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Slovenia and Croatia

Julian Alps and Istria

Guided Road Cycling Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

£1,895 P.P.
Slovenia and Croatia

Julian Alps and Istria

Guided Road Cycling Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

£1,895 P.P.
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This brand new tour exploring Slovenia's Julian Alps and the hills and coast of Croatia's beautifully unspoiled Istrian peninsula begins in the charming alpine town of Bled situated on the eastern shore of its namesake lake.
Resembling Austria, the Julian Alps are renowned for their lush green pine forests and tree-lined passes and we’ll spend the initial stages of our tour exploring these to the full. This is a region of remote farmsteads, churches perched on lofty hillsides and gushing alpine streams that can be heard in the deep forests and that appear as crashing waterfalls along our route. An early highlight is the the Vršic Pass, a challenging climb featuring a total of 50 sweeping distinctively cobbled hairpins, half of which draw us gradually up to its 1,611m summit. 
Midway through our journey we cross the border into Croatia and enter the more rolling, yet no less dramatic, terrain of the Istrian peninsula, an unspoiled scenic wine region not dissimilar to some of Italy's more remote parts. We spend the latter stages of our tour dividing our time between the stunningly beautiful interior and the peninsula's popular west coast seaside resorts.

Our final day sees us exploring medieval hilltop village of Bale before heading to the coastal town of Rovinj, purportedly Croatia's prettiest town, where we will spend some time wandering the beautiful Venetian style cobbled streets and dining in this beautiful fishing port for our final evening.

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Holiday Highlights

  • 50 hairpins of Vrisic Pass; a little known alpine classic and a must for any road cyclist visiting Slovenia.
  • Cross the border on hidden back lanes with little traffic.
  • First evening being spent close to the majestic Lake Bled.
  • The UNESCO heritage site of the Pastojna caves.
  • Passing through vineyards famous for Muscat and Istrian whites
  • Ending our journey in the picturesque village Rovinj.

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Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival: Ljubliana Airport
Non Riding Day

Following a flight into Ljubljana, the small and leafy Slovenian capital, we have a short 45 minute transfer to Lake Bled. This modestly sized lake is one of the most popular sites in Slovenia and although it sees its fair share of visitors it is perfect for an evening stroll around the lake, complete with a picture postcard island church and medieval clifftop castle against the backdrop of the Julian Alps. After assembling our bikes for the journey south we head out to a local restaurant together for our first evening meal. Over dinner the Skedaddle team will brief the party and explain what you can expect from our Slovenian and Croatian adventure.

Day 2
Slovenia: Lake Bled to Kobarid
66 Miles / 106 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,700 Metres Approx.

We leave the lake behind as we head west along the Sava Dolinka river valley. The first part of the ride includes a short busy section leaving the ever-popular Lake Bled. Things quieten as we make our way gradually up the valley to Slovenia’s most famous ski resort of Kranjska Gora which is often used in the World Cup downhill circuit. From here we ride due south to tackle the most famous climb in Slovenia – the Vrisic Pass (1,611m). Our trip up and over the pass involves an impressive 50 hairpins in total. The bends on the climb are cobbled as they wind through the forest, but thankfully there are no cobbles on the exhilarating descent. Although undoubtedly a good early challenge, the climb is perfectly attainable for any regular road cyclist. The road is an engineering marvel commissioned by Germany and Austro-Hungary during World War Two and was built by Russian prisoners of war. In the afternoon we lose well over 1,000m in height as we descend down the Soca valley to rest up in Kobarid. A small town surrounded by alpine peaks it also has a Mediterranean feel with the Italian border only 5.5 miles/9km away.

Day 3
Slovenia: Kobarid to Postojna
75 Miles / 120 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,500 Metres Approx.

We spend the majority of the day in the region of Promorska where alpine flora and fauna starts to give way to a more Mediterranean feel. The terrain is definitely still alpine as we tackle a number of smaller passes which crisscross the Trnovski Gozd mountain range with views to the vineyards of the Vipava valley. The Alps meets Mediterranean landscape eventually gives way to a dramatic limestone karst terrain, as we rest up in the town of Postonja. The cave system at Postojna is one of Slovenia’s most popular attractions with world class stalagmite and stalactite formations. Though we may not have time to explore the cave we will have time to sample some local Slovenian reds before we cross the border tomorrow.

Day 4
Slovenia + Croatia: Postojna to Motovun
60 Miles / 97 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,550 Metres Approx.

We’ll be keeping passports handy today as we bid farewell to Slovenia and cross the border into Croatia. That’s not to say that we don’t have plenty of Slovenia still to enjoy as we continue our journey south from Postojna across a fascinating karst plateau landscape, the highlight of which appears at around 15.5 miles/25km into our ride as we reach the town of Skocjan, also famous for its UNESCO World Heritage caves.

Moving on we continue along a series of rolling and winding country lanes which lead us generally downhill for a further 25 miles/40kms until reach the border with Croatia and cross over into northern region of the Istrian Peninsula. Facing the Adriatic and sitting at the foot of the alps this part of Istria is, to a large extent, undiscovered and unspoiled, offering wonderful riding opportunities and challenges, the first of which, a 1.5 miles/2.5km climb averaging around 10% greets almost as soon as we arrive!

12 more lumpy miles/20 kms later through an olive and truffle producing landscape reminiscent of Tuscany, we take one final challenging switchback climb to arrive in the fortified medieval hilltop town of Motovun which will be our home for the evening.

Day 5
Croatia: Motovun to Porec Distance
59 Miles / 95 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,350 Metres Approx.

Motovun to Porec, as the crow flies, is only about 12.5 miles / 20kms but to take the shortest route would not only be cheating but it would deny us the opportunity to explore some of Istria’s most beautiful countryside and prevent us from experiencing the most authentic sights of the Istrian interior.

We begin by heading north and ride through vineyards, olive groves and medieval villages almost all the way back to the border, passing through the village of Momjan, famous for its Muscat. Along the way we’ll pay a visit to the small renaissance town of Groznjan, known as city of artists, where almost every house entrance is a small gallery or art studio.

Gradually as the day progresses we will find that we’ve changed direction completely as we head south and then west and drop down to the seaside town of Porec located on the western shores of peninsula. Porec will be our home for the next two evenings.

Day 6
Croatia: Porec Loop Ride
70 Miles / 113 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,675 Metres Approx.

Today’s loop ride will take us away from the coast and right back into the heart of the peninsula, via a network of lovely rural lanes, to explore yet more medieval hilltop villages, vine-clad hills and laid-back communities. Our mainly rolling route is not without challenges, the most significant of which presents itself around 25 miles/40kms into our ride with a leg-burning 2 miles/3kms climb up to the tiny village of Vrh.

To complete the loop we head back to the coast with the rest of the day put aside for relaxing in Porec, enjoying the café culture or perhaps visiting the many interesting historical sites such as the Roman Forum or the UNESCO listed Euphrasian Basilica.

Day 7
Croatia: Porec to Rovinj
50 Miles / 80 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 850 Metres Approx.

Our final day on the bikes takes us, initially, back into the peninsula’s interior to visit the charming wine region of Malvasija – most famous for producing Istrian whites.

Early in the stage we’ll pass through the ruined medieval town of Dvigrad, dominated by the remains of a Roman basilica where, legend has it, lies the undiscovered treasure of the British pirate Captain Morgan. A short climb out of Dvigrad brings us to a rolling road which leads us through a series of small picturesque towns such as Kanfanar and Svetvincenat, before reaching the unrealistically-photogenic town of Rovinj, perched on a rocky outcrop and looking out into the Adriatic sea, the perfect place to draw a conclusion to our Slovenian/Croatian adventure.

Day 8
Departure: Pula airport
  • Meals: Breakfast

Alas it is time to bid farewell to Slovenia & Croatia. We’ll transfer you to Pula airport in time for return flights.

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The Cycling

Terrain

Our route concentrates mainly on minor roads and quiet country lanes and includes everything from gently rolling hills to significant mountain ascents. Generally speaking the route is moderately challenging with enjoyable and manageable climbs featuring most days. Road surfaces are generally good however there are occasional sections, particularly in rural Croatia, of rough tarmac and badly weathered surfaces. The entire route is however of a suitable standard for road bikes with 700×23-25c tyres.

Gradients on climbs are generally moderate and very manageable. There are however occasions such as the Vrisic Pass, when the gradients increase and the climbs become more challenging.

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Road Cycling Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 3 - 4

Moderate to Challenging. For more regular riders who like to push themselves a little from time to time. Not extreme but certainly challenging on occasions with some good climbing opportunities. Distances between 80-120km per day.

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

You’re an enthusiast. Road cycling is probably your main hobby and you ride regularly at weekends, staying on the bike for much of the day. You’re in pretty good shape, and you might also participate in cylo-sportive events. You also love a challenge and are looking for a tour with some good climbing, preferably with an opportunity to tick off some famous Tour de France cols, or the like. You’re a competent descender, and you’re not afraid of speed, but you ride safely and within your limits at all times. You understand road etiquette and you’re comfortable riding in a bunch. You might even take a stint at the front of the pack if the need arises.

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Dates & Prices

Private Departures

Private Departures

Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
22/05/2021
Return Date
29/05/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
£1,895.00
Start Date
04/09/2021
Return Date
11/09/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
£1,895.00

Whats Included Tick

A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en suite rooms)

B) Meals as per the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch)

C) Full tour service, including Skedaddle guides

D) Unless stated, at least one leader qualified in first aid

E) Support vehicle and luggage transfers

F) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival day from Ljubljana airport (LJU)

G) Airport transfer on scheduled departure day to Pula airport (PUY)

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike hire (available if required)

B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)

C) Meals not stated in the itinerary

D) Single room (available if required)

E) Travel insurance

F) Personal clothing and equipment

G) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities etc)

H) Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en route

I) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure days

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The Essentials

Travel Options

For this tour in particular, we ask that you fly into Ljubliana airport (LJU) and back from Pula airport (PUY).

Group airport transfers are included in the cost of your holiday. To join the airport transfer on arrival, you’ll need to arrive into Ljubliana airport (LJU) before 16:00 for a 16:30 transfer.

At the end of the tour, we will transfer the group to Pula airport (PUY), with an estimated arrival time of 09:15 – please consider this when booking your return travel and allow enough time to check in for your chosen flight.

Airport transfers are included in the holiday cost and both the arrival and return transfers will be co-ordinated with the group flight schedule. Please note – If you make alternative travel arrangements, which fall outside of the group schedule, there may be an additional charge for individual transfers.

Please contact us for more detailed information on the specific flight schedules that we recommend for your holiday and please check with us before booking your flights so that we can ensure they fit in with the scheduled transfers.

Accommodation

As with all of our trips we aim to use accommodation which showcases the style and hospitality of the area you are visiting. We always have comfort and convenience in mind when selecting such places.

Bike Hire

If you have opted to hire then your bike will be an aluminium framed Musing Crozzroad Lite, equipped with Shimano 105. Alternatively, if you prefer a bike with a higher specification you can upgrade to a full carbon Cannondale Synapse, equipped with Ultegra di2 and disc brakes.

Each bike will come equipped with at least one bottle cage, a small pump, and a saddle bag. We can also include a helmet which should be requested at time of booking. Please note that your bike will come with flat pedals as standard, so please do bring your own if you use clip-in pedals.

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