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Why Travel to Slovenia? The Mediterranean beaches of Portoroz, Slovenian food, Fonda sustainable fish!

portoroz, piran slovenia beach

Ah, there’s nothing like the Mediterranean coast in summer. Could this be the Italian Riviera? Dubrovnik in Croatia? Surprise… I’m standing in Slovenia! 

Before my trip, I knew very little about this tiny European country — and I’m guessing you’re in the same shoes. To my surprise, I discovered a world class beach town, creative restaurant scene, and ethical food produced by Slovenians with passion.

On our first day, my filmmakers and I learned straight away that Slovenia is a travel destination full of surprises. 

skull goth undercut hairstyle

But first, a style revelation: there’s a dyed skull underneath my hair!

If you’ve been following my social media, you’ll have seen images of my skull-shaped undercut, which is the work of stylist Stephanie Hoy at Sugar Skull Studio in Vancouver. I’ve trusted her with my rainbow hairstyles throughout the years, and am thrilled with this big change.

Want to know how to achieve a skull shaved hairstyle like mine? Then watch the video of my hair transformation, step by step! You’ll see how Stephanie used clippers to sculpt the shape, then bleached and dyed the skull and crossbones. (Watch it on LaCarmina Youtube.)

long clothing, grace neutral fashion

Outfit of the day: I’m wearing a Long Clothing x Grace Neutral oversize tee — the print also comes in a crop top version. My black and white sandals are these Sorel Torpeda slides.

(Shop more designs by Long Clothing with a click below — this nu-Goth brand rocks!)

pattern design undercut shaved hair

My nail art is Miffy meets the devil. They’re by Glam Nail Studio, an award winning salon located in the Vancouver area, specialising in Japanese nail art.

My head feels so much lighter, after taking out the lower layers of hair. I like how I can wear it up to show off the skull, or leave it down to cover it. Perfect for my summer travels.

Mediterranean hotel, slovenia spa

Slovenia is an easy, quick flight from most European countries (it only took 2 hours for me to get here from Amsterdam). The country is also within a few hours drive of Austria, Italy and Croatia — it’s possible to visit all three by car, in a single day!

Many people assume that Slovenia is a land-locked country, since it appears to be that way on the map. In fact, there’s a warm and gorgeous coastal stretch along the Adriatic Sea. (How glorious is this waterfront view from my hotel window?)

hotel slovenija, portoroz vacation

My filmmakers and I started our journey in Portoroz, one of these seaside towns known for wellness. We stayed at Hotel Slovenija: beautifully designed, luxurious and modern.

Their spa offers therapies related to the surrounding nature and healing mineral waters. I was glad for a massage after multiple flights and jetlag.

portoroz travel, tartini square

Crowds of tourists can ruin experiences for me. In Slovenia, there’s nothing of this sort. No Starbucks or McDonalds. Not a single bus tour in Tartini Square.

salt shop, slovenia

I loved walking around and seeing the layers of history in the architecture. Portoroz feels like an undiscovered seaside town in Croatia or Italy. 

slovenia red rooftops

I stopped to take a Vine video of the red roofs overlooking the Adriatic. (I’m @lacarmina on Vine, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.)

Perhaps this gorgeous country is overlooked by travellers because it’s so tiny. It only has two million inhabitants, over 20k square kilometers.

salt mining, portoroz piran

The small size is a big advantage, when it comes to food production. Slovenian ingredients are outstanding because locals can take their time and use natural methods to bring out the best possible flavors.

My travel film team and I visited Soline / Sečovlje Saltworks, the famous evaporation pond located in Piran. At these saltworks, everything is done in the traditional method.

Piranske Soline, salt flats slovenia

Saltmaking is one of Slovenia’s oldest economic activities. At Soline, the process is the same as it was centuries ago: the sea, sunshine, and a lot of muscle work. The salt flats also have an ecological benefit, as they encourage flora and fauna.

Sečovlje Saltworks

I pretended to be a salt-worker, and failed. Let’s just say that I only managed to push the cart a few inches on the track!

Slovenian salt also has health benefits, since it’s high in minerals and crystallized naturally.

slovenian salt, miffy nail polish

I’ve tried a number of gourmet salts, but Sečovlje’s product is outstanding. The taste is light, with hints of minerals. Since the crystals are enhanced by the seawater captured inside, flavors are nuanced rather than explicitly “salty.”

Slovenian salt gets my “Miffy two thumbs up!” If you’re curious, you can order Piranske Soline salt through their website.

fonda fish farm, slovenia

My next stop was again an eye-opener. I always thought of “fish farming” as bad for both the creatures and the environment, and preferred the taste of wild-caught. However, at Fonda Fish Farm (Ribogojnica Fonda), I met a woman who is taking a very different approach.

Dr. Irena Fonda (molecular biologist and award-winning researcher) joined her family in raising fish via the free-floating method, or cages in open water. The rich sea water, continuous movement, and natural environment result in sea bass that are ethically raised — and recognized as the best quality in the world.

RIBOGOJNICA FONDA, mussel farming

Dr. Fonda took us on a boat ride through the warm and beautiful Piran Bay. As the waters deepened, we came across what looked like yellow caterpillars, floating on the gentle waves. It turned out to be Fonda’s mussel farm! Ropes hang down from these buoys, and the mollusks grow on them.

feeding slovenia fish, fish farm

We arrived at the pens, and they were nothing like the crowded, dirty “fish farms” that I always heard about. The sea bass swim freely about in the fresh Piran waters, which have an ideal balance of salt and minerals. The cages also become homes for other underwater organisms, supporting the local ecosystem.

Every day, Fonda’s team comes to feed the sea bass (they grow for 2-3 years). I got to give it a try: you can watch me tossing food to the fishies, in this Instagram video!

RIBOGOJNICA FONDA, fonda seabass

Dr. Fonda impressed us with her heartfelt dedication to every aspect of her work, including education and package design. If you see Fonda sea bass on a menu, you’ll know this means the highest grade. The body had a clean, pleasing smell — nothing “fishy” is going on.

(On the boat ride, I wore this exact Sorel Torpeda sandal, which is both stylish and practical — you can walk all day long, and they match most clothes. I also love Sorel’s studded sandals. See more of their footwear below.)

fonda piran sea bass

It doesn’t get any fresher than this: sea bass carpaccio, straight from Slovenian waters. With a sprinkle of Soline salt (from the flats we visited) and local olive oil (which was better than any I’ve had in Italy or Greece, no joke).

“Na’zdravje” or cheers to Fonda fish farm for the enlightening tour and snack.

domacija sepulje

With our appetites whetted, it was time to sit down for lunch. Our guide and driver Ales took us to Domačija Šajna, which is the definition of a charming Slovenian village. We passed through these big doors into an open courtyard with a flowering garden. 

slovenian best restaurants, local food

Yet another pleasant surprise: Slovenian cuisine has a lot of seafood and Mediterranean influences. It’s certainly not the “central European” stereotype of meat and potatoes.

We started with farm-fresh cheeses and prosciutto, paired with Slovenian wines (all were outstanding). At the bottom right, I could have eaten ten servings of this shaved truffle gnocchi. 

slovenia desserts, Šepulje

The chef used local fruit and wines to add both color and flavor. He served aged beef steak in wine sauce, poached pears, and millefeuille with strawberry.

Everything is close by in small Slovenia, and Domacija Sajna is well worth a drive for a meal like this.

Štanjel church

Our road trip continued with a few more scenic stops. In the Littoral region (Municipality of Komen, in the Karst plateau), we walked around Štanjel church.

visit slovenia, church of prophet daniel

This Parish Church of the Prophet Daniel was built in the 15th century. It has a Games of Thrones feeling, doesn’t it? I half expected the High Sparrow to step out.

owl wall sculpture

Are you surprised by what we found in Slovenia? This is what I love about off-the-beaten-path destinations: they’re full of hidden treasures, which surpass our expectations about a place.

long clothing grace neutral shirt

In a single day, I had my eyes opened in many ways. Coming up, I’ll show you what we found in the capital of Ljubljana, the island on Lake Bled, and more.

goth fashion blogger, long clothing model

Hvala (thank you) Visit Slovenia for the opportunity to come here with my team. All photos by Borderless Media.

If you’re digging my outfit, you can shop these same items below:

And here’s the DIY tutorial hair video of my skull shaved cut. Would you do an undercut style like this?

SHARE & COMMENT

  • I love those salt flats <3 There's really something special about that place. I once spent a day there just taking photos! http://biorequiem.com/photoflurry/photo-flurry-124-secovlje-salt-pans

    • <3 love your photos! we should go back together.

  • nairy

    whoa woah i love it. ><

  • darkxx

    Long Clothing is Everything.

  • Starlee

    Thank u for the Depop package once again!
    PS your skull ROCKS
    Starlee

  • Drew

    Awesome post…

  • erick

    it is beautiful. x

  • Miss Aine

    Your looks are amazing! I love them so much. So chic, so fancy!

  • ivana

    i like this a lot.
    kind regards , ivana

  • Sasha

    I was here two months ago on a cruise. It was really nice. My husband booked Ljubljana & Lake Bled tour with http://kopertravel.com/ we had a wonderful day. Would like to return one day.

    • Sounds amazing, Slovenia is wonderful. I have more posts coming up about my trip here, hope you enjoy Sasha!

  • John

    we have some tasty striped bass right here in rhode island, how IS the fish in slovenia??

    • It’s SO good. The trout, sea bass, ahh.

  • Kevin

    Yummers

  • Saturday Fever

    I was in Slovenia last year, it was nice!

  • Slovenia calling

    Only 1h drive from #Ljubljana, #Slovenia.

  • agge

    Welcome to Slovenija.

  • Alja

    Just FYI, Slovenia/Yugoslavia was not part of the eastern Soviet bloc. You need to brush up on your history.

    • Thanks for your comment! From what our guide told us and checking online (including Wikipedia), Yugoslavia was part of the Eastern Bloc and Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia :) Eg “The countries in the Eastern Bloc were Poland, East German, Czechoslovakia, Hungry, Romania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia.”

  • Saarinen

    ( ⸝⸝•ᴗ•⸝⸝ ) l

  • Clarisse

    Thrilled to have you here!

  • Amazing! I want to go!

    • You’d love it there!!! Thinking of you!