For years, the thermal pools of Šmarješke Toplice have been drawing people to this resort in the green hills 5km north of Otočec. There are five pools here: two indoor and three outdoor. Our favourite is the oak-framed wooden pool dating back to the late 18th-century and built directly atop a thermal spring (hence the steady temperature of 32°C).
The lush surroundings plus top-notch facilities – pool-side bistro, wading pool for the wee ones plus water slides and fountains in the largest outdoor pool to keep bigger ones entertained – make this a good place to swap the road for the sun lounger for a day. There's also the Vitarium Spa with sauna facilities and massage and beauty treatments on offer.