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THE EMERALD ROUTE  

This "Best of Slovenia" cycle tour is a self guided and group cycling vacation

This cycle tour starts in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, a beautiful and lively 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. 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 slight hilly landscape. You will cross the Ljubljansko Barje, which were once marshes, and will pass castles, the famous Postojna caves and authentic little Slovenian villages.  

 

 

 

 

Programme

 

 

Day 1

Arrival in Ljubljana

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 hill top, admire the picturesque Triple Bridge and Dragon Bridge which pass over the Ljubljanica river and visit the churches of St. Nicholas and  St. Francis.

 

 

Day 2  

 

From Ljubljana to Vrhnika (39 or 57 km / 24 or 35 miles optional trip to the Iski Vintgar Valley) 

Today's route is easy and crosses the Ljubljansko Barje flats, a former marshland surrounding Ljubljana, and the Karst Plateau with its rich flora and fauna. You can stop along the way to take a walk into the Iski Vintgar Gorge nature reserve, to see the remains of the world's highest railway viaduct in Borovnica and to visit 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. The gardens of the museum are beautiful, with a pond and a nature trail through the woods. Today's ride ends in Vrhnika, nestling on the left bank of the Ljubljanica.  

 

Day 3 

 

From Vrhnika to Postojna ( 32 or 44 km / 20 or 27 miles optional trip to the natural reserve of Rakov Skocjan)

This is a hilly day. At first you cycle along quiet country roads with some uphill sections, but then on the Karst Plateau (or 'Kras') the terrain levels out. The Kras is well known for its underground network of caves and the small rivers which flow above ground, disappear underground and after kilometres reappear from nowhere. 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.  

 

Day 4 

 

From Postojna to  Štanjel / Kodretti (45 or 55 km / 28 or 34 miles optional trip to Prejama Castle)

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. Today's cycling is relaxed and consists of a long descent followed by some easy climbs. a short detour will take you to the Predjama castle, wedged tight into a crevasse halfway up a 123m cliff-face protruding dramatically into the surrounding basin. 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 which lead to tiny squares with characteristic fountains. You could make a detour to visit Predjama Castle, where the last knight of Slovenia once lived. Wine-tasting at Kodretti.

 

Day 5

From Štanjel -Lipica-Divaca  (48 km / 30 miles)

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 then a 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.  

 

Day 7  

From Divaca - Ankaran (46 or 65 km / 28,5 or 40,3 miles if you visit Trieste)

This day begins with a rolling landscape and will be followed with a lovely descent from the Karst plateau to seaside. If you didn't 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. Trieste was once part of Slovenia whilst under the rule of the Austrian monarchy. Make a relaxed stop to enjoy a cappuccino in one of the many old-fashioned cafes. You continue cycling along the coastal cycle path till you reach Ankaran.

 

Day 7 Ankaran - Piran (29 km or 40  / 19 or 24,8 miles optional loop to the Seca saltpans)

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. This cycling holiday ends in the little harbour village of Piran, famous for its gorgeous Venetian architecture.

 

Day 8

Departure after breakfast

 

 

 

The self guided tour includes:

  • 7 overnight stays with breakfast three and four star hotels & *** star holiday farm

  • Tour information in English

  • Luggage transportation   (1 piece per person)

  • wine-tasting at Kodreti

  • descriptions in English with maps  

  • local back up service hotline 

 

 

The group tour includes:

  • 7 overnight stays with breakfast in a good three star Farm house B&B / three and four star hotels

  • Tour information 

  • Luggage transportation   (1 piece per person)

  • wine tasting at Kodreti

  • descriptions with maps  

  • local back up service hotline 

  • English speaking guide, who cycles with the group. He / she takes care of the tour organization, bikes, luggage transfer, organizes visits, picnics and is available for local transfers if necessary. 

 

 

Period

Self guided Daily from 25 March till 14 October (last starting date) / Group tour: 06/05; 03/06; 01/07; 05/08; 02/09; 07/10

Level 2/3

Medium: long stages of flat terrain (high-plain) alternated a landscape with gentle rolling hills. The steeper climbs are short and the longer ones not too steep.  Daily distances between 18 and 34 miles. Cycling along quiet country roads.

Prices p.p. 2017

Group Tour

In double room € 790,00  

Self guided

In a double room   € 590,00  

In high season (14/05-15/09)  € 610,00

Single room supplement    € 110,00

Supplement half board     € 125,00 (not possible for the group tour: the guide will arrange on request the dinners)

bike rental for a week (hybrid touring bikes are equipped with 21 gears, cycling meter, lock, one pannier, one spare tube, set of Allen keys and basic puncture repair set)    € 80,00

ebike rental  € 180,00 
Reductions In a room with two adults 0-1 yr for free; 2-5 yrs 50%; 6-11 yrs 30%; > 12 yrs 10%

Transfers

Ljubljana Airport to Ljubljana downtown € 20; Piran to Ljubljana Airport €75; Piran to Trieste downtown €40; Piran to Trieste Airport €60;  Trieste airport to Ljubljana  €70; Trieste Downtown to Lubjana €50  All prices per person, 2 persons minimum, one way.

Participants

self guided: Minimum two persons ( a single person on request)

group tour: minimum 5 - mass. 16 persons