The secluded Lož Valley (Loška Dolina) southeast of Cerknica is a green and tranquil taste of rural Slovenia. In summer look out for its trademark ostrnice (tall slender haystacks) in mowed meadows. Plus: it's bear-spotting country!

Brown Bears

Slovenia is one of the rare countries in Europe with a stable brown bear population – in fact, thanks to good management and protection in the last half-century or so, bear numbers have increased significantly (from an estimated 40 in 1900 to up to 700 today).

There is a good-sized bear population in the forests of Notranjska, and there are experienced guides that can help you observe them in their natural habitat from April to September (with luck, there may also be viewings of lynx and/or wolves, which also reside in local forests).