Go on the honey tasting trail
Thanks to its rich diversity of flora and expertise in mobile beekeeping, Slovenia produces around 2400kg of honey each year.
Visit Marko Cesar, of the family-run Cesar brand, at his home near Maribor and you can sip on the country’s only sparkling chestnut honey-based wine. Elsewhere, you can sample liqueurs, mead, vinegar, beer and goats cheese, all made from honey.
Further west at the quaint Restaurant Lectar in Radovljica you can watch traditional honey bread hearts, or lectarstvo, being made; many biodynamic farmers flavour theirs with cinnamon, ginger, blueberry and chocolate.
Honey tasting © Lucy McGuire
Take an apitherapy tour
Nineteenth-century physician Filip Terc was ridiculed for claiming that bee venom could cure arthritis. But apitherapy is now recognised by the Slovenian Beekeeper’s Association as a legitimate form of homeopathy.
You can learn about the bacteria-fighting properties of propolis and the ‘curative’ effects of royal jelly on high blood pressure on an apitherapy tour.
Those with asthma can inhale ‘healing aromas’ from the hive while anyone feeling a little weary can try honey massages, beeswax thermotherapy – claimed to boost circulation and treat skin disorders – and a nap on special beehive beds, whose vibrations are said to induce calm.
Get hands-on at an apicamp
Whether you’re a beekeeping pro or simply want to learn more about the api-industry, Slovenia offers various ‘apicamps’ on Queen breeding, the apiculture science and traditional AZ hives.
You can join lectures in honey production, bee feeding and everything from comb wiring to obtaining propolis and royal jelly. Or if you want to do some serious swotting-up, you can head to the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association in Lukovica – home to a honey laboratory and apiculture Library.
Bee hive © Lucy McGuire
Stay on an eco-api-friendly estate
The apitourism trend has done wonders for highlighting new forms of eco-conscious travel. And many companies like ApiRoutes are using this niche industry to shine the spotlight on an array of eco and socially conscious accommodation and tours.
If you do one thing, check out the remarkable Trnulja Estate – a 100% organic farm with charming bio-apartments and excellent green credentials. Tanja Arih Korosec, Director of AriTours, says: ‘Tourism is becoming more about sustainability and if we can [use apitourism] to encourage tourists to act in a more sustainable way, other countries will follow.”
Eco-stay © ZTKMŠ Brda archive