What to expect
Follow a medieval merchants' route from the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana, through flat marshlands and karst mountain scenery, to the west-coast town of Piran. The cycling is easy-going and gives you time to appreciate authentic Slovenian life. As you cycle beneath forested slopes and along green valley floors, you’ll see stunning castles and beautiful horses.
The scenery of rocky limestone peaks, waterfalls and river rapids is astounding – Iski Vintgar gorge is a highlight plus you’ll step inside one of the world's most visited cave systems. This is real Slovenia, away from the tourist routes but with welcoming villages to stop at en route. The cobbled streets and lively cafes of Slovenia’s compact capital get this tour off to a great start and the Mediterranean waters at Piran are an alluring place to finish.
Alternatively, if you would prefer to see Slovenia with a guide, please see our guided tour.
(Please note: This tour was formerly known as 'Emerald Route').
At a glance
- Leisurely cycling from central Slovenia to the sea
- Green gorges, karst scenery, sink holes and caves
- Enchanting streets of Slovenia’s compact capital
- Authentic villages and towns which show a slice of real Slovenia
Arrive in Ljubljana
Arrive in Slovenia’s capital of Ljubljana and visit the daily market (not Sundays), hilltop castle or relax with a drink by the riverside.
Ljubljana - Vrhnika
24 miles (39 km) + optional 11 mile (18km) detour to Vintgar gorge
Cycle across Ljubljansko Barje and ride through a flat, former marshland area to reach the town of Vrhnika. Stroll to the Iski Vintgar Gorge to see the rapids, sandbanks and steep rock walls. Continue behind the village of Borovnica to a karst landscape with sinkholes, underground caves and waterfalls. In hot summer months you can even freshen up in a typical carst lake of Podpec. Just before arriving in Vrhnika, you can visit the technical museum of the Republic of Slovenia housed in Bistra Castle, where you'll find a great hunting collection and an exhibition of Tito's cars.
Vrhnika - Postojna
20 miles (32km) + optional 7 miles (12 km) side trip to nature reserve Rakov Skocjan)
Ride across hillier landscapes with some flat sections over typical karst fields. This is real Slovenia, away from the tourist routes and off the beaten track. Make an optional stop for a picnic in the Rakov Škocjan nature reserve, where the Rak River has carved out a stunning gorge containing some of naturer's most incredible landscape formations, including two natural bridges.
Postojna - Štanjel /Kodreti
26 miles (42 km) + optional 4 miles (6km) to Predjama Castle
Discover the Postojna Caves – the most famous and visited cave system in the world. Take an optional detour to the impenetrable Predjama Castle – a beautiful Renaissance castle built 123 high into the mouth of a cave.
Štanjel - Lipica - Divaca
30 miles (48 km)
Cycle along mostly flat terrain with some rolling sections. Stop off at the botanical garden in Sežana and the unusual war museum in the village tower at Lokev. Arrive in Lipica village and discover the area’s famous horses, taking a tour in a traditional carriage or watching them perform.
Divaca - Ankaran
29 miles (46 km) + optional 12 miles (19km) to Trieste
If you missed the Postojna caves, stop off at the less frequented Skocjan Caves listed as a UNESCO natural monument. Otherwise, continue on the rolling terrain before enjoying a long downhill from the Karst Plateau to either reach the former port of Trieste in Italy to visit the castle, cathedral and Piazza Unita central square, or to ride directly to Ankaran in Slovenia for an afternoon on the beach.
Please note - 2018 departures will go from Divaca to Muggia, an Italian seaside town 24 miles (38km)
Ankaran - Piran
19 miles (30 km) + optional 7 miles (11km) side trip to the saltpans Seca)
Cycle along the coast on a former railway line enjoying wonderful views of the Slovenian coast and the bay of Trieste. Stop off at the fashionable resort of Portoroz before reaching the small and pretty Venetian harbour of Piran.
Please note - 2018 departures will go from Muggia to Piran 23 miles (37km)
Depart from Piran
Make your way home from Piran, taking either a transfer or train, or extend your stay with extra nights in Piran or Ljubljana.
Alternatively, take the ferry from Piran to Venice. A regular service operates between May and September and one-way or return tickets can be booked in advance. Please contact us for details.
3 & 4* Hotels and Guesthouses
We use a pool of 3 and 4* hotels and guesthouses to maximise our availability for this tour, so regardless of the time of year we do our best to secure your dates of choice. The accommodation often has a lovely local flair, with a chance to experience local life with an authentic flavour of your destination.
- A mix of 3* & 4* hotels and guesthouses
- Breakfast included, half board available
- Secure bike storage
- Luggage transferred each day
Dates & Prices
Please click on a departure date for price options at a glance - 2018 dates on sale*
- 7 nights in 3 and 4 star hotels and guesthouses
- Board basis: Bed and breakfast
- Luggage transportation (one bag per person (max 20kg) & additional bags at extra cost)
- Maps and route information
- Welcome meeting
- Local contact number for assistance
- Free parking at first hotel on request only - must be confirmed at time of booking
- Flights and transfers
- Bike hire
- Cycle helmets
- Child (up to 2 years) sharing with 2 full paying guests (100%)
- Child (2-6yrs) sharing with 2 full paying guests (50%)
- Child (7-12yrs) sharing with 2 full paying guests (30%)
- 3rd adult sharing with 2 full paying guests (10%)
*2018 itinerary differs from 2017 itinerary - please see extra notes in itinerary
Bike Hire & Extras
One pannier and cycling odometer per bike. One small repair kit, pump, spare inner tube and a lock per room all included at no extra cost.
21 geared hybrid bike
You can add these when you price your trip
Board upgrade (B&B included)
How to Get There
Fly to Ljubljana
Taxis are available at the airport to the first hotel in Ljubljana.
Transfers can be booked from Ljubljana aiport to Ljubljana on arrival day.
Transfers can be booked from Piran to Ljubljana or Trieste on departure day.
Fly from Ljubljana or Trieste
News, Reviews & FAQs
Simply click on a question to reveal the answers
Why are the hotels not listed in the itinerary?
We use a pool of hotels to maximise availability for you.
What other customers have said
Been on this tour? Add your review!
I am overall very pleased with my first cycling holiday. I had the right mix of hard work and leisure. Having accommodation sorted and routes handed to us made it as hassle-free for us as possible. I would definitely recommend to others. I was really impressed by Slovenia as a country.Cheryl Turkington, May 2016