The idea of “Glamping” has been intriguing to me for a while, due in equal parts to my very real fear of toilet snakes (which is magnified with more rustic camping sites), and my love of a clever name. I finally got to fulfill my glamping dreams at Big Berry in the Bela Krajina region of Slovenia.
Getting to Big Berry:
Big Berry is located right on the border of Slovenia and Croatia, making Zagreb the closes airport to the campsite, which a little over an hour drive. Though, at and hour and a half, Ljubljana is a fine choice too. I flew in to Zagreb and enjoyed the scenic drive through charming towns that dot the Croatian and Slovenia countryside. I also got to cross my first ever land border. Their stamps have cars on them! (It’s the little things).
If you end up visiting Big Berry by car, be sure to keep your passport on your person in case you want to explore a bit of neighboring Croatia.
Pulling into the Big Berry campsite was immediately peaceful. Sandwiched between the beautiful Kolpa River and pastoral farmland with grazing cattle, Big Berry is the perfect place to unwind.
At check in, guests are presented with a welcome basket full of local goodies for their stay.
The Big Berry houses themselves are adorable and hardly feel like “roughing it.” There are a few different sizes to choose from based on your party size. There are houses that sleep 2, 4, or 6. I stayed in house number 3 which sleeps 6 and would be perfect for a family or group of friends.
The house for 6 people has 2 bedrooms; the “master” with a double bed, and a second bedroom with 2 sets of bunk beds.
All of the houses have one bathroom, one living room, and a full working kitchen, though the configuration is a bit different depending on the size of the house.
These are fully equipped modern houses with electricity, wifi (though at times spotty), and TVs, that if you’re like me, you’ll never use. Who needs a TV when you’ve got this outside?
The outside of the Big Berry homes is even more impressive than the inside, because that’s where the hot tub is! Each home has a porch with a hot tub, two lounge chairs, and a dining table for communal dinners outdoors.
The Big Berry Difference:
Big Berry describes themselves as a “lifestyle camp.” I’ll admit I was confused about what that meant, and a little concerned I was joining a cult (which I may have, I do really want cut ties with everyone and live there forever).
Big Berry is more than just a beautiful place to stay, it’s an all inclusive experience. While staying at the camp, all of your food and activities are included and there is plenty to do, but the most impressive part of a stay at Big Berry is the people.
The camp is small enough that you’ll get to know your neighbors and the staff. The Big Berry team is comprised of super friendly interns from all over the world eager to swap stories and show you around their new home. They were even nice enough not to make fun of me for being completely out of shape on the worlds longest bike ride (story to follow as soon as I recover enough to share it with the world). If you leave Big Berry without a few new friends, you’re doing it wrong.
Every morning a friendly staff member will deliver a gorgeous basket full of local foods for breakfast. You can expect to find fresh yogurt, milk, honey, fruits, juices, eggs, and plenty of pogača (a bread local to the region that is similar in both taste and pronunciation to focaccia).
Big Berry also partners with local restaurants that provide food to guests of the camp. Simply take your key with you and show it at any of the participating restaurants, or some will even deliver to the camp.
My favorite local restaurant was Gostilna Muller, which has been serving traditional food to the area since 1965 (before it was even Slovenia). The restaurant is beautiful and has a patio that overlooks the river. I enjoyed this restaurant so much I ended up going back twice in the 4 days I was staying at the camp.
On the weekends the Big Berry staff and guest fire up the grill and come together for a BBQ. This is a great chance to sample some local flavor, or try your hand at cooking (I opted to let the capable folks at Big Berry do most of the work for me 😉 ).
There’s plenty to do without ever leaving the camp. The Kolpa River water is some of the cleanest around. You’ll see plenty of guests and local taking a dip. The water was a little too cold for this Floridian, but others disagree.
The camp has canoes and bikes for guests use during your stay, as well as a communal BBQ area, and these dreamy open air beds.
Oh, and how could I forget outdoor swinging chairs?!
There is also a volleyball court available for guests. Unfortunately, I was there during a local volleyball tournament, so I had to skip the sportsing and take pictures of these shirtless Slovenian athletes. My job is full of sacrifices.
It’s difficult, but worthwhile to pry yourself away from the camp. One thing that makes Big Berry so unique is that the offer trips to local producers in the region. Remember all of those delicious items from breakfast? Well, now you get to find out how the sausage is made ( or milk, wine, honey, bread, etc.).
I had the privilege of visiting a 4th generation beekeeper and sampling some delicious honey,
learning a bit of regional history and sampling some freshly baked pogača.
trying my hand at traditional egg dying (*spoiler alert… I need some practice)
tasting every imaginable kind of oil and learning of their medicinal properties,
and best of all, drinking local wine, in a vineyard, by a church, at sunset. This is the stuff dreams are made of.
It’s impossible to visit all of the local artisans in the area in one trip, which gives me a perfect excuse to come back.
Big Berry also offers trips further afield. My Big Berry neighbors and I got to spend a lovely afternoon exploring the capital of Ljubljana, which was a nice surprise.
Big Berry Camp is open seasonally from April-October and is booking for next year. A house will run you € 200/night. When you consider that includes room, food, and activities for up to 6 people it’s really a steal. There are currently only 5 houses being rented out, so if you’re looking for a unique getaway, head to the Big Berry website and reserve your spot now!
I was kindly invited as a guest of Big Berry, but all opinions expressed are my own and I would recommend this once in a lifetime experience to anyone!