Last Updated on September 9, 2018 by Natasha Amar
Don’t forget to watch my video tour of BIG BERRY Slovenia at the end of this post.
I knew nothing about Slovenia. This beautiful country has somehow managed to remain a secret, even with its quaint villages, lush forests, delicious food, amazing hospitality, and incredible wine.
I arrived in the dead of the night at the airport in Ljubljana, after over two months of travel. Though I’d loved being on the road exploring Sweden and Iceland, I couldn’t deny that the hectic lifestyle of working while always on the move had been exhausting. I hadn’t had a lot of time to research or draw up a list of places I wanted to see in Slovenia. I was over traveling like that. All I knew was that I needed a place to slow down, relax, and recover and the BIG BERRY Lifestyle Camp in Slovenia sounded like the perfect match.
I’ve always been more at home in little villages and quiet towns surrounded by towering mountains, emerald forests, and meandering rivers than I have in busy cities pulsating with the chaotic energy of people, traffic, and commerce. Luckily, my days with BIG BERRY in the town of Primostek, Slovenia were just what I needed to shake off my travel fatigue.
Location in the heart of nature
The BIG BERRY Lifestyle Camp lies on the banks of the River Kolpa in the quiet town of Primostek. The drive from the Ljubljana airport is an hour and a half long and from the Zagreb airport in Croatia, it’s about an hour.
The region of Bela krajina is a fascinating landscape of rolling green hills, family-run vineyards, Instagram-worthy sunflower fields, and cute towns and villages that are really clusters of homes and farms. The Kolpa River runs between Slovenia and Croatia and you can actually swim over to the Croatian side from the camp. The nearest shops, restaurants, bars, or cafés in town are just a few minutes’ drive away.
The BIG BERRY Concept
What really piqued my curiosity about BIG BERRY was the use of terms like ‘Lifestyle resort’ and ‘glamping’. You might have heard the term glamping before; it means luxurious or glamorous camping i.e., in the heart of nature in a camp-like setting but with none of the discomforts of living in a bare minimum tent.
While you’ll see that nothing about the BIG BERRY homes is even remotely comparable to a tent, it was surprising how closely connected I felt to nature. This is where the lifestyle element comes into play. The general vibe at the camp is relaxed and one that encourages you to be active, healthy and happy, and make the most of the gorgeous nature that surrounds you.
On my first day in the resort, a member of staff reminded me something that I often forget in my lifestyle- where travel, work and leisure are often so deeply intertwined that I cannot tell one from the other, “we need you to relax and to take it easy to truly understand what we are about. Unless you do that, you won’t appreciate what we have to offer.” Know what that sounded like? Bliss.
An important pillar of the BIG BERRY concept in Bela krajina is their focus on partnerships with local producers- honey and oil producers, local farms, wineries and breweries, home bakers, and restaurants, that promote the interests of the entire community and help the tourist get a more immersive experience.
While I was already feeling spoilt with the welcome basket consisting of Berryshka berry liquor and chocolates, Cebelarstvo Veselič honey, Zlati Ghee, Oljarna Pečarič oil, and Lamut apple juice, I had no idea about what was in store the next morning.
The absolute highlight of life at BIG BERRY was the massive breakfast basket that was placed every morning on the terrace outside. The basket was full of delicious local products- warm and fresh pogača bread from Domače Dobrote Mojca, fresh fruits, milk, cereal, nuts, spreads, apple juice, and a fruit and yogurt smoothie by Kmetija Štrucelj that was simply divine.
It’s great that I could not only enjoy the delicious honey and local bread for breakfast everyday, but could also visit the bee-keeper who produces the honey and the kind lady who bakes the bread in her kitchen. While the language barrier would have meant limited communication if I were doing this on my own, having the BIG BERRY staff accompany us meant that we always had a translator and with a relationship already established between the camp and local producers, they were more than happy to welcome us and chat with us.
These experiences also made me realize how warm, kind, hospitable, and friendly the people of Bela krajina are. I tend to remember most places as the people I met there and when I think of Slovenia, I think of the infectious energy of Andreja of Gostišče Veselič, of the hospitality of Sonja of Peka Peciva, and the passionate bee-keeper Jože of Čebelarstvo Veselič.
BIG BERRY Mobile Homes
I was completely blown away by the level of luxury offered at the stylish but minimalistic BIG BERRY mobile homes developed by the Hosekra group. If you’ve ever dreamed of setting up your own lifestyle/glamping/super-awesome resort, these are the guys you need to get in touch with.
My air-conditioned mobile home was meant for six with a bedroom and a room with two bunk beds (sleeps four) separated by a cozy living area with a kitchenette. Outside, was a wooden floored terrace that came with its own Jacuzzi and lounge chairs to relax in. Nice aesthetic touches abound throughout the general décor such as the sliding doors, rain-shower, and the use of a color palette that makes the spaces bright and airy.
The living area also features an LED TV but I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why anyone would want to watch TV when they could be outside swimming in the Kolpa, kayaking on the river, stargazing, practicing yoga or hula-hooping with the fun staff at BIG BERRY.
The bedroom was comfortably sized and came with a lit wardrobe and a mirror- something I really appreciate after having stayed in cabin huts with neither. The bed was super soft and comfy- the kind where you doze off within minutes of resting your head. Bathrobes and slippers are provided.
The house is equipped with all the comforts you’d have back at home and is perfect for couples or families who would like to cook during their stay. The kitchen comes with a refrigerator, microwave, and is stocked with dishware, cutlery, utensils, some basic ingredients and a blender.
I found myself working most evenings and was glad to see that the WiFi connectivity was decent enough for me to work from my terrace in House No. 1. When it turned spotty, I walked myself over to the reception and common area where it was stronger.
And the cherry on the cake is obviously the Jacuzzi where you can relax as evening falls over Bela krajina and the sky is lit with thousands of stars.
Amenities at BIG BERRY
When you’re not swimming in the River Kolpa or stargazing, there’s plenty to keep you busy within the camp.
- Kayaks and bicycles available for guest use
- Outdoor gym
- Barbeque area and grill
- Outdoor beds
- Beach volleyball
- Children’s outdoor play area
- Floating swimming pool installed in the river (safe for very young children)
- Wellness activities such as yoga, hula-hoop, and rock-climbing
- Parking available
Taste Slovenia with BIG BERRY
While there is no on-site restaurant, BIG BERRY has partnered with local restaurants in the vicinity to ensure you have the best culinary experiences. From a casual pizzeria to places that serve up traditional home-style Slovenian fare and delectable fish specialties, it wasn’t surprising that I left BIG BERRY with happy love-handles. Most of these places are a short drive from the camp.
Gostišče Veselič: This was easily my favorite restaurant in Bela krajina both for the amazing food and the incredible hospitality of the spirited owner Andreja who has a rare gift when it comes to good conversation and putting her guests at ease.
Kmetija Zupančič: I got to try different fish specialties here and loved everything.
Pri Starem Pildu: Casual pizzeria that also serves grilled meats, Tex-Mex, and a particularly good Salmon Gnocchi.
Gostilna Müller: Local dishes and a great salad bar.
Experience Slovenia with BIG BERRY
Apart from visiting local producers engaged in bee-keeping, oil production, the traditional water mill at Domačija Kuzma and wineries such as Malnarič and Šuklje, the team at BIG BERRY was kind enough to show me around beautiful spots in Bela krajina and further away.
From the turquoise waters of the Spring of Krupa, intriguing historical site of Mitrej, fairytale like Lake Bled, cobbled city center of Ljubljana, rafting on the River Kolpa surrounded by lush forested hills, and time traveling to a 1957’s classroom at Bistra buča, to seeing ‘human fish’ at the fascinating Postojna Cave, my days in Slovenia helped me see the best of the country, immerse myself in the culture and learn about the history well enough that I came away with a sense of familiarity with Slovenia. For that, I am truly grateful to the wonderful team at BIG BERRY. I’ll be doing full posts on some of these experiences to help you plan your own trip to Slovenia.
The BIG BERRY Slovenia Team
My post wouldn’t be complete without a shout-out to the lovely team at BIG BERRY who were happy to go out of their way for the comfort of their guests. As a solo guest, I was always made to feel like a part of the BIG BERRY family and one of my greatest takeaways from the experience was the sense of community.
It was also nice to see that the staff was from different countries and organized events that celebrated this diversity. One afternoon, we were treated to an International Lunch cooked by the interns with dishes from Spain, Slovakia, Vietnam, the U.S., and Croatia. Another evening, the Vietnamese interns cooked us a grand Vietnamese meal that brought back memories of my time in the country.
Watch the video
No words can do justice to the feeling of waking up to persistent birdsong every morning. Or of opening your front door to walk barefoot across the grass to sit by the River Kolpa, swim in its cool, clear water, or hop into a kayak and allow yourself to be disconnected with all the noise that clogs up your mind everyday.
Nature truly allows us to connect with ourselves in the present moment, to taste fresh berries from the garden, to notice the colors and patterns of our butterfly companions, the bright yellow flowers that grow in the tall grass, and the perfect reflections of gold-leafed trees in the mirror-like river, almost like a portal into a parallel world.
BIG BERRY is the perfect retreat for nature-loving solo travelers, families, couples, and groups looking to get away from it all and explore the region of Bela krajina. When you consider the price- that includes a house that sleeps six, meals, and some tours and activities, it’s a total no-brainer; you get more than fair value for money. If you’d like to book a house for your next summer getaway, you’ll find the best rates when you book with BIG BERRY directly.
I stayed at BIG BERRY Slovenia as a guest of the resort. As always, all opinions are honest and independent.
Have you visited Slovenia? Would you like to stay at BIG BERRY on your visit? If you like this post, please spread the word!