After Tuscany and Provence - Brits set sights on Slovenia
Slovenia can be described as one of Europe's best kept secrets - small, beautiful and peaceful. But for the British at least, the secret seems to be out. After taking over Tuscany and populating Provence - those house-hunting Brits have set their sights on the Slavic south-east.
Slovenia’s Prekmurje region is home to storks… and a famous cheesecake called Prekmurska gibanica. But increasingly it is home to migratory flocks of British citizens who are joining the storks and making their nest among the vineyards and old wine cellars of Prekmurje. Could it be the thatched cottages reminding them of home? Or is it something more down to earth – like low house prices – bringing them to this green and pleasant land.
Tomaž Poredoš is a Slovene estate agent in Prekmurje and he has some opinions on why the Brits are buying property in Prekmurje.
"I think the main reasons are low prices, wonderful nature, friendly people and nearby countries like Austria, Hungary and Croatia. And Slovenia is doing quite well economically in the EU so those are the main temptations for British and foreign customers".
Prekmurje is the least developed region in Slovenia and this may be another reason for this gentle invasion. It provides an escape from city noise – and can offer something to those suffering from the excesses of a modern life-style. Prekmurje has health resorts where bubbling waters are waiting to heal and rejuvenate. So what kind of British people are buying homes in this ethnically diverse countryside?
"All sorts of people, let's say, from younger to older people, all kinds of social status. All kinds and not just the retired".
The protected white storks flying home to Prekmurje each spring may, as tradition has it, be delivering babies to this land, but it’s highly unlikely the British are coming here for babies. It could be the wine, the hiking, the cycling, the fishing and the hunting. But most of that is available back in Britain. So why give up the familiar for the foreign? Diana Evans purchased her house some four years ago.
"Well, like a lot of British people I was looking for a house with a bit of land and a lot of space. I really had a dream that I could have my own woods and I certainly wanted an orchard. To find such a thing in Britain is nearly impossible unless you are really, really wealthy. But it is possible in countries like Slovenia where you can buy properties like that. Lots of British people are buying similar things in France or other countries but I really took a fancy to Slovenia. It was beautiful to look at, the people seemed really friendly and of course I found the house I was looking for".
Prekmurje – a treasure trove of kind people who speak a special dialect, rolling hills that lead gently down to the Pannonian flatlands, excellent cuisine and superb wines, the river Mura with its old watermills, colourful folklore and haunting music – and a growing number of British home owners!