Gravel

EPIC SLOVENIA • gravel bike tour

Duration

7 days

Category

Gravel

Fitness level

MEDIUM

Tour type

GUIDED, TAILOR-MADE

Technical difficulty

MEDIUM

Length & elevation

382 - 419KM, 6820 - 7630M

epic slovenia gravel bike tour

The Epic Slovenia bike tour offers high-quality gravel biking across the most beautiful regions of Slovenia, pedaling from the Julian Alps all the way to the Adriatic coast in only 7 days. Hidden gravel roads, incredible nature and friendly locals provide for an unforgettable adventure.

The tour starts in Arnoldstein, a charming little town just across the Austrian border. An uphill ride to Mt. Peč is rewarded by a thrilling descent to Kranjska Gora, an Alpine resort known for skiing competitions. Before catching the sight of one of the most beautiful rivers in Europe, the Soča river, another challenge awaits – the Vršič mountain pass. Leaving the Soča Valley behind, the road then leaves the mountains and continues towards Goriška Brda, a region famous for high-quality wine and delicious home-made food. The last part of the tour offers excellent gravel biking through the remote karst area, before descending towards the coastal town of Piran, a small slice of Venice in Slovenia. The mission of the last day is to explore the magical Istria, following the abandoned Parenzana railway track.

The Epic Slovenia bike tour got its name for a good reason!

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Gravel biking in 4 countries in only 7 days – Austria, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia
  • Landscape diversity – biking in the Alps, Soča Valley, Brda wine region, stony Karst and Adriatic coast
  • Crossing Vršič Mountain pass
  • Long thrilling descent from Mt. Stol
  • Excellent local cuisine & wine

Gallery

Itinerary

DAY 01

ARNOLDSTEIN – KRANJSKA GORA: A MEETING POINT OF THREE COUNTRIES

DistanceDistance: 24 km
DistanceElevation: 875 m

The Epic Slovenia gravel bike tour starts with the arrival to the Alpine town of Arnoldsteinsituated at Austria’s southern border between the Carnic Alps and the Karavanke mountain range. Meeting in Arnoldstein is followed by a warm-up uphill ride to Mt. Pečand a thrilling descent to Kranjska Gora.

The first day is all about the triple border(Dreiländereck), where the territories of Slovenia, Italy and Austria come together in a single point. The peak offers a spectacular view over the Julian Alps, the Gailtal Alps, the Gurktal Alps, the High and Low Tauern, and the western part of the Karavanke mountains.Various detours are taken to reach the peaks offering majestic views and tones of biking pleasures are guaranteed.


DAY 02

KRANJSKA GORA – BOVEC: ACROSS THE VRŠIČ MOUNTAIN PASS TO SOČA VALLEY

DistanceDistance: 54 km
DistanceElevation: 1205 m

From Kranjska Gora, the Epic Slovenia gravel bike tour leads past Lake Jasnato the Vršič mountain pass. The highest positioned road pass in the Eastern Julian Alps with an altitude of 1611 meters and 50 serpentines assures for the most memorable ascent of the tour. For the most part, the tour avoids the main road and makes use of the gravel trails.

The next location is the beautiful and remote Trenta Valley, located at the heart of the Triglav National Park. The valley presents the uppermost part of the famous Soča Valley, the first place in Slovenia to be proclaimed the European Destination of Excellence due to its sustainable tourism development.

Flowing under the majestic peaks of the Julian Alps, the emerald green Soča is considered as one of the most beautiful rivers in Europe. In addition to a plethora of stunning natural sites, the valley features the shocking heritage of World War I, which is visible at every step. The road follows the river to the small town of Bovec, known as the center of outdoor sports. The rest of the day is dedicated to exploring this idyllic location or choosing from a wide variety of outdoor activities provided by the local agencies. A zipline session or river kayaking/rafting are highly recommended.


DAY 03

BOVEC – KOBARID: CHASING THE VIEWS

DistanceDistance: 53 km
DistanceElevation: 1195 m

The third day of the Epic Slovenia gravel bike tour begins at the majestic Boka, the mightiest waterfall in the country. After a short ascent at Žaga village, an asphalt road leads up to the border between Slovenia and Italy. From here, a former mule-track road leads to the top of Mt. Stol. Upon reaching its highest point, an incredible view of the Alps and the Soča Valley opens bellow. On clear days, the peak also offers a splendid view of the sea. An exciting descent towards the Nadiža Valleyis surely the highlight of the day. The crystal blue River Nadiža, a hidden gem popular mostly among locals, invites for a refreshing swim.

The final destination of the day is the small town of Kobarid, best known for the 1917 WWI Battle of Caporetto, where the Italian retreat was documented by Ernest Hemingway in his novel A Farewell to Arms. Today, Kobarid is a lively tourist hub.


DAY 04

KOBARID – ŠMARTNO: FROM MOUNTAINS TO VINEYARDS

DistanceDistance: 57 km
DistanceElevation: 1640 m

From Kobarid, a steep climb leads the way towards the top of Mt.Kolovratat the Slovenian border with Italy. The effort is awarded with fantastic views over the Soča Valleyand the Friulian plains.The top of Kolovrat is home to the World War 1 Outdoor Museum, which preserves the memory of the third defense line of the Italian Army during the Isonzo Front. After this historical insight, the day continues with scenic biking along the mountain ridge.

Leaving the Alps behind, it is time for some biking through vineyards in the photogenic region of Goriška Brda. The land of gentle, rolling hills covered in orchards and vineyards and dotted with small, secluded villages, reminds of Tuscany. The wine growers here are famous all over the world for their high-quality wine and hospitality. Needless to say, wine tasting is inevitable here.

The fourth day of the Epic Slovenia gravel bike tour ends in the lovely village of Šmartno, a picturesque walled village with five preserved towers. Like an eagle’s nest, Šmartno can be viewed from any corner of Brda.


DAY 05

ŠMARTNO – LOKEV: ITALIAN GELATO, KARST AND HORSES

DistanceDistance: 68 - 70 km
DistanceElevation: 860 - 945 m

Saying goodbye to Brda, the following day the road briefly enters Italy and leads to the romantic town of Gorizia, where tasty Italian ice cream provides for some extra energy. Nevertheless, the longest biking day of the tour is all about Karst. Gravel biking resumes across the fascinating landscape full of typical karstic phenomena. Speleologists discover new caves in Slovenia every year, and the number of recorded ones now amounts to more than 8,000 with only 20 of them being show caves.

The Slovenian Karstis also a wine-growing region, as demonstrated by over 100 wine cellars included in the Karst Wine Route. Although the landscape is different here, it is again full of vineyards and small villages located on the hill tops and featuring traditional houses built in stone.

After Pliskovica, a dynamic biking road leads to the town of Sežana before passing the famous Lipica Stud Farm, a home to the noble Lipizzaner horses since 1580. The gravel biking adventure of the day comes to an end in the village of Lokev,known for tasty home-made food.


DAY 06

LOKEV – PIRAN: REACHING THE COAST

DistanceDistance: 57 – 67 km
DistanceElevation: 405 – 900 m

The sixth day emphasizes the diversity of Slovenia and of the Epic Slovenia gravel bike tour itself. This stage offers an easier and a more challenging variation. The latter includes a steep descent to the Osp Valley, passing through the karst and the hilly coastal hinterland. Ospis one of the oldest villages in Slovenia, being first mentioned in 1067. The more relaxing variation crosses over to the Italian side, where biking continues closer to the sea, following the Parenzana railway, a now defunct narrow gauge railway that connected Triste and Poreč in the beginning of the 20thcentury.

Both variations come together before descending to the sea level and reaching the city of Koper. Following the Parenzana and passing through some tunnels on the way, the road ultimately leads to the charming town of Piran. According to Lonely Planet, Piran is a small slice of Venice in Slovenia. Its old town, full of Venetian Gothic architecture, is known as one of the best-preserved historical towns on the Adriatic.


DAY 07

PIRAN: THE ISTRIAN LOOP

DistanceDistance: 71 – 95 km
DistanceElevation: 640 – 870 m

Ascenic ride along the Adriaticcoastis characterized by rich sub-continental Istrian karstic vegetation. While biking to the Slovenian border with Croatia, one last challenge awaits. Uphill biking leads to the small villages of Malijaand Korte, situated in the peaceful hinterland of the Slovenian Istriaand offering some spectacular views.

The fun mix of gravel and asphalt roads continues in Croatia. The highlight of the day is a tiny inland town of Grožnjan. Much like its neighbouring villages, Grožnjan has kept a faithful watch over the Mirna valley for centuries. When Grožnjan was formally declared as the Town of Artists in 1965, many artists and gallerists moved in and began transforming it into an art hub. Before reaching Grožnjan, there is another place that is well worth a visit – the town of Buje.

On the way back to the coast, the road yet again joins the former Parenzana railway. Soon after the border, one can visit the Sečovlje Salina Nature Park, the largest Slovenian salt evaporation pond, where salt is still produced in a traditional way. The last biking kilometers lead back to Piran, where the Epic Slovenia gravel bike tour comes to an end. Make sure not to leave before trying some delicious seafood and taking a dip in the Adriatic Sea.


DAY 08

DEPARTURE DAY

The Epic Slovenia gravel bike tour ends with breakfast in Piran. After breakfast, a transfer is organized to the tour starting point in Arnoldstein.


Dates

  • August 21 – 28, 2020 GUIDED
  • May - October *SELF GUIDED, TAILOR MADE

*In season, tour can be organised on any date. Please contact us for individual offer.

We recommend guided cycling tours to everybody who seeks complete relaxation and wants to have only one thing on their mind – great cycling. Our guides will take care of everything else – navigation, interesting local insights and technical support. Guided tours are also perfect for meeting other enthusiastic cyclers from around the globe and creating life-long friendships.

Price for guided EPIC SLOVENIA GRAVEL tour includes:

  • 7-night accommodation in 3–4 star hotels/guesthouses
  • 7 breakfasts and 6 dinners, all meals include typical/local food
  • Fully qualified and experienced cycling guide for the entire trip
  • Extensive Tour Booklet
  • Baggage transfer between the tour stages
  • Final transfer back to the tour starting point
  • 24/7 hotline number (support)

 

Rates are valid per person, based on double occupancy.

 

Optional:

 

Price excludes:

  • Travel and activity insurance
  • Personal safety and cycling equipment
  • Lunches
  • Any beverages consumed with meals that are included in the package
  • Any other items not mentioned as included.

We recommend self-guided cycling tours to everybody who knows how to navigate a map or a GPS device and has previous experience in self-guided cycling. If you think you don’t fit this description, maybe a guided cycling tour would be a more enjoyable option for you.

The price of a self-guided tour depends on the number of people in the group. See prices per person based on double occupancy below.

Pax 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Price 1.500 € 1.260 € 1.160 € 1.050 € 1020 € 995 € 980 € 970 €

 

Price for self-guided EPIC SLOVENIA GRAVEL tour includes:

  • 7-night accommodation in 3 or 4-star hotels/guesthouses
  • 7 breakfasts and 7 dinners; Meals include typical local food
  • Navigation pack: GPS tracks, maps, tour booklet, Skype call
  • Baggage transfer between tour stages
  • Final transfer back to the tour starting point
  • 24/7 hotline number (support)

Optional:

Price excludes:

  • Travel and activity insurance
  • Personal safety and cycling equipment
  • Lunches
  • Any beverages consumed with meals that are included in the package
  • Any other items not mentioned as included.

Would you like to customize this tour?

Are you worried you are not prepared enough physically? Would you like to select a different starting or ending point, or perhaps have a day off before, after or during the tour?

Send an e-mail to:[email protected]

Logistics

The adventure starts at the Alpine town of Arnoldstein and ends in the town of Piran on the Slovenian coast.

GETTING THERE

Ljubljana international airport is located within a 50-minute driving distance from Kranjska Gora and one hour from Arnoldstein. There are several other international airports in the area, those of Venice, Trieste, Klagenfurt, Treviso, Graz and Zagreb, each of them within a maximum of 2-3 hour driving distance. We are happy to arrange airport shuttles from any of these airports upon request.

If you are traveling by car, parking is possible at the tour starting point.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • One guided group can include a maximum of 10 people.
  • On guided tours a briefing session is organized every evening. During briefing, the guide(s) reveal details about the next day’s cycling stage, including the altitude, length, difficulty etc.
  • On most cycling stages alternative trail variations can be chosen according to the specific requirements of the group.
  • The meeting instructions and final trip arrangements are sent to participants two weeks before the tour start date.

 

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