Intoxicating infinity of incentive experiences
Goriška Brda is passionate, energetic and driven by a primary need to live life to the full, with its inhabitants charged on spontaneity, intuition and positive energy. Just like tango, the place is connected with both heart and soul. If you want to have contact with the earth and with nature, you can get closest to this feeling in the intoxicating Brda.
Hand cut slices of ham from the Belica farm that melt in the mouth and divinely tasting Tolmin sheep and goat’s cheese with warm bread rolls all served with kindness make for an unforgettable breakfast in the middle of Šmartno. Marica house has only four rooms that are representative of the new luxury founded on authenticity, respect for tradition and the principle of “less is more”. The house, named after nona Marica, was opened in 2010 and combines a little inn, a culinary souvenir shop and hotel rooms that are soon to be added to.
The neighbouring family Hotel San Martin has put the meticulously restored and fortified medieval Šmartno in the centre of a new congress offer of the Gorica Hills. With nineteen rooms and the adjacent Marica it has become a popular starting point for incentive exploring of Brda, with its little pearls dotted along the hillsides. The heart and soul of the hotel is its owner Vesna, who with the tireless Brda inhabitants’ energy is taking the hotel forward and taking care of ensuring guests’ satisfaction. For their incentive meetings the hotel has already been discovered by several Slovenian companies who appreciate the kindness, diversity of offer and the intimacy of the hotel, which is soon to get even better with the addition of a swimming pool.
Electric bikes and scooters are a nice – and green – innovation that will help you overcome the otherwise challenging Brda hills, with some ‘chunkier’ congress guests having tested the hilly inclines and conquered with the help of electricity! The bike and hiking trails are well marked and the orientation doesn’t pose any major problems. There are nine marked trails and in all of the hotels, tourist farms and TIC logically organised maps are available.
For starters on getting acquainted with the area the descent through Kozana to the new cultural and congress centre in Vipolže is particularly recommendable. It is here that one of the biggest investments in the field of culture is almost complete, with only the furnishings missing. In March 2015 the Renaissance villa will be brought to its full glory and is set to impress through its precise reconstruction, which has preserved and highlighted the essence of the former luxury villa so that today the villa is precisely as it was in the 17th century. In the large congress hall, which can be divided into three parts, there is room for 250 conference delegates and with the hardwood floors and preserved fireplaces it will be one of the most prestigious congress halls in Slovenia. The winery, tasting room, renovated exterior and giant cypress trees in the park will also play a part in this future congress hit.
With the range of options for evening events the choice of location is a big challenge. The garden of the Bjana estate has proven to be an acoustic and an adventurous hit, the 13th century palace courtyard having been renovated by Miran Sirk ‘s family and his charismatic presentation of the production of traditional sparkling wines legendary and deserving of the heralded respect of guests.
Another quite extraordinary congress location is also the tasting space of Goriška Brda’s wine cellar, which is the largest wine cellar in Slovenia. There is something in the air and in the basement that really impresses guests. In its large tasting room it is possible to arrange a large number of stalls and it can also be used as a conference hall, with the recently organised Natour managing to accommodate 25. With views of the surrounding vineyards the space can be nicely combined with Dobrovo castle, where lectures and lunch with a view can be organised. Getting to the castle from the Dobrovo cellar allows you to walk through the vineyard and enjoy the views of the Brda hills. The Knights’ Hall with its murals accommodates up to 100 participants and the lavish courtyard is suitable for receptions seasoned with a cultural programme. The castle houses the TIC Brda, which is the main point for the rental of electric scooters and bicycles, as well as for the purchase of original, artistic Brda memorabilia.
Then there is the picturesque Medana, which in being one of the most recognizable tourist spots in Brda needs no special introduction. In Medana one does not need to think too heavily, because its essence is in its spontaneity and the pleasures that arise from contact with the legendary winemakers.
A new initiative in the region for this year is donkey trekking, which not only have conference guests found especially exciting but it has also been proven to work against stress, socialising with donkeys understood to be soothing and relaxing.
So whilst it appears that the Goriška Brda may be a remote region, with its new capacities it is becoming a starting point for discovering Posočje, the Gorizia region, Karst and Veneto. With the proximity of airports in Trieste and Venice the air accessibility is much better than the Slovenian average. In the shadow of the gaming boom in Nova Gorica a sustainable tourism product, which is unequalled in Slovenia, is also slowly and steadily taking shape.
Lastly, it appears that in Brda the tourism trousers are worn by women. With such energy as the team of Ariana Suhadolnik has, mountains can truly be moved.
Passionate socialising, like doing the tango, is always memorable and brings something new and different. Through organising the 8th business trade show of active tourism, NATOUR 2014, we properly got to dance tango with Goriška Brda.