Autentica in Slovenia

This item appears on page 31 of the April 2012 issue.

Koper, Slovenia, was one of our last ports on a May-June ’11 cruise aboard the Nautica of Oceania Cruises (800/531-5619). Most of our shipmates who stayed in town or went on the ship’s tours were disappointed in this port of call, but our group of seven had a wonderful day. I would say it was one of my favorite ports, but, with an itinerary that included Istanbul, Kus¸adası, Kotor, Dubrovnik and Venice, that would be a stretch.

My wife, Susan, and I normally go off on our own, hiring local guides rather than taking the ship’s shore tours. Koper was one of the more difficult stops for which to find guides who actually responded to e-mail.

After receiving a list of travel companies from the local travel office (e-mail, we tried for two months to contact taxi/tour companies regarding visiting local wineries but had no response to any primary request. Then the travel office told us about Matjaz and Nina of Autentica (Cesta na Markovec 47, Slovenija SI-6000; phone +386 5 611 79 62, fax +386 5 904 18 80). We contacted Nina on April 29 and she got back to us two days later.

Our ship docked at noon on June 1, and our group (who met through Cruise Critic) had about a six-hour tour. Among the highlights Nina showed us were Hrastovlje village and — a must in the area — the walled Church of the Holy Trinity. The frescoes in this church were amazing, particularly “Danse Macabre” (“Dance of Death”).

We also stopped at a winery, tasting Refosk, Malvazija and Cabernet Sauvignon wines. The winery also served us prosciutto, house salami, cheese, olives, olive oil and homemade bread.

Our final stop was Secovlje Salina Nature Park and the ancient salt pans.

The cost for Autentica’s “Wine Tour on the Kars Edge” was €69 (near $90) per person and included transport, guide, basic insurance, site admissions and wine tasting. We loved Slovenia and hope to see more of that beautiful country.

Alexandria, VA