8 days

Start in lovely Ljubljana, one of Europe’s greenest capital cities.

Cycle all the way to the warm waters of the Adriatic coast.

Discover immense limestone caves, plunging gorges and dramatic hilltop castles.

Dip into Italy to enjoy a cappuccino in Trieste and marvel at its Miramare Castle.

End your trip in the stunning coastal village of Piran.

Self-guided cycling holiday: from Ljubljana to Piran

Slovenia’s Emerald Cycling Tour takes you through the country’s most famous historical attractions amid a stunningly diverse landscape. From the green and cultural capital, Ljubljana, you will cycle through an undulating karst limestone landscape. This is a countryside riddled with dramatic caves and gorges and dotted with hilltop castles and churches. Your cycle route takes you all the way to the sparkling Adriatic Sea and ends in picturesque Piran, one of the most beautiful villages on the whole Adriatic coast. This is the perfect place to unwind after your week of cycling with some delicious fresh seafood and chilled white wine!

As with all of our self-guided cycling tours, this trip includes luggage transportation and very comfortable accommodation.

8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS From €885 per person sharing*

*A single supplement charge will apply for solo travellers.
*A €55 high-season surcharge will apply from May 4 to September 20.

BIKE RENTAL If you don’t bring your own, you can rent a bicycle from us.

Classic touring bikes are equipped with 21 gears, one pannier bag per bike, one lock, one spare inner tube, one set of Allen keys and a basic puncture repair kit per couple / pair of bikes. A bike helmet is also included with each rental bike.

Bike rental period starts at 9:00 of day two of the tour (the day you leave Ljubljana) and ends at 18:00 on day seven, when you arrive in Piran.

Bike hire prices (weekly rates)

  • Touring bike (21-gear): €90
  • E-bike: €230
ACCOMMODATION In 3*/4* hotels and country guesthouse in a two-bed room with WC and shower, on a bed & breakfast basis.
AVAILABILITY You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between March 23rd and October 12th.
7 x overnight stays
7 x breakfasts
Luggage transport between hotels (1 piece pp, max. 23 kgs)
Detailed route notes, maps (in electronic form) and GPS tracks
Local tourist and other taxes
Backup service (hotline) during the trip
Flights & travel insurance
Lunches or dinners
Transport to Ljubljana or from Piran
Anything else not mentioned in the Included section
Bike rental
Additional nights before, during or after the trip
Single room supplement
Personal welcome meeting & bike fitting upon arrival (€30)
Printed route notes and maps on arrival (€30)
DIFFICULTY The difficulty level of this trip is rated as moderate overall. There are some hilly sections, especially on the middle stages, but distances are manageable. Many days have shorter and longer cycling options. The trip is suitable for cyclists of average fitness. The route is 95% paved and you will cycle mainly on side roads and quiet country roads. Some short stretches on gravel paths that should not present any difficulties. You will be provided with detailed route notes, maps and GPS tracks so you can easily find your way.

Day 1: Arrival in Ljubljana

You will have a personal welcome meeting and bike fitting upon arrival.

If you arrive in time, you can visit the historic old town. Marvel at the ornate, old-world architecture in the shadow of Ljubljana Castle, perched high on a hilltop and standing guard over the old town. From the castle tower, you get a commanding view of the city and surrounding mountains.

Enjoy a meal in the old town and then round it off with a beer beside the Ljubljanica River, or on a riverboat ride.

Overnight: Ljubljana. Accommodation in a central 4* hotel.


Day 2: Ljubljana - Vrhnika

Distance: 39 km | Ascent: 220 m | Descent: 230 m

A nice and easy first cycling day across the marshy plains surrounding the capital.

As the morning sun begins to rise high in the sky, you will be cycling across an immense 160-square kilometre 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 see the remnants of the world’s highest railway viaduct in Borovnica. In the hot summer months, you can even take a refreshing dip in a typical carst limestone lake at Podpec. Just before arriving in Vrhnika, you can visit the Technical Museum in Bistra Castle, where you’ll find an interesting exhibition of former Yugoslav president Tito’s cars.

Overnight: Vrhnika. Accommodation in a 3* hotel.


Day 3: Vrhnika – Postojna

Distance: 32 km (+12 km optional side trip to nature reserve Rakov Skocjan) | Ascent: 590 m | Descent: 350 m

A slightly more demanding day over gentle hills, forest roads and a typical limestone landscape.

Today’s cycle takes you away from the main tourist routes and off the beaten track. 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 incredible rock formations, including two natural bridges. The stunningly beautiful underground Postojna cave formation, carved deep into the heart of the limestone hills, 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.

Overnight: Postojna. Accommodation in a 4* hotel.


Day 4: Postojna – Štanjel

Distance: 42 km (+6 km optional side trip to Predjama Castle) | Ascent: 410 m | Descent: 790 m

A hilly day, with one long descent.

Today will start with a visit to the beautiful Postojna caves, the most extensive cave system in Slovenia, carved deep into the heart of the limestone hills. An optional 1½ hour tour will take you through a fairy tale world full of stalactites and stalagmites. Look out for the “human fish”, a mysterious creature that lives in dark pools inside the caves.

Also recommended is a short detour to the impenetrable fortress of Predjama castle, wedged tight into a crevasse halfway up a 123-meter cliff-face. Here lived a vivacious and daring knight named Erasmus, who kept a whole army at bay by sneaking out through the Predjama Caves to sneak out for supplies, including freshly picked cherries which he used to throw at his adversaries to taunt them!

Overnight: Štanjel area. Accommodation in a 3* guesthouse.


Day 5: Štanjel – Lipica – Divača

Distance: 48 km | Ascent: 630 m | Descent: 370 m

Rolling terrain with flat sections.

Today’s 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.

If you have the time, you can also visit the interesting “War Museum” set in the old Venetian tower of Lokev.

Overnight: Divača. Accommodation in a 3* hotel.


Day 6: Divača – Muggia

Distance: 38 km | Ascent: 280 m | Descent: 700 m

Initially rolling terrain, then a long descent.

If you skipped the Postojna caves, then you will have a chance this morning you can visit Škocjan Caves. These are no less interesting but much less frequented Karst Caves and are listed as UNESCO natural monument.

You can take a diversion to the lively Italian port town of Trieste, to visit the castle, cathedral and Piazza Unita central square. Trieste was once part of Slovenia whilst under the rule of the Austrian monarchy. You can relax with a cappuccino in the many old-fashioned cafes.

Today’s route ends in Muggia, south of Trieste. After your days’ cycling it is time to enjoy a gelato and enjoy the view over the Adriatic.

Overnight: Muggia. Accommodation in a 4* hotel.


Day 7: Muggia – Piran

Distance: 37 km (+11 km optional side trip to the Seca salt pans) | Ascent: 320 m | Descent: 330 m

An easy coastal route.

For your last day you’ll cycle along the coast on a new cycling path which follows a former railway line. Enjoy great vistas of the Slovene coast and the Gulf of Trieste. A coffee stop in the fashionable resort of Portorož is a must.

The trip ends in the stunning little Venetian harbour village of Piran. The pearl of the Slovene Riviera, Piran is one of the most beautiful villages on the whole Adriatic coast.

Overnight: Piran. Accommodation in a 4* hotel.


Day 8: Departure from Piran

Your trip comes to an end after breakfast this morning unless you have booked any additional services with us. If you would like an additional night in Piran then just let us know at the time of booking.

You can return to Ljubljana by train or bus, or take a ferry across the Adriatic to Venice.

Arrival in Ljubljana

  The closest airport is Ljubljana Airport (LJU). Several airlines serve it. From the airport, it is easy to take a shuttle bus into the city centre, or we can arrange a private transfer if you would prefer this (additional cost).
/ Several Flixbus lines stop in Ljubljana.

Ljubljana is the main railway hub of Slovenia, well served from all directions. The standard first hotel is 2 km from the train station.

Departure from Piran

  The closest airport is Trieste, 50 km away (served by Ryanair from many destinations). We can arrange a transfer- please ask us for a quote. Next closest is Ljubljana Airport (LJU).
/ You can return to Ljubljana by bus or train (3 hrs approx.) or we can arrange a transfer – please ask us for a quote.
Slovenia Emerald Cycle Route
Ljubljana Castle. Photo: Andrej Tarfila, www.slovenia.info
The Ljubljansko Barje marshlands
The Emerald Cycle route in the Slovenian countryside
Bistra Castle. Photo: Jost Gantar, www.slovenia.info
Postojna, Slovenia
Predjama Castle. Photo: Alan Kosmač, www.slovenia.info
The Skocjan Caves, a UNESCO Natural Monument
Lipizaner horses in Lipica. Photo: Jošt Gantar, www.slovenia.info
Cycling Slovenia's coastline
Trieste, Castello di Miramare
Cyclists overlooking the coastal salt pans. Photo: Jaka Jeraša, www.slovenia.info
View to Izola, on Slovenia's Adriatic Coast
Cycling along the Parenzana coast. Photo: Tomo Jesenicnik, www.slovenia.info
The stunning coastal town of Piran
Piran. Photo: Jacob Riglin, www.slovenia.info

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