2016, the golden vintage of green achievements
Slovenia is ending 2016 with a golden vintage and a green winner reputation. This is not only due to the green gold, as locally brewed beer is called in Slovenia, but while we’re on the subject, as of this year, visitors can taste this delicious brew from the first and only beer fountain in the world, located in Žalec. We became the first green country in the world, as Slovenia reached a record 96% level of compliance with the required sustainability criteria according to a comprehensive assessment by the international organisation Green Destinations. It is no coincidence that this announcement took place in the Slovenian capital that hosted the Global Green Destinations Day at the end of September. As the European Green Capital 2016, Ljubljana was at the forefront of the environmentally and socially aware European Union all year. Therefore, the green commitments of the Slovenia Green national programme for assessing and promoting sustainability in Slovenian tourism are bearing fruit, and Slovenia is proving that it is becoming increasingly more recognisable as a country of sustainable tourism that is friendly to local communities and the natural environment.
The year of the green tastes of Slovenia
Slovenia is also the green star on the culinary map of the world and among lovers of good food. The “from the garden to the plate” philosophy is advocated by top chefs, such as Ana Roš, one of the greatest culinary celebrities in the world. In the past decade, all Slovenian regions have been making efforts to revive typical dishes with a modern twist. For example, in Kamnik and Velika Planina trnič, the cheese of love, is still made in the shape of women’s breasts. This cheese was once given by herdsmen to their loved ones. Good food must also be accompanied by a good drink. Slovenia is a miniature European wine region, and we have also kept up the tradition of brewing beer in micro breweries. In Žalec, the capital of hops production, the Green Gold Fountain has been opened, paying tribute to the heritage of the Savinja Valley. This is the first and the only beer fountain in the world, where you can taste Slovenian beers, including the local beer called Kukec. Its secret is the basic ingredients – thermal water and the fine Savinja Golding hops, which can be found in many excellent beers all around the world. If you are intrigued by wine stories, visit the most famous Slovenian wineries in the romantic Brda Hills, and then drive to the opposite end of the country where you can enjoy a 360° view of vineyards from the Vinarium Lendava Tower in north-eastern Slovenia. Its height of 53.5 m allows you to see all the way from the rolling Lendavske Gorice hills to the River Mura and to Hungary, Croatia, and Austria.
The year of green accommodation and glamping
There is an increasing number of green accommodations in Slovenia that have one of the international sustainability certificates, such as Green Globe or Travelife. In Ljubljana, the European Green Capital, where you can find a rooftop strawberry field and an urban apiary for producing house honey at the Park Hotel, the first winner of the Travelife certificate, there is even the first certified green hostel in the world. This is the famous Celica Hostel located in a former prison. The hostel can even be found on the Lonely Planet's list of the most unusual hostels in the world. Slovenia will remember 2016 as the year when glamping, i.e. glamorous camping, rose to prominence. Experience a green fairy tale at the romantic Charming Slovenia glamping village in Ljubno ob Savinji near the Logar Valley, one of the most beautiful European glacial valleys. There, visitors are pampered in wooden glamping tents, with wellness services and herbal aromas coming from the nearby garden.
In southern Slovenia next to the River Kolpa, Big Berry opened the doors of its luxurious mobile homes in the midst of nature, far from the city hustle and bustle. Easy access to the warmest Slovenian river offers you numerous options for an active getaway. The Eco Resort under Velika Planina invites you to experience the herdsmen tradition in northern Slovenia, at the foot of the Kamnika and Savinja Alps. The aroma of wood and the familiar atmosphere create a fairy tale environment in comfortable wooden cottages reminiscent of true herdsmen dwellings on the Velika Planina plateau.
The year of green Alpine achievements
This year, the town of Tolmin in the valley of the River Soča, one of the most beautiful Alpine rivers in the world, celebrated its green achievements as it was given the title Alpine Town of 2016. Tolmin became a part of UNESCO's Julian Alps Biosphere Reserve and achieved fame for an internationally acclaimed project dedicated to the re-population of the indigenous Soča trout, thus offering the greatest insight into the life of this protected fish species. The path from the Soča Valley takes us across Slovenia's highest mountain pass, Vršič, to Kranjska Gora, where visitors can swim in crystal clear glacial water, the source of which is subterranean glacial lakes. Within the Glacial Wellness programmes that received the award for innovativeness in Slovenian tourism, you can enjoy the very popular massage with glacial stones. Once you feel hale and hearty, you can head to Planica. The valley below Ponce has long been the home of ski jumping heroes achieving record distances. Have you ever wanted to feel what it was like to jump from one of the biggest ski jumps in the world? In Planica, the steepest zipline in the world is available. Your “ski flight” will be no less than 566 m long, and you will achieve speeds of up to 85 km/h.
The year of the European Green Capital and global awards
It all began with a great commitment and the Slovenia Green national programme, which launched the first nine Slovenian green destinations in 2016, assessed according to international sustainability criteria. The Slovenia Green golden label was earned by Slovenia's capital Ljubljana, which will forever remember 2016 as the victorious year in which it was crowned with the title European Green Capital 2016. Did you know that locals like to call the city centre, which is closed to traffic, their comfortable outdoor living room?
And then the report from the esteemed American Yale University was published. Its EPI environmental index ranked Slovenia at a very high 5th place among 180 countries in the world. In spring, Slovenia was already preparing for the Global Green Destinations Day that takes place at the end of September. It proved to be the largest meeting of green destinations of all time. History was indeed written. No fewer than 17 Slovenia Green destinations were placed among the 100 most sustainable destinations in the world, and Slovenia became the greatest ambassador of green tourism in the world. See which green experiences are recommended (link) and cross your fingers, maybe Slovenia will even win National Geographic’s Legacy Award for preserving natural and cultural heritage.
Slovenia also experienced the year of bee-keeping tourism
At the initiative of the Slovenian Beekeeper's Association, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia submitted a proposal to the United Nations to declare World Bee Day. If confirmed, this day will be on 20 May, the birthday of Anton Janša from Žirovnica in Gorenjska, a famous pioneer of modern apiculture in Europe. He worked in Vienna in the 19th century. Experience apitherapy and other honey-related experiences in Slovenia!