Ultimate 10 Days Slovenia discovery cycling trip
This "Cross Country Cycling Tour" whisks you through the majority of western Slovenia's most interesting attractions and along the many natural wonders packed into this diverse little country. Starting at the enchantingly beautiful Lake Bled, then on to the vibrant capital city of Ljubljana. Then it's over a limestone landscape laden with castles and vineyards above and huge cave systems below, as you cycle your way from the alpine center to the lovely Adriatic coast. Suitable for cyclists with time on their hands, an average fitness level, a love of fine wine and the great outdoors.
Our Salzburg to Lake Bled cycling tour would be a good option to take before this tour.
Day 1: ARRIVAL IN BLED
You will start in Bled, a cute little town on the shore of a beautiful glacial lake. Characterized by its unique island church protruding from this immense body of water, backed by the towering Karavanke Alps, and the castle perched high on a cliff standing guard over the town, Bled is one of Slovenia’s most popular tourist attractions. Take some time on your first day to visit the island church by boat and hike up to the Mala Osojnica viewpoint at the western side of the lake. You won't regret it.
Day 2: BLED – BOHINJSKA BISTRICA (↔ 27 km; 43 km with a side trip, ↑ 110 m, ↓ 810 m)
Starting on the high plateau at Pokljuka, you'll glide down through alpine villages to Lake Bohinj, the jewel of the Triglav National Park. Encircled by shimmering mountain peaks, Bohinj is the largest and deepest lake in the national park. Visit Savica Waterfall, source of the Sava Bohinjka River and Lake Bohinj, and then take the cable car up to Vogel Mountain for a spectacular view into the Bohinj Valley and of Mount Triglav, the highest peak in the Julian Alps.
Day 3: BOHINJSKA BISTRICA – ŠKOFJA LOKA (↔ 49 km, ↑ 980 m, ↓1.130 m)
Leaving Bohinjska Bistrica, it’s up 750 m/2400 ft to the Jelovica high plateau (a “help out” lift to the top of the mountain pass is available for this part of the trip at a supplement of 20 EUR per person). From the top the cycling route
takes you through a deep forest which soon drops off into a wilderness valley, leading to the lush green Škofja Loka hills. Stop in the historic iron-smelting town of Železniki before arriving in one of Slovenia's oldest and most charming towns, Škofja Loka.
Day 4: ŠKOFJA LOKA – LJUBLJANA (↔ 31 km, ↑ 170 m, ↓ 240 m)
Today you'll ride to Slovenia's Baroque and Modernist capital: Ljubljana. Here you can take a short ride up to the mighty Ljubljana Castle, perched on a hill overlooking the old town. From its tower you get a commanding view of Ljubljana’s heart and soul, and the alpine mountains you have just cycled from. As the sun goes down you can choose between relaxing with a drink in the many outdoor bars/cafes beside the Ljubljanica River, or take an evening stroll or riverboat ride.
Day 5: LJUBLJANA - VRHNIKA (↔ 39 km; 57 km with a side trip, ↑ 220 m, ↓ 230 m)
Days trip will be a gentle ride across the immense 160-sq km Ljubljana Moors (Ljubljansko Barje). This incredible landscape is home to some of Europe’s rarest forms of bird, plant and insect life. As you cycle through here you won't be able to miss the lovely church sitting atop a hill. This is the church of Saint Ana, which you can cycle up to for the ultimate view across the moors to the Kamnik Alps. Before you arrive at your destination, be sure to visit the Technical Museum in Bistra Castle, where you’ll find an interesting exhibition of Tito’s cars.
Day 6: VRHNIKA – POSTOJNA (↔ 32 km; 44 km with a side trip, ↑ 590 m, ↓ 350 m)
Today biking tour you'll experience the real western countryside as you cycle past the beautiful Slivnica Mountain and the seasonal lake of Cerknica. Stop at Slovenia's oldest landscape park, Rakov Skocjan, for a picnic lunch. This is a stunning limestone gorge containing some of nature’s most interesting landscape formations, including two natural bridges.
Day 7: POSTOJNA – ŠTANJEL AREA (48 km, ↑ 410 m, ↓ 790 m)
Today will start with a visit to the beautiful Postojna caves, the most extensive cave system in Slovenia. You'll walk through a world of large and colorful stalactites and stalagmites, and see the unique “human fish”. Then head to the impenetrable fortress of Predjama Castle, in a crevasse halfway up a 123-metre cliff-face. Once home to a cunning knight, Erasmus kept a whole army at bay by utilizing the caves underneath the castle to sneak out for supplies. Take the tour and learn how Erasmus met his untimely demise in less than poetic circumstances, as he was literally caught with his pants down.
Day 8: ŠTANJEL AREA – LIPICA – DIVAČA (48 km, ↑ 630 m, ↓ 370 m)
First stop is at the lovely botanical garden in Sežana, then cycle on to the stud farm of Lipica, where you can visit these beautiful thoroughbred Lipizzaner horses whose glistening white coats and gentle, graceful dancing have made them famous worldwide. Take a tour in a traditional carriage, and visit them up close in their stables. This will be a day to remember. If you have time for a couple of side trips, you can also visit the unusual but very interesting “War Museum” set in a Venetian tower.
Day 9: DIVAČA – MUGGIA (↔ 38 km, ↑ 280 m, ↓ 700 m)
If you chose not to see Postojna caves the other day you can visit Škocjan Caves, equally fascinating but without the big crowds; even listed as a UNESCO natural monument! A diversion into the Italian town of Trieste is highly recommended - once an important port with its worldly flair and wonderful atmosphere. Visit the castle, cathedral and Piazza Unita central square. Trieste was once part of Slovenia whilst under the rule of the Austrian monarchy. Relax with a cappuccino in the many old-fashioned cafes. The day ends in Muggia south of Trieste, where you can treat yourself to a gelato in the old town or relax on one of the beaches.
Day 10: MUGGIA – PIRAN (↔ 37 km; 48 km with a side trip, ↑ 320 m, ↓ 310 m)
For your last day, you'll cycle along the coastal road on a new cycling path following the old railway line. Enjoy great vistas of Slovenia's lovely coastline, and Trieste Bay. A stop in the interesting harbour town of Izola is a must. The trip ends in the gorgeous little Venetian town of Piran, where you can ascend to the church bell tower and watch the sunset over the sprawling red roofs and sparkling blue Adriatic Sea.
Day 11: DEPARTURE
After breakfast your tour ends. However, you can prolong your stay in Piran, take a one-way boat trip or day-cruise to Venice or continue cycling by taking our Croatia Istrian Coastal Tour down to Pula or Bike and Boat tour of Kvarner bay.
Price per person based on two people sharing:
Low season: March 25 to May 6 and September 16 to October 14, 2023: 1.170 EUR
High season: May 7 to September 15, 2023: 1.230 EUR
• accommodation in country inn and hotels 3*/4* in a two-bed room with WC and shower, on a bed & breakfast basis
• luggage transport between hotels, one piece per person, max 20 kg / 45 lb. Every additional piece 10 EUR, payable on the spot
• tour description and maps in electronic form
• personal welcome meeting, detailed briefing upon arrival and bike handover
• GPS data
• local tourist and other taxes
• backup service (hotline) during the trip
• single traveler 390 EUR
• single room 240 EUR
• upgrade to city center 4* hotel 65 EUR per person per night in a double room, 85 EUR in a single room
• bike rental 150 EUR classic touring/trekking bikes are equipped with 21 gears, one back, side pannier per bike, one cycling odometer, one lock, one spare inner tube, one set of Allen keys and a basic puncture repair kit per couple/pair of bikes. Every additional day: 18 EUR per bike. Additional odometer 20 EUR, payable on the spot. Bike rental period starts at 9:00 on day 2 of the tour and ends at 18:00 on day 10
• electric bike 320 EUR
• helmet rental 18 EUR per tour
• “Help out lift” to top of the pass on day 3: 30 EUR per person
• printed information package in English including route notes and corresponding maps delivered upon arrival 30 EUR
• 4* Hotel in Bled 105 EUR per person per night in a standard double room, B&B. Single room 170 EUR
• 4* Hotel in Bohinj 95 EUR per person per night in a standard double room, B&B. Single room 140 EUR
• 4* Hotel in Ljubljana (mid-range) 75 EUR per person per night in a standard double room, B&B. Single room 130 EUR
• 4* Hotel in Ljubljana (historic center) 100 EUR per person per night in a standard double room, B&B. Single room 180 EUR
• 3* Hotel in Štanjel area 65 EUR per person per night in a standard double room, B&B. Single room 90 EUR
• 4* Hotel in Muggia 70 EUR per person per night in a standard double room, B&B. Single room 100 EUR
• 4* Hotel in Piran (old town) 85 EUR per person per night in a standard double room, B&B. Single room 140 EUR
• children up to 12 years when sharing room with parents 30% discount on basic price
• third adult in the room 10% discount on basic price
Not included: entrance fees, lunches, drinks with meals, saunas and massages in hotels
Ljubljana Airport to Bled
1–3 persons: 75 EUR
4–8 persons: 105 EUR
Ljubljana City to Bled
1–3 persons: 100 EUR
4–8 persons: 140 EUR
Villach to Bled
1–3 persons: 140 EUR
4–8 persons: 160 EUR
Klagenfurt Airport to Bled
1–3 persons: 190 EUR
4–8 persons: 230 EUR
Lesce Bled Railway Station to Bled
1–3 persons: 20 EUR
4–8 persons: 30 EUR
Piran to Trieste City
1–3 persons: 80 EUR
4–8 persons: 110 EUR
Piran to Trieste Airport
1–3 persons: 135 EUR
4–8 persons: 170 EUR
Piran to Ljubljana City
1–3 persons: 170 EUR
4–8 persons: 210 EUR
Piran to Ljubljana Airport
1–3 persons: 190 EUR
4–8 persons: 230 EUR
Other transfer routes prices on request
Total Length: 349 km
Terrain: all paved surfaces
Best of Slovenia is the tour where you see what we consider the best of Slovenia. Seeing and cycling along different landscapes that Slovenia has to offer. Starting at one of Slovenian famous places Bled, cycling to visit our capital city, Ljubljana, and from then you are on your way to cycle Primorska and Kras area, finishing in coastal town Piran. Itinerary is mostly on secondary roads with low traffic, some parts on busy roads.
Helia supports responsible travel. On our trips we therefore use small, authentic hotels and guesthouses with character operated by locals or their families. Here you can find the list of standard accommodation we primarily use on the trip. The actual hotels may differ from this list, depending on time of booking and rooms availability.
Day 1 4* Hotel Triglav / Hotel Park Bled
Day 2 4* Bohinj Eco Hotel Bohinjska Bistrica
Day 3 3* Hotel Mini Škofja Loka
Day 4 4* Hotel M Ljubljana
Day 5 3* Hotel Mantova Vrhnika
Day 6 4* Hotel Kras / Hotel Jama Postojna
Day 7 4* Guesthouse Hiša posebne sorte Kodreti
Day 8 3* Hotel Malovec Divača
Day 9 4* Hotel San Rocco Muggia
Day 10 4* Hotel Piran Piran
Starting point of this trip is Bled in NW Slovenia.
By plane: closest airport is Ljubljana (LJU). Several airlines serve it. From the airport you can travel to Bled by bus (change once, takes about two hours) or book our transfer: Ljubljana Airport to Bled (faster - 20 min) - please ask us for a favorable quote.
By bus: Flixbus lines stop at Lake Bled.
By train: Bled has two railway stations: Lesce-Bled station on the Villach - Ljubljana mainline, 4 km away from town center, need to take a bus or call us, we'll give you a lift for free. The other is station Bled-Jezero on the Jesenice - Nova Gorica sideline, only a few trains a day. Two km away from town center, call us and we'll give you a lift.
By car: take exit Lesce on the A1 motorway Ljubljana - Jesenice, Karavanke. Please consult us about parking options.
.... and away
By plane: Trieste airport (TST) or Ljubljana (LJU). Several airlines serve them. You can book our transfer: Piran to Ljubljana Downtown or Ljubljana Airport - please ask us for a favorable quote.
By train: Koper railway station is 25 km away from Piran. Trains leave from here to Ljubljana. If you wish to travel onward to Rijeka (Croatia) you need to change in Pivka, however, only a few trains cross the border! There are no train connections to Italy, you'll need to first travel to Trieste.
By boat: there are boats operating from Piran to Venice and to Trieste and ferries from Poreč to Venice.
By car: if your car is in Ljubljana, you can return there by bus or train. Our transfer is available - please ask us for a favorable quote.
Helia bikes are available in different sizes in unisex model:
- aluminium frame
- rear rack
- comfort gel saddle
- anti-puncture Continental tyres
- ergonomic bicycle grips
All rented adult bikes are equipped with:
- cycle computer
- Vaude one-sided saddlebag
- combination bike lock
Only for self-guided tours: one repair kit per two bikes: one spare inner tube, glue, patch, a pump, two allen keys and tyre levers
Important notes if you want to cycle independently - in order to cycle smoothly following an app, we suggest that you bring with you a holder for your mobile phone to be fixed on the handlebar, as well as a power bank (even if the app can be used offline, too).
We stayed at Hisa Posebne Sorte with our cycle tour of Slovenia (we went with Helia - fantastic by the way). This charming guesthouse is nestled in a tiny village in the heart of wine country, the accommodation is large, comfortable, clean, and every need catered for. The views are outstanding.
What makes this place truly special is two things, firstly, the hospitality truly is outstanding. The hosts have a wonderful personal touch, and we are truly grateful to them. Secondly the restaurant, lovingly handmade, and then the food, exceptional.
In fact, it was so special that we got engaged here! It is a very popular location for weddings, so we may be back. Highly recommend for a weekend away, a relaxing stay, or a wedding!
Thank you Helia for organizing the wonderful self-guided trips we did with you in September. Everything was just perfect. The different hotels were interesting, always in lovely locations, always clean and very welcoming. The maps and instructions combined with your stickers on various fences and posts made navigation really easy. After 23 years of cycling on our own, this was the first 'self-guided tour 'we've done and now we are hooked on this way of cycling. Many thanks for all your efforts and help.
- Rosemary and Colin