Brda: The Tuscany of Slovenia

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Brda, the land of hills, is nestled midway between the Alps and the Adriatic.

Brda Vineyards

It has been given the nickname the ‘Tuscany of Slovenia’ for its countless vineyards, rolling hills, and medieval villages.

Wine Bottles Brda

Though a large portion of the region crumbled to its foundation during a devastating earthquake in 1976, remnants of medieval architecture still remain.

Brda Slovenia

The natural conditions in Brda are perfect for viticulture (wine growing). Rich soil, ample sunshine, sufficient rainfall, hot summers, and mild winters all contribute to a fruitful and bountiful harvest of grapes each year.

Grapes in Brda

The area is most well-known for its region-specific Rebula, a refreshing white wine. Rebula is only grown within a 40 km radius of the Brda region.

Grapes in Brda

Cabernet-Merlot blends are also quite popular in Brda.

Grapes in Brda

Dobrovo- In the Heart of the Brda Region

About 400 individuals call the village of Dobrovo home. It lies in the very heart of the Brda region. Dobrovo Castle boasts artistic and historic collections and exhibits, in addition to housing the largest cooperative cellar in Slovenia.

Dobrovo Castle Wine Cellar

All of the Slovenian wine we sampled in Ljubljana was delish, so of course we had to get in on some sampling at the castle!

Wine Tasting at Dobrovo Castle

First, we sampled the Rebula. It was perfect for the hot August day, with refreshing lemon and green apple notes. We also sampled a Sauvignonasse which was also tasty; a little drier than the Rebula.

Dobrovo Castle Wine Cellar

Next up was a Jakot wine, made from the same grapes as the Sauvignonasse. We were instructed to let this wine warm and breathe a little to release the toffee and caramel flavors. For our final pour, we were provided with a Merlot. It had been barrel-aged for just 1.5 years in order for the wood flavor to not be too overpowering. I enjoyed the Merlot; Sam not so much. The server actually ended up bringing us a bonus sample, a Merlot-Cabernet blend, because he wanted Sam to end with a red wine he actually enjoyed. It worked!

Wine at Dobrovo Castle Wine Cellar

It was the only tasting we did all day, as wine tasting works a little different in Brda than it does back where we are from in California. Instead of going from winery to winery and just walking in and paying for a set number of samples, most of the tastings in Brda are done out of people’s houses with their private production of wine. You must call ahead to see if they are accepting guests. Had we planned a little more in advance, we would have definitely taken advantage of this hospitable practice. Maybe next time…!

Brda Slovenia

Smartno-  A Cultural Heritage Monument

Several castles and churches, along with the adorable town of Smartno date back to the Middle Ages. Smartno can be seen from pretty much anywhere in Brda, as it prominently sits perched on a panoramic hill.

Smartno Brda Slovenia

Its alleyways are perfect for perusing and admiring the medieval buildings. Stop in one of the several tiny cafes or restaurants or purchase a hand-made craft from one of the locals.

Smartno Brda Slovenia

Smartno Brda Slovenia

The church in Smartno, St Martin, is the largest in Brda and contains a bell tower that was once a fortification tower.

St Martin in Smartno Brda Slovenia

The Picturesque Villages of Brda

Shamelessly, we only visited Brda for a few hours on a short day trip. Having said that, we would recommend future visitors to allow more time to really explore the region. We were only able to stop by a handful of other villages on our way back to where we were staying near Kobarid, just over an hour away.

Village in Brda

Kozana is a small village surrounded by vineyards with sweet grapes and orchards with various types of tasty fruit. Within the village is St. Hieronymus Church which has a bell tower that stands separate from the church. We also drove through the villages of Vipolze and Medana before starting the drive back toward Kobarid.

Village in Brda Slovenia

Village in Brda Slovenia

Village in Brda Slovenia

Brda Slovenia

Though we wish we had time to explore more villages during our abbreviated visit, we certainly enjoyed the landscape!

Brda Slovenia

A neat little factoid about this route is that you actually drive through part of Italy for about 20 minutes. We couldn’t resist getting some gelato during our stint in Italy, and we can now strongly recommend you make a stop at Paradiso dei Golosi for some delicious gelato!

Planning a trip to Slovenia?

Check out more of our Slovenia posts about this astonishingly beautiful country to get an idea of what not to miss!

Discover Slovenia, a nature lover’s paradise in our video of this beautiful country:


  1. Wow look at those wine cellars! Brda is a beautiful place! We drive to Italy next year so I can’t wait to explore some of Europe, I’ve been very Asian these last few years! X

  2. BRDA and Slovenia both are now in my list. Awesome clicks by awesome you.

  3. Beautiful landscape! I love the way you describe the tastings in Brda. Seems like such a unique way to experience the culture behind the wine. So happy I found your post as I’d love to partake. Thanks for the tip!

    • Yea, we really wish we would’ve had the opportunity to do the more personal tastings in the homes of locals, but I guess that just means we’ll have to go back… more prepared next time!

  4. How stunningly beautiful is Brda. I get the impression that the soils are ideal for growing the grapes for the wine. Slovenia looks a great country to visit with gems lil Brda

    • Oh yes, the soil is perfect for growing wine. The vineyards stretch on for miles and miles (or since it’s Europe, kilometers and kilometers)! We absolutely loved this picturesque region. And the wine… delish!!

  5. Oh wow I never imagined Slovenia to be so beautiful! We can’t have enough Tuscany’s I say 🙂 Such a shame about the damage done with the Earthquake destroying some of the old buildings though, luckily there is a lot of unspoiled beauty still left to explore. Looks lovely! 🙂

  6. Wow, what amazing landscapes. Very picturesque! I love that photo of the bottles with the beautiful background. Never knew Slovenia was so beautiful!

    • Neither did we, until we visited and now we can wait to get back and explore more. We loved how there we some many different regions in Slovenia- mountains, lakes, coast, vineyards, etc. It’s now pretty much one of our favorite countries!

  7. Lovely pictures Toccara! I’ve never heard of Brda before, but then again I’ve never been to Slovenia either. It does remind me of Tuscany in Italy. I can see why you would of wanted to spend a few more days exploring some of the other towns that surround it. I would of wanted to stay longer too, and try some of those wines. I’ll have to add it to my list of places to visit when I do go.

    • We hadn’t heard of Brda even before traveling to Slovenia. One of our guesthouse hosts recommended we visit and I’m so glad we did!! We went on whim, so of course we could’ve used more time! Next time…

  8. I much prefer eating grapes over drinking wine – silly me! These ones are quite big. Nice and picturesque scenery as well.

  9. Pretty photos and it does feel a lot like Tuscany minus probably the crowds ?

    • Thanks! Though, we’ve been to Tuscany twice now and didn’t find it to be too crowded. With so many towns and wineries within the region, there was never really one spot that was any too crowded. Brda was the same way. Beautiful, and spread out.

  10. Slovenia looks amazing! This region does look a bit like Tuscany. I love wineries. Thanks for sharing!

    • We love wineries as well, so we couldn’t resist a visit to this region. We’re so glad it was recommended to us and so glad we decided to make the drive. It was fun sneaking into Italy for part of the drive as well! Worth it just for the gelato. 🙂

  11. Your photos!!! SO beautiful! Makes me want to pack my bags and go!

  12. Wow. What an incredibly stunning place! Now it is on the list of places to visit. We always have the kids with us (9 and 11) do you think they would enjoy? Obviously they are not wine drinkers. 😉

    • Hmmm… Since we didn’t have kids with us, we weren’t on the look-out for kid-friendly activities. Not sure there would be much for the kiddos to do, other than enjoy the views!

      • Hello Sam and Toccara! Reading you article made me very happy… I live in Brda 🙂 I have a few tips for visiting Brda with children (I have a 5 year daughter). You can enjoy the region and history by exploring the caverns of the First World War on Sabotin. From there you will also have a nice view of the Soča river and the Adriatic sea and when it’s sunny you will see Venice. Truly amazing! You can also go on trekking with donkeys or you go to the Soča adventure park where the Flying Fox takes you over the Soča river.
        Sam and Toccara, thanks again for the great photos and nice words you have written. Maybe we’ll meet on your next visit to Brda. ?

        • Thank you for your kind words. And thanks for recommending kid-friendly activities for our readers with kids! Much appreciated! I have a feeling that will not be our last trip to Brda, as we definitely need to visit again. We’d love to be shown around by a local!

      • Dear Toccara and Sam, as a local living in Soca valley (close to Goriška brda wine region) I felt in love with your blog post so rich in description and great photos. Slovenia is one of still hidden gems in Europe. You are welcome back to Slovenia to come and experience more. Keep on writing great blog posts like this. Vesna

  13. Hello,
    I was there last week (I’m living in beautiful Soča valley 🙂 … soon a post in my blog 🙂

  14. I consider myself very lucky to live very close to Brda and visit them as often as I can. Thank you for this lovely article and photos! Just to point out a small mistake: jakot and sauvignonaisse are actually the same. They are called differently only because the naming convention has recently changed.

    • You are lucky!
      Thanks for pointing out my error. The way is was explained to us was that they were in fact made from the same grape, but the production was different enough to create the varying flavors. They certainly tasted different. Either way, they were both delicious! 🙂

      • Love Brda, stayed at St Martin Hotel last summer loved, my family still has a working vineyard in Jeruzalem Slovenia near Ljutomer. If you ever want to visit reach out to me my cousin is Andrej Vrsic director of tourism for the area and love writers. cheers Mike

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