Slovenia: Bike from the Alps to the Adriatic
Join our leisurely paced bicycle tour passing through Slovenia's beautiful mountain valleys, lush vineyards, and picturesque olive groves toward the progressively warmer climates of the Adriatic coast
Slovenia lies at the heart of Europe, where the Alps and the Mediterranean meet the Pannonian Plains and the Karst Plateau, but this is a delightfully less-developed country than much of Europe. You will experience amazing contrasts during this week of relatively easy bike touring, including the pristine Triglav National Park in the Julian Alps, and the Bohinj Lake countryside. This route offers stunning views of snow-capped mountains and valleys whose clear skies are popular hangouts for hang gliders. Challenging climbs are avoided using short train hops through the mountains. You too will enjoy the vitality that comes from mountain travel, clean air, and perhaps the healing waters of the Soca Springs, as you descend through the limestone labyrinth of Karst, following the same trails upon which Napoleon led his army. Wild beauty is everywhere. From the heart of the Julian Alps you will ride through old-growth forests and winegrowing hills, and eventually to where you can swim and relax on the Adriatic shore of the Mediterranean before returning to Ljubljana. Slovenia is rich in resources, naturally gorgeous, and beautifully peaceful. It is simply a pleasure to explore by bike the countryside and affluence of this country on the sunny side of the Alps, and to fathom its roots in the Habsburg Empire and the Venetian Republic. We hope you can join us for this fabulous ride, an adventure for all senses!
Day 1: Ljubljana to Kranjska Gora
Meet your guides in Ljubljana in the mid-afternoon at either the airport or downtown. We recommend arriving a day or two early, so you have time to savour the vibrant old city. Galleries, museums, and other entertaining and historical sites are pleasant distractions for those who arrive early. Most notable include Ljubljana Castle, the Triple and Dragon Bridges, and the fashionable Stari trg. From the capital, you will transfer about 45 minutes to the beautiful village of Kranjska Gora. Situated within the peaks of the Julian Alps, near the Italian and Austrian borders, Kranjska Gora hosts an annual World Cup Skiing event, and is on the doorstep of the Radovljivca Valley, your play area for tomorrow. D (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips. Self-guided trips include breakfast only)
Hotel Spik, Gozd Martuljek
Day 2: 40km Ascent: 278m. Descent: 595m.
Today’s highlight is the Valley of Radovna, a marvel for any nature lover, with blueberries hidden in green meadows, herds of cows grazing, and cold clear mountain streams gurgling. Finish your ride by the popular shores of sub-alpine Lake Bled enjoying the picturesque view of the small islet in its midst and the 13th century Church of the Assumption which sits upon it. This is the image that represents Slovenia across the world. Take a dip in the lake, and enjoy a slice of the famous Kremsnita cake. Today is mostly a downhill ride, but there is one notable climb of approximately 200m. BL
Hotel Lovec, or Hotel Triglav, Bled
Day 3: 31km Ascent: 274m. Descent 230m.
From Bled you will enter the canyon of the Sava River, which will take you to the wonderful area of Bohinj. Bohinj is a network of small meadowland villages situated near the lake and a perfect place to admire the mountains and valleys of Triglav National Park, which during the spring erupt into a glorious blossom of indigenous mountain flowers. This area hides numerous waterfalls and two emerald valleys that are connected by the crystal clear mountain lake. Today’s shorter riding distance will allow ample time for optional activities, such as some paddling on the lake or hiking the Vintgar Gorge. This evening you will have the chance to taste some of the shepherds’ organic delicacies, served in authentic local style. BLD
Hotel Jezero, Bohinj
Day 4: 66km Ascent: 491m. Descent: 775m.
Avoiding Slovenia’s highest mountain pass, this morning you will cross the Alps underground, aboard a 15 minute train journey through the mountains. From the western side of the mountain, you venture into the very remote Soca Valley, a region known for producing the finest cheese in all Slovenia. The turquoise Soca River is considered to be one of the most wild and attractive rivers in all Europe. Stopping to taste the pure and healing water of the spring that feeds the river, you will begin to understand the nature of Slovenia. Spend the night in Tolmin, and a unique country inn. If you have any remaining energy before dusk you may be able to visit the secluded gorge of the Tolominka River. BLD
Hisa Franko, Kobarid
Day 5: 55km Ascent: 304m. Descent: 456m.
Leaving the Alps behind you will begin your journey south toward the Adriatic. An uphill warm-up ride leads you to the untouched Cepovan Plateau. A charming ride through dense forest and remote villages finishes in the town of Nova Gorica – situated right upon the Italian border, and just below the hills of Goriska Brda, a region renowned as one of Slovenia’s best wine growing regions. The culture and people here are uniquely affected by the area’s remoteness, and the influences of other nearby countries. Incredibly hospitable, the people are proud of their skills and traditions. You will spend the tonight in a splendidly restored palace on the Italian side of the boarder. BL
Hotel Entourage, Gorizia
Day 6: 46km Ascent: 547m. Descent: 346m.
Ride from Goriza to where the Karst Plateau rises above the Adriatic Sea. Hospitable villagers, amazing rock formations, pleasant climate and superb cuisine give the region a special charm. You will visit Stanjel, a tiny village in the hinterland of the Italian (formerly Austro-Hungarian) port of Trieste, at the centre of the Karst. The village used to be an important salt trading post en-route between Trieste and Vienna. You can stroll along the narrow stone alleys, visit the traditional Karst stone houses, and perhaps enjoy a glass of regions renowned Terrano wine. BL
Pension Špacapan, Komen
Day 7: 76km Ascent: 570m. Descent: 851m.
Slovenian Karst has been called the “mother” of all Karst, and has given name to landscapes as far away as Guilin in southern China, Halong Bay in Vietnam, and Viñales in Cuba. From Komen, ride to the end of the plateau, where craggy limestone cliffs overlook the coast, and the Mediterranean region of the country has its own slow pace of life. From Lipica, a town famous for breeding white Lipizzaner horses, you will be transferred by vehicle to Piran, to visit the medieval coastal town known for its famous composer Tartini and its fantastic historic atmosphere. You may take a swim in the warm Adriatic, and then reminisce upon your Slovenian adventure as you relax while being transferred back to Ljubljana about 1 ½ hours away. BLD
Angel Hotel, or Vander Hotel, Ljubljana
Your adventure concludes this morning after breakfast. B
|Start:||Ljubljana, 15:00 day one|
|Finish:||Ljubljana, 11:00 day eight|
|Guided Cost:||$3665 (per person, includes 8 days, 7 nights, 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners, luggage handling, van and guide support, maps, route notes, taxes)|
|Self-Guided Cost:||$2995 (per person, includes 8 days, 7 nights, 7 breakfasts, relevant van and train transfers, luggage handling, maps, route notes, taxes)|
|Bicycle Rental:||Hybrid: $225. Racing bikes not currently available|
|2013 Guided Dates:||Jun 16-23. Add your own dates (learn more)|
|Self-Guided Dates:||You choose! Best times are June to September|
|Extend your stay:||More fantastic cycling awaits in nearby Croatia on the Istria Peninsula, or multisport adventures further south on the Dalmatian Coast. Ljubljana is a fun place to relax and explore for a day or two. We recommend attending a performance at the Slovenian National Theatre Opera and Ballet, there is not a poor seat in the house!|
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.