Location and activities
Cherry Orchard House is situated in beautiful countryside, with views over rolling hills, vineyards and orchards, just a few hundred meters from the centre of the historic hilltop village of Smartno (St Martin or San Martino in Italian) known for its fortified walls, charming cobbled streets and traditional stone buildings, not to mention fantastic views all the way to the Alps. Smartno is located in the heart of the Slovenia's Tuscany - the Goriska Brda region.
This wonderful but relatively undiscovered region is fascinating to explore: dotted with charming tiny villages (amongst which Smartno is perhaps the best known) clad in terracotta tiles and criss-crossed with some wonderful walking and biking trails, countless wineries and excellent restaurants.
The area is famous for its many wine & cherry themed festivals and if visiting in springtime make sure not to miss "Brda & vino" festival held in Smartno itself - one of the largest wine and culinary events in Brda. Simply prepared dishes have been replaced by original and sophisticated cuisine that goes hand-in-hand with top quality Brda wines. One of the best spots to enjoy the breathtaking 360 °views of the region is the viewing tower in Gonjace (2 km from Smartno). The castle in Dobrovo, which is the region's administrative centre, is almost a perfect square with square turrets on each corner and well worth a visit.
The neighbouring Karst region offers amongst its highlights the spectacular Unesco protected Skocjanske Jame cave system, which features one of the worlds deepest underground canyons, the equally impressive Postojna Caves and the world famouse Lipica stud - home of the Lippizaner breed made famous by the Spanish Riding School in Vienna and also offering excellent golf.
If this is not enough, then the Italian Adriatic coast and the fascinating and beautiful city of Trieste is just 20km away whilst Venice is a 90 minute drive and the lovely Italian Friuli wine producing region is just a short hop across the border, home to beautiful towns such as Cividale and Udine. It is an hour's drive or so to the Slovenian Adriatic and its beautiful Venetian town of Piran.
Ljubljana, whilst Slovenia's charming capital is an 90 min drive away. Day trips into the Slovenian Alps and spectacular Soca Valley are also easily possible with the foothills of the Alps starting in the Kolovrat hills just a few km north of the Goriska Brda. You really are spoilt for choice in an area that offers a vast array of things to see and do for groups of all ages and tastes.
Cherry Orchard House is beautifully renovated holiday home, finished with fantastic attention to detail to create an authentic Goriska Brda country house with exposed beams, stone window frames, traditional doors and shutters and oak flooring throughout. Offering very spacious, comfortable and high quality accommodation for up to 9 guests in three bedrooms, the owners have embraced "upside down living" with main bedrooms downstairs and main living areas upstairs to maximise the wonderful views. The downstairs entrance hall leads to a large on ensuite double bedroom on one side and a comfortable ensuite guest suite on the other with huge bathroom. There is also a utility room and stairs down to the wine cellar and up to the first floor.
At the top of the stairs opens a delightful spacious open plan living room wrapped with a balcony to enjoy the views. The kitchen is fitted to the highest standard with a huge kitchen island allowing cooking whilst socialising. Facing the kitchen a lovely old long dining table comfortably sits 10 people. On the other side of the room a large L shaped sofa faces the woodburner for taking the chill off Winter evenings. TV and wifi are available too. On this floor is also a third spacious bathroom offering double sink, bathtub and shower and as with all the bathrooms is equipped to a very high standard. Adjoining this bathroom is a fantastic kids room with 2 double handmade bunk beds and a single day bed (which pulls out to create a double if required).
A huge wooden gate closes off the house from the road to create a wonderful private terrace in front of the house, shaded by mature cherry trees (whose fruit you are welcome to pick if you are lucky enough to be staying when they are in season). This leads to a larger terrace at the far end of the house, centred around a lovely old fig tree, where an outside table and chairs are located and the lovely views of the region open up. This area is connected to the upstairs living room by a walkway and balcony, giving easy access form the living area to the terrace and the extensive garden which stretches out beyond here - a lovely space for relaxing in the sun and enjoying the views and with a climbing frame available for kids to play on.