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Cycling the Slovenian Wine Country

Cycling the Slovenian Wine Country

Overview

This tour will show you the entire variety of landscapes Slovenia has to offer, from its alpine valleys and lakes through quaint vineyards to the sun-drenched coast, packed with stunning mountain views and amazing seascapes.

Starting at the fairytale world of Lake Bled, a glacial lake famed for its beautiful island church and clifftop castle, this itinerary will first take you through amazing alpine sceneries, over a high pass, along thundering rivers and out into a valley, covered with vineyards. During your tour, you will be surrounded by castles and hilltop churches, and have the opportunity to taste the excellent local wines and food in the Karst region (a beautiful limestone plateau). Finally, the sunny coast awaits you with lazy promenades and elegant Venetian architecture.

This is the perfect cycling holiday for lovers of diverse landscapes, good food and local wines, who would like nothing more than to soak their feet in the warm sea after a long journey by bike.

Highlights:

  • Visit a stunning alpine national park
  • Swim in fresh, cool alpine lakes
  • Follow the emerald-coloured Soča river
  • Sip typical Teran wine in a world of limestone
  • Sample great local food in Karst villages

Click to view map

Day 1: Arrival in Lake Bled

Lake Bled is famous for its distinctive island church and the clifftop castle backed by the beautiful Karavanke Mountains. Bled is one of Slovenia’s most popular tourist attractions. You can take a stroll around the western side of the lake for some of the best views and photographs, and then have lunch and taste the famous local cream cake (Kremšnita) on the eastern lakeside while watching the sunset over the mountains.

Day 2: Bled – Bohinjska Bistrica | 27 km

A short car transfer leaves you on the high plateau at Pokljuka. From here you’ll cycle through alpine villages to Lake Bohinj, the jewel of, the Triglav National Park. Encircled by tall mountain peaks, Bohinj is the largest and deepest lake in the national park. Savica Waterfall is the source of the lake and the Sava Bohinjka River. A cable car runs up to Vogel Mountain, where you can get a spectacular view into the Bohinj Valley and Mount Triglav, the highest peak in the Julian Alps.

  • Accommodation: Eco Hotel Bohinj 4* or similar
  • Cycling for the day: 27 km, ↑280 m ↓973 m (extension possible with a side trip)

Day 3: Bohinj – Tolmin | 56 km

In the morning you’ll have two options. Your route will take you via the Sorica Pass over the Julian Alps, but if you want to save some climbing, you can take a short train ride through the Bohinj tunnel to Podbrdo. Then you pedal off through a narrow valley and follow the beautiful emerald-green Soča River as it rushes out of the mountains and into the Julian Alps’ western side. Just before reaching your destination, you’ll have a chance to dive into its supernatural waters or visit the only monument in the world dedicated to military cooks.

  • Accommodation: Hotel Dvorec 3* or similar
  • Cycling for the day: 56 km, ↑1236 m  ↓1566 m (or 35km if taking the train to Podbrdo)

Day 4: Tolmin – Šmartno – Solkan | 45 km

You will be car-transferred to Kolovrat Saddle – a viewpoint situated high above the Soča alley. Once a site of heavy fighting during WW1, it’s now a very interesting open-air museum. Reaching the first village, Mrs. Josephine, who lives all alone in an intact old-fashioned pub, will be overjoyed to welcome you in her shady garden. Cycling the ridges above two valleys, you’ll reach your day’s destination – Šmartno v Goriških Brdih, amid an abundance of lush vineyards. A recent and beautifully restored medieval village of narrow streets with Mediterranean houses, you can stretch your legs here, sip cool white wine and chat with locals in an authentic village pub.

  • Accommodation: Hotel San Martin or similar
  • Cycling for the day: 45 km, ↑586 m ↓1362 m

Day 5: Šmartno / Dobrovo – Kodreti / Štanjel | 53 km

After leaving the Brda wine region, you’ll reach Gorizia. The Iron Curtain once split the town of Gorizia between Italy and Yugoslavia. At the railway station that stands right on the border, one can visit the Iron Curtain museum. Cycling further along the border you’ll come to the smallest military museum in the world – a historic Yugoslav border outpost. Overlooking the border is the ancient Kostanjevica Monastery, where the last French Bourbon King, Charles X and his son are buried. Turning inland, you’ll soon reach the vineyards of the Vipava region.

Day 6: Kodreti / Štanjel – Divača | 48 km

Today you’ll cycle to the stud farm of Lipica, where you can see beautiful Lipizzaner horses, whose gentle, graceful dancing have wowed many visitors. Take a tour in a traditional carriage, and visit them close up in their stables. You can also visit the War Museum set inside a lovely Venetian tower – see what a collector’s passion can mean. The small town hotel belongs to a butcher’s family, but the young master is a wine expert too, and he’ll present you the best red wines of the karst region.

Day 7: Divača – Trieste / Muggia | 46 km

In the morning you can visit the fascinating UNESCO Škocjan Caves from where you take on one last descent with magnificent views of the Adriatic Sea before reaching the southern outskirts of Trieste – the old seaside village of Muggia, where your cycling day and tour end. Park your bikes and take the city shuttle boat to the worldly port city of Trieste and visit Miramare Castle, the cathedral or Piazza Unita central square where you can relax with a cappuccino or a gelato with Trieste Bay in full view.

  • Accommodation: Hotel San Rocco or similar
  • Cycling for the day: 46 km, ↑335 m ↓758 m

Day 8: Departure from Trieste / Muggia

After breakfast, your tour ends…or, you can extend your adventure and continue cycling by booking our Croatia Istrian Coastal Tour down to Pula.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is in double/twin rooms in 3 or 4-star hotels, all with en-suite facilities. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Click to view default hotels

Hotel Triglav 4*, Eco Hotel Bohinj 4*, Hotel Dvorec 3*, Hotel San Martin, Hisa Posebne Sorte, Hotel Malovec Divaca, Hotel San Rocco

Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide to you the exact accommodation details upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included. In towns, each hotel has its own restaurant where you can taste international or local meals, or you can also try the other local restaurants on the route. When no restaurant location is available on the cycling sections, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Difficulty & terrain

We grade this trip as moderate, with routes ranging from 27 to 67 km per day, mainly on undulating low traffic roads and cycle paths. The routes are not technically difficult, however you should  be in a good physical shape in order to fully enjoy the cycling. You can also rent an E-bike with us, which makes the trip accessible to everyone (read more about difficulty grades).

When to go

The tour can depart on each day between late March and mid-October. Weather is best in July and August, and mind that accommodation availability is limited in these months, so better book well in advance. The climate is continental with cold winters and warm summers, but on the coastal areas, there is a pleasant submediterranean climate. The average temperatures are -2°C in January and 21°C in July.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended arrival and departure airport is Ljubljana

By train or bus

Transfers from  Ljubljana to Bled and from Trieste to Ljubljana are possible by public transport:

Inclusions

Included

  • 7 overnights in 3 and 4-star hotels, in double/twin rooms with en-suite facilities
  • Breakfast on each morning
  • Luggage transfer – one piece, max 20 kgs / 45 lb (every additional item 10 EUR, payable on the spot)
  • Detailed holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions and road notes; maps with daily routes and optional hikes marked (sent digitally; printed documents available at extra cost)
  • GPS tracks, that can be loaded on your device or smartphone application
  • Local tourist and other taxes
  • Personal welcome meeting and bike fitting (in case you have booked a rental) upon arrival
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Bike rental
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Optional extra nights before or after the tour
  • Bike rental (standard trekking bike or E-Bike)

Bike Rental

We offer classic trekking bikes as well as E-bikes. All our bikes are well maintained and perfectly suitable for the roads you will cycle on. The rental rates include one back, side pannier per bike. One cycling odometer, one lock, one spare inner tube, one set of Allen keys and a basic puncture repair set per couple/pair of bikes.

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