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Julian Alps to the Adriatic Cycling

from $2,899.00

Our 10 night holiday takes you from the turquoise waters of Lake Bled, nestled below Slovenia’s jagged Julian Alps, along the Alpe Adria Trail, passing into Italy. Wind down through the mountains to the island of Grado on the Adriatic coast. On route pass through the historic towns of Venzone, Udine and Palmanova.

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Self-guided
  • Activity Level Easy plus
    4/8
All about the Julian Alps to the Adriatic Cycling.

This relaxed cycling holiday explores the very heart of Central Europe, beginning in Slovenia on the shores of magical Lake Bled, passing by Austria before heading south through Italy and on to the Adriatic.
Throughout, there is a very distinct and multi-cultural feel, evident in the local language, culture and cuisine. A richly preserved regional heritage reveals a complex and tumultuous past; visit colossal archaeological sites like Aquileia, with its remains of a Roman city and early Christian cathedral; mediaeval Udine, full of artistic masterpieces, and the restored fortress town of Venzone, reflecting the Renaissance Utopian ideals of a bygone era.
The area is one of outstanding natural beauty too. With the dramatic limestone peaks of the Julian Alps providing a formidable backdrop to your route, it’s picture-postcard views all the way through lush forests, rolling meadows and pretty hamlets hemmed in by well-tended vineyards and shimmering mountain streams. On your final cycling stretch, the Adriatic seascape opens before you as you make a dramatic descent across the lagoon and on to the sun-kissed island of Grado with its sandy beaches lapped by crystal-clear waters.
The places we’ve chosen for you to stay in are among the best in the region. Hotel highlights include beautiful lakeside views from the luxurious 4-star Hotel Triglav in Bled; an alpine lodge in Tarvisio, and the 4-star Grand Hotel Hannover overlooking Grado’s pretty harbour and just 200m from the Adriatic Sea.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.
  • 10 nights accommodation, hotel-to-hotel
  • All continental breakfasts and 4 evening meals
  • Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
  • Route directions and maps
  • High quality bikes
  • Luggage transfers between hotels
  • Entrance to the Slovenian Alpine Museum
  • Standard transfers at the start/end of the trip (at designated place and time)
What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
  • E-Bike (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Gentle, easy-paced cycling through wonderfully scenic countryside – vines, lush forests, sun-soaked hamlets
  • Rich natural beauty: magical lakes and cobalt blue Adriatic Sea
  • Mediaeval villages, Renaissance towns, Venetian squares, historic hilltop castles
  • Rolling river valleys, dramatic limestone peaks, sweeping 360° views
  • UNESCO-listed Aquileia – immense early Roman Empire site
  1. Day 1 Day 1 - Arrive in Bled

    Arrive at your stunningly located 4-star hotel overlooking Lake Bled, its romantic island and mountains beyond. Time for a refreshing dip, sauna or massage before sampling chef Andrej Rovan’s gastronomic cuisine – we promise that dining here for the next 2 nights will be a real treat! (Staying at Hotel Triglav, Half Board)

  2. Day 2 Day 2 - Lake Bled Circular Cycle 32km/20mi or 41km/26mi

    Your circular warm-up ride takes you first along the shore of Lake Bled and then through a series of sleepy Slovenian hamlets and on to C12 Kamen Castle. Explore its Gothic and Renaissance keeps, and climb the preserved Roman tower – great views from the top. Picnic at the peaceful Zavrsnica Reservoir then cross the white-water Sava Dolinka River back towards Bled. We strongly recommend the short uphill detour to its castle – the oldest in Slovenia – with towers, ramparts, moat and viewing terrace. (Staying at Hotel Triglav, Half Board)

  3. Day 3 Day 3 - Lake Bled to Tarvisio 36km/22.5mi

    After breakfast, we take you (25 mins) to Mojstrana, a gateway village to the Triglav National Park. You can almost reach out and touch the jagged limestone pinnacles of the Julian Alps on the one side, and the contrasting rolling hills of the Karawanken mountains on the other, as you start your cycle west through the valley. Birdlife here is prolific so look out for eagles, hawks and rare birds of prey as you approach charming Kranjska Gora, a pretty alpine ski village and fantastic lunch spot. A pine-scented stretch then leads you across the border and down to the gorgeous 4-star Hotel Edelhof, just 5 minutes’ walk from the village centre. (Staying at Hotel Edelhof, Half Board)

  4. Day 4 Day 4 - At Tarvisio

    Widely regarded as the ’jewel in the crown’ of the Julian Alps, the twin glacial lakes of Fusine are breathtakingly beautiful. Alternatively, if you’re up for a longer cycling challenge, it’s an exhilarating ride over the border to the Austrian alpine town of Arnoldstein where a chairlift whisks you to the tripoint where Austria, Italy and Slovenia meet – a fabulous experience and undoubtedly one of the best photo opportunities of the week! (Staying at Hotel Edelhof, Half Board)

  5. Day 5 Day 5 - Tarvisio to Venzone 65km/41mi

    A longer but totally undemanding cycling route today packed with interest, colour and natural beauty. After a 400m descent (great fun!) into the wooded Fella Valley, your traffic-free cycle trails wind through cheery mountain communities – often criss-crossing the river below – en route to Venzone, a jaw-droppingly pretty mediaeval walled town, famous for its lavender. (Staying at Locanda al Fogolar, Breakfast only)

  6. Day 6 Day 6 - Venzone to Udine 54km/31.5mi

    As the sun rises the valley lights up and the mountain silhouettes come to life; you coast effortlessly along tranquil lanes, passing fruit orchards, vineyards and remote churches nestled in the rolling foothills of the Friuli hills. Lots of traditional villages – Tavagnacco, Treppo Piccolo and Osoppo – will tempt you for lunch before you continue on through gentian-carpeted meadows to the historic regional capital, Udine. (Staying at Astoria Hotel Italia, Breakfast only)

  7. Day 7 Day 7 - At Udine

    The birthplace of acclaimed C17 artist, Giambattista Tiepolo, Udine’s honeycomb of brightly coloured, portico-lined squares between Piazza Liberta, known as ’the most beautiful Venetian piazza on the mainland’ and Piazza Matteotti, boast fine shops, historic cafes and traditional osterias and are the very essence of this friendly city. For a longer day out Venice can be reached (90 mins) by train. (Staying at Astoria Hotel Italia, Breakfast only)

  8. Day 8 Day 8 - Udine to Palmanova 31km/19.5mi

    If you fancy the idea of gentle pedalling from one pretty wine village to the next – with lots of traditional tasting trattorias thrown in – then this is the day for you! Enjoy lunch in mediaeval Pavia di Udine then it’s on through sun-dappled cornfields and swaying vines to the C16 star-fort citadel of Palmanova. (Staying at Hotel ai Dogi Palmanova, Breakfast only)

  9. Day 9 Day 9 - Palmanova to Grado 30km/19mi

    The highlight of today’s cycle is, without doubt, the UNESCO-listed, ancient Roman city of Aquileia, a self-standing masterpiece of sacred art and historical treasure. Discover its immense archaeological site, magnificent C14 mosaics and dominant patriarchal basilica before heading down the spectacular Adriatic lagoon to the island town of Grado where the elegant 4-star Hotel Hannover overlooks the charming port, and is just 200m from the beach. (Staying at Hotel Hannover, Breakfast only)

  10. Day 10 Day 10 - At Grado

    It’s easy to see why Grado is known as the ’Sun Island’ and you may well be tempted to spend the day relaxing on its sandy beaches simply soaking up the lovely views over the sea to Croatia and Slovenia! But do make time to stroll the calli e campielli (lanes and courtyards) of the well-kept historic town. Here you’ll find winding alleys, pretty little squares and traditional cason (old fishermen’s houses clustered together almost one on top of the other). There is the option to cycle along the coast through the Cavanta nature reserve to the delta of the River Isonzo too. (Staying at Hotel Hannover, Breakfast only)

  11. Day 11 Day 11 - Leave Grado

    Please note that cycling helmets are compulsory in Slovenia for all customers under 15yrs. As we are unable to provide these, we strongly recommend that you bring your own. Please see our Planning your holiday page for full details.

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Where you stay
Hotel Triglav
The Hotel Triglav is a historic hotel sitting above beautiful Lake Bled, dating back to 1903 it has an interesting history through the times of communism and the break-up of Yugoslavia. It has in recent years become renowned for its innovative take of Slovenian cuisine. All rooms are of a good size, there is also a lovely terrace where you can view the lake and enjoy a glass of wine from its extensive cellar. The hotel has a swimming pool and sauna both adding to the comfort. Sitting opposite the town of Bled you can follow a lake path to either visit the town or the impressive castle which towers over the lake.
Grand Hotel Toplice
The hotel has a pleasing open aspect looking out over Lake Bled, there is a lakeside promenade accessed directly from the hotel. All rooms have a balcony.
Hotel Edelhof
Sitting just a short walk from the centre of Tarvisio and at the foot of the winter ski slopes the Hotel Edelhof takes its influences from bordering Austria in its design and feel. The breakfast room and restaurant are more akin to an Austrian Stube and the rooms are delightfully decorated, a mix of elegance with an Austrian mountain feel. The food though is distinctly Italian with great local choices and good wines, the hotel has a small spa area (pay locally) and a garden terrace.
Locanda al Fogolar
The Locanda al Fogolar is a recently renovated bed and breakfast, with nice sitting areas including a veranda style room perfect for apertivos! The rooms are of a good size and have a clean, modern feel. It is situated just a two minute walk from the historic centre of Venzone a town completely rebuilt from original stones after an awful earthquake in the seventies. The hotel has an Osteria attached to it which offers great local cuisine, there are a good choice of restaurants in the town.
Agiturismo Casali Scjs
The Agriturismo Casali Scjs is a quaint farmhouse in a rural setting. There is a restaurant next door or it’s around 400m into Venzone. A national monument, Venzone is a great example of architectural renovation. The Tiere Motus is a museum that retraces the history of the town and especially of the earthquake and the subsequent reconstruction work.
Astoria Hotel Italia
The Astoria hotel sits on one of the squares in the centre of the old town of Udine, the hotel building dates back to the 14th century and has been owned by many noble families. The rooms are large and offer all modern amenities, the large breakfast room opens out into a small garden where breakfast can be taken in good weather. The city’s historic quarter is on your doorstep with a huge choice of restaurants, and the train station is just a 20 minute walk away.
Hotel Ai Dogi Palmanova
This lovely 3 star hotel is in a quiet spot in the corner of the piazza which is the heart of the geometric perfect town. With the square on your doorstep, there is a great choice of restaurants and bars, and it is easy to explore the town. It has one of Italy’s best pizzerias. The rooms are nice and modern and the hotels small breakfast area has a well-stocked buffet.
Hotel Hannover
The Hotel Hannover is in the perfect position for visiting the town of Grado, situated looking over the harbour and on the edge of the charming old fishing quarter. It has good sized rooms some with balconies, others with views of the harbour, and a nice breakfast room and harbour side outside terrace. The restaurants of the town are within easy walking distance of the hotel.
Eating and Drinking

All continental breakfasts and 4 evening meals.

Slovenia’s cuisine reflects its rich heritage. Neighbours Austria, Italy and Hungary influence most dishes on the menu. In the mountains, Austrian style salamis (klobasa) prevail. You’ll often find them seasoning the hearty soups served in the Alpine huts. Kruha juha is the best – you get to eat the bowl too as it’s made out of bread! The Hungarian influence is seen in the spicy meat dishes.  Pleskavica (steak with herbs and paprika) is a good one to try.  On the coast, you’ll find Italian fayre, like rizota (risotto) with fresh mussels or zkilofri (Slovenian ravioli). And if you are still hungry, indulge yourself in a slice of potica (a creamy Swiss roll with walnuts).

Slovenia has been making wine since pre-Roman times, and boasts the oldest vine in the world, that has grown for four centuries. In the Vipava Valley, the stone villages are full of velbani hrami(vaulted wine cellars) where you can taste Teran (a heavy red best drunk with the local prsut or ham) or Rebula (a dry, crisp white). In the mountains look out for the bewildering variety of schnapps made from wormwood, blueberries, honey and even pine needles!

Cycling Conditions

Classification: Self-Guided
Activity Level: 2 (Leisurely/moderate)
Average daily distance on move on days: 37km (23 miles).
No. of days cycling: 6
Terrain and route: The suggested cycling mainly follows tranquil lanes and traffic-free cycle trails.
Vehicle Support: This is a self-guided trip for those who prefer to cycle independently, but with our assistance to take out the stress of the logistics and planning. We arrange your accommodations, provide you with a map and route notes so that you can cycle at your own pace. A representative will be there to meet you, make sure the bikes are all set up and will be on call throughout the trip should you need.

It is important that you are happy reading maps and following route notes, we make these as accurate as possible and they are regularly checked.

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. There maybe others on the same departure date as you, but you will not be organised together. The route notes contain a 24-hour emergency assistance telephone number should you need it and in emergencies, the local representative is normally able to dispatch a taxi or pick you up themselves. They may wish to charge for this service.

Throughout, there is a very distinct and multi-cultural feel, evident in the local language, culture and cuisine. A richly preserved regional heritage reveals a complex and tumultuous past; visit colossal archaeological sites like Aquileia, with its remains of a Roman city and early Christian cathedral; mediaeval Udine, full of artistic masterpieces, and the restored fortress town of Venzone, reflecting the Renaissance Utopian ideals of a bygone era.

The area is one of outstanding natural beauty too. With the dramatic limestone peaks of the Julian Alps providing a formidable backdrop to your route, it’s picture-postcard views all the way through lush forests, rolling meadows and pretty hamlets hemmed in by well-tended vineyards and shimmering mountain streams. On your final cycling stretch, the Adriatic seascape opens before you as you make a dramatic descent across the lagoon and on to the sun-kissed island of Grado with its sandy beaches lapped by crystal-clear waters.

Overall Rating
0/5

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