“We found the people we met made the trip so special. Several of us have already been talking about which trip to go on next year.”
– Kay & Jim D,
Aug 28-Sep 3
Aug 27-Sep 2
*Special departure 10% off (for a group of 8 minimum we will also provide the Extension- hotel in Venice with dinner at (NY Times acclaimed restaurant), CoVino- $395 pp value
Don’t see your date? Call or email us about adding another departure.
Custom and self-guided trips also available.
Read about founder Robbin McKinney's recent cycling trip on our blog.
7 days/ 6 nights
Slovenia is moderately hilly and there is the opportunity to challenge yourself on two mountain passes. Friuli, Italy is less so. See elevation gains in itinerary.
Land Cost (current year):
Single suppl: US $150
Includes 2 nights hotel with breakfast daily and a guided walking tour.
Slovenia & Italy, Biking
Ljubljana to Venice
Slovenia and Italy are the perfect pairing of countries to combine into one exhilarating bike tour. What’s to like? Slovenia is bordered by Italy, Hungary, Austria and Croatia and has been influenced in its cuisine, art and culture. The country is small with dramatic scenery, quiet roads to bike and some wonderful hotels. Starting in Ljubljana, you will have a full day to see the many sites of this city, with its Old World Plazas, baroque churches and dramatic castles. Then Bled, with its wondrous turquoise lake, and island monastery, and divine cycling, some along new dedicated bike paths that wind majestically through bucolic countryside and past aqua-marine lakes. If you need assistance over the Vrsic pass, we’re there for you with assistance. But don’t miss the unending descent down the Soca valley, following the serpentine Soca river towards Italy. In Friuli, Italy, you will ride through vineyards and orchards, and in Unesco World Heritage town of Cividale, you will, as we did, find heaven on earth. Did we mention the food is some of the best in Europe? We’ve got a treasure trove of ‘off-the-beaten path’ restaurants, wine tasting opportunities and other discoveries to share. This will surely become one of our most popular trips –go soon, before the secret is out.
Only Great Explorations:
• Small groups, extraordinary guides, and authentic experiences
• A ride you will never forget: from Vrsic pass to Bovec
• Order off the menu at restaurants you won't find in guidebooks
• Distinctive, charming hotels too small for larger groups
• Wine included at first and final night receptions
• We design and operate our own trips so there are only good surprises
Ljubljana: You can fly into Venice Italy or directly into Ljubljana, Slovenia and back out of Venice. If flying into Venice, it takes approximately 2 hours by bus to reach Ljubljana.
Described as one of Europe’s most livable cities, with pedestrian and bike-friendly streets, and an active cultural scene. Surely one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, but without crowds (yet). We recommend arriving late afternoon in time to walk along the emerald green Ljubljanica River which is lined with vibrant cafes and then have dinner at the acclaimed Gostilna na Gradu, situated in the castle above town ; it will be the first of many memorable meals.
Bike lanes depart right from the center out of town so if ever there was a city to ride from, this is it (no transfer needed). You will be soon be out in the countryside and enjoying the dramatic scenery of Slovenia. Lunch in the medieval village of Skofa Loka, with its castle and restored historical center. You will arrive to splendid Lake Bled along a little known bike path. The setting here is nothing short of spectacular. Take a dip, or take one of the pletnas out to the island to visit the monastery. We have several restaurants for you to choose between.
Distance: 40 km, elevation gain 620 m or 71 km, gain 1460 m.*
Ride through Triglav National Park to Lake Bohinj, quite possibly even more beautiful than Lake Bled. Optional hike to the Savica waterfall, which at 60 m is one of the most impressive sights in the Julian Alps. On your return ride circling Lake Bled, stop at one of the beaches or at the rowing center, where world-class rowers train. Visit the castle above town.
Distance: 43 up to 84 km, elevation gain 445 up to 1610 m.*
Leaving Bled, you will ride to Kranska Gora where you can enjoy lunch at a recommended gostilna. If you wish a lift up and over Vrsic Pass (at 1611 m), we have a shuttle option for you and you can enjoy the long descent into the Soca River valley. The afternoon ride to Bovec will surely rate as one of the most spectacular of your life. With the Julian Alps high above, the Soca River below, and Triglav National Park all around, this dramatically situated village is one of the adventure centers of the country. Rafting is possible, either on the afternoon you arrive or next morning.
Distance: 41 up to 81 km, elevation gain 480 up to 1700 m.*
From Bovec, you ride south towards Italy, but not so fast. We recommend having lunch at Hiso Franko before continuing on to Cividale (or Cormons for the luxe trip). Arriving to Cividale, you will discover a beautifully intact Unesco World Heritage site. It’s central plaza is one of the most beautiful of any Italian city and yet devoid of tourists.
Distance: 48 km, elevation gain 725 m or 91 km, gain 2005 m.*
For your last day in Friuli, we have designed options that range from flat to hilly. Our favourite ride dips back into Slovenia to wine taste and enjoy those quiet roads that wind through vineyards, past castles and quiet roads, with street-side fruit stalls and wine tasting opportunities abound. Finish your trip with a well-deserved dinner at Enoteca de Feo, an intimate wine bar & restaurant where “the music is jazz, the service professional, and the food impeccable” (Frommers). As you wash this down with the local wines, toast your journey that will have given you memories to last a lifetime.
Distance: 47 km, elevation gain 350 m or 67 km, gain 980 m.*
DAY 7: Departure: Trains for Venice depart frequently. From Cividale you connect through Udine (travel time to Venice is 1h50).
*Distance and elevation gains may vary depending on hotels chosen for specific departure.
Extension (Day 7 & 8): Add 2 days/2 nights to Venice, staying at our favourite hotel in Venice, with a guided walking tour on day 2. US$395pp
Read more about this trip on our blog from our spring 2014 travel.
Map of the Area
What's Included in the Cost of Your Trip?
- services of one or more experienced Great Explorations guides and support vehicle
- 6 nights lodging
- all breakfasts, 2 lunches, and all dinners but 1
- entrance fees for selected historical sites and museums
- wine included at reception on first and final nights
- wine tasting in Cividale
- detailed map and route instructions
- all baggage transportation
- all transportation from initial meeting point to final drop-off (see arrive/depart cities)
- gratuities for all meals, hotels etc. are included; tips for Great Explorations guide(s) are additional and at your discretion
Please note: Final itinerary is subject to revision; any changes made are done so in an attempt to provide the best possible trip given route conditions and available services. Due to the nature of our business and exchange rates, prices are subject to change. All prices quoted are U.S. dollars but we gladly accept payment in Canadian dollars also. Due to cancellations and waiting lists, trip availability fluctuates daily. If you have any questions or would like to confirm space on this trip before making your reservation, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 604.730.1247