Cycling from Ljubljana to the Mediterranean Sea
The Emerald cycle tour starts in LJUBLJANA, the capital of Slovenia, a beautiful and vibrant town where oriental and western culture meet and where the past lives in harmony with modern times. Ljubljana is a cultural town with many theatres, museums and art galleries. It has an old town centre with ‘fin de siecle‘ buildings and a castle dominating the town. The river Ljubljanica and its bridges are dominating the town and you could consider a nice boat cruise to get a different view of the town centre.
During this cycle tour, you will follow a medieval trading route and you will cycle through the typical natural environment of the Karst Plateau and a slightly hilly landscape. You will cross the Ljubljansko Barje, which were once marshes, and will pass castles like the Predjama castle, the famous Postojna caves and authentic little Slovenian villages. The Postojna Cave Park is an amazing stop. The caves are a classic example of Karst with impressive colourful stalactites and stalagmites.
However, it is not only a tour full of art and nature. Slovenia has also a lot of tasty traditional foods and is a paradise for culinary adventurers: Kranjska Klobasa (Carniolan sausage), the filled dough Štruklji, the delicious Kraški Pršut (the Karst Prosciutto) and some amazing cakes like the Prekmurska gibanica, a layered cake with different fillings. All these delicacies can be combined with a good Slovenian wine
The daily program of the 8-day tour
Individual arrival in Ljubljana, handing over of bikes (if rented) and tour information. Ljubljana has an interesting old town centre, in Baroque and Art Nouveau style. There is a lot to see. You could go on a tour of the castle on the hilltop, admire the picturesque Triple Bridge and Dragon Bridge which pass over the Ljubljanica river and visit the churches of St. Nicholas and St. Francis.
Overnight stay in **** hotel in Ljubljana
Today’s route is easy and crosses the Ljubljansko Barje flats, a former marshland surrounding Ljubljana, and the Karst Plateau with rich flora and fauna. The Ljubljansko Barje was once a great lake until it dried up 6000 years ago, leaving behind an incredibly diverse landscape that is now home to some of Europe’s rarest forms of bird, plant and insect life. You can make a detour along the way to go to the Iski Vintgar Gorge nature reserve, a gorge carved deep into a limestone dolomite plateau. In hot summer months, you could even fresh up in a typical Carst Lake of Podpec. Visit also the Technical Museum in Bistra, which is housed in an ex-monastery. The museum has a rich collection of agricultural and textile machinery and an exhibition of Tito’s cars. Today’s ride ends in Vrhnika, nestling on the left bank of the Ljubljanica.
Overnight stay in *** hotel with breakfast in Vrhnika.
Distance: 39 km / 24,2 mi and optional 18 km / 11,2 mi to visit the Iski Vintgar Valley; Ascent/Descent: + 260m. – 268m
This is a hilly day pedalling along side roads. At first, you cycle along quiet country roads with some uphill sections, but then on the Carst polje (field) the terrain levels out. Today you will discover the real Slovenian countryside, far away from the main tourist routes. You will cycle along the Napoleon Road, which as the name indicates dates back to the Napoleonic Age and which, with its 290 lime trees, is the longest tree-lined lane in Europe. The route goes past the beautiful Slivnica Mountain and the intermittent lake of Planina. You can stop for a picnic lunch in the Rakov Škocjan nature reserve, where the Rak River has carved out a stunning gorge containing some of nature’s most incredible landscape formations, including two natural bridges.
Overnight stay in **** hotel with breakfast in Postojna
Distance: 32 km / 19,9 mi and optional 6 km /3,7 mi to visit the nature reserve Rakov Skocjan; Ascent/Descent: +595m – 350m
This morning you will have enough time to visit the caves of Postojna, which are part of a 21km long karst cave system. The caves are especially beautiful because of their natural decoration with the whimsically shaped stalactites and stalagmites. A unique “human fish”, a mysterious creature, lives in dark pools inside the caves. Today’s cycling is through a hilly landscape with one long descent followed by some easy climbs in the end. You can choose to make a short detour that will take you to the impenetrable Predjama castle, wedged tight into a crevasse halfway up a 123m cliff-face protruding dramatically into the surrounding basin. Here lived a vivacious and daring knight. You will have an overnight stay in the picturesque Štanjel / Kodretti, well known for its old town centre with Romanesque and gothic houses and alleys that lead to tiny squares with characteristic fountains.
Overnight stay in *** guesthouse with breakfast in Štanjel or surroundings
Distance: 40 km / 24,8 mi and optional 6 km /3,7 mi to visit Prejama Castle); Ascent/Descent: + 635m -1010m
The landscape today is predominantly that of the high plateau. There is only one climb, which is long but gradual. You will pass the botanic gardens in Sežana, home to 198 species of trees and bushes and more than 100 exotic pot plants. The palmarium, herbarium, and the geological and archaeological collection are all worth a visit. The war museum in the village tower of Lokev is unusual and very interesting. Lipica is famous for its stud farming. These light grey horses were brought to fame through the Spanish Riding School of Vienna and are renowned worldwide.
Overnight stay in *** hotel with breakfast in Divica.
Distance: 48 km / 30 miles; Ascent/Descent: +690m- 415m
This day begins with a rolling landscape and will be followed with a lovely descent from the Karst plateau to the seaside. If you did not have time to visit the Postojna caves, today you can make a stop at the Skocjan Caves, which are not less interesting. It is possible to make a short extra ride to visit the town of Trieste in Italy, once an important harbour. It is a town full of life and there is a lot to visit like the castle, cathedral and Piazza Unita central square. Make a relaxed stop to enjoy a cappuccino or hand-made gelato in one of the many old-fashioned cafes. You continue cycling along the coastal cycle path until you reach Muggia, where you can relax on the beach and enjoy the sea.
Overnight stay in **** hotel with breakfast in Muggia.
Distance: 38 km / 25 miles; scent/Descent: +322m -750m
Today an easy ride along the new cycle path along the coast, an ex-railway line. You can make a coffee stop in the fashionable resort of Portoroz. A detour will bring you to the saltpans of Seca. This cycling holiday ends in the little harbour village of Piran, famous for its gorgeous Venetian architecture.
Overnight stay in **** hotel with breakfast in Piran.
Distance: 37 km / 24 mi and 11 km / 6,8 mi an optional side tour to salt pans of Seca; Ascent/Descent: +390m.- 390m
Today is the last day! After breakfast, prepare for your departure or book an extra night to enjoy the sea.
Long stages of flat terrain (high-plain) alternated a landscape with gently rolling hills. The steeper climbs are short and the longer ones not too steep. Often the choice between longer and shorter daily distances. Cycling along quiet country roads: dirt and asphalted. Cycle experience is needed. Suitable for cyclists of average fitness.
Average daily distances:
min. 32 km /19,9 mi – max. 48 km / 19,8 mi
min. 236 km / 146,6 mi – max. 283 km / 175,8 mi
Daily from 26 March until 15 October
2 or more people (solo traveller on request)
START / FINISH:
Ljubljana / Piran