Sunny, beautiful landscapes, lots of time to take pictures, excellent local food and of course many species of Flowers and Butterflies are the ingredients for this relaxed nature tour! We are outside most of the time and cover only short distances, this is an ideal tour for macro-photography.
Slovenia has outstanding, extensive meadows which turn into colourful carpets of flowers in springtime. And, we know where to find them 🙂 But, we won’t forget about hidden forest clearings, mountain tops and the sides of crystal clear streams. You can expect to see over 80 species of butterflies in this single week, as well as many hundreds of species of wild flowers.
This is a special themed tour. Every day, we visit beautiful sites and are outdoor to see many butterflies and flowers. However, if you would like to visit caves, primaeval forests or include bear-watching, please check our more general Nature Tour.
Transfer to and from Ljubljana (Brnik) airport is included in this tour. Please indicate when you arrive at another location or by other transport means so we can help you arrange transport to the meeting point at the accommodation.
135 € per person
We arrive at Ljubljana airport where we meet our local guide and tour organiser. Depending on our arrival time we may have a stopover on the way to our accommodation. Here, we have the first stopover on the colourful Slovenian meadows, which are at their best in early summer!
In Slovenia, we do not have to go far to find beautiful meadows, full of flowers and butterflies! Especially on the mountain slopes, there are many meadows which are extensively used. This means that they are not fertilized and mown only once or twice each year. These are the best places with a high diversity of flowers. And, where there are flowers, there are butterflies as well!
Today we spend most of our time on the Bloke plateau, which lies at an altitude of 750 meter a.s.l.. Because of the high altitude, the nights are colder and the season is somewhat delayed. This means that in early summer, we can still find many typical spring flowers and butterflies. Dry meadows are the most species-rich, and this is where we start. But, we won’t forget about the wet meadows, close to the Bloščica stream. These wet meadows are home to somewhat fewer species, but instead, these species here are often rare and local ones.
Karst poljes are periodically flooding valleys in the limestone reion. They typically have a flat bottom and water flows in and out of the poles through underground rivers and streams. In winter and early spring they are mostly full of water. Later, when the water level drops, they turn into flower-rich meadows.
Depending on the water level, we plan to spend most of today in the Planina and Cerknica polje, which are both excellent areas to see many species of flowers. However, they are less good for butterflies because caterpillars have difficulties surviving the periodical flooding. So, towards the afternoon we move up to nearby mount Slivnica. This place is also good for flowers and in addition, it is excellent for butterflies too! Of course, the flowers species are different from those in the valleys …
Between yesterday’s area and the area which we visit today is just a single mountain ridge. Nevertheless, the climate here is markedly warmer and drier. We visit mountain slopes which were once intensively grazed pastureland for sheep. When the grazing was legally restricted, the vegetation recovered and we now find interesting stages of succession from open land to forest. Part of the area, a gentle, open slope called Volovja reber, is of special interest. Floristically, this is one of the richest areas in Slovenia while it is also designated as an Important Bird Area (IBA) and a Natura 2000 site. In recent years, the destiny of this area was heavily disputed because of a plan to use the site for windmills. After several years of battle in court, the plan was cancelled, and we can continue to enjoy the exceptional area like it is.
Stepwise, we move southwards and today’s destination is the Dry Karst, somewhere halfway between Cerknica and the sea. Here, we find a lovely landscape with small meadows and overgrown stone-walls. Later, in summer, it can become dry here and appear almost barren, but now, everything seems in bloom. This is an excellent area to search for flowers, including the insect-mimicking Ophrys orchids and the unusual firework-plant. With so many flowers, it is also an excellent area for butterflies.
In the afternoon we make a stopover in a rather different habitat: wet meadows which are not standing out because of their species-richness. Instead, we find some very rare species here, including Siberian Iris and the Large copper butterfly!
Large butterflies tend to use high mountain tops as their meeting point, a behaviour known as hilltopping. If a mountaintop is also full of flowers, it becomes one of the best places to be! Today we make several short hikes over the edge of a large inland cliff. For butterflies, this functions as a very long mountain top and we can expect many species including frittilaries, Erebia’s and swallowtails. Of course, there will be many flowers as well including rare Alpine species.
This might well be the warmest day of the tour when we go in view of the Mediterranean sea! The day-theme is the same: many different butterflies and flowers, but species and scenery differ once more. This is a suitable ending to ensure that you will remember this tour! Outstanding and expected species are the large orchid Hymantoglossum adriaticum and the interesting Nettle-tree butterfly.
The scheduled direct flight Ljubljana-Amsterdam departs flight departs at 9.20. therefore, we will have an early rising and make sure that you are well in time to catch your flight! For those who would like to extend their stay in Slovenia: we can take you to the city of Ljubljana after we leave the rest of the group at the airport.
This is an easy tour and mostly, we will not go far from the van. We will walk slowly and not very far: we expect to walk at most 4 or 5 kilometres each day. However, we will walk off-road and sometimes in wet vegetation or on hard, rocky ground.
We will spend much of the time in meadows and other open habitats in the full sunlight. Please make sure that you bring a sunhat, suncream, and clothes with long sleeves against sunburn! Comfortable and water resistant shoes are also recommended.
During the tour, we will be staying at a local tourist farm or similar. Expect basic, but comfortable rooms and local, home-cooked food.
Participants should arrange the transport to Ljubljana (Brnik) airport or train station. We will arrange to pick you up there.
During this tour, we will use a van which has eight seats for participants and one for the driver. The tour guide will also be the driver of the van. This gives us a maximum of flexibility: how long we like to stay at each place, is up to us.