In search of authentic, green and responsible travel – in desire for the experiences which take our breath away, a unique form of tourism is being offered in Slovenia. Apitourism!
This fresh, innovative and sustainable travel activity is built on three major pillars in favour of nowadays traveller: nature, art and spirituality. It aims at raising awareness as to the importance of bees to mankind, enriching knowledge about the use and effects of bee products and apitherapy, and enhancing people’s wellbeing.
Co-developed by Aritours Travel Agency and the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association, ApiRoutes are branded apitourism products intended for those who like world of bees and the environment, respect life’s diversity and natural laws, and want to experience the miscellany of Slovenia’s nature and culture. In their presentation of innovative apitherapeutic treatments within a typical Slovene bee house, as well as in their depiction of a land rich in apiculture and with a remarkable beekeeping history, api tours lean on time-honoured traditions and unique practices that yield superior honey and a wealth of other products from the hive. Such tours typically include visits to affable beekeepers throughout Slovenia who are forever happy to open their doors to visitors, providing the opportunity to learn about the indigenous Carniolan Bee as well as discover the secrets behind Slovenia’s high-quality apicultural products.
In the words of organizers, the ApiRoutes mission is to
»create an authentic travel experience that raises awareness as to the importance of following natural laws, together with such fundamental values as health, interdependence, respect, creativity and happiness.«
Highlights of an Api Tour in the World of Bees
ApiRoutes offers a variety of especially themed programs and tours of variable length and intensity which are balanced with sightseeing and entertainment. Api excursions are normally about a week in length, but can be tailored to the needs and preferences of the group. Highlights include observations of beekeepers at their work, introductions to natural laws through the life of bees, presentations of bee pollen, royal jelly and propolis production, the manufacture of items from beeswax and beehive panel painting, to making and baking delicious honey dough dishes and sampling sparkling meads. Further to an exploration and celebration of Slovenia’s rich culinary tradition, visitors can experience apitherapy in a typical Slovenian bee house, enjoy an invigorating honey massage or indulge themselves with thermotherapy.
Api tours also provide insight into the nature, heritage, traditions, foods and hospitality of Slovenia’s diverse regions: visitors are welcome to delight in Lake Bled, one of Europe’s most beautiful Alpine resorts, visit Postojna, the most visited show cave in Europe and search for the olm, enjoy Maribor, which boasts the world’s oldest living vine, and pay homage to the memory of a father of modern apitherapy, Dr. Filip Tertsch, see the white Lipizzaner horses at Lipica, relax on the Adriatic coast, take a swim in the sea or just enjoy a walk along the promenade at Portorož, indulge yourself at one of Slovenia’s famous thermal spas and taste the smoked air-dried prosciutto ham and the terra-rossa Teran wine of Slovenia’s Karst.
Apitherapy as an Important Segment of Apitourism and Wellbeing
In Slovenia the beekeepers place beds within bee houses, thereby transforming it into an apitherapeutic chamber where you can listen to the relaxing buzz of the bees. In the bee house, you can enjoy an organic honey massage or thermotherapy and enjoy the sweet and soothing fragrance of the hives. It is believed that pollen allergies can be cured by regularly inhaling a beehive.
“When we stand in front of the bee hive, we just have to say ourselves; the cosmos is entering my body, because everything that we need for life we can get from bees. Our forth fathers knew this instinctively; that’s why they placed a chair or bed beside their apiary and when the things were difficult they went in,”
says Slovenian apitherapist Mr Karl Vogrinčič who has combined traditional wisdom and his 40 years of beekeeping experiences to create a holistic apitherapy. In 2011 he set up an apiary with 27 traditional Slovenian Alberti-Žnidaršič hives and placed therapeutic areas with a beneficial microclimate within its walls. Inhaling the air in which floats a combination of pollen, honey and propolis from the hives helps to get rid of respiratory problems while the sound of the bees relaxes.
Apitourism Certificate of Excellence
Slovenia is the first – and as yet the only – country to certify its apitourism service providers. Beside beekeepers apitourism also embraces various institutions, artisans and service providers, including open-air museums and beekeeping education routes, apitherapists, beehive front panel painters, honey confectioners, beeswax candle-makers, honey-bread and honey-pastry bakers, honey beverage producers, natural api-cosmetic and care product makers, bespoke and specialist gift makers as well as many others. In their provision of local produce and innovative wellness packages, some also offer food and accommodation to tourists, as well as the possibility to engage in sport and recreational activities. One, two or three bees in a symbol indicate individual providers according to the quality and attraction of their services, their use of nature-friendly materials, specialisation, innovation, efficiency, experience and setting. The new round of certification, to be completed this autumn, shall encompass some thirty apitourism service providers.
Apitourism, as a novel concept in travel and holidaying, has emerged and developed into an important component of the green economy. ApiRoutes is demonstrative of the need of having a clear vision, an innovative product and brand, indigenous knowledge, defined markets as well as highly motivated and fully involved partners. As ‘api tour operator’, Aritours offers a complete local service in organizing tours and excursions as well as educational programs. As a travel specialist with 20 years of experience, it boasts numerous satisfied customers. Its highly motivated staff and an extensive network of partners and co-workers are proud to offer high quality services which guarantee unique and unforgettable experiences. With its educational role, such tourism brings out the best in destinations and services, the best in people, the best in their perceptions and actions, and it transforms all this awareness and knowledge into an important value to take home, share and live by.