The fertile, wine-rich Vipava Valley (Vipavska Dolina in Slovenian) stretches southeast from Nova Gorica. It’s an excellent place to tour by car or bike, with outstanding gourmet treats and idyllic rural scenery. The valley’s mild climate encourages the cultivation of stone fruits – the trees are pretty with blossoms in spring, while autumn foliage is deeply colourful and photogenic.
Under the Roman Empire, this was the first important station on the road from Aquileia to Emona (Ljubljana). The landmark Mt Nanos looms above the valley – a mountain plateau from which the Vipava River springs, and a popular recreation area for hiking, mountain biking, climbing and paragliding. There are two main towns in the valley: Ajdovščina (population 6600) and Vipava (population 1950), only about 7km apart. The numerous villages and hamlets are home to family-owned wine producers.
South of Branik is the unofficial border between the Vipava Valley and the Karst wine region.