Winning Wellness at the Terme Olimia Thermal Spa

The Terme Olimia thermal spa is located in the town of Podčetrtek, near the pretty village of Olimje, in the Kozjansko region in the east of Slovenia.

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The resort comprises a huge array of facilities including 2 hotels, an apartment hotel and  holiday village, the largest Sauna World in Slovenia2 spa and beauty centres, a wellness and pool oasis, a health centre, a fitness centre, several cafes and restaurants and more.

Amongst Slovenia’s 14 thermal spas Wellness Centre Orhidelia has won the title of ‘Best Wellness Centre in Slovenia’ for the last 5 years in a row. The name and the purple and black colour scheme of the wellness centre was chosen due to the rare black orchid which grows in the vicinity.

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It’s not just Slovenes that know about, and visit, Terme Olimia – word has spread – over 70% of guests come from abroad and I was mighty impressed by the ability of the staff to effortlessly switch between at least 6 foreign languages.

If your budget allows I recommend staying in the four-star superior Wellness Hotel Sotelia, which is the most modern hotel. In fact it is only 10 years old and already a partial refurbishment of rooms is in progress as “in a hotel of this standard, guests expect the best and we must maintain our standards’.

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Those wishing to take advantage of the resort’s extensive medical facilities, which particularly specialises in treating back pain, should stay in the four-star Hotel Breza that allows direct access and designated facilities. For families, and/or those who prefer to self-cater, the Vas Lipa holiday village or the Aparthotel Rosa are ideal.

The wellness centre and Hotel Sotelia have grass-covered roofs in keeping with the pristine, green environment and environmentally-friendly ethos. This was the view from my room!

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The Armonia Spa offers a very comprehensive range of pampering treatments. I tried one of its speciality massages, the Olimia massage, which combines the expertise of masseurs and physiotherapists and begins with stretching followed by a relaxing massage. There are also Tibetan, Thai, Khanya (African) and Ayurveda massages and treatments, as well as a full range of other beauty treatments.

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As part of the Selfness Programme there is a twice- daily ‘House Ritual’, which promotes relaxation and calmness. Both guests and staff are encouraged to take part in the ritual at 10.30am and 4.30pm and everyone literally downs tools for 3 minutes to join in. These 2 staff, below, happened to passing reception at the time of the ritual and I was amazed to see they literally stopped in their tracks to join in! It’s very admirable that this is also afforded to staff!

 

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you can see more of the House Ritual in this video below.

Other activities include Qi Gong, Tai Chi, barefoot walking, guided cycling trips, Nordic walking, and various workshops.

The spa’s thermal water springs from a depth of 520m in the area of the Aqualuna Thermal Park and Camp Natura. The water contains magnesium, calcium and hydrogen-carbonates. It is suitable for drinking and guests are provided with a bottle of spring water daily in their rooms and the water is used in all the pools throughout the resort.

The Aqualuna Thermal Park and Natura Camp, also part of Terme Olimia, are situated just 5 minutes from the main resort.

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There is a wealth of things to see in do in the immediate vicinity of the spa, including a well-marked network of walking and cycling paths.

One such path leads up to Podčetrtek Castle, which sits imposingly above the town. The pleasant path leads up through the forest, taking about 30 minutes to reach the castle. However, whilst it looks mighty from the outside, it was disappointing to see the dilapidated state of the remainder of the castle, and venturing further inside isn’t advisable as it could be hazardous. This is an investment project ripe for anyone who has a spare few million euros!

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The spotlessly clean compact town centre is within easy reach and has a small selection of shops, a bakery, and numerous restaurants and cafes.

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This odd couple can be found outside the school!

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Those without their own transport can reach Podčetrtek on the special ‘spa trains’, operated by Slovenian Railways, which run from Ljubljana. Visitors arriving by train are also entitled to special discounts and benefits. More information here – http://www.slo-zeleznice.si/en/passenger-transport/around-slovenia/the-spa-train

You can find information about all the above,  and more, here – http://www.terme-olimia.com/gb

If time allows, I thoroughly recommend a visit to the village of Olimje. Since there’s way too much to write about that here, keep an eye out on ‘Adele in Slovenia’ for much more information about what to see and do. Coming soon! – https://adeleinslovenia.com/

© Spas in Slovenia 2016

 

Detox and Serenity at Šmarješke Toplice

The Terme Šmarješke Toplice spa is located in a tranquil corner of the Dolenjska region. It is entirely surrounded by green parkland and is ideal for a complete switch-off from the hustle and bustle of every day life.

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My visit at the end of April coincided with unusually late-spring snowfall so it really was a tale of two halves. The first day was very cold and snowy, whilst, by the second day, the sun had made a welcome comeback and I was able to see the area in (almost) its full glory. It was, however, sad to see the destruction that the late-spring snow caused to the surrounding vineyards and forests. A reminder of the power of nature.

This was the view from my room when I arrived.

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And this was the view an hour or so later! I know which I prefer! How about you?

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I stayed at the four-star superior Hotel Vitarium, which has modern well-appointed rooms. The resort also comprises two 4-star hotels – Hotel Šmarjeta and Hotel Toplice.

Shortly after arrival, and seeeking sanctuary from the blizzard raging outside, I headed to the fitness centre, which I was delighted to find is modern and well-equipped and even includes an altitude training chamber.

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The warmth of the sauna also looked rather inviting on such a chilly day! The Sauna World comprises Finnish, Turkish, Roman, and herbal saunas.

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The first medical wellness centre in Slovenia was founded at Smarjeske Toplice over 20 years ago. The centre specialises in the rehabilitation of heart conditions and problems with veins, as well as a full complement of other services. These days, however, it is also home to the very modern Vitarium Spa & Clinique which offers  a comprehensive range of beauty and pampering treatments.   

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I opted for the Vitarium massage which uses grape seed oil.

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The Vitarium Premium Selection slimming and detox programmes are particularly popular amongst guests, many of whom return every year for an annual detox (or two!).  There are 7, 10, or 14 night programmes, which include a very comprehensive range of services such as a medical check-up, tissue structure analysis, consultations with a nutritionist and personal trainer, massages, Fango mud wraps, detox treatments, Pilates and other exercise sessions, as well as a whole host of other services designed to make you leave feeling fitter and lighter.

For obvious reasons the outdoor pool complex wasn’t open during the time of my visit, however, the outdoor pool at the Vitarium Aqua centre was open as well as the indoor pools and whirlpools, all filled with thermal water.

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The next day, wrapped up well, I ventured out to explore the surroundings. Šmarješke Toplice set up one of the first Nordic walking centres in Slovenia. There are daily guided Nordic walks, or, like me, you can just borrow a pair of Nordic hiking poles and head off on a journey of discovery! There are 9 well-marked routes, which start directly from the resort, ranging in length from 2.5 – 12 kilometres.

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Less than a 10 minute walk from the resort you can pay a visit to the beekeeper Stane Gorenc, who will be delighted to show you his hives, small museum and shop selling honey and honey products.

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The hotel has several restaurants. Those on full or halfboard, and not on a specific medical programme, dine in the Fontana restaurant, which was modern, bright and the food was delicious. Unlike most of the spas I have visited, where half or full board meals are buffet-style, here the starters and desserts are buffet-style, whilst guests can choose a main course from a choice of five daily menus. The focus throughout is on locally produced food, with as few food miles involved as possible. This locally-produced cheese was a nice touch.

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Getting there: By far the easiest way to reach Šmarješke Toplice is by car. If, however, you are reliant on public transport then the nearest major hub is the city of Novo Mesto, from where there are a few buses per day.

Find more information about Šmarješke Toplice here – http://www.terme-krka.com/us/en/destinations/smarjeske-toplice/

© Spas in Slovenia 2016

 

Sea, Salt & Spa in Strunjan

Let me begin this blog by saying that I’m not a person who is drawn to the sea – hills, mountains and forests are more my thing. However, I defy anyone, whether a lover of the coast of not, not to be enthralled, as I was, by the green haven that is Strunjan, and I haven’t stopped raving about it since!

Located halfway between Izola and Piran, Strunjan really is one of the nicest, most pristine, parts of Slovenia’s 42km of coastline, featuring the tallest cliffs in the Adriatic, tree-lined avenues, invigorating sea air, a nature park, salt pans, and so much more!

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I stayed in the four-star Svoboda Hotel, part of the Talaso Strunjan resort, which is particularly known for its thalassotherapy treatments. The resort also comprises the three-star Laguna Hotel, the four-star Villa Park annex, and family villas located just 100 metres from the Svoboda Hotel.

This was the view from my room, not bad hey! The water you can see is the Štjuža lagoon which forms part of the Strunjan Nature Park.

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Shortly after arrival I went for a walk around the lagoon and then up the steep cobbled street leading to St. Mary’s church – the most important pilgrimage centre in the whole of Istria.

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After my walk it was time to try out one of the thalassotherapy treatments, which harness the properties of the surrounding natural resources – sea, salt and mud – and are known not only for being relaxing, but also having optimal healing effects. I tried out a combination treatment which began with a Fango wrap, using marine mud – also known as ‘black gold’ – followed by a relaxing salt pan massage. Here’s the before…

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And the during …

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For the massage small linen pouches filled with salt crystals are used, which are then dipped in a mixture of 4 essential oils, again with an emphasis on scents from the surroundings – lavender, rosemary, orange and basil.

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The resort also features indoor and outdoor pools, whirlpools and children’s pools, containing heated seawater, so you can enjoy swimming in the seawater all year round!

The Istrian stone-built saunas comprise Finnish, Turkish, infrared, aromatic and salt saunas.

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Strunjan boasts 2,300 hours of sunshine per year, so I was pretty unlucky that I woke up to cloud and drizzle on the second morning of my stay. However, I didn’t let that stop me and still went out for a walk to Lucan, following route 6 of the 8 well-marked walking trails. It was well worth it and the combination of the sea views, vineyards and olive groves gives the feeling of being in Tuscany, yet by the sea! The sights and smells, the flora and fauna, and the views, oh the views! I can only imagine that on a clear day it must be even more breathtaking!

There are also plenty of well-marked cycling routes that lead directly from the resort.

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From Strunjan you can see along the coastline to Piran, Slovenia’s most popular coastal town, often referred to as the ‘jewel of the Adriatic coast’. I took the opportunity to sit in the bay at Strunjan and watch the sun setting, as this is something I don’t get to see living in Gorenjska, where the sun sets behind the mountains. Simply magical!

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The Strunjan salt pans are a must-visit, and just a 10 minute stroll from the resort.

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The two salt maker’s houses now operate as a museum where visitors can take a guided tour and learn about the process of salt harvesting.

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I’m kicking myself that after 9 years of living here I have only just discovered Strunjan and am already counting the days until my next visit!

You can find more information at Talaso Strunjan here – http://www.terme-krka.com/us/en/destinations/strunjan/

© Spas in Slovenia 2016

Dobrna: Tradition & Heaven® in Slovenia’s Oldest Spa

As soon as I left the motorway and arrived in Dobrna, there were two words that immediately sprung to mind – green and tranquil – both of which are at the top of my list when I’m seeking a short break away. Whatever the reason for your visit, it’s impossible not to feel calm and relaxed in this lush environment, which just beckons to be explored.

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The Dobrna Thermal Spa is the heart of this small town. It isn’t the most modern of Slovenia’s thermal spas – it is actually the oldest! Its origins date way back to 1403, and through the years it has seen a lot of history, and historical figures, including, in 1810 Louis Bonaparte, brother of Emperor Napoleon 1, who came to Dobrna to recuperate. During World War 1 it housed a military hospital; in the time between the two wars the spa buildings were renovated and expanded; during World War II it was again used as a hospital. It was after World War II that Dobrna began to boom, and today continues to attract visitors from all over Europe.

Shortly after arriving I went for a stroll around the magnificent Spa Park, which is undoubtedly the town’s star attraction.  The park dates back to around 1820 when chestnut trees were planted to form an alley between the Spa House and Dobrna.

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The immaculately maintained park contains some majestic trees.

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From the exterior some of the  buildings that comprise the spa look as if they would benefit from a lick of paint. However, this is a minor detail, and, as we all know, appearances can be deceptive! Dobrna is steeped in history and tradition, which is as much a part of a visit as are the on-site facilities and services.

I stayed in the four-star Hotel Vita, which is the newest of the three hotels and houses the majority of the facilities – a massage and beauty centre, thermal pools, a medical centre, saunas, 2 restaurants, seminar facilities, and more.

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Those interested in feng shui should consider staying in the four-star Villa Higiea. Built in 1855, it has been renovated and remodelled several times, the latest being in 2007 when the first floor was refurbished according to feng shui principles.

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The three-star Hotel Park, built in 1875, was renovated in 2008, and is particularly suitable for those seeking an active budget-friendly break to explore the surroundings on foot or by bike.

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As with all of Slovenia’s thermal spas, the thermal water is the heart of its existence. The water at Dobrna, is known particularly for its effectiveness at treating infertility and other gynaecological problems, and the spa has even developed its own range of women’s intimate-care products.

The Spa House is the oldest of the original buildings still standing. It was originally built in 1624, and throughout the years has been frequently remodelled. Unfortunately, the building has seen better days and it would take a huge investment to get it back to its glory. Thus, today it no longer operates as a hotel, however, you can still visit to the see the thermal water spring and thermal pool – both originally dating from 1624, to take one of the various thermal and salt baths, or to drink the thermal water direct from the spring.

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Whilst browsing through the list of treatments available at the La Vita Spa & Beauty Centre, one named ‘Heaven®’ particularly caught my eye. It uses a range of organic productsHeaven® by Deborah Mitchell – which, if the claims are to believed, are used by many celebrities including Kylie Minogue, Victoria Beckham, Gwyneth Paltrow, Beyoncé, and even Kate Middleton! Well, if it’s good enough for them, then I thought I’d give it a go! I had the 90-minute ‘bee sting facial’ which uses bee venom to produce a youthful effect on the skin, similar to Botox.

Personally I find there’s nothing more annoying than paying a fortune for a treatment during which a mask is applied by the therapist, who then disappears for 15 minutes to ‘allow the mask to work’. Fortunately, that was not the case here and whilst the mask worked its wonders I enjoyed a relaxing foot massage. I’ve since discovered that this range of products are only available at a handful of places in Europe, so it’s something of a coup for them to feature at Dobrna and definitely worth a try.

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The Medical Diagnostic and Rehabilitation Centre comprises an outpatient clinic, a laboratory and a therapeutic rehabilitation centre. A team of professional doctors and therapists offer personalised programmes in areas including gynaecology, urology, oncology, neurosurgery, neurology, dermatology, rehabilitation, physical therapy and aesthetics.

Those looking for water-based fun should head to the indoor and outdoor pools, where there are also separate children’s pools plus a whirlpool, all containing thermal water, as well as Sauna Land containing steam and Finnish saunas.

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I was up with the lark the next morning to make the most of my limited time to explore Dobrna’s lush, green surroundings. I began with a walk to one of the nearby hills to get a birds-eye view of the surroundings,  then around the forest trim trail, after lunch a stroll on the path by the Dobrnica stream, and finally a swim in the thermal pools.

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The walking and cycling paths are very well marked and there really is a lot of choice. Other sights of interest, which, for the time being, remain on my ‘to do’ list include the ruins of Snake Castle (Kačji grad), the Valley of Mills, the Šumečnik waterfall, and numerous other walking, hiking and cycling trails.

Recommended for – children will enjoy the pools, however, during my visit I didn’t see many and I’d say that Dobrna is more suited to adults and is particularly ideal for those who love hiking, peace, and wonderful nature, as well as those seeking some pampering beauty treatments or a medical/rehab programme.

More information about all the above can be found here – http://www.en.terme-dobrna.si/

© Spas in Slovenia 2016

 

I Love Laško!

I can imagine there are a fair few folk who proclaim to ‘Love Laško’, who, no doubt, would be talking about Laško beer. I, on the other hand, not being a beer drinker, am not!

The reason I decided to title this blog ‘I Love Laško’ is because I really do rather love the little town of Laško, and the fact it is also home to the Thermana Laško spa is an added bonus! Of course, I also love my home town of Radovljica, but if I had to choose anywhere else to live in Slovenia, Laško might feature high on the list!

My most recent visit to the Thermana Laško spa was during the Easter weekend. I stayed in the four-star superior Thermana Park hotel, one of the two on-site hotels, and by far the superior of the two. Unless you are visiting specifically for a medical programme, in which case you would be accommodated in the older Hotel Zdravilišče, I would most definitely advise staying at the Thermana Park hotel. Despite being at full capacity during the Easter weekend, the spacious modern hotel, built 8 years ago, is large enough that nowhere did it feel overcrowded.

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The highlight for most, especially kids, is the Thermal Centre with its retractable glass dome roof, where, amongst others, there is a wave-effect pool, a recreation and massage pool with cascades and underground streams, a children’s water entertainment park, 3 whirlpools and a Kneipp area. All of these are heated to between 32-34 °C.

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And that’s just the indoor facilities! The outdoor facilities comprise a thermal pool connected with the indoor pool, a recreational pool, a children’s pool, a crystal- shaped massage pool and water chutes and slides.

In addition to all the water-based activities, Thermana Laško offers a whole host of other facilities, with something for the whole family, whether you are looking for a relaxing or active break. At weekends, for a special experience, you can also go night swimming.

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Shortly after arrival I headed to the Wellness Spa Centre where I enjoyed a ‘Beer massage’ – well, why not in a town famous for it’s beer – as well as a relaxing foot massage. The centre offers a vast range of pampering and beauty treatments, using recognised international brands such as Decleor.

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The Thermana & Veda Ayurveda Centre is one of the most popular features of the spa centre. Guests are offered an individual approach and holistic treatments based on specialist consultations with experienced Indian specialists and therapists.  A range of Ayurvedic programmes are available, such as the 7-day Ayurveda Detox, 2, 3, or 5 day Burn-Out Programme, for those needing respite from a stressful lifestyle, as well as individual yoga sessions.

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I must also mention the food! Breakfast and dinner are buffet style – though A La’ Carte dinner is also available for an extra treat. There was a huge choice of food, something for all palates – inevitably I ended up trying almost a bit of everything and let full to bursting! I was especially impressed that dinner even included Ayurveda dishes, prepared by an Ayurveda chef from Kerala in India, and at breakfast there was a special Slovene Breakfast corner.

Another highlight for me, as someone with a very sweet tooth, was the Park Café with a huge selection of cakes and other patisserie, all of which are made in-house. The speciality, which of course I had to try, is the honey cake, which was so good I also bought one to take home!

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Guests are encouraged to drink the thermal spring water, which comes from a depth of 160 metres, and has a high mineral content. In studies of the biological effects of Laško water, at the Bion Institute, it was found to have a biologically perfectly functioning biofield, which is stable, harmonious, cohesive and vitalising, therefore having a positive and motivating effect on humans. Well, it’s worth a try, nothing to lose I say!

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During my visit I also used the well-equipped fitness centre, and was very impressed. All the cardio equipment faces towards the Savinja river, providing a very pleasant view to while away the time whilst exercising. The equipment is Technogym and seemed very clean and well maintained – not something that can often be said of hotel gyms.

The surroundings offer a wealth of opportunities for outdoor activities. Directly behind the complex there is Hum, a small hill rising to 583m, seen below. The path up is very steep, so hiking shoes and hiking poles are recommended, but it’s worth it for the views. Or, in the opposite direction, a path leads up to the mountain hut Dom na Šmohorju (784m), which is where I headed on the 2nd morning of my stay. The path begins at the fire station, which is reached by crossing the road and walking through the tunnel under the railway line.

 

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A short stroll on the opposite bank of the Savinja river brings you to Laško Castle, otherwise known as Tabor Castle. It sits atop a small hill just immediately above the town centre. The castle, thought to date back to the 12th century, was razed to the ground by the Turks in 1487, and for the ensuing two centuries it remained in ruins. It was finally bought and restored by the Laško brewery in the mid-1980s.

 

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Recommend for: Thermana Laško really does offer something for everyone. Whether you are seeking a relaxing pamper-break, somewhere to keep the kids amused, a base for exploring the surrounding areas, a specialist medical, wellness or Ayurveda programme – or all of these!

My top tips: If, like me, you are a light sleeper, then I recommend asking for a room facing the river, as the railway line runs in very close proximity. If you like beer, take a tour of the Laško brewery, which includes a tasting session!

Getting There: Laško is located just a 10 minute drive from Slovenia’s 3rd city, Celje, and is easily reached by taking the Celje exit of the Ljubljana-Maribor motorway. The town is also well connected by public transport, with fairly frequent trains from Ljubljana taking under 1.5 hours.

There are also special ‘spa trains’, operated by Slovenian Railways, which run from Ljubljana to Laško, and those arriving by train are also entitled to special discounts and benefits. More information here – http://www.slo-zeleznice.si/en/passenger-transport/around-slovenia/the-spa-train

Find more information about Thermana Laško here – http://www.thermana.si/en/

© Spas in Slovenia 2016

 

 

 

 

 

Dolenjske Toplice: Wellbeing in the embrace of nature

The Dolenjske Toplice thermal spa is situated in lush countryside amidst the rolling hills, vineyards, hilltop churches, and castles of Dolenjska.

Despite being one of Europe’s oldest spas, the addition of the four-star superior Hotel Balnea, which blends tastefully and seamlessly into the far corner of the main square, Zdraviliški trg, has brought this spa bang up-to-date with modern facilities and a touch of luxury.

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Even though I visited in March, when nature was only just beginning to awaken after its winter slumber, the area already had an abundance of green just calling out to be explored. Whenever I visit one of Slovenia’s thermal spas, despite my good intentions to rest and relax, which, after all, is one of the main reasons to visit a spa, I tend to get carried away with trying to see and do as much in the surroundings, and the enchanting Dolenjske Toplice was no exception.

The spa was founded on the thermal water that, according to legend, was discovered by a dog! To cut a long story short, the injured dog was found by its owner lying in a puddle next to a stream licking its wounds. The water in the puddle was warm and the dog survived its serious injuries.

These days  the water is used to treat blood and lymph circulation disorders, as well as having thermic effects on the entire body, including stimulating the immune system. A full range of preventative and rehabilitation programmes, medical services and other specialist medical and wellness programmes are available.

The Dolenjske Toplice spa comprises 3 hotels, the four-star Vital and Kristal hotels, and the aforementioned Hotel Balnea. I most definitely recommend staying at Hotel Balnea which offers very well-appointed spacious rooms, park views, a tranquil location, wifi, and the best dining area in the Kristal restaurant.

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The other two hotels are somewhat older and more traditional in style. If, however, you are more a fan of nostalgia, and particularly for those staying on a medical programme, then you could choose the renovated Kristal hotel, with its hundred-year tradition  and dining room with impressive chandelier and painted ceiling.

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On arrival I had a short stroll around the compact town and the spa park to stretch my legs after the drive, followed by a nose around the pools, saunas and wellness areas.

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On the very day of my arrival, a brand new sauna was opened on the top floor of Hotel Balnea. The view itself makes it worth a visit, which I did to take some photos, though no photos of the sauna itself due to that European thing of nakedness in the sauna!

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Hotels Balnea and Kristal are connected to the pools and wellness centre by a covered walkway. The photo below shows the view from my room, looking down over the roof of the covered walkway.

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Next I visited the Balnea Wellness Centre to try the signature Balnea massage, which combines a variety of techniques, including the use of hot stones. Despite this kind of massage being intended more for relaxation, before she began I asked the therapist, Marjana, if she could be a little more firm in her technique (I do like, or rather need, a firm, bordering on painful, massage!) and she was very obliging.

Dinner was plentiful and delicious – no need to diet here, though of course you can eat as healthily as you like. There were extensive self-service salad and dessert bars, whilst the main course is served at the table from a choice of four. I ate gnocchi in truffle sauce, and herbed pork escalopes, and just had to sample a few of the desserts such as chocolate and banana cake, tarragon potica, and blueberry tart.

Next morning, after an equally plentiful and delicious breakfast, it was time to set off exploring the Dolenjska countryside. First I drove a couple of kilometres to the village of Podturn to begin my walk around the 2 kilometre Rožek Forest Nature Trail, where there are many tree and shrub varieties, castle ruins and the Jazbina cave.

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From the nature trail a path continues up to the peak of Pogorelec (816m), for stunning views over the Dolenjska countryside.

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I finished my  day’s exploring with a visit to Baza 20 at Kočevski rog. The importance of this site cannot be underestimated. During the Second World War Baza 20 was the headquarters of the political leadership of the Slovenian resistance movement and it became the centre of the resistance against the occupying forces in 1942. It is the only headquarters of any resistance movement in Europe built in such a secret remote area and serves as a poignant reminder of the past. Twenty-six huts were built, all of which are still standing today. Each has information, in both Slovene and English, regarding its former purpose and in huts 16 and 22 there are permanent exhibitions showing the variety of activities that took place there, and at the nearby partisan hospitals of Jelendol and Zgornji Hrastnik. In fine weather, those keen on cycling can visit Baza 20 by bike, direct from Dolenjske Toplice.

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On returning to the hotel it was time for lunch and a swim in the indoor pool – the outdoor one had yet to open for the season at the time of my visit, though it looked tempting as I was fortunate that my visit coincided with the hottest weekend so far in 2016.

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The water in two of the pools is fed directly from the thermal springs. Having somewhat revived my weary legs it was time to bid farewell to a very pleasant, part-relaxing, part-active mini-break at Dolenjske Toplice. I only touched the surface of all there is to see and do, so a longer stay will be required next time!

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Recommended for: The pools would provide enough to keep kids occupied for a few days, particularly in the summer when the open-air pools are open. However, I’d recommend Dolenjske Toplice more for adults, be it for a weekend of rest and relaxation, some pampering ‘me’ time, participation in a health or medical programme, or just as a base for exploring the wonderful Dolenjska countryside.

My tips: Stay in Hotel Balnea for the best rooms and views (though if you like a powerful hairdryer, take your own!). The nearest supermarket is a 5 minute drive or a 15 minute walk, but directly opposite there is a well-stocked gift shop.

Getting there: by car is the most simple and convenient way to reach Dolenjske Toplice and also makes it easier to visit the surrounding areas. However, if you are reliant on public transport you can travel first by train to the city of Novo Mesto, 15 kilometres away, then take a bus or taxi for the remainder of the journey.

More information about Dolenjske Toplice can be  found here – http://www.terme-krka.com/us/en/destinations/dolenjske-toplice/

© Spas in Slovenia 2016