Are you interested in a guided bike tour of Slovenia? Here are some amazing things you can do along the way when exploring Slovenia by bicycle!
Our cycling adventures continue and we are happy to have a sunny and crisp day ahead as we head out for our 4th day of cycling. We begin with a 10-minute train ride that takes us over the Sorica Pass and avoids a steep 6-mile climb with an 18% grade on our way into Tolmin.
It’s still raining in the area and the plan is to get to Tolmin amidst sunny skies. As luck would have it, we arrive at our destination before the rain. We are staying in a hotel dating back to the 17th century and was once the home belonging to Italian aristocrats. We end up sharing the dining room which was once a wine cellar with two hikers who are on a 14-day hike, from where else, but Colorado.
Day 5 of our cycling tour begins in the rain and takes us into the wine region of Slovenia. This area was once ruled by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, once belonged to Italy and is now part of Slovenia. (Looks and feels like Italy) We are now cycling with our Denver friends, all on our way to the town of Smartno.
In the middle of our day we stop at a museum which is also the home of Miss Josephine. We are wet and cold; she builds a fire in a separate room that is equipped with an old fire pit surrounded with benches for us to sit on while she makes us tea and cooks polenta with bacon to help us warm up.
The next 2 ½ hours are spent sitting around an open fire pit inside the house listening to Miss Josephine telling us stories of Slovenian life. Just as we thought we should leave, she whisks us off to show us the rest of the museum which is filled with WW1 memorabilia, and other old Slovenian historic artifacts. What a wonderful way to get out of the rain.
Dobrovo Castle, Olive Oil Tasting and Continuing Towards the Village of Stanjel, Day 5 of Our Slovenia Cycling Tour!
We land at our hotel in Smartno, situated high above a valley giving us a view of the vineyards for as far as the eye can see. Just across the street is the medieval 17th Century Dobrovo Castle complex that is now small shops and restaurants.
We stop in for a unique olive oil tasting event. We are given a very interesting education in the different types of olive oil and how they are rated. We also try the highly rated orange essence olive oil drizzled over chocolate almond cake…delicious, who knew?!
On our 6th day of our cycling tour, we ask ourselves do we really want to continue this adventure in the pouring rain on bicycles? We decide not and arrange transportation to the next small village of Stanjel. Our hotel tonight is another unique find. An old farmhouse recently renovated by a couple committed to a peaceful and beautiful environment focusing on holistic health. We are greeted with hot tea, warm and genuine conversation and the sweetest miniature greyhound who thinks I’m his long-lost best friend. Once again, we have the entire establishment to ourselves.
Slovenian Dinner In a Medieval Castle!
We set off to have dinner at the medieval Stanjel Castle built in the 17th century, fortified to defend against the Ottoman raids. Again, we are the only visitors in the complex. Dinner in the castle-our friendly waiter suggested our entire meal which included different wine pairings for another pleasant evening.
Day 7 – Yes, it’s still raining, re-phrase-pouring sheets of rain. Staying with plan B-Transportation arranged again- we arrive in Divaca, home to the Lipaca Stud Farm and the Skocjan Caves. A Lipizzaner horse farm in the rain might equate to a lot of mud, so we opted for the caves. This cave system is ranked as the most important cave systems in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When we arrive, it’s closed due to potential flooding. We hike the perimeter of the park and are able to witness the powerful force of water rushing from the cave from an overlook high above.
While having lunch at our hotel we meet a couple who have cycled through Croatia and are beginning a tour in Slovenia, guess where they are from? It is now the 4th group of Coloradans we have met whose home is Denver.
Day 8 – Still raining. Our hometown of Denver is also experiencing wacky weather with reports of recent snow and hail. We are officially finished with our bike tour and are now in the small seaport town of Muggia, Italy. A short ferry ride takes us to Trieste where we spend the afternoon at The Miramar Castle, the seaside home of the former Emperor Ferdinand Maximilian and wife Charlotte, the Princess of Belgium. The beautiful castle is filled with original furnishings and artwork of the early 19th century which include much of his Habsburg royal lineage.
Preferably my reporting would be that our entire bike tour included sun-filled days. The month of May in Slovenia historically is one of the driest months. This year, like so many places around the world Mother Nature had a different plan.
In our case Plan B seemed like a better choice.
Would you like to experience a guided cycling tour of Slovenia?
You can this September! Some spots left!