The Slovenia Times

Explore and marvel at Kras and Brkini in spring


Kraška Gmajna, swathes of dry grassland where sheep and goats grazed for centuries but have since largely become overgrown, has given its name to a unique festival that celebrates the rich cultural and natural heritage of Kras and Brkini in the south-west of the country.

Kras, the limestone plateau above the Gulf of Trieste which is dotted with stone-built villages, is celebrated for its ruby-red Teran wine, the pršut (prosciutto) air-dried ham and the white Lipizzan horses.

Further to the south-east, Brkini is a more remote area. It is known for its picturesque, green landscape, apple and plum orchards, small clustered settlements and rolling hills.

Springtime is one of the best times to visit the two regions, to marvel at the blooming wildflower meadows and grasslands and look for wild herbs such as wild asparagus among the brush and rocky outposts.

The Kraška Gmajna Festival is one more reason to come, beckoning visitors to explore Kras and Brkini on organised hikes, cycling tours, at workshops and culinary events for a month until 20 May.

It is also possible to venture out on one's own as many of the hiking trails are well marked with signs often providing additional information about the natural and cultural features.

Kraška Gmajna is considered one of the oldest cultural landscapes and one of the biodiversity hotspots in Europe and worldwide.

Visitors to the area will be able to taste local food and wines, learn about indigenous plants and animals, and be immersed in the traditional folk wisdom.

The festival is organised by the Kras and Brkini Regional Development Agency in collaboration with a number of partners to promote tourism.

Katja Kralj, head of the Kras and Brkini destination, invited visitors to "explore the uniqueness of our region, experience the landscape that is full of life and kind people, and taste local dishes" during the spring segment of the annual festival.

The festival opened on 22 April in Sežana at the Villa Mirasasso with its beautiful Botanical Gardens.

Villa Mirasasso Botanical Gardens. Photo: Facebook/Kraška Gmajna Festival

A hike around the town of Kobjeglava on 30 April will allow those who join in to learn about herbs and gather around a campfire in the evening, while Luka Kristanc will speak about medicinal plants from Kras and the coast in Rodik.

The events include a cycling tour around Kras near the city of Nova Gorica, a workshop of dry stone walling and the screening of a documentary about the Kras landscape before the festival concludes with the Days of Kraška Gmajna Delicacies.

There will be more similar events in Kras in May as Vilenica Cave marks 390 years of tourism and the cross-border Geopark Kras-Carso Park project offers hikes on both sides of the Slovenian-Italian border.

The town of Hrpelje will meanwhile organise a mountain bike race to Mt Slavnik.


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