Dolenjska, different experiences


The Municipality of Kostel lies in the south of Slovenia along the border of the River Kolpa. This overgrown landscape is sparsely populated and heavily forested, particularly with leafy trees, and its characteristic karst plateau has numerous sinkholes and peaks that climb between 550 and 901m above sea level. Kostel, both the landscape and its inhabitants, owe their name to the Kostel Castle, which was first mentioned as Costel in 1336. In times past, the most important sources of revenue here were hauling and peddlery. The Kolpa River Valley is the geographic and linguistic border that affected the customs and habits of people in the past, and today with its unspoilt nature, it has allowed for the development of tourism, particularly fishing and water sports.

1. Kostel Castle

This castle was first mentioned in written sources in 1336. In the 15th century, it became the property of the Counts of Celje, who expanded and extended it into a mighty fortress. In addition to the castle and its imposing walls, the castle complex included a settlement just below the castle. After the Counts of Celje died off, in the 16th century, the Habsburgs took ownership of it and then included the city in the defence against the invading Turks as well as granting it market rights. Despite its small size, Kostel never ceases to amaze by the magnitude and significance of the events that have occurred here and its footprints have left an indelible mark on the area. Kostel Castle remains among the most powerful and strategic institutions of cultural heritage, in addition to its rich religious heritage with its numerous objects of various sizes and its linguistic heritage with the Kostel language as the special language of its people, who live here and for centuries have formed their own authentic profane architecture. In 1809, Napolean's soldiers destroyed the castle and its restoration has only now taken place in recent years.

2. Nežica Waterfall or Tišenpolj Waterfall

We find this waterfall along the Tišenpolj creek near the Kočevje-Fara road. The creek is known for having large fluctuations in water quantity. After heavy rains, the river heavily floods the tufa wall and the nearby road. The waterfall received its name from the story of a girl called Nežica who stopped at the Tišenpolj creek so her oxen could drink but the creek dragged her and her oxen into its depths.

3. Svet Kolpe

Svet Kolpe encompasses the landscape along the Kolpa River with forests, karst landscape caves, meadows and old orchards that offer the possibility of a simple, natural and undistorted world because of its unique natural heritage and rich religious heritage. The Svet Kolpe project represents the invaluable potential of energy points. These points are like vital energy centres identified by lithopunctural stones with carved cosmograms, and are found in Kuželj, Sveta Ana, Petrina, Fara, Banja Loka, Ajblj, Kobilj jama, Bosljiva Loka, Ribjeka, Osilnica, Vrta, Laze pri Predgradu, Predgradu, Špeharj and Rosalnice. The purpose of these centres is so that the landscape empowers them with the substance of life and they share that force with those who need to be rejuvenated.


The Tambur Festival is a cultural-ethnological event that takes place in Kostel each year around 15 August, or the day of the Assumption Mass. The event features a revival of Kostel dialects, displays of folk customs, the ETNOKOSTEL folk music festival, children's workshops and local cuisine.

5. Kostel Cuisine

Kostel Cuisine is something really special. Most dishes are made from potatoes and corn as well as from cabbage, turnips, beans, grains, buckwheat and broad beans. Typical dishes include kostel stuffed pig stomach, kostelski čušpajs, aspic, kostel porridge, kostelsko zrnje, potato porridge, potica with cracklings, pletenica and štruklji. In terms of drinks in Kostel, you can find honey brandy, fruit wine – cider and homemade apple juice. KOSTELSKA RAKIJA (brandy) boasts having been certified with a geographical designation. Traditional Kostel cuisine can be enjoyed at Lukčeva domačija in Vrh pri Fari, at the touristic farm Pri Papeževih in Banja Loka and at the Padovac touristic farm in Selo pri Kostelu. The uniqueness of the flavours together with a touch of contemporary food can be found at Galerija Okusov at Stara šola Tris in Vas.


The wealth of water in the region represents enormous potential (the Kolpa River, Nežica Waterfall, numerous springs, streams, Costella, etc.) and a significant competitive advantage over other destinations. The Costella natural mineral water bottling plant is located in Kostel. The reason why Uskok d.d., opened the bottling plant in Kostel was because of the unspoilt hinterland aquifer that is covered over by 97% forest. The natural mineral water is pumped from the wells (95m deep) directly to the bottling plant. The water bottling plant uses a fully automated filling line, so that the water does not need to undergo further stabilisation or processing. A hydro-geological study of the water resource has shown that the water is of high quality, neutral, microbiologically clean and particularly distinguished by an appropriate pH factor and low mineral content. Costella is low-mineral water, rich in calcium and magnesium, which have positive impacts upon wellbeing and physical health. The Costello Brand is an important touristic and economic factor for the Municipality of Kostel.

Information: TIC Kostel, Fara 30, 1336 Kostel, +386 (0)1 894 80 70