A little unexpected road trip

Despite being put in constant desperate mood of limitations and cancelled plans, while sun was still shining and days were warm, I found myself on a wonderful roadtrip without any specific plans. We were cruising through northern-east region of Slovenia, Stayer, and on our way stumbled upon two sister worker's towns of Šoštanj and Velenje.

Zlati grič manor


First, Šoštanj, is almost a millennium old settlement that developed from a market town. It was especially known for its leather works that later grew into proper industry, employing many locals all till start of 21st century. The factory is now gone, but some of the remaining buildings are hosting leather industry museum that offers interactive journey through its history and also life in town. It was the first attraction we stumbled upon and I would warmingly recommend the visit.

old town center

Otherwise, today the town is best known for its thermal power plant operating on coal excavated from the mine of its sister city of Velenje. The massive chimneys can be seen from many places in town, reigning above historical buildings and give very contradictory feel to the classical architecture.

thermal power plant chimneys

Beside these you can also visit the ruins of Schönstein castle, hence the town's name. There's not much left of it other than a skeleton of one tower, but the view from the hill is worth the short hike. You'll embrace the beautiful Šalek Valley with sight of both towns as well as their lakes.

view over the valley from the castle

In the recently renovated old town center you'll find many interesting points and information boards that will lead you through its history. 

Walking to other side of town, you can find beautiful park and townhouse of Villa Mayer that is today hosting several art collections, event spaces  and serves as protocolar place of the municipality.

the front porch of Villa Mayer

We've also stumbled upon birth house of Yugoslav poet and resistance fighter Karel Destovnik Kajuh, not far from which you can also find his statue.

details from facade of Destovnik's birth house


Our second stop was in industrial town of Velenje. The place grew into 6th largest city in the country after the 2nd world war, thanks to its lignite mining industry and later also became home of Gorenje, the world renowned manufacturer of home appliances. 

cultural center at Tito's square

Although today best known as modern industrial town, its history dates all the way back to same times as Šoštanj. Therefor the city is surrounded with castles and their ruins, that can also be visited along the castle trail. In the main castle o Velenje located right above the city center you can also find art and ethnological exhibitions. And of course, you're again rewarded by some amazing views.

tower of Velenje's castle

The city center, spreading around the grand Tito's square, where you can also find his statue, is build in a modernist way and typical urban socialist architecture of 50's and 60's. You certainly cannot miss the cultural center with modern glass designs, promenade by the Paka river, or many statues located in close proximity. 

modern promenade by the Paka river

For those more adventurous history lovers you can visit the coal mining museum and descend 180 m underground to former mining trench. We were unfortunately too late for this experience, as our day was already pact, and instead went to enjoy sunset on the city beach by Velenje's lake. The water was surprisingly warm and I almost regret not bringing my swimsuit, but enjoying local artistry ice cream in a lovely beach bar by the camping site was just as awesome. Lake is a popular spot, especially during summer, when you can enjoy different water sports and activities. Beside it they're also just building a new event space that will offer various program and ventures once finished.

sunset at the lake, with Šoštanj's power plant chimney in the back

Zlati grič

Despite falling in love with beautiful towns and their spirits, we traveled further to spend our night in Slovenske Konjice. We found a wonderful estate of Zlati grič (Golden hill), which includes with wine yards surrounded winery and wine cellar, restaurant with a panoramic view and renovated wine grower's mansion with several touristic apartments. Our offered wonderful views over the landscape, interestingly designed kitchen corner and even massage bath tub. 

wine grower's mansion of Zlati Grič

Beside trying their sparkling wine that was awaiting us in the room we also had to experience the creative outtake on their local cuisine. I adored our dinner with main course of venison, jerusalem artichoke puree and fried mushroom balls. Breakfast was no shorter of experience, with variety of cold cuts, homemade spreads and freshly baked bread.

venison for dinner


Check for other travel stories and inspiration at my Travel guides site.



  1. A road trip sounds like so much fun! It looks like you had a wonderful time.

    xx Chelsea

  2. These pictures are breathtaking. And your meals look delicious :)


  3. Sounds like you had a great time! Thanks for sharing your pics.

  4. Oh it looks like a nice time
    The food looks so delicious.
    And the villa is sooo beautiful !

  5. Thank you so much for sharing all of these places. I never before didn't hear for them, but architecture look amazing. I heard for Zlatni grič and I would like to visit it one day.

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  6. So interesting place :) beautiful photos

  7. What a beautiful place! I loved the pictures :)
    And it's good that you can take a walk. So good!


  8. Looks like a fun road trip and you got some lovely photos! It is such a nice place to visit :)

    Hope that you are having a good week! :)

    Away From Blue

  9. So beautiful! Glad you got to do a road trip. The golden hill is TOP!


  10. Zlati Grič sounds like such a perfect place to stay in and relax right now. That view of vineyards is beautiful.

  11. These images reminds me so much about Prague, especially the old town center! I need to visit Slovenia one day :)
    I miss traveling, I can't wait to go back to our normal life..
    xx Dasynka

  12. Ah what a lovely trip and your photos are great! Wish I could travel a bit.

    I apologize for the delay I lost my mom.

    Allie of

  13. Unexpected trips very often turn out to be the most amazing experiences! This looks like a great one! xx
    Elegant Duchess xx

  14. Wow this place is gorgeous! Sounds like a great trip. I really want to visit Slovenia.


  15. Wonderful places, amazing trip



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