Within striking distance of Novo Mesto, this small and sweet thermal resort is one of Slovenia's oldest spa towns. Located in the karst valley of the Sušica (a tributary of the Krka River), and surrounded by the wooded slopes of Kočevski Rog, it's an excellent place in which to hike, cycle or simply relax.
Ribnica is the oldest and most important settlement of western Dolenjska. It sits in the area known locally as Kočevsko – all woods, underground rivers and brown bears. It is a good springboard for the unspoiled forests of the Kočevski Rog, and worth a stop for anyone interested in local handicraft traditions.
Otočec ob Krki
The castle at Otočec, on a tiny island in the middle of the Krka River, 7.5km northeast of Novo Mesto, is one of Slovenia’s loveliest and most complete fortresses – and the setting is a delight. The first castle here stood on the right bank of the river, but during the Mongol onslaught in the mid-13th century, a canal was dug on the south side, creating an artificial island.
Bizeljsko-Sremič Wine District
Cycling the 17km from Brežice to Bizeljsko is a great way to see the picturesque Bizeljsko-Sremič wine country, stopping off whenever you see a gostilna, vinska klet (wine cellar) or repnica (flint-stone cave for storing wine) that takes your fancy. A good place to get pre-trip info on wine types and where to visit is the wine shop at the TIC in Brežice.