Guest post by Safari Nomad
Nova Gorica, a modern and university town in Slovenia at the border with Italy, has grown as a substitute town for Italian Gorizia according to historical and political reasons. It is a relatively new town, built in 1948 with the help of youth work brigades from all over Yugoslavia. Slovenia is a country blessed by nature, famous by its famous lake Bled and Vintgar Gorge( more info See here)
It is located in so beautiful area, near the Adriatic Sea and the Alps but also near the capital and other important cities. The town is green, surrounded by gorgeous nature, and historical sights. The modern town boasts many parks, numerous benches, and mighty trees. The most favorite place in nature for citizens is the forest Panovec where many do sports activities, such as cycling, jogging or hiking.
The name Nova Gorica means “new hill” but locals commonly use a shorter term “Gorica”.
The town is also known as the City of Roses for its bourbon roses which are planted more than 12.000 of them around the town. I don’t need to emphasize enough how attractive the town become in May when the roses blossom.
This attractive town offers entertainment all year round, indoor and outdoor activities and numerous events. It hosts a great number of concerts, exhibitions, fairs, festivals, performances but also culinary events for locals and other guests. A big advantage is that everything is within walking distance – a museum, a library, galleries, a theatre, an art center, etc. It is also known as a “gaming town” – it boasts one of Europe’s largest gambling complexes, casinos with a wide selection of modern gaming equipment, mainly visited by Italians. Not only will you enjoy a pleasant atmosphere there, but you will also taste delicious and high-quality dishes in various restaurants or will treat yourself in a body spa center.
The culinary offer is varied, including vegetable soups, polenta with sauces, pasta, risotto, also dishes with asparagus, mushrooms or radicchio (chicory). Gastronomy in Nova Gorica and surrounding is mainly under the influence of Italy.
The best way to know the town and its surroundings is by bicycle. There are many interesting cycle routes to explore, mainly hill or uphill type. People get on their bikes to ride in the spring and summer months. Don’t worry if your bike stays at home, because at the TIC-Tourist information center Nova Gorica you can rent a bike.
Nova Gorica has a wide range of local attractions to keep you entertained while your visit.
Here’s is a list of things to do in Nova Gorica, Slovenia
1. Kostanjevica Hill and its monastery
On the Kostanjevica hill stands the Church of the Annunciation Mary and the Franciscan Monastery. This pilgrimage shrine is a place of peace and spirituality, a historical center (Tombs of Bourbons) and a cultural center (Monastery Library).
Kostanjevica is the last residence of the members of the French royal family Bourbon. In the garden of the Monastery, you will find a collection of Bourbon roses, the most extensive in the world. Today, the roses play a significant role in the annual Festival of the Roses (guided tours, exhibitions, dishes with roses, etc.).
A special highlight is a library of the Monastery – it has more than 10.000 units in various languages, including a unique the first Slovenian Grammar Book by Adam Bohorič.
2. Soča fun park and the Solkan bridge
If you are an adventurous soul, spend some time in the adrenaline park. The park is set under the cover of lush greenery and near the emerald Soča river. It offers a range of activities and programme itineraries.
The Solkan bridge is a 219.7-meter (721 ft) arch bridge over the Soča river in the world. It is the longest bridge in the world and the longest stone bridge among train bridges built of stone blocks.
Nova Gorica is most known for its casino games. Perla casino has a rich tradition and is the largest casino in Europe, offering an endless selection of games but also modern accommodation. The casino hosts numerous concerts, raffles and other forms of entertainments.
4. Kromberk castle
Only a few kilometers from the town center, Kromberk castle is a small Renaissance-style castle from an early 17-century reconstruction of a 13th-century fortress. Now, the castle acts as the exhibition venue of the Regional Museum with a rich collection of paintings, permanents art exhibitions, and cultural history exhibition.
It is surrounded by a lovely Baroque park and a fountain in the center, lush greenery, walking paths with benches. The castle boasts also an amphitheater and outdoor lapidarium.
5. Sveta Gora (Holly Mountain)
Sveta Gora is a well-known pilgrimage site and is also home to a Franciscan Monastery. At the top of the mountain, you will be awarded a gorgeous view of Nova Gorica, Julian Alps, surrounding areas up to the sea.
The church is constructed in a neo-baroque style with a 50 m (164 ft) high bell tower with mighty bells.
6. Pine Grove Park
It is a unique biotope in the middle of the town. Water area in the park attracts frogs and birds. This place is a true oasis of peace and also a favorite site for children. Sitting on a bench and watch the nature you are surrounded by, listening to the birds is true magic in here.
How to get to Nova Gorica?
The closest airport is Trieste (Ronchi dei Legionari, Italy) and is only 25 km (15,53 miles) from Nova Gorica. It is connected by a public bus to Gorizia train station, from where you can get to Nova Gorica by bus or taxi.
From the capital, Ljubljana is only 106 km (65,86 miles) and will take you about an hour by car. To drive Slovenian highways you will need to have a tolling sticker – ‘vignette’ (15 € for a weekly sticker for a car).
By bus and train
If you come from Italy – you can come by train to Gorizia (Italy) and then take a city bus that runs every hour and costs 1 €.
From Ljubljana, you can reach the town also by bus but will take you about 2 hours with a cost of around 10 €.
From Ljubljana to Nova Gorica you can travel also by train, but this option will take you longer and the trains are less frequent. The ticket is around 7 €.
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