BIKE SLOVENIA GREEN

VIPAVA VALLEY: THE CASTLES

Duration

1 DAY

Category

TOURING

Fitness level

LOW

Tour type

SELF-GUIDED, GUIDED

Technical difficulty

LOW

The Vipavska dolina valley lies under three plateaus, from where the strongest bora wind in Slovenia blows into the valley. The bora wind is exchanged with wind from the sea, which brings extensive humidity, while the rocky slopes of the plateaus radiate heat into the valley during the warm periods. The valley is dotted with many vineyards and orchards that thrive in the specific sub-Mediterranean climate, which is why in spring, the entire valley is in blossoms, while becoming extremely colourful in autumn. The idyllic rural landscape is very photogenic and extremely suitable for light biking trips.

The Vipavska dolina valley is the passage from central Slovenia to the Friulian plain, which has always ensured exceptional strategic importance for the area. At the time of the Roman Empire, the valley was the first important post to appear between the two ancient towns of Aquileia (Slovenian name: Oglej) and Emona. A historical battle for Christianity took place at the Mrzla reka river, where Eastern Roman emperor Theodosius defeated the usurper Eugenius. Wealthy noble families lived in the valley since it was very fertile and suitable for the development of agriculture, and it also had a favourable strategic military-transport position. It is therefore of little surprise that many castles were built in this relatively small area.

 

Gallery

Highlights

1

Ajdovščina – Castra

The town developed at the crossroads of the main transport route and the roads leading towards the north and Štanjel in the Karst region. Here, the Romans started to build a fortified military camp with fourteen defence towers around the year 270, i.e. Castrum Ad Fluvium Frigidum, which operated as a road stop on the way from today’s Italy to the Balkans and the Pannonian Plain, and as the central point of the Late Roman period defence system on the eastern borders of the Roman Empire. The camp walls are beautifully preserved and connected to the old town centre, which was once a Roman forum.


2

Belvedere Manor, Zemono

The history of the castle, which was owned by the Lanthier Counts, is not entirely clear. It was probably built in the late 17th century as a party mansion featuring a wine cellar. The Late Renaissance manor with interestingly painted interior rests on the top of the hill, which features a vineyard, offering an amazing view over the Vipavska dolina valley, hence also its name, i.e. Belvedere meaning a view in Italian. The manor houses one of the best Slovenian restaurants called Gostilna pri Lojzetu.


3

Old castle in Vipava

On the slopes of Nanos rising above the town of Vipava, at the spot that was inhabited during the prehistoric era, one can find the remains of a castle built around 1100, where a respectable Habsburg diplomat Sigismund Herbenstein was born. A wall was built around it during the Turkish invasions in the 15th century. The subsequent owners, Counts Lanthieri, stayed in another castle and abandoned this one because of its difficult accessibility. From the castle, which can be reached on foot, a beautiful view opens over the Vipavska dolina valley.

 


4

Vipava

The town of Vipava is situated next to the numerous springs of the Vipava river, the only European river having a delta-shaped spring. The town was dubbed the “Slovenian Venice” because of the 25 bridges that connect the inhabited parts. Many buildings, which mostly date from the 18th and 19th century, are decorated with entrance portals called “koloni”.


5

Tabor castle

During the time of the Turkish invasions, two towered courts near the largest spring of the Vipava river were walled up and transformed into a fortress camp. The wall is still well preserved, with the most beautiful part being the tower located next to the bridge, which is named Baumkirchner’s tower after the baron who at the time commanded the mercenary troops of the Austrian emperor.


6

Lože castle

On the other side of the valley, in the village of Lože situated on the top of a hill, one can find a 17th century manor, which was home to a number of wealthy families until World War II. In the very spot where the manor stands today, a court was built as early as the 12th century.


7

Goče village

Although resembling a fortress on the hill, the village of Goče features no castle. This architectural gem built in stone is one of the most beautiful Slovenian villages. Numerous narrow alleys, some of them less than a meter wide, run through the dense settlement of stone houses with thick walls. The village ground plan was designed in the form of the Saint Andrew’s Cross, with Saint Andrew also being the patron of the village. The medieval village became an important wine-producing centre in the 18th century. Around 60 underground wine cellars cut in stone with arched ceilings are still preserved today. During its heyday, they place counted more wine cellars than residential buildings. Beautiful views can be enjoyed from the village and the visitors can see underground wine cellars. However, prior announcement is required.


8

Vipavski Križ castle

Vipavski Križ, a village on the top of a hill, was once the centre of the valley and served as the first defence fortress of the Gorizia Gate. The entire medieval town is one of the most beautiful historical and cultural monuments in Slovenia. The place features well preserved remains of the castle, which was built at the time when the wall around the settlement was erected for defence purposes against the Turkish invasion. The castle was abandoned in the 19th century. Today, the castle houses a school and hosts various events.


Price includes GPS navigation pack.

Would you like us to arrange your whole experience? Or maybe just incorporate this loop bike tour into another one?

Let us know!

Additional info

You might also like

Customize tour

Subscribe to our newsletter:

BOOK NOW!