Are you a cycling enthusiast who likes to travel to fascinating places and visit as many interesting locations as possible while getting some serious cycling done? Then get ready to mount your bikes and explore the most prized regions of Slovenia. Did we say Slovenia? We meant Slovenia’s breath-taking Alpine and coastal regions and Croatia’s incredible Istrian Peninsula. All in one extended, fantastically diverse and soul-rewarding self-guided cycling holiday. Here’s the lowdown:
Every day promises something new, something thrilling for the senses. The road will lead you through the picturesque, ever-changing countryside, to numerous photo op spots, and surreal natural and cultural highlights. Your holiday will begin by unlocking the stunning secrets of the magical Julian Alps. The world-renowned Lake Bled and other gems of Triglav National Park will be graced by your presence. Scenic views will follow you through forests, towns and villages, over mountain passes, across wide-open fields and pastures, alongside pristine rivers and lakes, right down to the sunlit vineyards, the wind-swept Karst, and eventually the northern Adriatic. You will follow the coastline down the famous Parenzana cycling path, a former railway route, which leads across the border into Croatia. The trail down memorizing Istria presents you with yet another completely different, Mediterranean-style environment. Your journey rounds up at the ancient town of Pula and its surroundings.
Stopping off at numerous locations along the way, you will get to do some sightseeing, taste the local cuisine, get the feel for each unique destination and its inhabitants. The second part will allow for some time for swimming in the sea too. The varied terrain will be navigated easily on your professional bikes and well-maintained roads and cycling trails with light traffic are suitable for different levels of fitness. Our team and GPS navigation will help guide you to wherever you need to be. Our carefully assembled itinerary allows for plenty of time to hit the road at your own pace without missing out on anything.
The route is very straightforward and your restful accommodation easy to find. In case of needing additional help, we are at your disposal to assist in any way we can.
Feel free to browse the itinerary to find out which destinations make this self-guided holiday so amazing.
You arrive in the Alpine pearl of Bled where you get settled and meet a member of our team who will give you the rundown on your holiday with detailed information about your trip. Questions will be answered and the route explained. If you’re in Bled early, we suggest you take a stroll around the lake, visit the Castle or take a boat ride to the church island. Then it’s time to get a good night’s rest for the adventures that lie in store.
The first leg of your journey involves relatively flat terrain and takes you through the stunning Radovna Valley, past Lake Kreda, gradually descending down to Mojstrana. You cycle along the scenic Upper Sava Valley, down the superbly maintained cycle path to the famous alpine resort of Kranjska Gora. The majestic Julian Alps will be your constant companion.
After Kranjska Gora, it’s time to tackle the steeper ascent that goes over the Vršič Pass with its breath-taking views. An obligatory stop at the top follows, before descending towards Bovec. Tucked away in the heart of the Julian Alps, Bovec is located near the spring of the emerald queen, the Soča River, which is always a most welcome detour when in the area. A fairy-tale location in every sense of the word.
Sticking to the refreshing banks of the Soča River, you traverse down side roads and macadam trails that offer a tranquil ride within the sublime embrace of the Soča Valley. At Kobarid, the route also ascends to Drežnica, an idyllic village perched above the Soča River on a small plateau under Mount Krn. This is an exceptionally beautiful extra for those with enough energy to spare.
Continuing along the Soča River – deep in the ravine or high above the valley – you slowly approach a completely different landscape and enter the Mediterranean climate. The day draws to a close with a short ascent before reaching the rustic winegrowing region of Goriška Brda. It is at this point that one truly feels the awesomeness of Slovenia’s diverse natural character.
Goriška Brda behind you now, the route leads you to Italian Gorizia. After traversing across a relatively flat area, you ascend to the spacious Karst Plateau with its typical typography. You will cycle through the striking villages of Komen and Štanjel, all the way to Sežana, a town bordering the coastal area where the spirit of the Adriatic can already be felt.
Before departing for the coast, you can stop off at Lipica, the famous Lipizzaner stud farm. The route then takes you to the beautiful village of Socerb with stunning views guaranteed. Following the cute Rižana River, you’ll gradually arrive at the Adriatic where it’s a short stretch to Piran, the Venetian-style seaside jewel in the crown of Slovenia’s seaside splendour.
On day eight, it’s onward along the coastline to the Sečovlje Salt Pans. A quick stop to marvel at traditional saltworks is obligatory. A stone’s throw away is the Croatian border. The route continues up a slight incline, promising lovely views of the salt pans below. Heading slightly further inland, you ride among Istrian villages and the Mediterranean countryside. This stunning environment will give you that extra boost you need to reach Buje and Grožnjan. From there you can admire a gorgeous valley and Motovun, an ancient settlement dating back to Celtic times on the opposite bank of the Mirna River.
Now things get a bit more dynamic. The path of the former railway (the Parenzana) criss-crosses between the long, winding valleys with great persistence. But don’t worry, it’s a very positive challenge, as an occasional tunnel or viaduct tends to pop up to ease your cycling. The authentic rustic vibe of the Istrian region, complemented with a sense of solitary tranquillity, will delight you no-end. A stark contrast to the touristy coast of Poreč, where you’ll be arriving that same evening for another dose of seaside vibes.
Poreč is where the Parenzana ends and more incredible sights begin. You continue south towards Vrsar. Not long after passing this pretty coastal town, the route is divided by the Lim Channel, a fascinating Istrian fjord. A detour comes in the form of an approx. 10-km-long panoramic cycling trail into inland Istria with views of shellfish farms in the channel or climbers scaling the canyon walls. Time passes extremely quickly in this captivating place, and the other side of Istria soon appears with your next destination on full display: Rovinj.
Rovinj is among the loveliest Istrian towns. Ancient cobblestone streets, a boutique marina, churches and lively restaurant, make Rovinj a nice sightseeing destination. Its surroundings are also breath-taking, particularly riding along its protected Golden Cape beach. Following the coastline south, you will eventually reach Pula. This town needs no introduction, but we’ll supply one for good measure: Pula has a very colourful history dating back to Roman times, with its impressive Amphitheatre and temples amidst classical architecture. The town is a very popular tourist destination, Istria’s main cultural hub, and an optimal starting point for exploring the wider area, which you can also do the next day.
If you haven’t been to Kamenjak, now is the perfect time to tick this marvellous nature reserve off your bucket list. A nice and easy ride out of Pula takes you to Premantura and into Kamenjak, which boasts beautiful beaches and is criss-crossed with gravel paths, excellent for biking. Alternatively, you can stroll around Pula, go for a refreshing dip in the sea, or discover numerous lively locations in nearby Premantura and Medulin. Authentic Croatian seaside spirit is certainly on the menu! In the evening, it’s time to return the bikes, reflect on your adventures, share your experiences, and spend your last night in Pula.
Every good thing comes to an end. We will accommodate your departure according to your travel arrangements.
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