Occupying 72km² of rolling hills between the Soča River and Italian border, Brda is one of Slovenia's foremost wine-growing areas and only an hour's drive from Ljubljana. Often described as a miniature version of Tuscany, every hill seems to be topped with a large church (there are actually only 30 in all) surrounded by a charming little village, while the hillsides and valleys in between are blanketed with vineyards, orchards and winding country roads. Aside from a few larger estates and one cooperative, most of the vineyards are smaller family-run operations, and almost all offer some combination of wine tastings, tours, meals, accommodation and of course wine sales.The region is also known for its traditional Italian-influenced cuisine, and a trip to Brda without enjoying a slow multi-course meal on a terrace overlooking the vineyards almost defeats the entire purpose. The tourist information office at Dobrovo Castle is well-stocked with multi-lingual maps, brochures and other literature, and a great place to start for first-time visitors.
If you've never been to Brda before, Dobrovo Castle is a logical first stop on your tour. The region's well-stocked and extremely helpful tourist information centre is located in the courtyard, and inside there's a museum, art gallery and restaurant. The menu - in Slovene, Italian and German, but not English - fits on two pages, but the prices are reasonable, the servings ample and the views from the back terrace postcard worthy. After (or in lieu of) you meal, don't forget to stop by the wine bar in the cellar.