Beautifully renovated historic water mill in tranquil and secluded valley. Fresh air, scenery, walks, wildlife, swimming, rafting and kayaking for the adventurous; relaxing spas for the weary
Venckov Water Mill is beautifully situated in a tranquil and secluded river valley in south eastern Slovenia. The mill is over 200 years old and was renovated into a model farm in the late 1920s by a Slovene couple returning from work in the USA.
The water wheels for grinding flour and sawing timber were fully operational until the end of the second world war and the workings are gradually being restored. Some of the mill equipment can still be seen in the mill buildings. The mill sits as the heart of a model farm with a luxury piggery, smithy and traditional wooden cow barn around it.
The fully renovated, modern accommodation is on the first floor of the mill building, overlooking the millstream.
The valley is incredibly peaceful, and Venckov is the perfect antidote to busy city life. The air is clear, and the sound of the river tumbling through the mill race therapeutic and relaxing. It is the perfect place to chill out and recharge your batteries.
Whilst secluded the mill is not isolated – there is a small hamlet comprising two mills and two houses about 250 metres further along the valley, and a village nearby, where you can sample and purchase delicious home made products, including organic milk, yogurt, and cheese, bread and the traditional Slovene cake (potica), red and white wine from vineyards situated high on the surrounding hills, and a particularly fine fruit spirit. Tastings can be arranged in a traditional Slovene wine cellar.
The region comprises heavily wooded rolling hills mixed with open fields and vineyards. Farms and villages are dotted around the countryside, and many of the hilltops are dominated by small white churches with bronze roofs . The country is fantastic for walking, with marked trails and paths leading to stunning view points at the top of hills. The forests are alive with wildlife including bears, wild boar and polecats. Deer are a common sight at the mill, as are fire salamanders, eagles, herons and shoals of brown trout.
Novo Mesto, the regional capital, is close by (7km). This is a pretty historic town built above a bend in the river Krka (which runs into the Danube) and has numerous cafes, restaurants, shops, supermarkets, a museum, and a multiplex cinema. (The films are usually in English with Slovene subtitles.)
Trebnje is equally close and has supermarkets, pizzerias and restaurants selling local food and a bowling alley.
Even closer - a couple of kilometres down the valley - is Mirna Pec with the local post office, supermarket and church and a good bar which serves simple but high quality food - especially a breakfast of ham and eggs. A farmers' market is held here the first Saturday each month, selling locally made bread, cheese, honey and jams.
There are plenty of other pretty local sights to explore such as Zuzemberk and Bogensperk castles; Pleterje and Sticna monasteries; Kostanjavica na Krki (a 'Slovene Venice' built in a bend in the river Krka); Sentrupert with a barn museum and lovely semicircular walk with panoramic views and, in winter, the ski slopes.
Ljubljana, the pretty capital of Slovenia, is about forty minutes away and Zagreb - over the border in Croatia - a little over an hour.
The area boasts three very high quality thermal spas - at Doljenske Toplice (20 minutes away by car), Smarjeske Toplice (30 minutes) and Catez (45 minutes). These all have stylish modern indoor and outdoor swimming pools and offer a wide range of massages, saunas and other treatments. The friendly staff speak English. The spa at Catez is particularly appealing to children with its 10 outdoor pools, water slides, toboggans, lazy river and wave pool.
Outdoor pursuits are very popular in Slovenia, and there are many opportunities for kayaking, white water rafting or more sedate river trips within a 30 minute drive of the mill, as well as indoor and outdoor tennis courts, horse riding, cycling and hot air ballooning. The majority of people offering these facilities speak English.
Slovenia is not a big country, and you can easily visit the picturesque lakeside town of Bled, the Alps and Triglav national park, the stunning medieval seaport of Piran on the Mediterranean coast or the beaches of northern Croatia in day trips.
To note: The house is a former mill and is situated on the bank of a river. Guests with young children need to be aware of this and to take especial care at all times.
We had a nice time in the watermill. The valley is superb, tranquil.
The mill is good. All you need for a comfortable stay is available, although the tv-set wasnt there (but who needs it .....).
The keyholders are very nice, friendly people. They hold the key of the St. Ana Church in the neighbourhood. Worth a visit.
John from Erin
Stayed 09 May 2010
The Venckov Mill was simply magical. We could not have wished for anything better. It is nestled in the valley of the most spectacular vistas. The sound of the river running by is soothing and therapeutic. And the mill itself is rich with history and character abounds. We were overwhelmed by the graciousness of our hosts who stocked the kitchen with essentials and more (juice, cheese, meats, bread, local wine and beer) and the locals who greeted us. This holiday was especially significant for us as we learned (by chance) that the mill is only 15 minutes from my husbands fathers homestead which he left during the tumultuous times of the Slovenian history in the late 1950s. We met villagers who remembered him and proceeded to welcome us and invite us into their homes as if we were family. A night filled with accordian music, dancing, homemade Slovenian wine, food and smiling Slovenian faces. We will never forget it. Thanks again for sharing the Mill.
Tatiana from BRIGHTON
Stayed 14 Aug 2009
Spacious, comfortable accommodation in pretty, secluded valley. Clear views of the night skies. Cool in summer even when the surroundings area is hot. You have the mill and its outbuildings to yourself. You (+ children) can watch butterflies and dragonflies (with striking aquamarine metallic wings) on the stream, hawks in the meadow in front of the mill house and deer in the forest. Immediately out the front door, you have river and forest walks. The neighbouring settlement has working watermills and a beauty spot with spring and echoing rocks.
Wonderful setting in a peaceful location - apart from the water running past, the cow bells in the evening and the buzzard calling overhead! Well equipped with lots of books to read and games to play. Fascinating area and the locals were very friendly.
We really enjoyed our stay at Venkov Mill. Its a beautifully restored water mill - hence the rushing water seemed a bit loud at first, but we were all used to it in no time.
We received a warm welcome and some groceries were already waiting for us. We found the mill to be equipped with everything we needed.
We had a great time - thank you!
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1 other review
The weekend we spent at Venckov Mill in late September was perfect in every way. The weather was superb and we spend a whole day hiking through the countryside, ending up with a welcome and refreshing beer at the top of a hill, surveying the route we had taken. The next day we chilled out at the Dolenjske Toplice spa and eased our aching limbs with a massage. In the evening we joined in with the local farmers to drink new wine and toast chestnuts around a bonfire. The accommodation is superb, and the kitchen a pleasure to cook in. Being pyro-maniacs we had great fun with the wood burning stove, which took away the evening chill.Val, Jane and Carol - Venckov guests in September 2007.
Note: The mill has a number of outbuildings and space for playing ball games. Older children and many adults will have great fun playing in and around the river and outbuildings in fine weather. But care must be taken at all times when near the river, especially if it is full after heavy rains.
About the owner
Oliver and I live and work in London with our two teenage sons. We fell in love with Slovenia when we visited the country on holiday in 2003. We bought the water mill in 2005, and have renovated the living space fully from a very distressed state. Ultimately we will renovate all of the outbuildings and restore the water wheels, but this latter will probably be a project for our retirement! We spend as much of our free time there as possible, using it as a base to travel to other Balkan states, but we very much want other people to be able to stay there too, and to experience the peace and beauty of the valley.
We also own a working hydro-electric plant on the river Krka, about ten miles away, and generate green electricity which we sell to the Slovene national grid. However, we have decided to sell this mill, so if you are interested in owning a historic mill complete with its own source of renewable electricity, please contact us!
Owner score197 Calendar updated: 29 days ago Last logged in: a month ago