Right up until today the mighty Minorite monastery, with it’s unnusual blue colour, continues to paint the image of the small town Olimje. This treasure, which vicars like to show to visitors, is a pharmacy or, more accurately, the third oldest pharmacy in Europe. The tradition of making herbal potions has been kept alive to this day and you can still come to the pharmacy, select your own tea and replenish your health and energy.
Olimje is a village in the magical part of Slovenia where tourism started to develop in the middle of the 1960s. Today, Olimje and its neighbouring village, Podčetrtek, are known as thermal water epicentres with a hugely extended offer. Right on the border with Croatia, in the south-east of Slovenia, it lies in a rich wine region, but the locals prefer to boast about their thermal water rather than their excellent wine. It’s not difficult to understand why, as the water is the reason Olimje became atourist icon and is the role model to many other regional tourist destinations. Its inhabitants, who are also the main tourist providers, live by a simple philosophy of co-dependence and close ties.
A big advantage over regional competitors, which is why it has been attracting congress and incentive groups, is its compactness and the option of escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Historical and cultural sights, a rich culinary offer and numerous options for sports are also at your disposal, particularly when you want to go biking or walking. In Terme Olimia they don’t “lock their guests in their rooms”, but rather encourage you to discover what the region has to offer. There is no shortage of great local inns and homesteads, and every provider lists suggestions on his webpage in order for you to visit all of them. The spectrum of the offer always follows the line of demand, and recently a new coffee shop with accommodation, called “Pod grebenom”, has been opened in Olimje.
The first hotel to open in the former Atomske Toplice was Hotel Breza, which is intended primarily for rehabilitation with the healing powers of its thermal water. The entire complex of hotels was subsequently renamed Terme Olimia and has become a renowned thermal resort with many different options of accommodation. The modern 4-star Hotel Sotelia, built in 2006, brought a fresh outlook to the complex and opened up the possibilities for congress tourism. Its congress hall has space for 350 guests and can also be split into smaller units. It has been the host to numerous conferences and meetings of companies from Slovenia as well as abroad. The year 2016 brought a new level of comfort to the rooms, which were renovated to suit the leisure as well as business guests. When it first opened, Hotel Sotelia was an architectural achievement and set the standard for future projects in the region. Over the past couple of years Podčetrtek and its vicinity has seen many new openings of private accomodation, all with sustainability at their forefront. A good example of that are the Orthenia suites in Podčetrtek.
MEET IN STYLE
Podčetrtek and Olimje are ideal locations for smaller congress and incentive groups. For example, take Hotel Sotelia as your starting point, where you definitely won’t forego the opportunity to spend some time in the Orhidelia Spa, which has for many consecutive years been receiving the highest ratings among thermal centres in the region. They have been developing their selfness concept and will gladly advise you on some efficient rituals that you can include in the schedule of your participants. After the formal part of the day (conference or seminar) you and your local guide can take an electric bicycle and explore Podčetrtek. A ride through a pear tree avenue, past horses and meadows, windows filled with flowers to the picturesque monastery in Olimje and then onwards, all the way to the magical chocolate factory…everywhere you go people will happily share their stories and serve you with some authentic products. The vicars will share their knowledge on making herbal potions in the monastery, which you can also use as a special venue for an evening reception. A completely different evening story is available in the Orhidelia Spa, where they can rearrange the space for your guests. A good night will be brought to its end in the Žafran Club, which is also part of the resort.
TOP 3 INCENTIVE IDEAS
1. Herbal workshop in the Olimje monastery: From time immemorial vicars in the old pharmacy have been experts in making healing tea. Maybe they will show you some secret recipes that you can try at home, but in any case they will most certainly serve you their famous “vicar drops”
2. Apple story on “Deer’s ridge”: Get familiar with the native Kozjansko apple by walking through the orchard and competing in making the best apple strudel.
3. Authentic Ethno Experience: corn husking – A chore that used to be an important social event can be re-enacted on one of the local farms, but you will have to organise this event in the fall.