed by Tuscany and its nearby vineyards region Chianti, but still have never heard that also Slovenia has something similar to offer – vineyards region called Goriška Brda. Its hills, covered with vineyards, are breathtaking! To top it all off, Goriška Brda has even cute little historical villas, old churches and villages, where walking thru the narrow and cobblestone streets is romanticly charming! There are two major differences between Goriška Brda and the Italian Chianti region though; Chianti is very popular among tourists and it can get pretty crowded and pricey in the peak season, but on the other hand, Goriška Brda are less touristic and also cheaper, but most definitely not less charming and also not less interesting.
If you are asking yourself, what can Goriška Brda offers you and why you should be visiting it, here are some of my best reasons:
TOP things to do in Goriška Brda
- Enjoy the spectacular views over the numberless vineyards – Should I continue? The hilly landscape is ideal to grow grapes and with that, the view on all the vineyards is truly amazing! To give you an idea, how popular the wine growing is, here are some numbers. The region Goriška Brda has only 5000 inhabitants, but more than 150 wine producers. No wonder, this region is one of the most known in Slovenia for wine making. The region is ideala also for photographers, as it is very photogenic.
- Get underground and visit the largest wine cellar in Slovenia – If you don’t visit the largest wine cellar in Slovenia, it is like not really get to know this region. Goriška Brda wine cellar offers you guided tours and wine tasting – perfect start of your Goriška Brda exploration.
- Feel like at home in one of the many homesteads – When driving around Goriška Brda, you will see many signs for homesteads. There are so many homesteads here in Goriška Brda that we could say, they are one of the most recognizable sights. That is also the reason you just have to stop at one. One of the best one is Kabaj Morel homestead, where you can get their amazing world know wine and food. If you want to stay overnight, they also have rooms available.
- Visit the Dobrovo town and be charmed from the Dobrovo castle – The Dobrovo town is the capital of this region and it can also brag, to have one of the nicest renaissance castles, dated from 17th century. Nowadays it is used for different cultural events and weddings. The entrance ticket is 2 EUR (adults) or 1 EUR (children) and it gives you an insight of the Hall of Knights and Hunter’s room. There’s also a restaurant and wine-bar in the castle.
- See the work of nature at Krčnik natural bridge and its flumes – It is said, that the natural bridge at Krčnik is one of the most beautiful in Slovenia. Perfectly rounded due to limestone and rushing water made this 5 meters long arch, which is even more impressing due to its 40 meters long flumes.
- Travel back in time and take a walk at the picturesque village Šmartno – This small village is a cultural monument and it lies in the central of the Goriška Brda region. On the same spot, there were already some Roman remains, but the most vivid evidences are from the Turkish raids, as the town was built as a fortified hamlet. Its church tower was once a fortress tower. Šmartno is a cute little place, worth your time while traveling around Goriška Brda.
- Climb up to the viewing tower Gonjače – The place where this viewing tower stands, has a memorial monument, which is dedicated to 315 victims of the World War II. Passing this memorial, you can climb up to the 23 meters high viewing tower, which will reveal the region widely. You can see lots of vineyards and small villages on top of the hills, including the Šmartno village.
- Enjoy the newly rebuild Vipolže castle – This Vipolže castle was once a magnificent hunting mansion and now with its renovation, we can finally see its old glory. It was said that the Vipolže castle was once the most beautiful in Slovenia, but it was greatly damaged during the First World War. Everything was destroyed except from the outdoor dancing floor, which locals are still using for different events.
- Get to know the history of the World War I. and visit Sabotin hill – Sabotin is a popular hiking and cycling place, but during the WW1, this hill was part of a devastating Isonzo front fights between Italians and Austro-Hungarians armies. Due to this bloody history, Sabotin hill is now know as a Peace park and all the trenches and caverns from the WW1 are here as a reminder, than this should never happen again.
There are two more places worth stopping, which are not at Goriška Brda, but still very close and on your way:
- The Solkan Bridge – If you are arriving to Goriška Brda from Vipava valley or Tolmin town in the north of Slovenia, this bridge will cross your way. The Solkan bridge is the largest stone bridge in the world and also the largest stone bridge among train bridges. Underneath, the turquoise Soča river is flowing, what makes the whole view even more spectacular.
- The Holy Mountain (Sveta Gora) – The Holy Mountain represents the most important holy place in the west side of Slovenia. On the top of the 682 meter above sea level hill stands a triple-nave Basilica and a monastery. This Holy Mountain has been a pilgrim place for centuries.
How to explore the Goriška Brda?
You can explore Goriška brda on foot, with your bike or by car. If you are here without a bike, you can rent an electronic one at the tourist information center at the Dobrovo castle. You can even get an electric scooter, but please note you have to book it in advance.
- Price for a rented e-bike:
- 25€ for the whole day
- 17,50 € for 5 hours or half day
- 10,10 € for 2 hours
- Price for rented e-scooter:
If you are not into cycling, you can still have an alternative and rent an electronic scooter. To rent an e-scooter, you have to book it in advance and you can do this at Dobrovo TIC. You can test the e-scooter for an hour free of charge.
If you are visiting any of the many homesteads (also the Kabaj Morel homestead), some of them can also rent you an e-scooter free of charge. All you have to do is use their service:
- lunch or dinner with degustation of their homemade wines = renting scooter for 2 hours free of charge
- one night stay = renting scooter for 4 hours free of charge
- two nights stay = renting scooter for 1 day free of charge
If you like vineyards and you are amazed over the Italian region Chianti, but looking for something unique and still not widely explored, visiting Goriška Brda should definitely get on your bucket list as soon as possible and before others revile this well kept secret!