Rejuvenating the body and soul at Big Berry

Big Berry Lifestyle Resort, a countryside wellbeing retrat in Bela Krajina, Slovenia
Looking back at Big Berry from the Kolpa River

This morning we canoed to Croatia. It’s not normally something we do before breakfast, but today it just felt right.

We tiptoed through the dewy grass, not wanting to disturb the slumbers of our fellow guests, and stealthily launched the boat into the blanket of mist that lay possessively over the river. Already the sun was beginning to break through the ethereal barrier, revealing a lone heron balancing patiently on the weir.

He clearly hadn’t had his breakfast either.

Big Berry Lifestyle Resort, a countryside wellbeing retrat in Bela Krajina, Slovenia

Paddling into the early morning mists on the River Kolpa

Aside from a couple of sleepy buzzards and some sprightly shoals of fish darting through the weed, we had the river to ourselves.

Big Berry Lifestyle Resort, a countryside wellbeing retrat in Bela Krajina, Slovenia

River reflections all to ourselves

It was already warm and I was thankful that paddling the calm waters didn’t require much effort. We glided along as far as we could before a rumble from behind told me hubbie was ready for his breakfast too, and by unspoken agreement we reluctantly headed back to shore. 

Big Berry Lifestyle Resort, a countryside wellbeing retrat in Bela Krajina, Slovenia

Hubbie in his natural element, steering the ship!

We loved our early morning paddle so much that we made a short film…

The Big Berry countryside retreat

We were staying for a few days at Big Berry, a countryside wellbeing retreat in Bela Krajina, Slovenia. Our riverside cabin stood just metres from the gently flowing River Kolpa, and the opposite bank was Croatia! Always keen to cross borders, we felt a little guilty at sneaking over by boat. Yet we reasoned that in a couple of years our British passports may no longer allow us free movement within the EU, so we were jolly well going to make the most of it whilst we could. Plus we’ve always wanted to visit Croatia, a land of emerald seas, ancient culture and some rather good wine! One day we’ll do it properly.

It was the stress and confusion of ‘Brexit’ back home that made us want to escape England for a while. Slovenia turned out to be the perfect choice. It’s a small country, only about the size of Wales, and delightfully rural. The Bela Krajina region in the east is virtually untouched by tourism, and is consequently one of those places where you really can get away from it all. Life at Big Berry felt a world away from the crumbling political climate we’d left behind. The only decisions we had to make here were what temperature to have our hot tub, and which honey to have on our bread.

It was a tough few days!

Big Berry Lifestyle Resort, a countryside wellbeing retrat in Bela Krajina, Slovenia

A lovely welcome basket on our arrival

Big Berry is all about living in the outdoors without compromising on luxury. Here, guests are encouraged to adopt a healthy and fun approach to their days whilst enjoying the tranquil surroundings of the retreat.

Big Berry Lifestyle Resort, a countryside wellbeing retrat in Bela Krajina, Slovenia

The sleepy Kolpa River outside our cabiin

Life at Big Berry

It did take us a couple of days to really ‘get’ the Big Berry concept. Whilst hubbie loved staying somewhere for more than a night or two (this rarely happens on our travels), for me it was quite a challenge. I’m normally the sort of person who structures her holiday days down to the last minute, to ensure I don’t miss anything. Yet life at Big Berry was much more laid back. However once I’d let go of my inner Duracell bunny I finally understood.

And I enjoyed it!

Big Berry Lifestyle Resort, a countryside wellbeing retrat in Bela Krajina, Slovenia

Our Big Berry cabin, perfect for two!

Our favourite time of day was definitely waking up to a basket of fresh produce waiting for us on our veranda, full of breakfast goodies from the local area. There were breads, pastries, several different varieties of yoghurt, fresh fruits, nuts, cookies, muesli and honey.

Big Berry Lifestyle Resort, a countryside wellbeing retrat in Bela Krajina, Slovenia

So in love with this local honey, we even met the bees who made it!

We always had enough left for supper too! Big Berry is the sort of place where you can chomp your way through breakfast in your pyjamas, and then go for a refreshing dip in the river, before heading off for a day of exploration.

Big Berry Lifestyle Resort, a countryside wellbeing retrat in Bela Krajina, Slovenia

Breakfast was our favourite time of day at Big Berry

The cabins were practical if not very sexy, and were the ideal base for living an outdoor lifestyle. The pièce de résistance had to be the large veranda with it’s huge table (for eating and blogging!) and a hot tub for two. Perfect with a glass of local wine!

Big Berry Lifestyle Resort, a countryside wellbeing retrat in Bela Krajina, Slovenia

Our private veranda hot tub, goes well with a glass of local wine!

Inside there’s a little kitchen area for culinary types, and a living area with sofas and a TV if you really can’t switch off for a few days.

Big Berry Lifestyle Resort, a countryside wellbeing retrat in Bela Krajina, Slovenia

Inside the cabin living quarters

There are a couple of bedrooms, one with bunks which would be great for kids. We found it a little odd that the double bed came with 2 single duvets, something we experienced everywhere on our trip to Slovenia. I don’t know if this is a Slovenian ‘thing’ or if we were just unlucky, but whilst hubbie was happy there would be no duvet pinching going on, I was less than amused.

Big Berry Lifestyle Resort, a countryside wellbeing retrat in Bela Krajina, Slovenia

The not exactly double bed

What to do at Big Berry

We spent our days exploring the natural sights of Bela Krajina, as well as visiting local producers to discover where our sumptuous breakfasts came from and to learn more about the rural village culture. Of course there was lots of tasting involved so hubbie was happy! I’ll be writing about what there is to do in the area in a separate post so watch this space.

In the evenings we strolled through waving golden cornfields and looked back on Big Berry from afar.

Big Berry Lifestyle Resort, a countryside wellbeing retrat in Bela Krajina, Slovenia

Looking back at Big Berry from the cornfields in the evening sun

We also stumbled on an aeroplane. A Douglas Dakota to be precise. Not usually what you expect to find nestled amongst the maize. It used to belong to the Yugoslav National Army and is now a memorial to the participation of the local airport during the Second World War. Bela Krajina was full of surprises, and all of them good!

Big Berry Lifestyle Resort, a countryside wellbeing retrat in Bela Krajina, Slovenia

The Douglas Dakota looming over the meadows

For those with a little less energy, there are several comfy hidey holes scattered around the grounds at Big Berry. We loved lounging on the cushions in the pavilions that are dotted along the river bank, and swinging in the tree pods by the BBQ area. It never feels crowded at Big Berry, and you can be as involved in camp life or as anti-social as you like.

Big Berry Lifestyle Resort, a countryside wellbeing retrat in Bela Krajina, Slovenia

The riverside pavilions are perfect for lounging with a good book

Big Berry is the perfect place to rejuvenate the body and the soul. Whilst I remain unconvinced about the first (thanks to all those delicious breakfasts), we certainly came away feeling more relaxed than we had in a long time.

Big Berry Lifestyle Resort, a countryside wellbeing retrat in Bela Krajina, Slovenia

Because who can’t resist a swinging pod!

Tips

  • Hiring a car is the best way to travel around Slovenia. The roads are quiet and driving is easy, even on the motorways.
  • It’s about 1.5 hours drive from Ljubljana to Big Berry which is located in Primostek near Metlika.
  • The cabins do have the basics for self catering and the nearest supermarket is in Metlika (the Spar has a lovely deli).
  • Don’t forget your bug spray, the little buggers do make an appearance at dusk!
  • Leave your expectations at home and just go with the flow, it’s the best way to enjoy Big Berry.
  • Ask Ana if you can try the apple juice, it’s seriously the best we’ve ever tasted!
  • Big Berry is a great place for couples and families who want to experience the hidden secrets of the unspoiled Slovenian countryside.
Big Berry Lifestyle Resort, a countryside wellbeing retrat in Bela Krajina, Slovenia

Me in Croatia!


Thanks to the lovely folks at Big Berry for hosting us during our stay, and for showing us the sights of Bela Krajina. As always, opinions are our own, and we only accept complimentary stays at places we’d have been happy to pay for ourselves.

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A countryside retreat in Slovenia - Big Berry Resort in Bela Krajina. Go canoeing, explore the region, and eat fresh local produce #slovenia #belakrajina #bigberry

 

56 Comments

  • Buena Montero says:

    wow… so relaxing. I don’t mind paddling here:) Thanks for sharing…

  • Trish says:

    So beautiful! I want to go!

  • Victoria says:

    I love this place. We were there a few months ago and I’m still thinking of it. Beautiful story in beautiful place : ))

  • Marteen says:

    It seems like the perfect place to get a way from it all. Breakfast looked scrumptious!

  • Betty says:

    It indeed does look peaceful and tranquil. We’ll be in eastern/central Europe, and I’ll have to pin this for later. Thanks for sharing!

  • Vyjay says:

    Big Berry seems so serene and really away from the maddening crowds. I am sure it would have been a great and rejuvenating experience, a real and soothing balm.

  • Jenny says:

    That river looks SO calm and peaceful in the morning. I can just imagine how a few days at Big Berry would be really relaxing.

  • Anne says:

    This is so cute! I would adore some local honey (I’ve always only ever had the store bought kind so it sounds incredibly delicious)!

    • Heather Cole says:

      Oh you should try some ‘real’ honey, it’s so different from the supermarket stuff, you’ll never look back!

  • Teodora says:

    We’ve been there a few weeks back as well and completely agree on everything:) It was such a wonderful experience! But the canoeing was one of the best things for me as well, it was so liberating watching the river coast and the blue water! Missing this beautiful place and the lovely people there!

  • The London Mum says:

    We loved Slovenia when we visited last winter with our toddler. I think the two single duvet thing must be a Slovenian thing. We stopped questioning it after a while! lol.

    • Heather Cole says:

      At least it’s not just us with the duvet thing, though we were just really unlucky. Bet it was stunning to visit in the winter.

  • Tom says:

    Canoeing to another country sounds like great fun! This is something I would thoroughly enjoy!

  • Julius says:

    A really wonderful resort, I always prefer such types of accommodation to staying in hotels. Here you have stronger contact with nature. And that early morning canoeing was amazing, I also enjoyed your video! I think I have to start making videos as well. 🙂

    • Heather Cole says:

      Thanks Julius, we’re quite new to making videos but it was lots of fun, glad you enjoyed it!

  • Karla says:

    What a great article – who can say they’ve canoed to Croatia?! Big Berry looks so nice and relaxing. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  • Elena says:

    The photos are so peaceful and beautiful!

  • Vicki Louise says:

    I’ve read so many great things about Big Berry – and I just love the private hot-tub on the Verandah – just perfect. I’d have also been tempted to sneak across the border, particularly with Brexit looming!

  • JJ Johnson says:

    I love the experience, the tranquility and great appeal of it all. I adore the delivered breakfast on your doorstep in the morning, thanks for sharing.

  • Lara Dunning says:

    This place sounds like it was made for me and the hubs. I love the relaxed vibe, the goodies every morning, and being able to do something or do nothing. I’ve got my eye on Slovenia now.

  • Mar Pages says:

    Those riverside pavilions look perfect for an entire afternoon of lounging with some wine and crackers. When I go I’ll make sure to ask for the apple juice!

  • Brittany from Boston says:

    Wow that canoe ride looks fantastic!

  • Rebecca says:

    What a wonderful place to stay! Gorgeous photos and scenery. I could use some rest and relaxation about now. And that hot tub looks inviting!

  • Megan says:

    Wow! I’d love to come stay here. From that jacuzzi to those little places to rest. Looks like the perfect getaway. Saving for whenever I make it out in that direction.

  • Kirstie says:

    What a perfect summer spot! Amazing you can just casually canoe to another country!

  • Claire says:

    The pictures look amazing! And I love that welcome basket. Looks like you had an amazing time

  • Jo says:

    I have been hearing so much about Big Berry and their comfortable glamping options. I have realized I am getting a bit old for camping, but this is right up my alley. Would love to check it out someday and def visit Slovenia 🙂

    • Heather Cole says:

      We used to love camping, but yes, there does come a point where it just isn’t fun any more. So this is the perfect solution, I’m sure you’d love it!

  • Jen Joslin says:

    I loved reading this post and feel relaxed just from your descriptions! We hope to travel to Europe soon and would love to stay there for a few days. How amazing to cross the river and be in Croatia!

  • So cool that you can be at literally two places at one time!! Nice accommodations, which I would expect nothing less from you two. The swag looks great, my favorite part of stays these days. Hanging lounges? Very cool and swanky. I hope you enjoyed those.

  • Beautiful pics, congratulation! The place looks wonderful. Perfect for some relaxing days. Love it!

  • It looks beautiful and totally relaxing. How far is it from public transport?

    • Heather Cole says:

      You can get there by bus, and the lovely folks at Big Berry can arrange collecting you, but the easiest way is by car if you want a bit of independence. And it’s only an hour and a half from Ljubljana.

  • Jema says:

    I love your “voice!” This was a great read! The lounging pavillions look so inviting and lovely. Makes me want to visit!

    Also reminded me of being a kid and “sneaking” across the border to Canada while my parents were going through formalities. I felt pretty amazing for being in a different country than my parents at only 9 years old. 🙂

  • This looks like the perfect place to relax! I love the pavilions and pods. I know it can be hard sometimes to slow down and really be laid back, but we need it from time to time. Looks like you had a good time!

  • John M. says:

    The split bedding is actually something I have found quite common in European hotels. While it was frustrating, it looks as though your stay was enjoyable overall. Beautiful setting, and crossing national borders in a canoe is pretty cool!

    • Heather Cole says:

      That’s interesting about the beds! We’ve never seen it before in Europe, but then haven’t travelled here extensively. And yeah, border crossing by canoe is certainly something to remember!

  • Beth Daubner says:

    This looks like an amazing place to go and recharge your batteries! those pictures on the river are gorgeous!

  • Christina says:

    Big Berry looks like my idea of camping! I love how you can experience nature without totally abandoning some of the luxuries of modern life.

  • mark wyld says:

    The river looks amazingly calm and a great place for paddle. easy to get away from life and gather your thoughts in a peaceful place like this

  • Gorgeous photos of a beautiful setting. Wow, that airplane would be a huge surprise if you did not know it was there.

  • Christine says:

    Looks beautiful!! Would love to visit!

  • Vic T says:

    Sounds like paradise! We’re thinking of doing Slovenia next summer and will be coming from Croatia, perhaps a stop here would be fun. How long do you recommend to stay?

    • Heather Cole says:

      We were there for 4 nights, and I think that was actually the perfect amount of time. Long enough to relax into the lifestyle, but not too long that you get bored!

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