Zalec – The town of green gold

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In the Savinja valley, the so-called land of green gold, lies the town Zalec. To a passer-by, it may seem like just another small countryside town, but it is a unique place you won’t find easily. 

This area got dubbed the land of green gold because of its main agricultural activity – growing hops. Also, one of Slovenia’s largest breweries – Laško – is located close by. And to commemorate this delightful beverage the town built a unique structure – the beer fountain. It is officially named The fountain of green gold, and it does exactly what you think – it pours you beer. 


The fountain has six beer dispensers, each containing a quality local craft beer. The beers are carefully selected, to ensure the tasting is the experience you expected. 

How does it work?

First, you have to purchase the tasting mug, which comes equipped with an RFID chip. To get your beer, you place the mug on the dispenser, and the fountain will pour you some of the beer you chose. 

The tasting costs 8€ and includes six 100ml samples of beer (last checked in march 2020). And as a bonus, the tasing mug is yours to keep. 

If you’re planning to visit Zalec, keep in mind that the fountain isn’t open all the time. It shuts down during the winter completely, only operating from April to October during the daytime. 

The fountain is located in the park, just next to the town center. The old town also makes for a nice stroll, after you’re done with the tasting. 

Fountain of green gold
Fountain of green gold

What to see around Zalec?

All in all, this town makes for a great half-day trip you can do from Ljubljana. And if you have a full day to spare, do check out its surroundings as well. You could, for example, combine Zalec with Celje, which serves as the region’s capital and has itself many places of interest. 

There are also two notable sights located very close to Zalec.

First is the Pekel cave. Its name means Hell in English, which speaks volumes about the cave’s experience. If you plan to go there, book yourself a guided tour, as you can’t go wandering about the cave alone.

The second sight is Rimska nekropola or Roman cemetery. It lies in Šempeter v Savinjski dolini, just a 5-minute drive from Zalec. It is a collection of ancient Roman artifacts, found scattered around the village centuries ago.

Roman cemetery
Roman cemetery

How to reach Zalec from Ljubljana?

The easiest way to reach Zalec is by car. The town is about 45 minutes drive from Ljubljana, most of which is on the highway. For those of you, who won’t have a car at their disposal, public transport is also an option. The best way is to take a train or a bus to Celje. From there, you can easily reach Zalec by public transport. In this case, the entire journey should take about two hours. 

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