It was so, so time to escape the city. London summers are often chock-full of restaurant pop-ups, festivals and special events to celebrate the two seconds of warm weather. But when it is hot, it can get oppressive and miserable. When Big Berry invited us out to try some glamping in beautiful Slovenia, we jumped at the opportunity. We couldn’t wait to take a long weekend away and indulge in some natural beauty by traveling to Slovenia.
Big Berry lies on a beautiful river an hour or so from the capital city. The waterway is actually a border between Slovenia and Croatia – so you can technically swim across and knock two countries off your bucket list. This part of the country is much less crowded with tourists than the Mediterranean, but no less pretty.
Pulling up to camp was a thrill, as the dotted cabins in the distance are framed by a big rolling pasture and turquoise, forested waterway. After checking in with the friendly staff, we were shown to our new Slovenian home.
All your glamping needs
This was definitely my kind of camping.
Units can accommodate up to six people, but are wonderfully cosy for couples. Enter through the back porch and be greeted with giant sliding glass doors to the main living room. This space doubles as a sitting area with flat screen TV and a kitchen, complete with fridge, stovetop and counter space. Attached is a fully equipped bathroom with a macerating toilet and large bedroom, with plush bedding, closet, storage space and changing area. It’s all fully hooked up, with hot water, electricity, cable and wireless internet.
Back on the porch was lounge chairs and one of our favorite features – a Jacuzzi from Kolpasan overlooking the river. We kept it cool as the weather was super humid, offering the perfect escape from the heat, bubbly in hand.
I could have easily stayed in the cabin for days and been content, but Big Berry offers much more to experience.
In and around the Big Berry camp
Every day there is a calendar of activities to choose from, all of which support local businesses. We enjoyed everything from touring a large beekeeping complex and visiting an old school house to rafting down the nearby Kolpa River for an afternoon on the crystal clear waters. The camp hosts fun parties, sports and exercise that can round out your visit. There are plenty of secluded spots to lounge in sleek day beds, play volleyball or simply walk by the pastures and say hi to the neighbouring cows. It’s always tranquil to simply soak up the atmosphere of this beautifully designed property.
Big Berry has done an incredible job partnering with local businesses for all aspects of camp. Not only are the activities created to highlight village talent, goods and skills, the daily breakfast is full of sustainable treats from this part of the country. We gorged on fresh pogaca bread, yogurt and cheeses from Kmetija Strucelj, fruits, pastries and spreads. More treats were given as a welcome gift, including honey called “Akacijev Med”, ghee butter and some local sweet liquor from Berryshka. We ate as much as we could, then smuggled home the rest in our suitcases.
During the day, there was the opportunity to meet some of the producers in person and get our hands into making these great delicacies. It was a blast to kneed dough at Belokranjsko izrocilo and make our own hot, fresh pogaca from baker and handicraft whiz Bernada.
How to get to Big Berry
You can fly directly into Slovenia, or take the plane to Zagreb, which is close by. We opted to fly into Venice and rent a car from there, then drive about 3.5 hours to the camp. This allowed us to join in on many of the activities, but then tour around a little on our own too. Included in the camping experience are special partnerships with the nearby restaurants – you can flash your badge and have a meal at your leisure. All of them were super good, but the best by far is Gostišče Veselič. Run by the colourful and warm Andreja, this restaurant serves up traditional Slovenian fare al fresco, including fresh fish, salads and more. Andreja loves to create new seasonal dishes too and had us sample her version of garlic ice cream. You might see her swing through Big Berry camp as well, as she loves treating the international staff to treats and a little local gossip.
Big Berry is offering accommodation through September, then closing out its inaugural season. They do hope to open again next year and expand into other locations as well. The units are also available for purchase on the Big Berry website, so others may open some wonderful Berry camps worldwide in the future. I’m half-tempted to get one myself so we can relive the magic of Slovenia over and over again.