Metro Weekly

Destination Slovenia: Think pink

Little-known travel destination lures LGBT tourists with a special week

Otočec-Castle_2

Slovenia’s historic Otočec Castle, dating back to 1252 and now the Grand Otočec 5-star hotel, will host the welcome reception for Pink Week 2015.

Slovenia is set to become the first country in post-communist Europe and the first Slavic country to allow same-sex couples to marry. The country’s parliament approved legislation in March and Slovenia’s president Borut Pahor is expected, following the required waiting period, to give his approval before the year’s end.

Two of Slovenia’s leading advocates for marriage equality have been Matej Knific and Mattej Valencic, partners in life and in business. They run Luxury Slovenia, a division of Imperial Luxury Travel Solutions and last year launched Pink Week, which offers curated activities designed to introduce LGBT travelers to Slovenia.

Bordering Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Croatia to the south, and Hungary to the east, Slovenia has been part of various state formations throughout the centuries. Prior to becoming an independent country in June 1991, it was part of Yugoslavia. Over the last decade, the number of visitors from the U.S. to Slovenia has increased steadily, growing from 38,000 in 2004 to more than 60,000 in 2014. 

“Geographically, historically and politically we’re at a crossroads,” Knific said as part of a recent interview with TTG magazine. “People don’t realize we have the Mediterranean, Alpine landscapes and wine regions.  And that almost 60 percent of Slovenia is covered with forest.”

River-Ljubljanica

Cruising the River Ljubljanica – Credit: www.slovenia.info/Dunja Wedam.

Pink Week gives participants the opportunity to discover and explore the many different aspects of Slovenia. This year’s Pink Week, Thursday, May 28 to Sunday, May 31, includes visits to country’s Dolenjska region and the capital city of Ljubljana. The schedule include a variety of tours, gourmet meals and nightlife activities.  The main event will be a gala dinner and VIP party in partnership with Mercedes-Benz on Saturday, May 30. 

Last year’s Pink Week was Slovenia’s first organized LGBT tourism event and  attracted 30 participants from four different countries. “The first one is always the hardest one but this year the interest is even bigger,” said Knific. “Slovenia is a boutique destination, so Pink Week is a boutique product. We don’t want and can not compare with Barcelona, London, Miami. We are the perfect destination for LGBT travelers who are searching a new destination and experiences, diversity in landscape, and excellent food and wine.”

The registration for this year’s Pink Week starts at $399€ (approximately $430 U.S.) per guest. The fee includes accommodations, tours and some meals. For more information, visit PinkWeek.eu.

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Troy Petenbrink is Metro Weekly's contributing writer for food and travel. He can be reached at thegaytraveler@gmail.com.

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