Secrets of Slovenia

Tour Intro

Discover the ‘Secrets of Slovenia’ and the Julian Alps with your camera in hand and capture stunning images of mountain landscapes, glacial lakes, wine vineyards, rivers, as well as scenes of every day life in traditional villages and the historic city of Ljubljana.

Discover the warmth and charm of Ljubljana with its contrasting styles of architecture, café culture and bustling riverbank and markets. Try creative long exposures to capture fast-flowing rivers and waterfalls at Soca River Valley. Travel through many picturesque villages to shoot traditional hayracks and agricultural details and document a slower pace of life. Piran and the Adriatic coast take us to Predjama castle, one of the most picturesque in Slovenia. Karst and Goriska Brda  offer fall foliage of the vineyards, where you stay in a lovely lodge. Explore Lake Bled and its iconic church on Bled island starting with sunrise at the shore and ending with sunset from a stunning vantage point. Contrast this with the more tranquil but equally inspiring Lake Bohinj in the heart of the Julian Alps.

Experience a range of incredible photographic locations and experiment with a variety of photography techniques on this 10-day tour where you’ll travel in a small group, stay in well-chosen high quality accommodation and be guided and assisted by your photography leader Brenda Tharp, and a local Slovenian tour leader who is also a professional photographer.

Tour Highlights

• Limited to twelve passengers, two meals each day.
Photographic education and critiques by photo leader Brenda Tharp.
• Travel with Slovenian guide who is also a professional photographer.
• Discover the warmth and charm of Ljubljana with its architecture, markets and bustling riverbank.
• Photograph the colorful vineyards and farms in the Karst & Goriska Brda region, and Piran and the Adriatic coast.
• Try creative long exposures to capture fast-flowing rivers and waterfalls of Soca River Valley.
• Photograph sunrise and sunset at Lake Bled and its iconic church.

Tour Itinerary

October 10: U.S.
Ljubljana

Photo By: Luka Esenko

Photo Location: Slovenia

Your journey begins with your overnight flight to the capital city of Slovenia, Ljubljana. (LJU). (meals on plane)

October 11-13: Ljubljana
Ljubljana Locks

Photo By: Jacque Steedle

Photo Location: Slovenia

Arrive anytime today when you will be transferred to the hotel. Today is a day to rest and get over your jet lag. There will be a group introductory meeting late this afternoon/early evening and a welcome dinner. Accommodations are close to the old town district for a sunset photo walk. The next two days will be full to explore and photograph the capital city. Wander the charming streets of the old city, camera in hand and capture the highlights of Ljubljana including baroque churches, diverse architectural details and the castle as well as trying our hand at some street photography and candid portraits in Ljubljana’s bustling marketplace and along the café-strewn riverbanks. Overnight Adoro Hotel or similar (D; B, L or D two days)

October 14-15: Piran - Adriatic Coast
Piran Cycles

Photo By: Jacque Steedle

Photo Location: Slovenia

After breakfast drive southwest towards the Slovenian Adriatic Coast. There will be a photo stop at Predjama castle to photograph the most picturesque castle of Slovenia. Arrive this afternoon in Piran, an ancient coastal town with a beautiful old town core. Of all the towns on the Slovenian coast, Piran, as a whole, has the most original town architecture, with a partly preserved town wall with seven mighty towers, a symbol of the past power and pride of the city. In the center of the town is Tartini’s Square with a bronze monument of the famous violinist and composer, Giuseppi Tartini. The most beautiful building in this square is a Venetian Gothic house from the first half of the fifteenth century, with a typical balcony and window trifora in Venetian Gothic style. The pictu¬resque background of the square is rounded off by the cathedral on a hill with a fine view of the Bay of Trieste. There will be afternoon and sunset photography today.

The next day begin with sunrise photography above Piran, one of the classic Adriatic experiences. Travel to Sečovlje Salina Nature Park, marked with the centuries-old tradition of salt making; from the Middle Ages until today, it has created a unique saline landscape. The large area of once-thriving saltpans is today protected as a cultural monument and nature park. Saltpans are a great place for landscape photography, especially in the warm afternoon sun. Overnight Tartini Hotel (B, L or D both days)
 

October 16-17: Karst & Goriska Brda
Winery Jeruzalem

Photo By: Jacque Steedle

Photo Location: Slovenia

After breakfast leave the coast and travel north. First stop at Karst area, which features beautiful stone villages, fascinating caves, and is home to Lipizzaner horses.  We might even visit one of the UNESCO Karst caves with an underground river canyon. Late this afternoon you will arrive to Šmartno, old town situated in Goriška Brda, wine country. Capture sunset over the vineyards with views that go all the way to Adriatic Sea, Julian Alps, and Italy.

Explore the hilly farm and wine region of Goriška Brda (Gorizia hills), stopping at scenic viewpoints and traditional villages. Besides great photography you will also sample local olive oil, prosciutto, cherries, and of course wine. A visit to a local wine makers home will be one of the highlights. Overnight San Martin Lodge  (B, L or D both days)
 

October 18-19: Lake Bled

Photo By: Brenda Tharp

Photo Location: Lake Bled Slovenia

Take one of the most scenic routes in Slovenia, drive via the Soca river valley with incredible photo stops. The road will take you to the highest mountain pass of Slovenia, which offers stunning views of the surrounding Julian Alps. Arrive late afternoon at your accommodations near the picturesque Lake Bled.

Enjoy another two full days exploring the beautiful Gorenjska region. The fashionable mountain resort of Bled, near the Austrian and Italian borders, is set on the idyllic Lake Bled.  It is one of the most stunning places in Slovenia with its church on an island in the middle of the lake. We can visit the island by traditional “Pletna” boat. Bled Castle on the cliff above offers superb views of the lake, and there will be plenty of opportunities to capture landscape photos from this vantage. The nearby Lake Bohinj is also a glacier-made body like Bled, but as it is located in the heart of the Julian Alps it provides a very different setting. After photos stop at the lakeshore, head to the picturesque Savica waterfall. From there, pass through many picturesque small traditional-style villages on your way to the stunning Vintgar Gorge. Overnight Pazlar Hotel (B, L or D; B, L, D)
 

October 20: Lake Bled - Home
Slovenia Church & Lanscape

Photo By: Brenda Tharp

Photo Location: Slovenia

If your flight schedule allows there will be time for photography this morning. There will be a group departure (time to be announced) from the hotel to the airport (approximate 1-hour drive). (B

Photo Leader

Brenda Tharp
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Brenda Tharp

Brenda is a professional photographer, speaker and educator with a life-long wanderlust for exploring the world and photographing it. The travel bug bit when she was young, reading the pages of National Geographic and Life magazines. Today, she loves to escort people to a variety of wonder-filled places to share in the adventure of the place and to help in the making of memorable images. Brenda believes that in the process of exploring and photographing the world around you, wherever you are, you gain so much more than just photographs - you bring back the experiences from those places that remain with you forever. She advocates photographing with a sense of purpose, keeping your eyes and your soul open to what's going on around you. Brenda's sensitive approach to photographing people has her often trying to blend in with the 'background' to capture special moments of daily life. Even her portraits are approached with sensitivity and respect for the person and the culture. Brenda has an untiring desire to help participants with their photography. She challenges you to see in new ways. Topics of discussion on each trip are tailored to the groups' needs, yet typically include: how to photograph people/strangers, paying attention to the light, using elements of design in a scene to help create more impact, creating visual depth, and storytelling with your images. Additional discussions often include processing and workflow, which Brenda often covers while on the bus on longer drives, or in the hotel lobby. There or in the field, she is always available for technical or visual help, offering tips and suggestions to help you to refine their own vision of the place.

I really enjoyed Brenda's style of talking as we were on the bus. Very informative without being too formal. Lots of chances to learn as we took photos as well - in early morning or in evening. Got some great tips from Jed as I was photographing on various occasions. Very responsive to our questions with NO judgement about our skill levels. I have told many people that this was the best or one of the two best trips I have ever been on. The leaders great, group jelled fabulously and for me, traveling with all photographers was amazing.

 

Nancy Hauserman

Pricing and Details

US Dollars based upon minimum of 9 paying participants. There is a small group surcharge of $400 if 6-8 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.

Single rooms are subject to availability. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.

Testimonials

What was the highlight of your trip? Brenda - she was great. Efficient, knowledgeable, friendly, continually involved with all of us.

R. Pool

Brenda Tharp Immediately made my short list of future photography mentors.  She has proven to be so much more than just a professional photographer.  Watching her begin and end each day making sure each of us was personally and photographically content, showed a side of this professional woman that most individuals are not priveleged to see.  

S. DONER

Additional Notes

Brenda Tharp is a professional photographer, speaker and educator with a life-long wanderlust for exploring the world and photographing it. Today, she loves to escort people to a variety of wonder-filled places to share in the adventure of the place and to help in the making of memorable images. Brenda believes that in the process of exploring and photographing the world around you, wherever you are, you gain so much more than just photographs - you bring back the experiences from those places that remain with you forever. She advocates photographing with a sense of purpose, keeping your eyes and your soul open to what's going on around you. Brenda's sensitive approach to photographing people has her often trying to blend in with the 'background' to capture special moments of daily life. Even her portraits are approached with sensitivity and respect for the person and the culture. Brenda has an untiring desire to help participants with their photography. She challenges you to see in new ways.

Prior to your tour departure Brenda will email you a visual presentation, providing tips on capturing a sense of place, photographing people, capturing candid moments, working with available light, and how to simplify your pictures to give them more impact. This instructional photography tour is focused on helping you make the best images possible. You will be active, photographing as much as possible in the best light of morning or evening yet also working at other times of day when conditions are right for our subjects. Our schedule requires you to be flexible so that we can be in the right places for the right light.

Brenda will offer photographic advice and some instruction on the tour, and will also be available to answer questions. There will be informal discussions during midday when the light is not optimum for photographs.

“I focus on creative travel photography on our tours. Having a good foundation of the basics of photography will help you be more prepared for making expressive travel images. I enjoy helping participants expand their skills. I’m always willing to help you make the best pictures you can on the trip, however I do ask you to be very familiar with how your camera functions.”

Please join tour leader Brenda Tharp for this incredible cultural and photographic opportunity. The emphasis of the trip is on photography, yet this is much more, one that non-photographic travelers can enjoy just as well. Days will be filled with unique photographic opportunities, in that there are so many wonderful hidden places to explore. Your leader will seek out obscure settings to visit and photograph, places you would not find on your own.

Terms and Conditions

Unless otherwise noted, this information applies to all tours.

Airfare

Contact Strabo Tours if you would like rates on International Airfare. Please note on your trip application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a charge is added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight times with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties. Please contact Strabo Tours for destination airfare estimates, specific flight time arrivals, and departures.

The land cost includes:
  • Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
  • Accommodations based on two people sharing a room, singles are assigned on a first come, first served basis.
  • Services of driver, English speaking cultural guide (if applicable) and photographic leader, during the tour.
  • Meals as listed in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).
  • Park entrance fees, day tours and excursions as shown in the itinerary.
  • Extensive pre-departure information and services.
The land cost does not include:

Domestic or International air fare; other airfare if noted in exceptions; air fare tax; airport departure tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; excess baggage charges; meals not included in itinerary; activities taken on your own; passport/visa expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, photographic equipment, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; fuel surcharges; exchange rate surcharges; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.

Fitness and Health

The majority of trips are not strenuous (see exceptions below for particular destinations) and anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to take part in most of the activities. You may experience general fatigue due to the long flights and the change in time zones. You will need to be sufficiently agile to climb in and out of the tour van and be able to carry and manage your own equipment. We will frequently hike trails ranging from easy to moderate. Some hotels do not have elevators or air conditioners.

If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607-756-8676).

You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.

Exceptions:

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

Deposits, Cancellations AND Refunds

A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic tours) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.

If a passenger wishes to cancel they must send notification in writing to: Strabo International Tour, Co., P.O. Box 580, Dryden, NY 13053; fax 208-545-4119. At the time we receive your notification, the following per person charges apply:

  • 91 days or more before departure: $300 cancellation fee ($150 fee on domestic tours), plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation.
  • 61-90 days before departure: $500 ($250 on domestic tours) minimum cancellation fee, plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation. Fees may range from 25% to 100% of tour costs.
  • 60 days or less before departure or anytime after departure: NO REFUND.

Refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you cannot be made.

Insurance

Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.

We strongly urge you to evaluate your risk and to take out insurance on your trip. It is vital for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short your trip for any reason, you will lose part or the entire sum you’ve invested in it (see the section “Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds” in the trip brochure).

Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons.

There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. Trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the toll free number in their brochure. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.

Subject to Change

Itineraries have been carefully constructed to assure participants the best each destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. The itineraries summarize typical areas you will explore. Since there is no possible way to visit all of them, your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather at hand. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.

Photo Release

Strabo International Tour Company, Inc. reserves the right and permission to use photographs of individuals on tour for use in promotional and publicity purposes. We also reserve the right to use clients photographs for promotional and publicity purposes, when submitted to Strabo International Tour Company, Inc.

Accommodations

In Ljubljana and Piran we use 3-star hotels that have best possible photographic locations. Clients literally just walk out of hotel and start taking photos. Karst is wine region, you will stay at a lodge, close by to a traditional wine maker, and therefore will experience great food & wine. At Lake Bled stay at Village Selo, which is about a 10-minute walk from the lakeside, providing excellent location for sunrise and sunset photography. This is one of the best places and the village life with its authentic traditional vibe is a highlight. All lodging has Wi-Fi available. We have chosen all locations with the most important thing in mind – getting to the right location at the right time.

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