Tucked almost on the border with Italy in Slovenia’s limestone karst landscape, Lipica is an ancient village best known for the stud farm that started breeding white Lipizzaner horses when the region was part of the Austrian Habsburg empire in the 16th century. The first brood mares and stallions were brought here from southern Spain in 1581 and although the stud has been relocated several times over the centuries – thanks to wars, earthquakes and changing national boundaries – the same Lipizzaner strain has been bred ever since.
A visit to Lipica Stud Farm encompasses guided tours of the historic estate, family-friendly “meet the horses” sessions, carriage rides (weather-dependent), seeing the horses in morning training and dressage performances by the stallions in the manège, while the Lipikum Museum showcases the backstory of the stud. For non-equine fans, the farm has a year-round nine-hole golf course.
Also to see in Lipica are mass graves dating from World War II, the Vilenica and UNESCO-listed Škocjan karst cave complexes and the ornate little Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes in the Dolina Valley, which is now a popular Catholic pilgrimage point.