Current as of: February 21, 2024 - 02:04

Julian Alps to the Adriatic Cycling

Julian Alps to the Adriatic Cycling Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Self-Guided Holidays
  • Destination: Italy, Slovenia
  • Programmes: Cycling
  • Activity Level:

    2 out of 7 - Leisurely / Moderate

  • 11 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 11 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 18+
  • Trip Code: C10SV

Trip Overview

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.

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.

At a Glance

  • 10 nights hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of 2 star, 3 star and 4 star hotels
  • 6 Days cycling
  • Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
  • E-bike hire available on request (supplement applies)

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

Is This Trip for You?

Cycling Conditions

Classification: Self-Guided
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.

Group

As this is a self-guided holiday there is no group and no leader. A local representative is on hand to assist you and will meet you at the beginning of the week to go through the route notes and point out particular places of interest. Your luggage is transferred and route notes and maps are provided.

Adult min age: 18

Itinerary

C10SV map

Land Only

  • Start City: Bled
  • End City: Grado

Flight Inclusive

  • Start City: London
  • End City: London

Land Only Itinerary

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)

Meals included: Dinner

Day 2
Lake Bled Circular Cycle

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 12th century 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)

Distance covered: 25mi (41km)

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3
Lake Bled to Tarvisio

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, Breakfast only)

Distance covered: 22mi (36km)

Meals included: Breakfast

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, Breakfast only)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 5
Tarvisio to Venzone

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 medieval walled town, famous for its lavender. (Staying at Agriturismo Casali Scjs, Breakfast only)

Distance covered: 40mi (65km)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6
Venzone to Udine

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)

Distance covered: 31mi (50km)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 7
At Udine

The birthplace of acclaimed 17th century 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)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 8
Udine to Palmanova

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 medieval Pavia di Udine then it’s on through sun-dappled cornfields and swaying vines to the 16th century star-fort citadel of Palmanova. (Staying at Hotel ai Dogi Palmanova, Breakfast only)

Distance covered: 19mi (31km)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 9
Palmanova to Grado

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 14th century 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)

Distance covered: 19mi (30km)

Meals included: Breakfast

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)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 11
Leave Grado

The tour ends after breakfast in Grado.

Meals included: Breakfast

Ascents, descents and distances

All ascents, descents and distances listed above have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders, in many cases with satellite-based mapping software. Please note, different GPS measuring devices can give differing results, particularly on winding paths or in mountainous terrain. Measurements stated throughout these trips notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter. Timings stated will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Accommodation

Hotels

Julian Alps to the Adriatic Cycling

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.

Single supplement from £ 308

Food & Drink

All continental breakfasts and 2 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!

 

Weather & Seasonality

Slovenia has a mixed alpine climate with summer temperatures in the range of 18 to 25ºC. In the mountains cool mornings are normally followed by warm pleasant days, with temperatures in the Alps being ideal for walking. During summer months afternoon showers of rain cool down the humidity, giving way to clear skies and pleasant temperatures.

Weather Charts

Julian Alps to the Adriatic Cycling

Joining Instructions

Alternative transfers
If you require alternative transfers (because you will be arriving at a different time to our standard flights), then we can usually arrange these for you (there may be an additional charge).

Alternative Air Travel
Alternative flights, onward rail to your holiday area, and connecting private transfers can be arranged from most UK airports.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Bled
Location end: Grado

Transfer Details

Standard transfers
On flight inclusive packages transfers included from Ljubljana airport at 12:15, and back to Trieste airport at 10:15.

What To Take

Essential Equipment

Waterproofs

Warm jumper/fleece

Suncream

Water bottle (1 litre) you will be able to refill each day at the accommodation.

GPS Route Navigation

Ride with GPS logo

We’ve teamed up with RideWithGPS to provide our carefully researched and checked itineraries in a convenient format, similar to a car satnav, with turn-by-turn instructions all along your route.

Before you travel we’ll send you everything you need to download your route notes and the free RideWithGPS app. It’s available for iPhone and Android and the routes can also be used on any regular GPS device such as the Garmin Edge bike computers or Forerunner fitness devices.

For more details and to watch the demonstration video, please visit our GPS Route Navigation page.

If you prefer the familiarity of your own bike, you may, of course, bring it along. Please advise us at the time of booking and you will receive a discount on the price of the holiday, as specified above. You will be responsible for any extra baggage charges, please speak to your sales representative for individual airline fees. Please note, this does not apply to trips within the UK, for which local bike hire is not included.

You will also be responsible for assembling and disassembling your bike as well as bringing along spare parts and any tools specific to it. It is also your responsibility to ensure your bike is roadworthy and suitable for the type of cycling undertaken. If in doubt, the model of local bike hire available should act as a guide and details of terrain, ascent and descent are available both in the itinerary and in the ‘Is this trip for you?’ sections. Our cycling team only carry the relevant spares for the hire fleet. Any clients bringing their own bike should ensure they have adequate cover for loss, damage or theft under their travel, home contents or a specialist insurance policy. If Exodus is confident we have taken all reasonable care to ensure the safety of your bike, in the rare event of loss, damage or theft, you will need to claim under your own insurance policy.

Extra bike accessories

You may like to bring your own pedals and saddle (excluding the seat post) or gel saddle cover to fit to the hire bikes. We encourage this, if it is your preference. However, please note that you are responsible for your own equipment, and removing your saddle/pedals at the end of the trip. We cannot guarantee the return of any bike parts left behind.

Exodus Policy on Cycling Helmets

Wearing a helmet is mandatory for anyone taking part in any guided Exodus cycling holiday. Group members must bring their own helmets, as they are not available for hire, even if they are hiring a bike from Exodus.

For self-guided cycling holidays wearing a helmet is highly recommended. Customers who choose to ignore our advice do so entirely at their own risk and on the understanding that it may affect the validity of their travel insurance. It should also be noted that in some countries, wearing a helmet is a legal requirement.

Cycling of all kinds has its dangers and accidents can happen from time to time. Please ensure that you are properly prepared for the riding you are going to undertake.

Local Bike Details

A quality local hire bike is included in the overall price of our cycling holidays. At the time of booking we will take your height in order to reserve equipment. There may on occasions be insufficient bikes available in the correct size; we will endeavour to find suitable alternative equipment but this cannot be guaranteed. We will tell you before you book whether suitably sized bikes are available.

Conditions 

1. The equipment remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, hire out or part possession with the equipment.
2. You must not misuse the equipment and must return it in the same condition as when received (ordinary wear and tear excepted). The supplier is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the equipment during the period of hire.
3. You must ensure that the equipment is adequately secured when not in use. In the event of the equipment being lost or stolen, you may be liable for the replacement value of the equipment
4. You must not use the equipment whilst under the influence of drink or drugs and should immediately notify the Supplier in the event of breakdown or loss.

Reading List

  • Lonely Planet Country Guide to Slovenia
  • The Rough Guide to Slovenia
  • Slovenia Insight Pocket Guide
  • DK Eyewitness Travel Guide
  • Lonely Planet Italy and Rough Guide to Italy both cover the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. You can download to Kindle the Friuli Venezia Giulia sections from;
  • Rough Guide snapshots; Friuli Venezia Giulia
  • Friuli Venezia Giulia; chapter from the Blue Guide Northern Italy

Practical Information

Visa

Slovenia

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter Slovenia. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

Italy

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter Italy. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

• Australia: www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/europe/italy
• Canada: www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/italy
• United Kingdom: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/italy/entry-requirements
• USA:  www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Italy.html

Please note: it is compulsory to carry ID with you at all times in Italy.

Vaccinations and Health

Slovenia

There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rabies and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.

Italy

There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus, rabies and tick-borne encephalitis. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.

Local Time

Slovenia's time zone: Europe/Ljubljana (UTC +01:00)

Italy's time zone: Europe/Rome (UTC +01:00)

Electricity

Slovenia's electricity: Plug types C (two round pins) and F (two round pins) – 230V, 50Hz

Italy's electricity: Plug types C (two round pins, European standard), F (two round pins), and L (three round pins in a row) – 230V, 50Hz

Money

Slovenia's currency: Euro (EUR)

Italy's currency: Euros (EUR)

ATM Availability

ATM machines can be found in Ljubljana and Bled. Most places will accept credit cards however we would recommend that you take some Euros with you for use in the mountain huts.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Allow from £15 (approx. US$25) per day for extra expenses whilst trekking: soft drinks, lunches and alcohol. Also allow £10-12 (approx. US$15-20) per meal, for dinner and drinks whilst in Bled.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Licensing

Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.