Slovenia, formerly part of Yugoslavia, is a small, picturesque country tucked between Austria and Croatia, and touching the northeast corner of Italy. This active food & wine tour sends us cycling through northwestern Slovenia, following the pristine rivers and shady roads that wind between the rugged peaks of the Julian Alps. A highlight of the trip will be two nights spent in the former Presidential Summer Villa, overlooking lovely Lake Bled in whose waters we can see reflections of castles and snow-covered mountains. We’ll raft a short section of the turquoise Soca River as it heads toward the Adriatic Sea. Then we’ll cycle in and out of Italy, along roads that serve the tiny farms and villages on each side of the border. Our gay group will pause to appreciate Slovenia’s unique red wines, delicious artisan cheeses, and flavorful local produce. Join us for this truly remarkable week in a hidden corner of Europe.
August 18 to 25, 2018 – US $4,798.00
Optional Tour Choices:
$1150 Single Supplement (for solo travelers who wish to enjoy a private bedroom and bathroom) – Very Limited Availability
Transfers between Lubljana Airport and our hotel; Comfortable hotels and bed-and-breakfasts that typify the region’s variety; Hybrid bike for the week; knowledgeable local bike guides; All breakfasts, all lunches, and 6 dinners, with snacks along the way; A support van to get luggage (and tired riders!) to destination; Map and route instructions; admissions to sites and museums mentioned. HE Travel provides complimentary Medical & Evacuation Insurance for every US Resident on our group tours who does not have other coverage.
Transportation to and from Lubljana, Slovenia; Optional rafting trip; Souvenirs; Gratuities for guide; Personal expenses such as phone, fax and beverages not included with meals.
We will arrive at the Ljubljana airport, just north of the charming capital of Slovenia. We will be transferred to our lakefront hotel in Bled, nestled in the hills to the northwest. Tonight we will relax and get to know each other over an intimate welcome dinner.
We will enjoy our breakfast and then travel westward, skirting the Triglav National Park to Bohinjska Bistrica. From there, we’ll do a bit of easy cycling on quiet roads to get a feel for our bicycles.
visiting and artisan cheese shop on the HE Travel gay bike tour in Slovenia
For lunch we’ll stop for a visit with a local cheesemaker. Afterward, we’ll continue our ride into the Park, where we find Lake Bohinj, a glacial basin famous for its clear water and the towering peaks that surround it. We can enjoy a swim before our bike ride through the forests on our way back to the hotel in Bled. Tonight we will dine together at a small restaurant at Lake Bled, sampling some of Slovenia’s fine red wines and perhaps enjoying a toast with a sparkling wine.
After breakfast this morning we will pedal around Lake Bled and then head northward to Kranjska Gora, near the Austrian Border. Our path will allow us some exquisite views of craggy Alpine peaks. Hearty riders may enjoy more cycling: up and over Vršič Pass, well known for its switch-backs and breathtaking vistas. We may instead take it easy and head up by van, with a stop at Russian Prisoner’s Church, and then take a short hike near the top of the Pass.
We’ll end the day by descending southward to the the Soca River, near the border of Italy. We will check into one of the most charming small inns in the area, and will have a leisurely evening to have dinner on our own in the tiny town Kobarid.
This morning we will give the bicycles a rest. Guests may opt for a relaxing morning at leisure, while others will choose to go rafting on the Soca River.
This region was the site of the 1917 Battle of Caporetto, which is documented in the Kobariski World War I and in Ernest Hemingway’s novel “A Farewell to Arms.” We’ll visit the museum this afternoon, and then head to a secluded waterfall. We’ll have an afternoon at leisure, with plenty of time for relaxing, or walking through the nearby fields and forests. Our dinner together tonight will feature a sumptuous menu of locally produced specialties and regional wines.
This morning we will travel south to Livek to visit the World War I trenches that still criss-cross the countryside. We’ll ride our bicycles along a woodsy route southward and trending downhill toward a winery in the Goriška Hills of Brda. Our lunch will be a grand picnic overlooking the sloping vineyards and a peek into Italy in the distance. This afternoon we’ll visit the well-known winery and sample some of Slovenia’s most delicious wines. Later we will check in our small-town B&B and enjoy dinner together.
Small roads traverse the rolling countryside without regards to modern borders, so today we’ll find ourselves alternately in Italy and Slovenia, tasting internationally acclaimed wines from both countries as we go! Tonight we’ll dine in a stylish family restaurant with sweeping views of the Collio & Brda wine country.
Today we’ll return to Ljubljana, stopping along the way to visit a few medieval towns (Stanjel and Tomaj) and marveling at the unique limestone formations of the Karst region. This area produces uniquely Slovenian red wines, some of which we will sample at tonight’s special farewell dinner in the castle near our hotel in the heart of old Ljubljana.
There are no group activities today, so feel free to schedule the most convenient flights to your next destination, or train ride if you will be continuing your vacation in Europe. We will be transferred to the airport or train station for your next destination.