Emerald cycle tour from Ljubljana to Piran - capital to coast. Popular Slovenia cycling trip across limestone plateau, passing castles to the sparkling Adriatic Sea.
The popular Emerald cycle tour from Ljubljana to Piran takes you through Slovenia’s most famous historical attractions amid a stunningly diverse landscape. Suitable for cyclists of average fitness. From the cultural capital through the undulating landscape of the limestone karst, riddled with caves and dotted with castles and churches, to the sparkling Adriatic Sea; there is something for everyone.
Slovenia cycling trip highlights:
• visit the famous sights of the capital, Ljubljana
• head down into immense limestone caves
• take a walk on the Italian side in Trieste
• sip sumptuous red wine in a world of limestone
• end your trip on the sunny Adriatic coast
Day to day plan for the Emerald cycle tour from Ljubljana to Piran
Day 1: ARRIVAL TO LJUBLJANA.
Main attractions: Slovene capital, old town center, and lovely “fin de siecle” mansions. Mighty fortress above the city.
We liked: relaxing with a drink on the bank of Ljubljanica river. Evening walk, enjoying lights and sounds of the city. Accommodation in 4* hotel.
Day 2: LJUBLJANA - VRHNIKA (39 km (+18 km optional side trip to Iski Vintgar Valley)).
A nice easy first day across the historic and richly diverse plains surrounding the capital.
As the morning sun begins to rise high in the sky, you will be cycling across an immense 160-square kilometer marshy plain. The Ljubljansko Barje was once a great lake until it dried up 6000 years ago, leaving behind an incredibly diverse landscape that is now home to some of Europe’s rarest forms of bird, plant and insect life. Along the way you can take a short walk into the picturesque Iški Vintgar gorge nature reserve, carved deep into a stunning limestone dolomite plateau, and visit the remnants of the world’s highest railway viaduct in Borovnica. 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 totra Castle, where you’ll find a great hunting collection and an interesting exhibition of Tito’s cars. Accommodation in 3* hotel.
Day 3: VRHNIKA – POSTOJNA (32 km (+12 km optional side trip to nature reserve Rakov Skocjan)).
Hilly day, side roads. A slightly more demanding day over gentle hills, forest roads and a typical Carst polje (field).
On this day the roads will take you away from the main tourist routes and off the beaten track. You will experience the real Slovenian countryside as you cycle past the beautiful Slivnica Mountain and the intermittent lake of Planina, and marvel at the wonders of this vast world of limestone. You can stop for a picnic lunch in the Rakov Škocjan nature reserve, where the Rak River has carved out a stunning gorge containing some of nature’s most incredible landscape formations, including two natural bridges. Accommodation in 4* hotel.
Day 4: POSTOJNA – ŠTANJEL / KODRETI (42 km (+6 km optional side trip to Predjama Castle).
Hilly, one long descend afterward.
So far nearly 30 million tourists have visited this stunningly beautiful underground Postojna cave formation, carved deep into the heart of the limestone hills. This is the most extensive cave system in Slovenia, covering a total of 21 kilometers. The 1½ hour tour will take you through a fairy tale world full of large and colorful stalactites and stalagmites, not forgetting the unique “human fish”, a mysterious creature that lives in dark pools inside the caves.
You can also take a short detour to the impenetrable fortress of Predjama castle, wedged tight into a crevasse halfway up a 123-meter cliff-face protruding dramatically into the surrounding basin. Here lived a vivacious and daring knight. Erasmus kept a whole army at bay by utilizing the secret of the Predjama Caves to sneak out for supplies, which included freshly picked cherries which he used to throw at his adversaries to taunt them. Take the tour and learn how Erasmus met his untimely demise in less than poetic circumstances, as he was literally caught with his pants down. Accommodation in 3* guesthouse.
Day 5: ŠTANJEL – LIPICA – DIVAČA (48 km) Rolling terrain with flat sections.
First stop is perhaps at the botanical garden in Sežana, then it’s on to the stud farm of Lipica, where you can visit these beautiful thoroughbred Lipizaner horses whose glistening white coats and gentle, graceful dancing have earned them a worldwide reputation. The history of the Lipica horses is closely linked to the Vienna riding school. Take a tour in a traditional carriage, watch them perform and visit them close up in their stables. This will be a day to
remember. If you have the time for a couple of side-trips, you can also visit the unusual but very interesting “War Museum” set in the village tower of Lokev. Accommodation in 3* hotel.
Day 6: DIVAČA – MUGGIA (38 km). Initially rolling terrain, then a long downhill.
If you skiped Postojna caves – this morning you can visit Škocjan Caves – no less interesting but way less frequented Karst Caves – even listed as UNESCO natural monument! You can take a diversion into the Italian town of Trieste - once an important port with its worldly flair and wonderful atmosphere. Visit the castle, cathedral and Piazza Unita central square. Trieste was once part of Slovenia whilst under the rule of the Austrian monarchy. Relax with a cappuccino in the many old-fashioned cafes. The daytrip ends in Muggia - south of Trieste. After days\' cycling it is time to enjoy a gelato in old center of town or relax on one of beaches. Accommodation in 4* hotel.
Day 7: MUGGIA – PIRAN (37 km (+11 km optional side trip to salt pans Seca)). Easy trip.
Cycling along the coastal road on new cycling path following former railway line. Enjoy great vistas of Slovene coast and Trieste Bay. A coffee stop in fashionable resort of Portorož is a must. The Slovenia cycling trip ends in the gorgeous Venetian little harbor village of Piran. Accommodation in 3* hotel.
Day 8: Departure from PIRAN.
End of trip after breakfast.
Price of Slovenia cycling trip: Emerald cycle tour from Ljubljana to Piran is per person based on two people sharing:
Low season: March 20 to May 8 and September 18 to October 12, 2021: 675 EUR
High season: May 9 to September 17, 2021: 695 EUR