Ultimate Self-Guided Cycling across Slovenia and Croatia
After you arrive at Bled, a member of our team will greet you to give you the rundown of your trip. You will get detailed information about the itinerary, and we will answer any questions you’ll have for us. If you arrive at Bled early and have extra time, you should visit the Bled castle, take a boat ride to the church island, or take a casual stroll around the lake. There is an adventurous week ahead of you, so rest up.
Hotel in Bled
Alpine pearl Bled
Transfer to the airport
This first day of cycling will be more of a warm-up since the terrain will be relatively flat. The road from Bled will take you through the idyllic Radovna Valley and past Lake Kreda while slowly descending to Mojstrana. With the constant presence of the highest peaks of the Julian Alps on your left and the Austrian border ridge of the Karawanks on your right, you’ll make your way up the well-maintained cycling path of the Upper Sava Valley to the famous alpine resort of Kranjska Gora.
Hotel in Kranjska Gora
Scenic Radovna alpine valley
Cycling in Upper Sava valley on former railway path
36 km (22 mi), 650 vertical meters (2150 feet)
After the easy cycling of the first day, you will tackle the steep ascent over the panoramic Vršič Pass in the second. You should stop at the top and check out the awesome mountain peaks surrounding you. Descend down the hairpin turns to the other side, and you’ll reach the Soča Valley, where you’ll be cycling right next to the emerald Soča River. The road will take you past magnificent attractions like the Soča gorges to the alpine town of Bovec. There, surrounded by some of the highest peaks of the Julian Alps, you’ll rest up for the day ahead.
Hotel in Bovec
Slovenian highest mountain pass
Spring of Soča River
45 km (28 mi), 1000 vertical meters (3300 feet)
You’ll continue your way down the valley of the Soča River, cycling on peaceful side roads and macadam trails. At the historical town of Kobarid, you’ll be able to ascend to the idyllic Drežnica village, situated on a small plateau under Mount Krn. If this WW1 battleground was once a scary sight, it’s now a destination one should not miss when around the area. If you arrive at the town of Tolmin early, you can also go check out the beautiful Tolmin Gorges, or just call it a day.
B&B in Tolmin
The beautiful Soča River
Kobarid WWI Muesum
The village of Drežnica
40 km (25 mi), 600 vertical meters (2000 feet)
As you continue your journey further down south, you’ll soon enter a warmer Mediterranean climate with a completely different landscape. Soon, the high mountains will be behind you, and you’ll reach the magical wine-growing region of Goriška Brda. The vineyard hills and the cute villages on top will make you feel like you entered another country.
Hotel in Goriška Brda
Lower Soča Valley
Goriška Brda wine region
40 km (25 mi), 700 vertical meters (2300 feet)
This day will see you traverse a relatively flat area of Italian Gorizia and then ascend to the Karst plateau with its signature water-carved limestone terrain. There you will cycle your way through picturesque villages of Komen and Štanjel, right to Sežana, a town bordering the coastal area. When going to sleep this day, you will almost hear the sea waves you’ll soon see.
B&B in Sežana
Rustic villages of Komen and Štanjel
60 km (37 mi), 800 vertical meters (2600 feet)
For a great start to the seventh day, you can take a quick detour to Lipica and check out the Lipizzaner stud farm. The route will then take you to Socerb, where you’ll get a stunning view of the coast and the route of the day. You’ll then follow the green Rižana river and soon arrive at the sea coast. A well-maintained cycling path will then lead you along the Adriatic seacoast to Piran, a town known for its mesmerizing Venetian architecture and narrow streets, built on top of a long pier.
Hotel in Piran
Lipica and Lipizzaner horses
Coastal town of Piran
53 km (33 mi), 450 vertical meters (1500 feet)
Continuing along the coastline will soon bring you to the Sečovlje Saltpans, where you’ll have to see the art of traditional saltwork. Continue up a slight incline and take a last look at the saltpans back below while you cross the border to Croatia. After this, you’ll head inland and cycle your way to the Mediterranean countryside and Istrian villages like Buje, and your final destination of the day, Grožnjan. From this typical village made of stone, you’ll be able to admire a view across the gorgeous valley of the Mirna River and see Motovun, an ancient settlement dating back to the Celt times.
Hotel in Grožnjan
Sečovlje Salt pans
Authentic Istrian villages Buje and Grožnjan
33 km (20,5 mi), 410 vertical meters (1350 feet)
This stretch of the Parenzana route is the hilliest but the most beautiful. It crisscrosses its way between many valleys, but since it’s a former railway, there are some magnificent viaducts or tunnels that make your cycling here easier. This authentic rustic vibe of Istria, complemented by the sense of solitary tranquility, will be a stark contrast to the touristy coast town of Poreč, where you’ll call it a day.
Hotel in Poreč
Old tunnels and viaducts of the Parenzana trail
Poreč coastal town
60 km (37,5 mi), 500 vertical meters (1650 feet)
In the town of Poreč, the Parenzana cycling route ends, but the cycling continues. Your way will lead you along the coast towards Vrsar, where a route that should just follow the coast will be disrupted by a peculiar geographical feature — The Lim channel. This estuary that looks like a Norwegian fjord will make you cycle inland on a panoramic route worth the effort. Soon you will reach the other side and your next destination: Rovinj.
Vrsar coastal town
Istrian pearl Rovinj
43 km (27 mi), 650 vertical meters (2200 feet)
After waking up, strolling around one of the most romantic towns in Croatia should be the first thing on your mind. With Rovinj’s lovely cobblestone streets, the panoramic view from its church top, and the lively marina, it will surely not be a waste of time. After relaxing first half of the day, your way will lead you along the coast to Pula, the largest city on the peninsula. With its history reaching back to the Romans, one can admire sights like the famous Amphitheatre, or the many temples and other historic monuments. It’s the cultural hub of Istria and its most popular tourist destination, perfect as a starting point for exploring the wider area around.
Hotel in Pula
Lively coast between Rovinj and Pula
Historic town of Pula
45 km (28 mi), 350 vertical meters (1200 feet)
The last day of your trip is open for many options of exploring the area surrounding Pula. Explore Kamenjak, the southernmost point in Istria. It’s a peninsula well worth visiting, especially with a bike, because of its many gravel paths leading to beautiful beaches. For a more lively experience, you can also visit the small towns of Premantura and Medulin, with their lively Mediterranean atmosphere, where you can try some of that delicious Croatian seafood. When you’re back in Pula that evening, it will be time to return your bikes, reflect on the journey behind and enjoy your last night of this cycling holiday.
Hotel in Pula
Cape Kamenjak natural reserve
48 km (30 mi), 520 vertical meters (1800 feet)
It’s been almost two weeks, but it’s now time to say goodbye. Don’t worry, you don’t have to travel back to Slovenia, as we will accommodate you as best we can according to your travel arrangements. Optionally, you can also arrange a transfer to the airport with us.
Not enough? Why not spend a few more days here! Extend your holidays with a pre- or post-holiday extension. Accommodation, sightseeing, and activities can be arranged. Add as many extra days to your holiday as you wish.
Included in price
Are you a fan of cycling? Do you want to visit both Slovenia and Croatia? Then you’re in luck since you found the perfect adventure! There is no better way to discover both Alpine Slovenia and the Mediterranean coast of Croatian Istria than on this ultimate cycling holiday.
The number of landscapes you’ll be cycling through on this holiday is astounding. Slovenia alone is one of the most diverse countries in Europe. Combine it with the northern Croatian coastline, and you get a trip you can hardly imagine being possible. With the magnificent landscapes, rich culture, and authentic food; You will discover the best of this region on your way from the mountains to the sea.
There will be plenty of opportunities for sightseeing along the way, even the chance to go swimming in the crystal clear Adriatic sea in the second part of the trip.
Your journey will begin in the Alpine pearl of Lake Bled, from where you’ll hop on your bikes and start exploring the mountain paradise that is the Julian Alps. After exploring the glacial valleys and crossing the Vršič mountain pass, you’ll start descending to the Soča Valley and soon feel the call of the Mediterranean. With each turn of the wheel, the climate will get warmer, and your eyes will start catching more and more glimpses of the Adriatic Sea. After cycling through the lovely villages of the wind-swept Karst plateau, the sea breeze will touch your skin.
From there, you’ll be following the tunnels and bridges of the famous Parenzana cycling path, a former railway route; Sometimes cycling along the coastline, other times cycling between the wine hills of Istria. Your path will lead you over the border to Croatia, to a Mediterranean environment, and a contrasting sight to the mountains that were surrounding you just a few days before. The next few days of cycling will be right along the coast of the Istrian Peninsula, feasting your eyes on its crystal clear waters and exploring the soulful towns like Rovinj and Pula. These last few days, the water will probably look so inviting that you should definitely pack some swimming gear and take a swim in the refreshing sea.
This is a self-guided holiday made for those who like that extra bit of freedom and autonomy on their holidays. We provide you with the itinerary, maps, and other information needed. But in the end, you’re the one using it to navigate yourself through this adventure. While that means there is no guide there with you, you will have 24/7 assistance from us, ready to help you in any emergency that arises. The daily stages are never too challenging, but you have to take into account that this is a long tour, so a certain level of fitness is required.
If you don’t have all 13 days it takes to complete this tour, we have a solution for you. We divided this long cycling holiday into two shorter ones. In one, you’ll get to cycle from the Alps to the Adriatic Sea. During the other, you’ll hop on the bike to explore the Adriatic coast. Both of them are only 7 days long, so check them out if time is your limitation.
Take a look at the itinerary we have prepared for you, and check out everything that could await you if you decide to book this ultimate self-guided cycling journey across Slovenia and Croatia with us.
Start planning today!
Things to know
We offer road cycling, trekking cycling and mountain biking holidays.
Our road cycling holidays are suitable for avid road cycling enthusiasts whose endurance is high enough to withstand multiple long cycling days in a row.
Our trekking cycling holidays are suitable for anyone, as the stages are short enough for most people, and the terrain is not technical — mostly tarmac and gravel. They will still be enjoyed most by people who cycle occasionally and feel comfortable with multiple days in a row on the saddle and some moderate climbing. For those looking for more leisurely cycling holidays, we offer an e-bike option.
Our e-MTB holidays are suitable for most people comfortable on a mountain bike who are fine with some rougher gravel roads and steeper hills, made easier with electric assistance. However, the single trails MTB holidays are suitable mostly for avid mountain bikers, as they tackle technical trails and fast descents, but are very adjustable to your skills and style of riding.
On our guided tours, you will have professional local guides. Our guides will make sure that you will have expert guidance combined with great fun and a memorable experience.
We are always looking for the perfect fit for you. We use a few different accommodation providers that fit our standards but they are subjected to availability, especially in the high season. We can also adjust the holiday, keeping in mind your preferences and budget and can always find a more suitable solution for your taste.
We recommend booking as early as possible. Most of our tours run through very touristy places where accommodation is limited. Most of the great places start getting booked for summer before spring.
It really depends on the level of your restriction. Vegetarian options are fairly easy to find in Slovenia, but vegan dishes, on the other hand, are extremely hard to come by in rural areas of the country and in smaller towns. Please note that the places where we stop for lunch are often traditional and may have difficulties accommodating you outside of their standard menu. We suggest you keep this in mind.
If you want to, sure! We are well aware that some people love to stay in groups while others prefer some more alone time on their trip. We wanted to give you the opportunity to do things your way. It is your holiday, after all! As long as you respect the group timings and locations designated by your guide, please feel free to customize your itinerary and create your own adventure!
Depending on the tour, generally late spring (May) and early autumn (September) are the best times, summer is of course also always great and some of our holidays are also possible in winter! Read more about cycling seasons in Slovenia.
Most of the tours can be done even in light rain, as long as you dress accordingly. It is not unusual in the summer that there are afternoon thunderstorms, so early starts are advisable. If the weather looks really bad, we will try to adjust the tour or skip a stage with a shuttle.
Our tours can be adapted to any bike type, whether road, gravel, or mountain bike. We are in constant communication with you to find the optimal conditions for your cycling holidays in Slovenia.
The most versatile option is a gravel bike, even if you are coming on a road cycling holiday. It does not really affect your road performance while allowing you to take some scenic backroads that can be in a slightly worse state than the main ones. A gravel bike is usually more comfortable as well.
In any way, Slovenia is a very diverse country and there is something for every cyclist. Whichever bike you choose, we will find the perfect route for you to take on your cycling holidays.
Ultimate Cycling Holidays across Slovenia and Croatia are suitable for most people who enjoy cycling and are fit enough for almost two weeks on a saddle in a row. The stages are around 40km long on average, but some climbs are unavoidable — Be prepared to tackle approximately 600-700 vertical metres daily on average. The roads are mostly traffic-free tarmac and gravel. If you seek a more leisurely holiday, we have an e-bike option ready for you.
Travel dates can affect the prices.
The itinerary can always be adjusted to suit your budget better.