Lonely Planet Writer

Bee tourism is a thing and Slovenia is hoping to become a place for it

Slovenia is hoping to become the world capital of apitourism… or more simply put, bee tourism.

Traditional bee homes in Lake Bled, Slovenia. Image by Christa Paustenbaugh Photography/Getty Images

The Central European country offers special tours for those obsessed with all things bee-related, including honey tasting, honey drinks, and even honey massages. Slovenia is regularly described as a “cradle of beekeeping” and the country is home to the original Carniolan honey bee, one of the most popular species worldwide.

Carniolan honey bees – which are native to Slovenia – are the second most popular species among beekeepers internationally because of their gentle nature and ability to fight off pests. Visitors to the country can now also take part in special bee bike tours which are being organised by the hotel group Sava. That includes a stop-off at the famous Beekeeping Museum in Radovljica where visitors can learn all about the history of apiculture in Slovenia.

Bees pollinating flowers. Image by ©Karin Halsall/Lonely Planet

Other activities include sculpting with beeswax, walking beekeeping trails, along with countless honey drinks and sweet treats to try. Hotels are even graded according to how they cater for bee tourists and Slovenia is the only country in the world that ranks hotels with one, two, or three bees.

They were also responsible for creating World Bee Day, which was celebrated for the first time ever on 20 May this year. It coincides with the birth date of Slovene Anton Jansa, who was the first teacher at the world’s very first beekeeping school in the 18th century. Even now, the country has one of the highest rates of bee-keeping in the world, with five beekeepers for every 1000 inhabitants. Together, they maintain 200,000 bee colonies around the country with most being kept in what are known as Slovenian AZ-beehives (which have also become popular right around the world among honey farmers). You can find out more about Slovenia and bee tourism here.