Fly to Ljubljana, then transfer to Novigrad in Croatia.
This morning we tackle our first ride. We will head north east inland to the town on Buje, a historic town which sits aloft the green hills of the area in a strategic position, meaning it has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. From Buje we will join the Parenzana bike route, which follows an old train line and is now a beautiful route through the countryside. This will take us to Groznjan, a mediaeval town known for art and music, with some 20 galleries and studies and the artists known for mingling around exchanging ideas, it makes for a wonderful atmosphere. We head further inland to the village of Livade, before making our way back to Novigrad on the coast.
Novigrad is lovely place to spend a few relaxing evenings, it is a pretty fishing town with a rich cultural heritage, natural beauty and plenty of Mediterranean charm. There are lots of restaurants and cafes to sit and soak up the holiday atmosphere, or you could take the opportunity for a swim in the sea before dinner.
Heading south out of Novigrad we will cycle through Tar, with it's advantageous position aloft a fertile plateau. We will continue our journey inland to Visnjan before heading back to Porec on the coast. Porec is a beautiful seaside town and now a popular holiday destination. Its narrow streets are home to a plethora of shops, lovely restaurants and cafes. It's position on the coast makes it a very nice place to while a few hours or take a dip in the sea. It's most famous treasure is the Euphrasian Basilica - one of Croatia's UNESCO world heritage sites. Rebuilt in the 6th Century it includes an atrium, baptistery, bishop's palace, mosaics and remains of sacral building dating from the 3rd and 4th Centuries. You can climb the steps of the bell tower to get a fabulous view over the town before heading into the Basilica to admire the incredible frescoe, vibrant with gold. We will have a few hours to explore Porec and stretch our legs before getting back on the bikes and returning to Novigrad.
We say goodbye to Novigrad for the last time this morning and transfer back to Porec for the start of today's ride. Our destination is Rovinj, but we will go via the Lim Channel, also known as the Lim Fjord. It is part of a 35km long valley which turns into Lim Bay - a 10km estuary. It is a real area of natural beauty, with lots of flora and fauna and great views. We will then make our way onto Rovinj, known as the 'Venice of Croatia'. It's narrow streets radiating from the central basilica cannot fail to charm. By day the cafes and shops are bustling and by night the streets are lit by candle light from the restaurant tables. There is a strong fishing tradition in Rovinj and the harbour is a great place to soak up some atmosphere.
The St Euphemia Trail starts in Rovinj and this will be our guide today on our circular ride today. It will take us through the beautiful countryside surrounding Rovinj past old villages proud of their Gothic and Renaissance architecture, to the small village of Rovinjsko Selo which has a couple of pretty churches dating back to the 14th and 16th Centuries. The trail will bring us back to Rovinj for the evening, where we can spend more time soaking up the charm of this town.
Today we stay a lot closer to the sea as we make our way south from Rovinj to Pula. Cycling through vineyards and olive groves, with the red tiled roofs of the surrounding villages, this is a charming ride. Once we reach Pula there will be time to explore this fascinating Roman town off the bike. Pula, due to it's natural harbour, has been inhabited since the Bronze Age, but it was transformed into an imperial city by the Emperor Augustus. There are many pretty streets to explore with an array of boutique shops and a pretty harbour. However, the town is most famous for it's incredibly well preserved amphitheatre, which is the 6th largest of its kind in the world. Now it is used for film festivals and summer operas and for people to come and admire it's grandeur and imagine the history that has gone before. Once we have had a good look around we will transfer across the Slovenian boarder to Postojna, where we will spend the night.
We have a shorter circular ride today, as there is quite a lot to fit in. The ride will take us through the Postojna area to Predjama Castle, before returning to Postojna. We then have chance to go into Postojna cave. The cave is a fantastic network of tunnels, passages, galleries and halls with wonderfully diverse karst features. It is one of the largest karst monuments in the world - to the extent that it is possible to take a small train into the tunnels. The stalactites and stalagmites are incredible and one, known simply as 'the Brilliant' stands at 5 meters and shines brilliantly white with the constant stream of water that flows over it. We will then make our way back to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. There will be time to look around the city this evening and enjoy a last meal together.
There should be time to look around the city again this morning and the possibility of an optional guided tour could be arranged. Transfer to the airport; fly to London.