Touring Slovenia with Roundabout Travel – A Review

When I first mentioned that I was planning to go to Slovenia, a few people (and it was only a few, as Slovenia is still something of an undiscovered gem) responded by telling me that the best way to see the country would be to hire a car. This advice is all well and good but when you are hopeless at navigating (check), hopeless at parking (check) and your definition of a holiday does not involve driving around for miles lost (check), then this option becomes less appealing.

Of course, there is always Pumpkin, whose precise navigational skills are more suited to the military than they are to daily life but rather than forcing him to chauffeur me around in true diva style, we opted to get the most of our time in Slovenia with Roundabout Travel.Roundabout tours Slovenia review

Roundabout Travel Slovenia

We took two tours with Roundabout:

  • Karst and Coast Mystery tour, involving a visit to the magnificent UNESCO-listed Skocjan caves and a brief stop at the Lipica horse farm, famed for its Lipizzaner breed of horses; the tour also includes a visit to the coastal town of Piran and a pit stop for some delicious locally made cheese, olives and renowned Karst Prosciutto before finally ending the day at the Predjama castle. Personally, I liked the added little extras and always believe that sampling local flavours helps to hallmark the customs and cultures of a place.
  • Alpine Fairytale Tour, involving a visit to Lake Bled and Bohinj, the medieval town of Skofja Loka and a lunch stop at a delicious Slovenian restaurant – just look at those moreish Strukli (traditional Slovenian dumplings). Usually, this itinerary includes a visit to the Vintgar gorge but due to damage during the winter storms in Slovenia earlier this year, we were unable to see this. We were, however, taken to one of Slovenia’s most impressive waterfalls instead.Lake Bled Slovenia

As one of the leading tour companies in Slovenia, I chose Roundabout for a number of reasons:

  • Group Size is restricted to a maximum of 8 so there will be no giant coaches or sluggish crowds. On our trip to Iceland last year, we compared and contrasted both styles of tour and it’s safe to say that given a choice, our large coach tour days are well and truly over. Roundabout , in contrast, offer personal and friendly service with group sizes small enough to be able to mingle with both guides and fellow travellers with comfortable, air-conditioned, seat-belted vehicles.
  • Range of tours – I was really keen to see Piran and the Skocjan caves in one day, both of which are amongst Slovenia’s most popular sights. And yet, it was surprisingly difficult to find companies that offered this. Bespoke tours were very costly so I was delighted to find the Karst and Coast Tour, which included both places as well as additional locations. Their range of itineraries include other parts of Slovenia such as Postojna caves or their Emerald River tour, which allows an opportunity to participate in rafting and watersports. They also have full and half day tours, private as well as group tours and if you are visiting for longer, some tour packages include visits to surrounding countries including Bosnia and Croatia.
    Piran Slovenia
  • Flexibility – although they adhere to the basic structure for the day, if there are elements you want added or removed, then within reason, they’ll try to accommodate this. Here’s an example: when there is a local cake to be tried, you can guarantee I’ll be indulging in it. When my cake-radar sounded out the other sweet teeth in our group, it took nothing more than a passing comment before our guide kindly arranged a cake stop with a panoramic view of the impossibly stunning Lake Bled, allowing us to devour the famous Bled cream cake.
  • The Guides, aside from speaking excellent English, are flowing fountains of information! I can only comment on Matjaz and Tjasa, who led our trips but both had vast knowledge about Slovenian history and culture and added a warm, personal dimension to their guiding. It was apparent that the individual customer experience was of paramount importance to them.

Practical Tips

  • Tours mentioned in this post cost between €46 – 49 per person but are not inclusive of individual activities, entrance fees and meals but there is no compulsion to get involved in all the activities e.g. the prosciutto tasting. Payment is usually made in cash at the end of the tour.
  • Morning pick up may be either be directly from your hotel or a nearby hotel.
  • A visit to Skocjan involves a walk inside the caves of more than an hour, which includes stairs and is dimly lit; it is a leisurely walk and you don’t need to be an athlete (I’m certainly not) but it may be less suitable for those with reduced mobility or impaired vision, for whom Postojna caves may be a better alternative, as there is a train to take you through the caves at that location.
  • At Skocjan caves, the Roundabout guides accompany you for ticket purchase and give information before and after the tour but the cave tour guides are from a separate company and whilst inside, you are part of a much larger tour group.
  • Photography (with or without flash) is not permitted within the caves and guides did not take kindly to tourists who were not respectful of this but there is an opportunity to take photographs at one end of the caves, where it opens up.

My experience with Roundabout?

From the outset, they were punctual with emails and communication between different team members was seamless. Open to feedback, the staff were genuinely grateful for tips without any expectation and were hugely passionate about their country. They were also considerate of the needs of different members of the group e.g. mixed ages and abilities, taking care to ensure that everyone was managing. Most importantly though, the tours were personal, really enjoyable and informative and gave us a wonderful introduction to a beautiful country.

Disclaimer: I was a guest of Roundabout Travel Slovenia but I am an opinionated, little lady and all views, good or bad, are entirely my own.


13 thoughts on “Touring Slovenia with Roundabout Travel – A Review

  1. nice post. I saw most of what you did in Slovenia without a car – even the Skocjan Caves. although it was a long time ago and i dont quite remember how it all worked and there was a bit of time-co-ordination to take care of. But you seem more than happy with your tours – were they both single day tours?

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 26, 2014 — 6:23 pm

      Thank you – yep I really enjoyed the tours – they were 2 separate full-day tours – I find these kind of tours quite helpful if time is more limited – we only had a few days in Slovenia so it was nice and convenient having it all arranged but it’s great to hear that it can all be done on public transport etc. And yep – I wish wish wish we could have seen Vintgar gorge but I really warmed to Slovenia so I’d love to go back one day and see it next time hopefully 🙂

  2. PS sorry you missed Vintgar Gorge, it is really special

  3. Sorry to hear that you missed Vintgar Gorge, but you have been to other places which seem to be so amazing to explore! The food looks good and your guide spoke excellent English. I love this place and hope I can make it there soon. Your review is so honest, well done!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 27, 2014 — 7:13 pm

      Thanks for the kind comments Agness! I’m definitely not a good liar so that makes it easier to write an honest review 🙂 Was glad to have seen so much of beautiful Slovenia in a short space of time but would definitely hope to see Vintgar Gorge one day in the future!

  4. aroundtheworldin80pairsofshoes May 27, 2014 — 7:52 pm

    I want that cream cake!! It looks delicious – can’t wait to read more about your Slovenia trip x

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 27, 2014 — 9:17 pm

      Thanks so much Kelly! 🙂 It was such a yummy cake called Kremsnita and would you believe, they even do a Kremsnita flavoured ice-cream?! So yum! I think you’d like some other cakes out there too – lots of gluten free choices! I’ll post about them & Slovenia soon 🙂 x

  5. That sounds great. I love your photos. I hope I can get to Slovenia some time! That and Croatia have been on my bucket list for soooooooooo long!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 28, 2014 — 6:41 pm

      I hope you make it there soon – it’s so beautiful! And Croatia is on my wish list too – many Slovenian people were also recommending it to us! Thanks for reading 🙂

  6. Slovenia just looks so amazing and fascinating. I’m glad you had a wonderful experience with this company. We usually bypass large coach tours since it’s not an ideal way to sightsee with kids. I really like that this one is small and flexible. Beautiful photos and I want to go on that Alpine Fairytale Tour when I make it there.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 31, 2014 — 8:29 am

      Thanks for commenting Mary 🙂 It is such a beautiful country and still a little bit of a secret compared to many other European countries! I hope you get a chance to go one day and yes, I completely agree that a small group way tour is a flexible and convenient way to do so 🙂

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