Flowers Butterflies and Karst Landscapes Bears Storks and Orchids of Slovenia with Greentours
Imagine a place with endless hills covered with forest, where Bear, Wolf and Lynx still roam. A valley which periodically fills with water so that a large lake forms, only to drain again a couple of weeks later. Below your feet is a dark world with thousands of mysterious caves. Spread out in this landscape there are lovely villages, surrounded by hay meadows with an incredible diversity of flowers and butterflies. This is Slovenia; a small country of great beauty lying between Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia.
On our trip we will follow the water through the karst landscapes: we start on a high plateau, where a small stream meanders through wet meadows and low bogs. We find typical marsh vegetation with the snow-white Transylvanian Orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata subsp. transsilvanica), Bladderwort (Utricularia media) and Sundews. These meadows are rich in butterflies, including Marsh Fritillary and Woodland Ringlet. Just a few miles from the springs, the water disappears underground. We meet the same water again lower down in the hills, in the form of a beautiful, crystal clear lake inside a cave. The water flows through this cave in the direction of intermittent Lake Cerknica, where we visit wet meadows where Illyrian Gladiolus and Anacamptis palustris bloom. We can watch Black Storks, Yellow Wagtails, Whinchats, Common Rosefinches and perhaps White-tailed Eagle here. In the background Corncrakes rasp. From Lake Cerknica the water again flows underground, and re-emerges in the spectacular valley of the river Rak. This river has created an enormous cave and thousands of years ago the ceiling collapsed. We now find a fairytale landscape with two natural stone bridges - the remnants of the cave ceiling. The stream is home to Dippers and Grey Wagtails while the rocky slopes are full of ferns and mosses.
Some days we will leave the water in order to experience very different landscapes, in fact, it is the high diversity in such a small distance that makes Slovenia especially appealing. We’ll visit primaeval forest with magnificent old trees and an easily accessible mountain top where flowery meadows attract many butterflies. Here we can enjoy both Swallowtail and Scarce Swallowtail together with a variety of Fritillaries and Blues. Towards the southwest of Slovenia, spectacular cliffs mark the border of the sub-Mediterranean. Here are a totally different set of species including Red-rumped Swallow and Blue Rock Thrush. One evening we will have the opportunity to wait in a hide for the king of the forest, the Brown Bear.
Flowers, butterflies and karst landscapes
No more than four to five miles a day, and usually on good trails, though occasionally part of a walk may go cross country through forests and rocky landscapes. Always at a slow pace, ideally suited to photographers.
Included in the Price
All flights. All transport, meals and accommodation in Slovenia. Services of your leader(s). Please note: drinks, tips, visas, and items of a personal nature including insurance, are not included.
The minimum is 4 and the maximum is 12. Only one leader will accompany a group of 6 or less.
We stay in a traditional Slovenian village at the edge of the intermittent Lake Cerknica. We are guests of the Logar family, who run an ecological farm. They restored two old houses and rebuilt a third in the traditional style. Here we stay in comfortable guest rooms. From these houses we can walk straight into the Lake Cerknica, where we can find colourful dry and wet hay-meadows. Fieldfares are breeding in the orchard behind our rooms and Quail and Red backed Shrike are on a walking distance. Please note that rooms with en suite facilities are subject to availability; some rooms share facilities with their neighbouring room. En suite rooms will be assigned to people in booking order.
UK return flights are direct from London, Manchester*, Leeds Bradford* or Edinburgh* to Venice. Add-ons are available from various UK airports*. Other indirect routes from regional UK Airports* are available.
*These routes may incur a supplement.
Continental, which means that we expect sunny days with a pleasant temperature in June. However, it is possible to get rainy days as well. Note that in the cave the temperature is only about 10˚C.
How to Book
Contact us to check there is availability for the number of places you require. Download a booking form or contact us and we will send one to you. Complete and send to us. You will receive confirmation of your place and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will contain up-to-date health information.
Flower, bird and butterfly checklists are available.