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Slovenia, a truly amazing Alpine, Pannonian and Mediterranean country and one of the greenest in Europe, located between Venice and Vienna, is the perfect spot for all those looking for an exciting mountain bike cycling tour. According to Controlrisks.com it's also one of the safest in the world together with Greenland, Scandinavian countries, Switzerland and Luxembourg. It seems to also very efficiently cope with the Covid-19 crisis.

If we tell you that we have lots of green valleys here, 3 vineyards-covered wine regions, rolling hills, the genuine Karst landscape, mighty Alpine peaks and the Adriatic sea coast with charming Mediterranean towns, we're sure you already started imagining your perfect mountain bike tour in Slovenia. Desert Soul Adventures cycling tours don't focus exclusively on great riding experience, but also on reaching the must-see places off-road anywhere in the world where we organize our guided and supported cycling tours. After fantastic mountain bike tours in Tunisia and Morocco, we finally decided to organize one in our own courtyard as well.

Desert Soul mountain bike tour in Slovenia will take you over the Pohorje Massif to Maribor, you'll cycle under the Peca/Petzen mountain on Austrian border through a closed-down former lead mine and later enjoy a unique experience with underground kayaking; you will scream of joy in the beautiful Logarska dolina valley and of course visit Slovenian tourist pearl at Lake Bled; climb the famous Vršič pass, if you wish, and gently pedal through a paradise on Earth next to the crystal-clear Soča river in the Julian Alps' Trenta valley. Slovenia's unique landscape with underground caves, natural bridges and surface sink holes, the Region of Karst (Kras in Slovenian) makes your heart sing with small hilltop villages scattered across the area. Its highlights are the Lipizzaner horses stud farm in Lipica [Leepitsa] and the Unesco-listed Škocjan caves, both of which have been carefully inserted into our cycling tour itinerary. After having cycled in the high Alps and underground, we'll joyfully end our tour after 8 riding days at sea level in the charming Venetian-style town of Piran.


 

DAY-BY-DAY PROGRAMME

Day 1: ARRIVAL TO LJUBLJANA

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If you arrive by plane to Ljubljana airport or Ljubljana train station for this mountain bike tour in Slovenia and let us know your arrival details, we'll pick you up and transfer to the hotel as part of the tour package. We suggest you to arrive early enough to truly enjoy this lovely city with a really pleasant vibe throughout its old downtown streets around the Ljubljanica river where locals and tourists alike enjoy their drinks and supreme gelato or traditional Slovenian food with a constant view of the hilltop Ljubljana castle, perching above the old town. If you're interested in Secessionist architecture, Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik's masterpieces, scattered around the city centre, will certainly call your attention.

A welcome dinner at a local restaurant will be the first act of our cycling tour in Slovenia.

DAY 2: ROGLA – LOVRENŠKA JEZERA LAKES – MARIBOR

 

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After a 2-hour transfer from Ljubljana, our first riding day on the cycling tour will start at 1.500 m a.s.l. at the ski resort Rogla in the Pohorje massif. A gentle level ride will take us through a charmed forest, it at least looks this way, towards the surprising view of a highland bog with a series of lakes surrounded by dense Pohorje forests. After a walk on a wooden path connecting most of them, we'll point our bicycles eastwards towards Slovenia's second largest town Maribor, famous for world's oldest vine that perches one of the houses in the old town on the Drava river bank. And it still gives grapes! Descent from Pohorje to the town itself will be quite spectacular, partly running on the ski slope used by every year's Women's World Cup slalom and super-G races.

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Time permitting, we'll make a sightseeing cycling tour. Dinner and overnight at a local hotel.

Distance cycled: 42 km 
Elevation gain: +510 m; -1820 m
Surface: soil, gravel.

Day 3: MEŽICA – CYCLING THROUGH THE MINE – UNDERGROUND KAYAKING

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A 2-hour transfer will again take us to a completely different face of Slovenia. From our truck, we'll be observing the slow-flowing Drava river as it is being slowed down again and again by some of the oldest hydro-power plants in Slovenia, one even from Austro-Hungarian times!

Our cycling day will start in the town of Mežica, best known for its former lead mine (closed now of course) and its still pretty much alive and very successful batteries factory TAB (Tovarna akumulatorskih baterij). But the former mine is what will take all our attention for the rest of the cycling day. After a nice ride through the woods, we'll reach one of the entrances to the old mine and... a 5 km guided underground odyssey, cycling through the abandoned tunnels, will start! After this unique adventure ends on the other side of the mountain, another unforgettable will be still awaiting us: kayaking in the flooded tunnels of the mine, metres under where we had previously cycled through the dry tunnels. Wow! An experience you will certainly never forget.


 

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Distance cycled: 13 km 
Elevation gain: +580 m; -470 m
Surface: soil, gravel.


Day 4:LOGARSKA DOLINA – SOLČAVA PANORAMIC ROAD – ROBANOV KOT – SPECTACULAR DESCENT

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A homestead in this fairy-tale-valley will host us for two nights so there's no luggage packing this morning! Instead, we'll enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding mountains with the lovely Logar Valley underneath us from the Solčava panoramic road. Later in the day, we'll climb to Strelovec mountain from where a 7-kilometre-long descent on a skid-track will lead us back to our homestead accommodation.

Desert Soul Matkov kot cyclist

Distance cycled: 45 km 
Elevation gain: 1350 m 
Surface:tarmac, gravel, soil, leaves, roots.


Day 5: JEZERSKO – PODLJUBELJ – BEGUNJE – RADOVLJICA

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After a morning transfer, our truck will drop us off above the Jezersko valley, overcoming some of the climb we'll have to do on this day, the last before a well-earned rest day. The route will take us across some of the most breath-taking views in the Karavanke mountain range before we'll slowly descend to the world-famous village of Begunje, the cradle of the Oberkrain Musik, as the music of Upper Carniola is known in German. The local brothers Slavko and Vilko Avsenik namely made this music known worldwide, but especially in the German-speaking countries.

The day will be wrapped in the charming Upper Carniolan town of Radovljica, not only known for the National Beekeeping Museum, but also for the centuries-long tradition of gingerbread (lect in Slovenian) baking. And it's right above the gingerbread museum where we'll spend the following two nights at the Lectar house. Thanks to its superb traditional Carniolan dishes, it's also famous as one of the best national food restaurants.

Distance cycled: 25 or 30 km 
Elevation gain: +1370 m; -2070 m 
Surface: gravel, rocky surface, tarmac.


Day 6: REST DAY AT RADOVLJICA / BLED & BOHINJ OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES (PARAGLIDING, CANYONING, ZIPLINE, SWIMMING ETC.)

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We'll wake up into a well-deserved rest day in the slow-going old town of Radovljica. After a delicious breakfast, we'll head towards the nearby town of Bled. Its lake island with a church on top of it, backed by the town castle, perched on top of a vertical rock, rising above the lake shore, is the Slovenian tourism trademark. If you wish, you can also visit the nearby Bohinj lake that attracts mostly sport and adrenaline seekers. You can hire a kayak or finally try that canyoning or zipline in the area.

Distance cycled: 0 km 
Elevation gain: 0 m 
Surface: 


Day 7: RADOVLJICA – BLED – PERIČNIK WATERFALL – KRANJSKA GORA

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After a day out of the saddle, we'll head onto a 56-kilometres-long cycling stage that will start just in front of our hotel in Radovljica and take us up to the Jelovica plateau, just high enough to enjoy some spectacular descent down the skid tracks in the woods next to Bled. After riding past the Bled lake, the route will slowly invite us up into the forest again and across pastures with magnificent views across the Bled area, until we reach another pristine spot, the Vrata Valley just under the northern wall of Slovenia's highest mountain, Triglav. There, we will climb up to the Peričnik waterfall and later ride this day's last stage which will take us to our hotel in the area of Kranjska gora.

Distance cycled: 56 km 
Elevation gain: +1530 m; -1210 m 
Surface: gravel, soil, roots, rocks, asphalt.


Day 8: TRENTA VALLEY SOČA TRAIL TO BOVEC

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If you're eager to do more climbs and those in our cycling tour haven't exhausted you so far, you can have an early breakfast and leave the hotel before the rest of the touring party in our support truck, adding another 810 m climb on 12 km to your personal statistics by riding one of the most famous bicycle climbs in Slovenia: the sealed Vršič pass.

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Everybody else on the tour will get on the bikes after the pass to ride down to the Soča valley where we'll finally leave the asphalt and bike on soil and gravel trails down one of the most beautiful and quiet Alpine valleys, stopping en route to enjoy some spectacular views, the quietness of the valley and to check how cold the Soča river is just kilometres after its source.

Distance cycled: 25 - 50 km 
Elevation gain: +330 m; -1310 m 
Surface: asphalt, gravel, soil, roots.


Day 9: KOMEN – ŠTANJEL – LIPICA STUD FARM (LIPIZZANER HORSES)

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A morning transfer on our guided mountain bike tour will take us out of this charming Alpine valley and we'll put the bikes down surrounded by a completely different landscape. The Karst plateau is where the so-called karstic phenomena were first described for the general world public and this is why they bear the name of one of the regions of Slovenia in pretty much all western languages. Along our 40-kilometre cycling route this day we'll see surface sinkholes where the locals used to have their gardens and small fields well protected from the harsh bora wind, endemic to the region. Since the plateau is one of the best-known wine growing areas in the country, we'll be also cycling between vineyards on trails connecting one hilltop village to the other.

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The big finale of this cycling day will be our arrival to the Lipica [Leepitsa] stud farm where we will not only discover the cradle of the white Lipizzaner horses, but also watch them perform in the beautiful Lipica Show.

Distance cycled: 40 km 
Elevation gain: +400 m; -310 m
Surface: gravel.

Day 10: LIPICA – ŠKOCJANSKE JAME – PIRAN

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The last day on our guided cycling tour in Slovenia will start just at the last hotel and end in the seaside town of Piran, the most charming town on Slovenian Adriatic coast. It is well known for its baroque buildings and nearby salt pans, but music lovers might recognise it also as the birthplace of 18th century Venetian violinist and composer Giuseppe Tartini.

Our trail will lead us from the Karst plateau down to the sea shore in Koper. Afterwards, we'll pedal on an easy cycling path along the sea shore that was arranged on the former Trieste – Poreč railway line called »La Parenzana«, »Parenzo« being Italian name for Croatian coastal town of Poreč. But before doing all that, we definitely can't skip the first Unesco World Heritage site being declared in Slovenia back in 1979: the World-famous Škocjan caves where you'll learn a bit about Karst geology and walk through the largest underground canyon in Europe. So bring a sweater along – the constant year-round temperature in these caves is namely 12°C.

Our last dinner on our bike tour in Slovenia will be served in one of the best fish restaurants on the Piran seafront followed by overnight in Piran.

Distance cycled: 62 km 
Elevation gain: +720 m; - 1120 m 
Surface: tarmac and gravel.


Day 11: DEPARTURE FROM PIRAN/LJUBLJANA

After the breakfast, we’ll take you to Ljubljana or to the Ljubljana airport for your flight home. End of our services.

Photos courtesy of Slovenian Tourism Board.

If you wish, you can extend your stay visiting the nearby region of Croatian Istria or Venice that is just 150 km away. We can also arrange all needed for such a post-stay.

 

Before booking this mountain bike tour, please check daily distances and climbs covered during the tour and make sure your fitness level is up to the challenges of the tour. We also do an easier guided cycling tour in Tunisia if you're unsure. Most of the stages, however, can be aborted and you can be picked up by our assistance truck, but this is probably not what you came to Slovenia for.

 

 

WHEN
27.8. - 6.9.2020
WHERE TO
Slovenia
COST
2.110 eur incl. bicycle rental

 

 

 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

 


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Scheduled departures
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27th August - 6th September 2020

 

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Activities between November and March.

 

 

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testimonial2An unforgettable experience, always remembered with joy. Desert impressions get imprinted deep into the memories and all person that hasn't experienced that, missed something in their life.

~ Robert Brajdih

testimonial2There are things you dream of in your life and those you make true. Tilen, thank you for doing the following... you made my yeras-long dreams true... that is, to conquer the desert! Tunisia 2012 will remain in my memories for ever while looking forward to my next expedition in your organization, Tilen. :) 

~ Rožle Rogelj

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