Heart Healthy Radenci

Mention the word ‘Radenci‘to anyone in Slovenia, and, no doubt, they will automatically think of Radenska mineral water and the 3 red hearts that symbolise this famous health resort, which has a 130-year tradition.

dsc00147

The Radenci Health Resort, located in the northeast of Slovenia, is somewhat different to the other thermal spas in Slovenia that I have visited thus far. Although there is ample opportunity for relaxation, pampering, and water-based activities, its main focus is on health and well-being, and is a renowned centre for cardiovascular rehabilitation.

Accommodation at the resort consists of 2 four-star hotelsHotel Radin and Hotel Izvir.

0 R

High in carbon dioxide, Radenska mineral water is ranked among the richest mineral waters in Europe. Those staying at the resort can benefit from three free daily drinking therapy sessions. The water that comes direct from the spring is proven, amongst other things, to have beneficial effects on the immune system and on regulating blood pressure.

dsc00143

The story began back in 1833 when Karl Henn, then a graduate of the Faculty of Medicine in Vienna, found the springs at Radenci. He became an expert in balneology, returned to Radenci in 1865, purchased the land with the spring and, in just the first year, filled and sold 37,000 bottles of Radenci mineral water, even supplying it to the Imperial Court in Vienna and the Papal Court in Rome. The health resort at Radenci was opened by Dr. Henn’s son in 1882.

Radenci is marked out by its extremely high number of regular loyal guests – some of whom have been coming for up to 60 years! This alone tells the story of the care and dedication the resort strives to provide for its guests.

A good way to get acquainted with the resort’s history is to watch the short film presentation, where you can see how the bottling of Radenska water took place in the past, and you can also visit the nearby bottling plant. After watching the film I headed for to the resort’s park to see the spring up close.

dsc00160

The park is an oasis of calm and an ideal place for a stroll.

13708246_1413844871962739_4865517256381491400_o

St. Anna’s church occupies a prime position in the park.

dsc00151

After my stroll around the park, I headed to the Medico-Wellness Centre to try one of the resort’s famous natural mineral baths – bathing in Radenska mineral water with thousands of tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide that penetrate the skin helping the body to regenerate and improve circulation to flush out waste products. You can also enjoy a range of massages, fango wraps and other treatments.

dsc00173

The centre also has the most up-to-date equipment for cardiac patients including ultrasound machines and offer a range of healthy heart programmes, carried out by highly qualified specialists.

The pool complex comprises 10 pools including an Olympic-size pool for lane swimming, and as well indoor and outdoor thermal pools. The World of Saunas features six saunas as well as special sauna programmes such as honey pampering, menthol heart scrub, and coconut tropical cream.

radencin-bazen-12

Continuing the theme of health, the resort has introduced a new colour-coded food system, named  Eat Better, prepared with the in-house nutritionist, which helps guests make healthy choices at meal times. But don’t worry, if you aren’t on a diet, there are also a few less healthy treats, including desserts such as the famous layered cake gibanica and apple strudel made by soaking the pastry in Radenska mineral water.

dsc00176

The surroundings of Radenci are ideal for outdoor activities such as cycling, running and Nordic walking. The annual Three Hearts Marathon is one of the most popular marathons in Slovenia and, since it began in 1981, has been attracting runners from Europe and further afield. You can walk along the Path along the Mura river, or follow the 8km Springs of Life Trail which leads to seven mineral water springs.

14555616_10154513498319780_1069272788_n

I set off by bike to cycle up to the church at nearby Kapelski vrh for wonderful views of the surrounding wine-growing area. There are also a range of organised excursions to nearby places of interest such as Lake Bukovnica and tasting the famous Radgona sparkling wine at the Radgona wine cellar.

14569195_10154513506394780_1431951367_n

Find more information about the Radenci Health Resort here – http://www.sava-hotels-resorts.com/en/radenci/

© Spas in Slovenia

 

 

 

Prime Prekmurje Pampering at Terme 3000, Moravske Toplice

The Terme 3000 thermal spa is located in Moravske Toplice, in the Prekmurje area of northeast of Slovenia. Terme 3000 is among the largest and most popular thermal spas in Slovenia and really does offer something for everyone; thanks to its modern facilitieshealing thermal watersexcellent cuisine, peaceful surroundings, the 18-hole Livada Golf Course, and the range of excellent leisure opportunities in the surrounding Pannonian flatlands.

Hotel accommodation at the resort comprises the 5* Hotel Livada Prestige, where I stayed, and two 4* hotels – Hotel  Ajda and Hotel Termal. This was the view from my room, which also had its own jacuzzi, overlooking the hotel’s pool area and beyond to the golf course.

cimg2224

The pool area at Hotel Livada

In addition to the hotels, for those who prefer to be independent and have self-catering facilities, there is the 4* Prekmurska vas Apartment Village, the 3* Bungalow Tourist Village and the 4* Camping Terme 3000.

cimg2246

The thatched roof bungalows at the Tourist Village

Whether you want to relax, be pampered, play a round or golf, get active, or just sit and enjoy the view, there’s never a dull moment or bad view to be had here!

moravcim-panorama-golf

Sit back, relax and enjoy the view!

During the holidays, children are also well catered for with Viki the Stork and his helpers providing childcare and entertainment, allowing parents to relax and indulge in the spa’s facilities.

Each hotel has its own pools and saunas; in total there are 28 indoor and outdoor pools spread across the resort, as well as a World of Saunas including classic Finnish, Turkish, infrared, a laconium herbal sauna and a caldarium vitality stream sauna.

Kids will love the Terme 3000 Water Park, whilst for adults the pools filled with black thermal mineral water are a unique experience (you have to try it to be able to describe the feeling!). The water is proven to have beneficial effects on the skin and joints.

cimg2238

The 22 metre water slide and aqualoop

The Thermalium Medico-Wellness Centre offers a full range of beauty treatments and medical services, whist the Thai Centre at Hotel Livada specialises in Thai massages.

The Relaxation Room contains rare Septarian nodules discovered in the Slovenske gorice hills. Formed from sedimentary remains on the seabed, it is said that the energy they emit helps to heal the body in a natural way and, amongst other benefits, helps overcome insomnia and strengthens the immune system.

cimg2235

I opted to try a Pannonian meadow massage, which uses massage oil infused with plants and herbs native to the area. A particular highlight, and something I have yet to encounter elsewhere on my spa journey thus far, is being given the remainder of the unused massage oil to take home.

The Prekmurje area is synonymous with gibanica, a layered cake, and Café Praline serves both a traditional version as well as a lighter, though equally sinful, modern version – locata panonia, as well as a range of other speciality cakes, all made in-house.

13938025_10153984358184094_4567800805421871013_o

Gibanica – a traditional Prekmurje layered cake

In my 9+ years of living here, I’ve eaten my fair share of gibanica, so, as much as I love it, for a change I decided to try something different and indulged in a stork’s nest cake, which is unique to Terme 3000, a creation by the resort’s head chef. It is shaped like a chimney and topped with a stork, the symbol of Prekmurje. It looked too beautiful too eat, but damn it tasted good! Visiting a spa doesn’t have to just be about health these days, you know!

cimg2228

Storks Nest Cake – looks too good to eat!

In fact, the food alone would be enough to make me revisit Terme 3000! I was also particularly impressed by the Prekmurje breakfast corner, and, another first, an entire honeycomb, which helped to set me up for the day before my bike ride.

cimg2259

A whole honeycomb – energy for the day ahead!

Although one could quite easily stay within the resort, to do so would be a shame as there is plenty to see and do in the surroundings.

I decided to hire a bike from the Moravske Toplice Tourist Information Centre, which is located opposite Terme 3000. There are 10 well-marked cycle routes, varying in length from 6km to 52km – the longest also venturing into neighbouring Hungary. I set off on the 41km Sladka pot (Sweet Route). I’ll be writing more extensively about this in a future blog post here – https://adeleinslovenia.com/ – but in the meantime, here’s a teaser!

cimg2277

Cycling along the Sladka Pot (Sweet Route)

I also highly recommend a visit to the Passero Country Chocolatier, part of the Passero Estate, located just 2kms from Terme 3000 in Tešanovci. I can attest that the high quality handmade chocolates are delicious, and you can also buy, amongst other items, home-produced pumpkin-seed oil, pates and other dried meats, Read more here – http://passero.si/eng.htm

dsc00040

Testing the chocolates (for research purposes!) at the Passero Country Chocolatier

As is so often the case, there is SO much more I could write about my visit to Terme 3000 and Moravske Toplice, but not wishing to write a tome, that’ll have to wait until the next instalment!

In the meantime, you can find out more about Terme 3000 here – http://www.sava-hotels-resorts.com/en/moravske-toplice/

© Spas in Slovenia

Terme Lendava: A Warm Welcome, Unique Paraffin Water, and a Feast of Bograč!

My visit last weekend to the Terme Lendava Thermal Spa was my first visit to the Lendava area, in the far north-east of Slovenia, on the border with Croatia and Hungary. After the warm welcome I received from all those that I met there, I have a feeling it won’t be my last!

I’ll confess that on arrival at the 3-star Hotel Lipa, I wasn’t expecting much, as the hotel’s exterior is showing its age. However, in a clear case of ‘not judging a book by its cover’, within minutes of entering the hotel I was made to, and was in fact instructed to, ‘feel at home’.

13254745_1175493795807655_8346362372353232112_o

If I were judging the thermal spas that I’ve visited thus far based on friendliness, then this one would win hands-down, and it can be no coincidence that it’s one of the Sava Hotel Group’s most popular hotels in terms of returning guests, despite being far from the plushest.

Yes, it’s not the most modern and well-equipped, yes its showing its age, but, on the plus side, the rooms are clean and well-appointed, as are the pool areas, the staff go that extra mile and offer a personal approach, and, despite the hotel being almost full, it was very peaceful and I had one of the best night’s sleep that I can remember for a long time (no ear plugs required!!!), which for me is priceless!

The setting for the Olympic-size swimming pool is idyllic, with the backdrop of the Lendava Gorice vine-covered hills.

CIMG2140

In addition to the Olympic-size pool, the water park with thermal paraffin mineral water covers over 1,800m2 and comprises eight indoor and outdoor pools of various shapes and sizes, as well as an infra-red and Turkish sauna and 2 Finnish saunas, the latter with crystal- and chromotherapy.

13962894_1233067840050250_7228427902312529714_o

In the resort’s modest but pleasant grounds, where there is a pleasant lawn area where you can seek shade under the linden trees, there is a preserved trunk of a giant oak tree discovered in 1981 and estimated to be 1570 years-old -give or take 100 years – with a girth of 120cm at its base, and a height of 30-40 metres.

CIMG2148

The Terme Lendava Spa is known for its unique paraffin water, which, in particular, is known for its healing and rejuvenating properties. For the ultimate in baby-soft hands, try the signature paraffin bath treatment for hands. There is also a full range of wellness treatments including massages, baths, facials etc.

13894985_1228245773865790_7471725991834827992_n

Also in the grounds is the Energy Park, which guests can visit for added feel-good benefits. There are six energy points, each with information explaining the beneficial properties, number and length of time of visits. I gave it a go since it promises, amongst other things from which I could benefit, relaxing muscles and tension, easing tiredness, cleansing the body’s energy etc.

CIMG2171

In addition to the 3-star Hotel Lipa, the resort has a large camp suitable for motorhomes and campers, and the 3-star Lipov gaj apartment village. Guests staying at the camp have unlimited access to the pool areas and can also avail of the entertainment services, restaurant, café etc. There’s even an area for nudists (no photos of that!).

After a buffet-style dinner, which was plentiful and tasty, I listened to live music on the terrace of the café, from where I had the chance to watch the setting sun, something I rarely see these days, as in the Gorenjska region where I live, the sun sets behind the mountains, so it was the icing on the cake for me!

CIMG2176

Day two of my visit coincided with the annual, and highly popular, Bogračfest – a festival and competition in cooking the traditional dish Bograč, held in Lendava. If you are foodie – yes, I am – then this is a ‘don’t miss event’. This year around 90 teams, from Slovenia, Austria, Hungary and Croatia, took part in the competition to cook the best bograč.

CIMG2187

Bograč is a traditional dish from the Prekmurje region, which is on the border with Hungary – hence its similarity to goulash. Traditionally, this hearty stew is cooked, and often served, in a cauldron and contains four different kinds of meat as well as onions, potatoes, pork fat, peppers and spices. You can also taste bograč at Terme Lendava, and even, as I did, buy some to take home, together with homemade gibanica, another speciality of this area.

CIMG2183

From the resort it is just a 10 minute walk, alongside the river, to the town of Lendava itself, where there are plenty of sights of interest including Lendava Castle, the Vinarium Tower and the Lendava Gorice wine-growing hills. It’s also great cycling territory, and you can even cycle in 3 countries in just one ride – well why not? Alas, it would be too much to cram all that I saw and did into just one blog post, so more to come in an upcoming blog here – https://adeleinslovenia.com/

13698281_1225368114153556_933717523607354099_o

© Spas in Slovenia

Terme Čatež – A Whole World of Water and More!

I knew from browsing the internet prior to my visit that the Terme Čatež Thermal Spa was big, however, it wasn’t until I actually visited and saw it for myself that I realised just how vast it is. Bigger than many Slovene villages, some towns even! How I’m going to fit everything into one blog post, I don’t know, but I’ll give it a go!

STB_343_Catez_Thermal_Spa_Spas_and_Health_Resorts_photo_Dean_Dubokovic_orig

Thermal springs were discovered here near the banks of the Sava river over 200 years ago and the power of the natural thermal water became the basis for the development of the Terme Čatež Thermal Spa.

The choice of accommodation at the resort is so wide that it would be easier to say what there isn’t! 2 four-star and 1 three-star hotels, various apartments and camps, an Indian village, Pirates Bay …

CIMG1761

Pirates Bay

CIMG1765

The Indian Village

I stayed in the four-stay Hotel Terme, the exterior of which belies what lies within, and is the pick of the bunch if budget isn’t a top priority. It is also in a slightly quieter part of the resort, so ideal if you are looking for a little peace. The superior rooms are very well appointed and air-conditioned throughout.  What an amazing view of the sun setting I managed to snap from my balcony.

CIMG1775

The sun setting above the nearby town of Brežice

At Hotel Terme, meals are taken either in the main dining room (self-service buffet) or in the a-la-carte MM Restaurant, where I was treated to quite a feast!

CIMG1770

The four-star Hotel Toplice is set closer to the action and connects directly with the Winter Thermal Riviera.

ČATEŽ01HotelToplice

Hotel Toplice – Photo: Archive Terme Čatež

If you have kids who love water, then you need look no further than Terme Čatež. In summer the Summer Thermal Riviera is the place to be. At over 10,000 m2 it is by far the largest outdoor pool complex far and wide. There is water-based fun in every shape, size and form.

Photo: Arhive Terme Čatež

The covered Winter Thermal Riviera is open 365 days a year and particularly comes into its own, as the name suggests, in winter. It offers over 2,000 m2 of water with toboggans, slides and myriad other attractions.

Photo: Archive Terme Čatež

Other onsite facilities include a casino, a wellness centre, a health centre, a dental centre, and a tourist information centre, where bikes can be rented and trips, such as wine tasting, can be arranged in the local area. I set off early to beat the heat!

CIMG1814

Off exploring by bike!

The Terme Čatež Energy Path leads up through the forest to the Church of St. Vid, from where there are far-reaching views and where, according to legend, one must ring the church bell three times for good luck, which I duly did!

CIMG1777

A little effort rewarded by a wonderful view!

CIMG1778

Terme Čatež is located close to the banks of the Sava river. In bygone days, boats and ferries regularly transported people and goods from one side of the river to the other. Nowadays, the special ‘brod’ ferries offer short pleasure trips along the river.

CIMG1766

A free bus takes guests to see the sights of interest in the nearby town of Brežice. Plenty more about that coming soon here – https://adeleinslovenia.com/

You can find everything you need to know about Terme Čatež here – http://www.terme-catez.si/en/

© Spas in Slovenia

 

Zen and Zest at Zreče!

I’m very much enjoying my journey of discovery of Slovenia’s thermal spas. The majority of those that I have visited so far have been first-time visits for me, and I certainly couldn’t choose a favourite among them, since they are all so diverse. It wasn’t my first visit, however, to the Zreče Thermal Spa, where I have stayed on a couple of previous occasions, since if there is one place with my name written all over it, then this is it!

1. Terme Zreče-wiew from htlVital to pools

The reason is its location, situated in the lush foothills of the Pohorje mountains, the Zreče Thermal Spa offers an ideal escape from everyday life and is a real paradise for those, like me, who are lovers of the great outdoors. Regardless of the season, there is always plenty to keep you occupied whether you are seeking zen or zest!

During my visit I stayed in the newest part of the resort, the four-star superior Hotel Atrij. In addition to Hotel Atrij, other accommodation includes the four-star Hotel Vital, the three-star Hotel Klasik and Hotel Medico (intended for guests staying on medical programmes), and the four-star forest villas.

2. Terme Zreče-hotel Atrij

For a special treat book a Gala Suite, which comes complete with its own Finnish sauna, and massage tub with heated ceramic bed.

My room, with its large balcony, looked directly over the courtyard, which has been tastefully transformed into a tranquil, green oasis and a lovely area to linger over a refreshing drink on a hot summer’s day.

CIMG1495

The Idyll Wellness and Spa Centre offers a very comprehensive range of pampering treatments.

maxresdefault

Other facilities include indoor and outdoor thermal pools, a fitness centre, a health care centre, a wine tasting cellar, and the popular Sauna Village.

9_Sauna_village1

The thermal indoor pool complex comprises a recreational swimming pool, a winter garden with eight waterbeds and two massage pools, a children’s splash pool and a therapeutic pool. There is also an outdoor summer pool and the Forest Water Park with water slides for children.

The calcium and magnesium-rich acratothermal water is of particular importance in balneo-rehabilitation treatments, as well as having a beneficial effect on disorders including those of the locomotive system, spine, nervous system, and for sports injuries.

16. Terme Zreče-inner swimming pool

Treatments using mountain peat, found in the marshlands of the nearby Pohorje forest and mountains, are a speciality. The peat, found in mid-high altitude mountain marshland, can be applied to individual areas of the body, taken as a wrap or a bath, and is known for its therapeutic properties which can aid disorders of the locomotor system, as well as gynaecological, urological, internal, and psychosomatic disorders. Though effective, the heat of the mud penetrates almost immediately, it’s not the most glamorous of treatments – it is mud after all!

CIMG1505

There are restaurants, cafes and bars to cater to all tastes and budgets, where the focus is on using local and seasonal ingredients.

During my stay I ate one night in the buffet-style main restaurant, and the other night in the A-La-Carte Atrij restaurant, where, for my starter, I tried a selection of local Taste Rogla foods Pohorska ‘bunka‘ with pickled mushrooms, curd cheese with pumpkin seeds and pumpkin oil, smoked trout and pork roulade – all of which were delicious and very moreish!

CIMG1517

 The Zreče lake is located just minutes from the resort, behind the forest villas, and is a wonderful place for a peaceful stroll as well as being a popular spot for fishing.

Terme Zreče-lake near by

After breakfast the next morning I went exploring. There are 7 well-marked hiking trails which begin right from the doorstep of the resort. I took route no. 1 (Brinjeva gora, 5.6km) which leads, steeply at first, up to a church from where there are far-reaching views over the resort and surroundings.

CIMG1522

The nearby Rogla resort is a paradise year-round. In summer there are endless opportunities for walking, hiking and cycling, whilst in winter it is transformed into a winter wonderland. A ski bus operates directly from Zreče.

Since there is so much to see and do on Rogla, far too much for just one blog post, I’ll be writing plenty more about that in a forthcoming blog post, coming very soon herehttps://adeleinslovenia.com/

Despite it’s rural location, the Terme Zreče spa is easily reached. It is just a few kilometres from the motorway and can also be reached by public transport via the nearby town of Slovenske Konjice.

Find out more about Terme Zreče here – http://www.terme-zrece.eu/en/

© Spas in Slovenia

 

 

The Rogaška Medical Centre – A World of Health and Wellness

The Rogaška Medical Centre in Rogaška Slatina offers a whole world of wellness and health under one roof. This vast multi-storey building sits at one end of the magnificent Rogaška Wellness Park, which, throughout its 400-year tradition, has been attracting guests from all over the world.

CIMG9941

The centre specialises in disease prevention and ongoing treatment and rehabilitation, particularly for patients suffering with digestive and metabolic disorders, as well as offering a very comprehensive array of health and wellness services.

67 medical rogaska 11 2015 es

Rogaška Slatina is inextricably linked with Donat Mg water, thus Balneotherapy plays a large part in treatments. Donat Mg water contains magnesium, which, even in small amounts, can contribute to the healing of various ailments. The miraculous power of Rogaška mineral water was first analysed by alchemists back in 1572. It is known to contain 1000mg of magnesium per litre. The water, even direct from the spring, is mildly carbonated and has an unusual and distinctive, though not  unpleasant, taste.

CIMG1401

The medical centre is staffed by a team of experts doctors and therapists, who specialise, amongst others, in areas including specialist examinations and diagnostics, vascular surgery, aesthetic surgery, acupuncture, nutrition consultations, body analysis, preventative check-ups, kinesiotherapy, electrotherapy, magnetotherapy.

zdravniki skupinska 2016 low

In addition to the vast array of medical services, those seeking some pampering are also well catered for. It was difficult to choose which of the treatments to try, since there are so many! In the end I went for a magnesium bath, out of curiosity and because they are highly popular so there must be something in it! These baths form part of the Balneotherapy programme, and, if taken regularly, are known to have a positive effect on health by improving, amongst others, blood circulation, the immune system, and lowering blood pressure.

CIMG1409

After the bath I was wrapped up in a warm blanket and left to relax (yes, me, relax!!), before moving on to my next treatment, an orthopaedic massage. This is just one of a range of classic, specialist, and therapeutic massages, as well as scrubs, wraps, and baths offered at the centre. As someone who is constantly on the go, this was a perfect massage for me, as my weary muscles need a good pummelling. The massage combines use of a vacuum technique (cupping) and a deep tissue massage. Relaxing it wasn’t, but that’s what makes a good massage for me!!! More information here – http://www.rogaska-medical.com/en/massages-scrubs-wraps/medical-and-therapeutic-massages

CIMG1422

You are spoilt for choice in terms of accommodation at Rogaška Slatina. There are numerous hotels surrounding the park, most of which have their own leisure facilities with pools, saunas etc. On my most recent visit I stayed at the 4* Superior Grand Hotel Donat. If you’re looking for luxury, try one of the newly renovated luxurious rooms or suites offering VIP accommodation. More here – http://www.en.ghdonat.com/

CIMG1434

Of all the buildings and hotels surrounding the park, this magnificent grand old building, the Grand Hotel Rogaška, seen below, forms the centrepiece.

CIMG9907

Rogaška is surrounded by beautiful nature which just beckons to be explored. There are 9 marked walking trails, which begin directly from the centre and vary from less than 2kms up to almost 15km in length. There’s even a small ski slope, Janina, though, at just 362m, I can’t imagine an awful lot of skiing goes on there, but snowy fun not doubt at least.

The newly-built Anin Dvor (Ana’s Mansion and Museum) is a cultural-tourist centre housing various collections and exhibitions.

CIMG9950

Nearby is the Rogaška Glassworks, which has been producing its well-known and highly-regarded crystal products for over 350 years. Factory tours can be arranged or you can just pop in to the shop and treat yourself, or friends and loved ones, to some of the high quality cut and engraved crystal products.

slider_3

Photo: Drustvosteklarjev.si

You can find out plenty more about the Rogaška Medical Centre here – http://www.rogaska-medical.com/en/

© Spas in Slovenia 2016

The Topolšica Thermal Spa

I last visited the Topolšica thermal spa some years back, and, though I didn’t stay overnight, I distinctly remember feeling it seemed somewhat dated. On my recent visit I was therefore delighted to discover that significant improvements have been made with the addition of the brand new Ocepkov Gaj Apartment Village and, a few years ago, the Zala Wellness Centre – both of which are shining examples of modern, thoughtful construction and the changing face of Slovenian wellness tourism.

My visit, on a wonderfully hot late-May weekend, coincided with the seasonal opening of the outdoor pool complex – the Zora Water Park..

CIMG1351

There is an additional outdoor pool, which is open all year, connected to the indoor pool and whirlpool complex, within Hotel Vesna.

TOPOLŠICA15notprehod

Within the complex there are also Finnish, Turkish and infrared saunas, and Sauna Land in the Zala Wellness Centre features, among others, classic or extreme Finnish saunas, herbal, salt and steam saunas,   an ice cave experience and a Kneipp terrace. The fitness centre is also very well-equipped with the latest Technogym equipment.

074-wellness-2010-800x430

The new Ocepkov Gaj Apartment Village is the place to stay for a break at Topolšica. The 27 modern well-equipped 4-star holiday houses are set next to the forest in a tranquil location just minutes away from the main hotel and pools. Facilities include free Wi-Fi, plasma televisions, free parking, and a private terrace.

IMG_5879

A good way to get a feel for the area, and for a bird’s eye view, is to take a walk or bike ride on one of the many marked paths that start directly from the doorstop.  I opted for a hike on the Sonča Pot (Sunny Path), which leads up to Lom and onwards to the highest point of Topolšica at 884m.

CIMG1362

The main hotel, the 3-star Hotel Vesna, is nice enough looking from the outside, however, at over 30 years old it is showing its age and in need of modernisation. It’s not all bad, though, the pool facilities, café (with seriously scrumptious cakes!), and public areas are fine. For those watching the pennies and planning to spend most of the time using the pools and/or exploring the area, then the rooms are perfectly acceptable – clean, quiet and surprisingly spacious – but the corridors, room décor, and bedding are, well, a tad dingy.

I tried the 70-minute Zala massage at the Zala Wellness Centre, which combines various massage techniques of classic body massage, shiatsu head massage and reflexology foot massage – sheer bliss!

There are a wide range of treatments on offer – classic and innovative. Among the latter is the Dr. Breuss massage – a speciality back massage named after Dr. Rudolf Breuss from Austria, known for his fasting diets. The gentle, soothing massage is designed to rid the body of physcological and physical blockages for better energy flow. Only a small amount of oil is used and the technique involves light stretching of the spine. It is also one of the few massages which can be carried out on people with acute spinal conditions. This video, though not from the spa, gives an idea of the technique used.

For active types, there’s more than enough to keep you busy here and in the surroundings. I hired a bike from the hotel and cycled through the Šalek Valley (Šaleška dolina) to the 3 Velenje lakesVelenjsko jezero, Šaleško jezero, Družmirsko jezero.

CIMG1375

There’s no escaping the fact that the lakes are right next to the Šostanj thermal power plant, which is a bit of a blot on the landscape, however, if you just avert your gaze away from the plant, the scenery is lovely! The well-arranged paths around the lakes are ideal for strolling, jogging and cycling and in fine weather the Velenje Beach is the place to be. It offers sun loungers, a café/bar, and numerous water sports, such as stand-up paddling and wind-surfing. More about Velenje Beach here – http://www.velenje-tourism.si/en/adventures/the-velenje-beach

CIMG1370

Getting there: Topolšica is easiest reached by car. If, however, you are reliant on public transport you can take a train to Velenje or Šoštanj and then a local bus onwards to Topolšica.

© Spas in Slovenia