In the lap of nature | Luxury glamping at Big Berry Slovenia
The rivers Lahinja and Krupa come together to create the perfect spot to relax amidst nature at Big Berry the luxury lifestyle resort at Bela Krajina in Slovenia. It’s way beyond glamping – read on to know why!
I could hear the ‘choo-choo’ of the train as it made its way through forests on it’s way to Metlika, Slovenia. Colourful villages passed by steadily.
I’d been on numerous train rides before, but this one was unique. It was peaceful, and I was the only person in the carriage. The best bit: I’d paid 12 Euros for a 2-hour ride on a spotless train!
The ticket inspector had a curious look as she took a look at my ticket, one that read “Why is a visitor heading to Metlika?”
I was unsure myself. However, all I knew was that I wanted to ensure I had time to myself while I worked remotely. As I was visiting Slovenia for the first time, I also wanted to enjoy the local food.
I finally see Big Berry in a secluded corner of Primostek, at the convergence of the rivers Lahinja and Krupa . Access to the doors is controlled and provided only to the residents, and I wait patiently till I’m let in. I can’t hear the river Kolpa, although I can see it clearly, proving that the water is super still!
I quickly make my way to the reception where people were sat casually on the patio outside, working or relaxing. I’m welcomed warmly, asked how my journey was and given a drink, then taken to my cabin.
Ours is the second last cabin, located right next to a field of corn and the barbeque house. I’m told Big Berry organises community events every week and a barbeque is one of them.
I pass other cabins on the way, each having some unique artwork on it and watch families, couples and teens sunbathing, swimming, or paddle-boarding on the river. Jo is smiling broadly as I finally see her sat on the patio outside. I can’t believe it’s the first time I’m seeing her after keeping in touch for almost three years.
The cabin is massive, and I was having a difficult time believing that the whole place was completely mobile! It was possible to move the entire cabin, one which had a fully functional kitchen, complete with hob, cabinets, sink and an inbuilt fridge and microwave.
There are two bedrooms, one with a king size bed and the other with a bunk bed, each with smart storage solutions, reading lamps and dimming blinds included.
The living room had designer furniture, and the bathroom was done smartly.
I pick the bunk bed and feeling ravenous; we head to Gostišče Veselič for dinner, where I have Struklji, wheat or buckwheat rolls filled with different fillings. Once a delicacy served on special occasions, it is now a classic Slovenian dish found in most places. I have Struklji with a cottage cheese filling alongside a steak of pork, while the others have some freshly grilled fish and chicken, all equally tasty and wash it down with some local beer.
It’s pitch dark once we’re back at Big Berry and we can’t help but notice the sky lit with in-numerous stars! Thrilled, we quickly change into our bathing suits, start our private jacuzzi and get in with glasses of wine. Crickets chirp away while Jo, Ola and me catch up on recent travels.
There’s only been a handful of locations in the world, like Morocco, where I’ve had the fortune to stargaze, and while I continue to gaze at the constellations, I can feel my worries melting away. After a couple of hours spent in silence, we’re ready to call it a night.
The next day I wake up to bright sunshine streaming into the living room. A basket of organic goodies has been left by the door. There is freshly baked bread that’s still warm, butter, cold cuts, eggs, marmalade and ghee (clarified butter)! I’ve never seen ghee made locally before, in Europe, so I’m delighted to find chocolate ghee on my doorstep! After trying a little of almost everything in the basket, it was time to try some stand-up paddle-boarding, something I hadn’t ever done before!
Off we went to collect the boards, and Iva patiently explained to us how not to fall off the board and balance ourselves on it. You first had to sit at the very centre of the board, then slowly change position to sit on your knees then try standing slowly while balancing yourselves all the while.
I can proudly say that I did not fall off the board and spent an enjoyable couple of hours on the Kolpa river. However, I was terrible at guiding the board and ended up in the shrubs in Croatia. Yes, Croatia. The Kolpa river flows between Slovenia and Croatia, so we were literally in two countries at that time!
Tired, I decided to take a nap before canoeing down the river.
Canoeing was equally fun as we rowed to a natural pool. While I decided to stay put in the canoe, Ola looked like she was stood in the middle of the river, which wasn’t shallow!
After quickly changing, we then headed to the source of the river Krupa, which emerged from a limestone cave. The path to the source was strewn with wild apples and smelled of mint! Mirror reflections, azure water, and an old abandoned mill sat near the source. The region of Bela Krajina was full of pristine, serene locations and this was no different.
Dinner at Gostilna Muller was enormous, with one of the juiciest steaks I’ve had in a while followed by mango cheesecake.
Once back at the resort, I stargazed yet again from my window before drifting off to sleep.
It was all about cultural activities the following day. The day started with a visit to Domačija Kuzma, a traditional old mill where we met its patron, Urška who was happy to see us there and took us around the mill. She started by showing us the old ways in which grains were milled, husked and how at Domačija Kuzma, they’ve retained some of the activities to ensure the flour or cereal that’s ground is of the highest quality and the right magnitude.
She then called her father, who was keen to open the gates of the mill dam so we could see the mill at work. Later, he was quite proud to close the door single-handedly!
We spent about an hour or so having fun over the Kolpa river and were then treated to some shots of homemade Rakija, a fruit brandy popular in the Balkan region. My favourite was the Chilli and herb flavoured one!
Homemade lunch at Domačija Šrajf was a simple yet tasty affair. There was soup, fresh fruit, grilled meat but the apple strudel made with apples picked from the garden was definitely the highlight for me!
After having a leisurely time at Domačija Šrajf, it was time to have a relaxed evening at Malnaric vineyards.
We were the last guests of the day for Samoel who was excited to showcase the variety of wines Malnaric produced. He first brought us some Rosé wine and cheese and then took us around explaining the wood used for the barrels all the while making sure our glasses were always full.
After tasting some refreshing reds and white wines, with the Riesling being my favourite we then proceeded to the cellar to hear about how the family-run winery came to be and how the seasons affect the quality of the wine produced.
By this time, the sun had set casting a pink glow over the vineyard outside and it was time to return to Big Berry to enjoy a movie under the stars while the crickets continued with their chirping. I could see myself getting addicted to living off the grid, close to nature in luxury and it looked like it was the need of the hour!
Pictures // Lavina
Do you prefer city breaks or places where you can get closer to nature? Tell me in the comments below!
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I was a guest of Big Berry, however, as always my opinions are my own!