Slovenia: The Julian Alps to the Adriatic Sea

Slovenia: The Julian Alps to the Adriatic Sea

Sunday 11 September – Sunday 18 September 2022

7 days
5 days cycling
199km
Flights NOT included

OVERVIEW

We are really excited to dip our toes into our first sustainable adventure - the Bike Slovenia Green cycling route - which was opened in 2019 as the world’s first multi-stage route to layover in only green-certified cities, towns, and villages. This incredible route, which links asphalt roads, gravel bike only paths and dirt trails across seven sustainability-focused stops, traverses the length of Slovenia’s western border, from the Julian Alps around the country's iconic Lake Bohinj and Lake Bled to the Adriatic Sea - through alpine landscapes, vineyard-covered foothills, and the exposed limestone of the country’s southwestern Karst region.

The route stops in places that make responsible practices a priority, but are also incredible places to cycle to and through - and all of the towns meet the strict international and the even stricter Slovenian standards for Green certification. Starting high in the Julian Alps in the mountain town of Kranjska Gora, we head south to the shores of Lake Bled – the country’s calling-card postcard shot complete with island-bound church – before we roll into Triglav National Park, on the way to Lake Bohinj. After the Soča Valley with its emerald-green river, the trail follows the Italian border’s contours through the town of Šmartno – in one of the nation’s best wine regions – before entering Komen and Lipica in the karst region and onto the Adriatic coastline. We can’t wait….

Please click here to download the info pack for more details


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Itinerary
Day 1Sunday 11 September
Upon arrival, it’s a transfer to the picturesque Kranjska Gora – renowned for its stunning alpine scenery and abundance of outdoor activities. It’ll be late by the time we get to the hotel, so it’s a quick supper and short briefing – leaving time to prepare for the early start and bike fitting in the morning.

Day 2Monday 12 September
Kranjska Gora to Lake Bled ∙ Cycle 42km
After a hearty breakfast, our ride begins with a gentle descent on asphalt cycle paths, where we’re riding along the Sava river, crossing backwards and forwards over the water using old railway bridges until reaching Mojstrana , ready to face a long ascent on local asphalt roads all the way to the Zgornja Radovna Valley. This is followed by a steep descent into the valley with gorgeous views of the Krma Valley and the surrounding meadows. After a short gravel section, our cycling continues on asphalt roads through Radovna, all the way to Krnica. An uphill ride to the plateau above Zgornje Gorje, we cross the main roads to Pokljuka before finally descending in the direction of Bled for a perfect ending on the shore of the lake.

Lake Bled, with its blue-green lake, picture-postcard church on an islet, a medieval castle clinging to a rocky cliff and some of the highest peaks of the Julian Alps and the Karavanke as backdrops, Bled is one of Slovenia's highlights.

Optional evening tour to visit the Church of the Mother of God on the island.

(63km – 630m elevation gain/960 loss)


Day 3Tuesday 13 September
Ride Bled to Bonhinj ∙ Cycle 44km
Another day of stunning views as we wake to a gentle circuit of the southern shore of Lake Bled. But it’s not all plain sailing, as passing the railway station, it’s an undulating cycle along the valley floor, though the deep forests along scenic bike paths across pastures in the direction of Lake Bohinj. Different from the picture postcard Lake Bled, Bohinj is set in a wild natural landscape, but there’s a short punch of a climb up to our sports orientated/activity hotel to look forward to, where there’s plenty to do – if the energy is still there!

Bohinj is a paradise valley embraced by the Julian Alps, the most extensive and highest mountain range in Slovenia. Its most recognizable natural site is the gorgeous Lake Bohinj – an open invitation to the various water activities available.

(45km – 990m elevation gain/950 loss)


Day 4Wednesday 14 September
Train Bohinj to Most na Soči ∙ Most na Soči to Šmartno ∙ Cycle 51km
We've a different sort of start to the day as we hop aboard for a 45min scenic train ride out of the valley to Most na Soči. From here, its back on the bikes to continue our incredible Slovenian adventure. Riding on the bank of the Soča river - following local asphalt roads - we are soon passing Plave, where we switch to a beautiful bike path that runs high above the right bank of the Soča, all the way to the Solkan bridge. After crossing the famous bridge, we follow a cycle path, briefing crossing the state border into Italy. A short gravel ascent into the village of Znorišče (Conigo) and we’re descending on a winding road in the direction of Sabotin and back to Slovenia. Through the pretty villages of Hum, Kojsko and Gonjače, there’s a short descent into Šmartno, our final destination of the day.

(51km - 1350m elevation gain/1280m loss)


Day 5Thursday 15 September
Šmartno to Lipica ∙ Cycle 75km
Today's ride begins cycling through the typical hilly landscape of Goriška Brda. On the way through Kozana and Vipolže, we're surrounded by the stunning views of the local vineyards. Short ascents and descents take us to Italian Gorizia with lovely plazas, streets and cafes before cycling through a tunnel under the Gorizia castle to return back into Slovenia. It’s a relatively flat stretch on asphalt roads and dedicated bike paths through Šempeter and Miren, where we cross the gleaming Vipava river and we begin to get views of the typical Karst landscape opening up. We finish the day in Lipica, close to the border with Italy and one of the main areas of Slovenia’s karst region - also know for the Lipica Stud Farm, the origin of the Lipizzan horse.

(Approx 76km – 900 elevation gain/750m loss)


Day 6Friday 16 September
Lipica to Portorož ∙ Cycle 62km
The final day of riding on our incredible Slovenian adventure! An early start for our final push to our finish line at the Adriatic Sea and the picturesque historical coastal town of Portorož.
This classic stage takes us from Lipica across the Italian border to Bazovica. The route continues on local asphalt roads to the tiny village of Drage, where we switch to the picturesque bike path along the old railway route from Trieste to Kozina. We follow the beautiful gravel road through the tunnels and above the Glinščica Valley, eventually arriving to the village of Boršt. From here we descend to the main road which leads to Boljunec and the mostly flat asphalt route all the way to Portorož, Slovenia’s Adriatic seaside resort and spa town.

Tonight we celebrate our achievement with a special gala dinner.

(Approx 70km – 780m elevation gain/1160 loss)


Day 7Saturday 29 October
Day of leisure – free day in Portorož
Free time to enjoy the beach, local spas or opt for a guided walking tour in Piran-Portorož and Salins National Park.

Day 8Sunday 18 September
Transfer to Ljubljana. (1hr 20min transfer) or Trieste (50min transfer) for our flight back to London.
NB This itinerary is complex and subject to change. Strava links and route profiles with confirmed distances will be provided in the New Year.
What’s included
Twin-sharing accommodation in local hotels with upgraded accommodation at the end of the challenge. Limited singles available on request.
Airport transfers upon arrival and departure if taking the recommended flights/meeting at the specified point and time.
All meals (with the exception of lunches on non-cycling days), including celebration meal at end of ride.
Fully supported ride with organised refreshment stops, ride leaders, support vehicles, mechanic and doctor.
Bike hire
FREE Norwood cycle jersey

What’s not included

Your flights. Details of recommended flights will be provided.
Lunch on non-cycling days (Sunday, Saturday, Sunday)
Any personal cycling equipment, clothing or helmet.
Travel insurance, visa, tips, gratuities, optional excursions and personal expenses.
How challenging is it?

This is a medium-level Challenge, graded 3.5 out of 5. There are some long daily distances and up to six to eight hours in the saddle. While it has been designed to be challenging, this ride is achievable with some regular training. Ideally you should be a keen cyclist, enjoy training and ride regularly. You need to have a good level of endurance with an ability to sustain the level of effort required over a period of days. You should, therefore, be doing regular exercise with some serious cycle training, including long rides in the countryside/five hours +.

You will be required to complete a medical form and sign a disclaimer. This itinerary may be subject to change and to the latest UK Govt and FCO Travel guidelines - which will be reviewed in the lead up to the event.

REGISTRATION & FUNDRAISING

Places are limited on this event. To secure your place, we’ll be asking for an initial registration fee of £395 (if aged over 35) and £295 (35 or under). You will then have the option to (A) fundraise the entire balance (B) cover the costs of the challenge yourself and fundraise a minimum amount or (C) cover the entire costs of the challenge and the minimum fundraising requirement yourself.


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Any questions?

Contact Julie Braithwaite on 0208 420 6811 to find out more.

Download our training guide