Themed Trails to Slovenia’s Hidden Gems

Tourist Association of Slovenia

When was the last time you were in the Logar Valley? You have not been there yet?! You are invited to a journey through the Logar Valley Trail, to the foothills of the mountains, to ancient homesteads, cottages and pasture farms. Get in tune with nature and discover how the locals used to live. From the Logar Farm in the lower part of the valley, walk through forests, past farms, across meadows, streams and torrential rivers to the Rinka Waterfall. Discover the wonders of nature and heritage and be guided by an experienced local guide. The Logar Valley Trail was selected as the best themed trail by the Tourist Association of Slovenia’s Best Trails Committee as part of the competition My Country – Beautiful and Hospitable in 2021. At this year’s Alpe-Adria Fair, the Logar Valley Trail was shortlisted for the 12th Jakob Award 2023, which was dedicated to themed trails this year. The Jakob Award 2023 and the title Ambassador of Themed Trails was awarded to the Drvošec Educational Trail, which already won our competition in 2020. Among the 28 themed trails submitted for the Jakob Award was also the European Tree Frog Trail, whose name already suggests is aimed at getting to know various frogs and their natural habitat. It won last year’s competition run by the Tourist Association of Slovenia, together with the Trail between the Canopies, which presents the forests of Pohorje as seen by birds. The European Green Frog Trail is competing for the title Ambassador of Themed Trails together with In the Footsteps of the Common Kingfisher Trail, an ornithological and botanical circular trail. The Common Kingfisher Grove decided to link the two tourism products “because themed trails connect”. This is also the motto of the Best Trail selection, which is organised annually by the Tourist Association of Slovenia as part of the competition My Land – Beautiful and Hospitable competition: ‘Themed trails connect us and teach us that less is more’. It is about weaving a network between hikers and individual stakeholders – from municipalities, associations to cultural and tourism organisations and businesses – with the aim of improving the tourism offering.

Organised entry into the natural environment

Themed trails provide safe experiences for individual guests or small groups, showcase our cultural and natural heritage, and facilitate the development of tourism by linking local providers. The greatest added value of themed trails is undoubtedly their educational importance, emphasised Jože Prah, member of the expert jury for the Jakob Award 2023 and head of the jury for the best trails. The latter, in cooperation with the Slovenian Forest Service and Slovenia Outdoor, has evaluated more than 400 themed trails over the course of more than a decade, based on the following criteria: impression and attractiveness, management and maintenance, guiding services and offer, accessibility and safety, message and presentation. These are carefully planned and managed trails that allow the hiker to learn about a specific topic: cultural and historical heritage, ethnology, cuisine, wine stories, flora and fauna and other local attractions. They link landscape and regional features and guide visitors, who in this way enter the natural environment in an organised way. It is a hiking experience with added value, providing an authentic experience of nature. The Tourist Association of Slovenia was the first to recognise the potential of organised and guided entry into the natural environment and, together with its partners, offers professional assistance in the design and development of themed trails and in the training of guides. To this end, Tourist Association of Slovenia’s Best Trails Committee organises an annual consultation, which takes place on the best-ranked trail of the previous season. As themed trails have been mushrooming recently, experts believe that it is high time to certify trails and set minimum standards for the tourism product called the themed trail.


“Slovenian Tourist Guide” for a carefree summer

There are more than 700 themed trails in Slovenia, many of which are available on the Slovenian Tourist Guide app. This is a mobile application that the Tourist Association of Slovenia is currently upgrading into a trip configurator as part of the “Digitising Local Tourist Content” project. The latter will allow the user to make their own itinerary for a trip. The project is in its final stages, as the phase of collecting and entering content into the database is already underway, whereby we are also updating the existing entries, said Andreja Vesel, digitisation specialist at the Tourist Association of Slovenia. For content providers and municipalities, the entry system will be further upgraded to make it easier and faster for them to enter local content and offers. For visitors and users of the trip configurator, the Tourist Association of Slovenia will also provide pre-prepared trips, the possibility to browse individual points of interest, themed trails and offers also on the web… The Slovenian Tourist Guide will thus also be available online, with a possibility to browse all contents and categories, and easily share your trips with friends. The new tourism service will be available to the public through various promotions and, of course, on the Association’s website, expected to launch by the summer or peak tourist season. One of the main tasks of the Slovenian Tourist Association is the development and promotion of local tourism, as it represents an important opportunity for the development and promotion of areas that are not visited on a large scale and could be called “hidden gems of Slovenia”.