Big Berry Campsite has brought an innovative product to a unfamiliar location, which has waited, once abandoned, to return to the focus of events and for small-scale crafts and activities to revive. What they offer is focused on promoting the region and unspoilt nature, a driving force of Slovenian tourism. They offer and encourage a connection with the local community and the beauty of a destination such as the River Kolpa, as well as with the people and activities that make up the life of the area. They offer each guest an authentic experience of traditional values, which they all remember well.
This is based on the increasingly popular concept of luxury camping known as glamping. You won’t find tents here, but you can stay in a cute little mobile home made by the Slovenian manufacturer Hosekra. There are currently seven mobile homes available which can accommodate two to six persons. At the campsite you can stroll along the River Kolpa, lounge in hanging baskets, sprawl on specially made outdoor beds and read books in comfortable chairs with views of the river.
Campsite as study laboratory
During our visit to the site we encountered an international team of students creating a franchise. This means that if you buy a mobile home, you can also get the entire plan of how to “set up a destination,” which Big Berry (BB) now refers to as lifestyle camping. They see the campsite as a laboratory for studying how certain ideas that are important for the success of the mobile homes play out in practice. For this reason, their business is not totally dependent on how many mobile homes are booked, although they stress that this is a completely normal resort and anyone can come at any time. What they are trying to do is to host as many people as possible, who will then spread the word around the world. So the group has already hosted more than 120 bloggers, instagrammers and journalists. This concept of promotion, which plays out on social media, is already being looked into by five campsite owners in Croatia, Austria and Italy.
They tell us that those with the largest number of followers charge for their visits, but of course there is a return for the company: the invitation to spend a few days by the Kolpa, with the BB team putting on daily tours and experiences from the local environment, is invariably followed up with a report posted on various social networks. There is thus virtually no hidden nook where they haven’t taken bloggers. Moreover, evidence that they are really trying hard to showcase and connect with the local community can be seen in the breakfast basket: actual local delicacies, including Krško Polje salami. They have arranged for suppliers to provide miniature portions, in much smaller packages than we are used to, so as to generate the least possible food waste. Plus the locals of Bela Krajina are only too happy to provide fortifying refreshment after the numerous intense activities that a visitor can enjoy. Such meals begin with a geographically protected Bela Krajina pogača, or savoury cake, complimented by some local wine, especially the red metliška črnina and Bela Krajina white, modra frankinja or one of the predicate wines, which gain their sweetness from the late harvest – sometimes even in January – and fine mould.
A visitor soon notices that buttons, as featured in the brand’s logo, appear sewn onto various unexpected places. The company notes that a button is something that connects things and holds them together, and that it is round like a berry, while it also has the possibility of being different. The same is also true of the Big Berry Campsite.
Special features around Big Berry Campsite:
Vizir Brewery – famous for being one of the pioneers of craft beer in Slovenia.
Pečarič Oil Mill – cold-pressed oils with an eco certificate are gaining greater standing in Slovenia, and the Pečarič Oil Mill is now producing 20 different types of such oils. They are best-known for their walnut oil, as they have as many as 400 walnut trees growing on their estate.
Otok – close to the village of Otok stands an old military DC-3 aircraft (Dakota), which reminds people that during the Second World War the Partisans had an emergency airfield here, from which the Americans and British ferried the wounded to Allied hospitals in Italy.
Source of the Krupa –the source of the River Krupa is regarded as one of the most beautiful karstic river sources in Bela Krajina. This very sport is a habitat for the proteus salamander, or olm, which is best-known as the ‘little dragon’ inhabiting Postojna Cave.
Metlika and Črnomelj – these places are nearby and easy to visit.
Ascent up Krašnji Vrh – this can be done in various ways – on foot, by bike or by car. On the summit there is a tower with fantastic views of Bela Krajina and the surrounding area. Big Berry Campsite also offers canoes and kayaks, beach volleyball and its very own jetty for bathing in the Kolpa. Recently, the company also arranged a lovely space for barbecuing.