The sign says a lot about Camping Menina. It tells you that the site is laid-back; it suggests that the owners – Jurij and Katja – are open-minded, trusting and probably very busy. And it reveals a beautiful truth – that this is a campsite with a bar.
Indeed, Menina buzzes in the way a campsite should. It’s a wonderfully sprawling place that has developed slowly and organically within a section of natural forest in Slovenia’s striking Upper Savinja Valley. Like the region, Menina has retained much of its sylvan charm. Branches flutter flirtatiously in the valley breezes, dapples of sunlight dance on the grassy floor and a silver brook tinkles merrily by. It’s the kind of scene that makes you reach immediately for your acoustic guitar.
Though it’s divided vaguely into sections – a tipi camp (complete with friendly ponies in an adjacent meadow) lies in one area, a row of comfortable wooden cabins lines another – visitors generally do as the sign says: find a spot wherever looks nicest…and pitch. There are plenty of options; with 180 spots in total Menina tends to have room for everyone, though the site doesn’t feel as big as that figure might suggest, due to the haphazard layout.
Menina prides itself on being a thoroughly sociable place. There’s a nice, natural lake to gather around instead of a formal swimming pool; an extensive outdoor playground close to the bar/restaurant so you can grab a coffee and chat whilst keeping an eye on the kids; and the staff take a fairly spontaneous approach to organising everything from discos and concerts on the lake to guided tours and excursions.
In the evenings, people hang out at the bar/restaurant, taking advantage of the very decent food (fish, meat and vegetarian dishes on offer) or just to sip a cold beer from the bar. This attitude engenders a broad demographic. Everyone from kids and teens to young families and older folk – an international mix – feel comfortable here, which all makes for a friendly ambience.
As well as tents, you’ll notice an abundance of canoes, kayaks, bicycles and climbing gear lying around. The site is perfectly placed to explore not only the gorgeous Upper Savinja Valley, but also the Kamnik- Savinja Alps and the nearby Logarska Dolina (Logarska Valley). The Upper Savinja Valley is in total over 21 miles (35 km) long and, as well as the River Savinja, it also boasts the Dreta – double-bubble on the water-sports front. Unsurprisingly, then, swimming and kayaking are popular here, and since it tends to rain at least once a week in the valley, rafting is, too.
If you are an enthusiastic hiker you’ll love the surrounding mountains, which offer a multitude of paths and mountain-biking treks, some including overnight stays in huts. The site can arrange tours and supply maps, and it also caters for more extreme interests such as canyoning and paragliding.
Slovenia’s diminutive but cosmopolitan capital, Ljubljana, is just an hour’s drive away (50 miles/80 km). Whilst you may be hell-bent on getting away from city life, if you haven’t seen this charming city before, you really should. With its stunning architecture, alluring history plus a multitude of cool boutiques and hip coffee shops, it’s still a world away from Menina’s feel-good idyll but is a complementary delight all the same.
Facilities4 new toilet blocks have been built in recent years bringing the sanitary facilities up to date, as well as giving each a little extra character. The children’s playground is comprehensive (swings, slide, covered sand-pit, trampoline) and an adrenaline park provides everything else you can imagine to wear you out for the week (zip lines, climbing nets and tree top walkways). The plethora of other activities include rafting, canyoning and cycling, with bikes for hire at reception. The reception and bar serve cold beer and hot food. Campfires are permitted at some pitches.
Everyone! Campervans, caravans, tents, families, kids, dogs...
NearbyTopolšica (9 miles/15 km) is a thermal resort with 5 pools (indoors and outdoors), toboggans and waterslides. The site can organise rafting and canyoning for families, and also has regular children’s entertainers and playground attendants onsite. An hour away, in Mežica, there’s a mountain-bike park (00 386 2870 30 60; www.mtbpark.com) with a plethora of trails and routes, including rides through mineral caves. Get hot and sweaty in the sauna at Sunny House in Luc˘e (9 miles/15 km away). Romantics can try the 3-hour special, which includes a bottle of champagne and roses.
Food & DrinkThe onsite restaurant is open every night and sells meat, fish and vegetarian dishes, usually with a local spin. Their cooked meals are generally focused around traditional dishes with an excellent mixed grill. You can order fresh breads from reception, and also buy salami, cheese, butter and jam. The nearest shop and bakery is just 300 metres from the campsite; just over a mile (2 km) away are 2 self-service shops. For a culinary treat try Raduha (00 386 3838 40 00; www.raduha.com). It’s 9 miles (15 km) away in the village of Luc˘e, and serves delightful local dishes under the ‘slow food’ banner.
Adults €9–€11; children €4–€7; pets €3; electricity €3–€6.
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