The Alps to Istria

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The Alps to Istria
Duration:
8
Days
Priced from:
3099.00
USD

The Alps to Istria

Trip Overview

(Biking, Hiking and Kayaking) Buckle up for an outdoor multi-sport adventure from Slovenia to Croatia. We begin with an unmatched trekking experience in Triglav National Park, known for its brilliant waterfalls, gorges, and turquoise lakes. Here we overnight in a mountain hut, surrounded by nature in the Julian Alps. Next we make our way to Croatia on bikes – cycling past vineyards, castles, and small villages. Once in Istria, we explore by bike, kayak, and foot, witnessing the region’s geological beauty and turbulent history. This whirlwind itinerary showcases the best of Central Europe's mountain and coastal excitement.

WOW FACTORS

  • Descend into the Cave of Pazin, hundreds of meters beneath an ancient Croatian castle
  • Cycle through picturesque villages in the ‘Tuscany of Slovenia’, stopping to sample some wine at local vineyards
  • Kayak the waters of Lim Fjord above a fish and oyster farm before exploring the Old Town district of Rovinj

Difficulty Level

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Itinerary & Map

Day 1

Ljubljana
Arrival
Your adventure will begin in Ljubljana. You will be greeted at their airport by a Bikehike Adventures representative and transferred to the old part of Ljubljana City where you will stay overnight in a comfortable hotel.

Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: none

Day 2

Bohinj - Julian Alps - Triglav National Park
Hiking
After a hearty breakfast, we set off to Triglav National Park, a nature reserve known for its numerous gorges and waterfalls. We will drive to one of the trailheads and begin a full day of trekking high above the village of Bohinj. The path ascends high through an evergreen forest, eventually reaching the heart of the craggy Julian Alps. We tramp along soft golden pastures filled with curious cows following our path. We reach the highest elevation of the day at a viewpoint of the Seven Triglav lakes. It is a spectacular panorama of turquoise waters, limestone peaks, and giant boulders scattered across the surrounding area. Set in the middle is our mountain hut, where we spend the night in dormitory-style lodging.

Hiking Duration: 6 hours
Hiking Distance: 8 km / 6 mi
Ascent: +1,100 m (3,609 ft)
Descent: -150 m (490 ft)
Accommodation: Cabin
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3

Julian Alps - Triglav National Park - Brda
Hiking
We start the day with a high-energy breakfast at the mountain hut, then lace up our hiking boots for a second day traversing through the pristine Triglav National Park to Bohinj Valley. We meander along undulating paths with wide-open views of the green pastures and surrounding Julian Alps. The final part of the trek is through an evergreen forest. After the trek, we transfer by car two hours to Brda, a land of castles, vineyards, and small white churches, often situated on the top of the hills overlooking the village. Overnight in a comfortable hotel in Brda.

Hiking Duration: 5.5 hours
Hiking Distance: 7 km / 4 mi
Ascent: +100m (330 ft)
Descent: -1,300 m (4,265 ft)
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4

Slovene Tuscany - Italy - Brda
Biking
This morning we rise early, feast on a healthy Slovenian breakfast, and hop back on our bikes. Today we are cycling on e-bikes through the Brda wine region known as “Slovenian Tuscany.” Electric bikes are popular in Europe and they will help us tackle the hills while giving us time to admire our surroundings. We’ll pedal from village to village experiencing the natural and cultural heritage of this area. The farm roads here crisscross the national borders between Slovenia and Italy, and we’ll journey from one country to the other tasting wines from both sides as we go. Overnight at the same hotel in Brda.

Biking Distance: 23 km / 14 mi
Biking Duration: 4.5 hours
Ascent: +700 m (2,297 ft)
Descent: -700 m (2,297 ft)
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5

Poklon (Croatia) - Učka - Buzet
Hiking
After breakfast, we will transfer to Poklon where we begin hiking to the top of Učka mountain, which is the biggest mountain in Istria at an altitude of 1401m (4596 ft). The path is through an oak and chestnut forest that provides a refreshing hike on hot summer days.  Reaching the summit (Vojak) is worth the extra climb as the view is a stunning panorama over Kvarner Bay, including coastal towns and mountains in the background. If visibility is really clear, we’ll be able to look out towards Venice and the Alps. We’ll rest for a picnic lunch before descending the same way back down to Poklon before transferring back to the hotel in Buzet.

Hiking Distance:  7 km / 4.5 mi

Ascent: + 479 m (1,571 ft)

Descent: - 479 m (1,571 ft)
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6

Groznjan - Motovun
Biking
After breakfast, there is a short 30 minute transfer to Groznjan, one of the area’s most interesting medieval hilltop towns. Groznjan is a jewel in the heart of Istria, with a 14th century medieval Venetian fortress, sitting atop a hill, towering over the Mirna river valley below. From Groznjan, we proceed biking along the legendary route of the Parenzana, a former narrow-gauge railway line which travels deeply into the Istrian peninsula, connecting from Porec to Trieste and to 33 Istrian cities. Passing through magnificent rolling landscapes and lively Istrian vineyards, this journey is referred to as the railway of wine. During a pleasant and exciting ride from the charming medieval town of Groznjan to Motovun, we will pass through many tunnels, over old bridges and stop along the way in a few places to take in the incredible views. Our bike ride finishes at a wine cellar where we will have the opportunity to taste white (Malvazija) and red (Teran) Istrian wines, accompanied by Istrian hams and cheeses. Our day’s biking adventure will then end in Motovun, an ancient little Istrian town located atop a 277 m / 90 ft high hill. Tonight, dinner will be on your own but your guide will help you with suggestions. Overnight in a comfortable hotel in Motovun.

Biking Distance: 26 km / 19 mi
Biking Duration: 3 hours
Ascent: + 440 m (1,440 ft)
Descent: - 530 m (1,740 ft)
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7

Lim Fjord - Vrsar
Sea Kayaking
After breakfast there will be a short 20 minute drive to Lim, where we will start our sea kayak adventure along the protected area of Lim fjord. We will enjoy paddling along the bay, with its steep banks, passing beside the cultivation of mollusks and fish to the end of Lim Bay. While paddling, we will make a stop at a beach to swim, snorkel and have a picnic lunch on one hidden beach. This part of the adventure ends in small fisherman town, Vrsar, where we will take a transfer to our last destination, Porec. Porec’s centuries of history is clearly visible as you walk around the town’s squares and streets, especially in the old town core. Luxurious palaces of former noble families have become galleries and museums, though some continue to be occupied by people. Some of Porec’s town squares date back to the period of the Roman Empire. Our Istrian adventure will ultimately come to an end this evening in Porec, with a final farewell dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight in a comfortable hotel in Porec.

Sea Kayaking Distance: 14 km / 9 mi
Sea Kayaking Duration: 3 hours
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8

Porec - Ljubljana airport
Departure
After breakfast you will be transferred back to the Ljubljana airport for your flight home. Please make sure you book a flight that departs after 5:00pm.

Meals: Breakfast

NOTE about Ascent/Descent numbers: 

The ascent/descent numbers are usually generated using Ride with GPS. The numbers are TOTAL ascent/descent for the day and these numbers do not suggest altitude. There are usually multiple small ascents and descents added up throughout the day to reach this total ascent/descent for the day. (While our numbers are generally consistent with Ride with GPS, depending on the mapping technology used, numbers may vary).

 

What's Included

TRIP INCLUSIONS:
Meals as indicated (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner), all accommodation (twin shared), all internal transportation, mountain bikes, airport transfers to and from Ljubljana (please make sure your departure flight is after 5:00pm on day 8 of the trip), and English-speaking guides.

TRIP DOES NOT INCLUDE:
International airfare, airport taxes, gratuities, meals not included, and items of a personal nature.

MEALS:
7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 4 Dinners

ACCOMMODATION:
Hotel: 6 Nights
Mountain Hut: 1 Night

Trip Facts

Weather in Slovenia

Slovenia is temperate with four distinct seasons, but the topography creates three individual climates. The northwest has an alpine climate with strong influences from the Atlantic with abundant precipitation. Temperatures in the Alpine valleys are moderate in summer but cold in winter. The coast and western Slovenia as far north as the Soca Valley has a Mediterranean climate with mild, sunny weather much of the year, though the burja, a cold and dry northeasterly wind from the Adriatic, can be fierce at times. Most of eastern Slovenia has a continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. Slovenia gets most of its rain in March and April and again in October and November. January is the coldest month with an average temperature of –2°C and July the warmest at 21°C.

Weather in Croatia

The climate in Croatia varies from Mediterranean along the Adriatic coast to continental inland. The high coastal mountains help to shield the coast from cold northerly winds, making for an early spring and late autumn. In spring and early summer a sea breeze called the meastral keeps the temperature down along the coast. Winter winds include the cold bura from the north and the humid siroko from the south. The sunny coastal area experience hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters, while the interior regions are cold in winter and warm in summer. Because of a warm current flowing up the Adriatic coast, sea temperatures never fall below 10°C in winter and are as high as 26°C in August. You can swim in the sea from mid-June until late September.

Travel Documents

Citizens from Canada and USA require a valid passport to enter Slovenia or Croatia. The passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of arrival. A travel visa is not required if travelling with a Canadian or American passport. Citizens of other nations should check with their nearest Slovenian or Croatian Embassy for visa requirements.

Food and Water

Slovenian cuisine has been influenced by Austrian, Italian, south Slavic and Hungarian kitchens and is therefore a mix of tastes and textures. A typical main meal includes meat (beef or chicken), beef or chicken soup, green salad, and to finish off, apple, cherry, or cheese strudel with coffee. No matter the season, Slovenes serve a daily green salad with vinegar-and-oil dressing. Potatoes, onions, cabbage, celery, carrots, bananas, apples, and walnuts round out the dietary staples. The forests provide a variety of mushrooms, berries and nuts.

The Croatian diet is influenced by its varied climate, landscape, and neighbouring cultures. The Adriatic coast is renowned for the variety of seafood dishes, including shellfish and mixed fish stewed with rice. Dishes made from chicken, beef, pork, and lamb are common throughout Croatia, especially inland and in rural areas. An inland specialty is strukli (a salt or sweet-cheese strudel, boiled or in a casserole.) Wine is the most popular drink with a meal. Also popular are fruit drinks, mineral water and beer.

FAQ

How big are BikeHike's groups?

Our adventures are built for small groups, with a maximum of 12 travellers on each guided tour. Each group is diverse, comprised of men and women of many different nationalities and ages. By travelling in small groups we leave minimal ecological impact, cause less disruption to the native life and are able to gain a better appreciation for our surroundings. Small numbers also allow greater flexibility and spontaneity: a dinner in a local home, an impromptu village wedding invite and any such experiences that can become among the most memorable experiences of your BikeHike adventure.

How fit do I need to be to join this trip?

We understand that people come in many fitness levels, so we've graded our trips accordingly. There are four difficulty levels on our trips: Easy, Moderate, Challenging, and Strenuous. 

This is a “moderate” trip. These trips include 4-5 hours of physical activity throughout the day, with many breaks along the way. The biking portions of BikeHike Adventure’s trips are the most cardiovascular portions of the trips. During the biking section, our travellers don’t have to carry anything on their backs as any packs can be carried in the support vehicle. During the hiking portions of the trip, the most you would have to carry on your back is a daypack.

 

Has this trip been run before?

BikeHike Adventures has been operating since 1994. 

The logistics of organizing tours to remote corners of the world can be very complex. Our trip development department spends long hours researching destinations, routes, ground operations and equipment. All itineraries are screened without clients before they are added to our growing repertoire of adventures. Nothing is untested. 

Can you tell me about your typical BikeHike travellers on this trip?

Our travellers share a common love for outdoor adventure. Most are looking for a physical adventure in an unfamiliar destination. A typical trip is comprised of men and women in good physical condition, who exercise regularly and are invigorated by a personal challenge. The age range on this trip is typically from 35-60, although we occasionally get younger and older travellers as well.

Which airport do we fly in and out of for this trip?

Ljubljana, Slovenia. You can arrive anytime on day 1 of the trip and depart anytime after 5:00pm on day 8 of the trip.

Can I take this trip if...

I am a solo traveller? How does solo accommodation and costing work?

Many of our travellers (both men and women) join as singles. On average, BikeHike groups are 75% single travellers and 25% couples. Unlike many adventure travel companies, we don't charge single supplement fees to solo travellers. Instead, we pair you with another traveller of the same gender. If we can't find you a roommate, you get your own room at no additional charge. A single private room supplement fee is only required if you specifically request a confirmed private room for the duration of the trip. Learn more about solo travel with BikeHike

I have special dietary requirements?

We will do our best to accommodate special dietary requests (e.g. vegetarian, gluten free, etc.), but ask that you please discuss your request with us when signing up for a trip.

I am travelling with children? Is this trip children friendly?

While most of our trips are created with adults in mind, many of our itineraries are suitable for strong and active teenagers. This trip is generally good for older children or teenagers. However, we do offer many Family Focused trips, some of which are able to accommodate children as young as six.

Accommodation

Most of our trips include comfortable mid-range accommodations. This includes accommodation that provides a clean and comfortable experience in characterful surroundings that reflect the destination. To build stronger connections with the communities and support the local economies, we avoid using large international chain brands on BikeHike trips. 

More about the accommodation we use on this tour in Slovenia & Croatia

SMALL HOTELS  

BikeHike prefers small hotels that showcase the character and local flair of each destination. Throughout this tour, we have hand-picked accommodations for you that showcase Slovenia and Croatia’s character and charm. Some nights, we will be staying in some especially charming inns that resemble more of a western style B&B than a hotel. Often times, these stays are a highlight of the trip as they really connect you to the small villages where you’ll be visiting. For example, Buzet is a small city in Istria (Croatia’s wine region) of only 6000 inhabitants and Brda (in Slovenia’s Tuscany-esque wine region) has a similar population. The medieval town of Motovun, in Croatia, is even smaller with a population of less than 1000. To really experience these places, the only choice is local style accommodation. The level of local immersion is unparalleled and the resulting experiences are ones we would not be able to have otherwise.    

MOUNTAIN CABIN

One night in particular includes a night in a rustic mountain hut located within the Triglav National Park. Here, you can enjoy an authentic mountain experience sleeping in dormitory-style lodging after a day of exploring the area’s lakes and attractions. The accommodation will be more rustic than western style mountain cabins.

Click HERE for more information about accommodation styles.

Adventure Dates

  • Jun 14 - Jun 21, 2020
  • Jul 11 - Jul 18, 2020
  • Aug 08 - Aug 15, 2020
  • Sep 06 - Sep 13, 2020
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Price

(Land only, based on twin/shared room)
3099.00
USD
per person

No single supplement fees
** Guaranteed departures on two travellers

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Add-Ons

  • It's easy to add days before and after your tour.  Just ask! 
Day Destination Activity
Duration
Distance Ascent / Descent Lodging Meals
1
Ljubljana​​​​​​​
Arrival
— / —
Hotel
2
Bohinj - Julian Alps - Triglav National Park
Hiking
6 hours
8 km
5 mi
+ 1,100 m (3,609 ft)
- 150 m (490 ft)
Cabin
b,
l,
d
3
Julian Alps - Triglav National Park - Brda
Hiking
5.5 hours
7 km
4 mi
+ 100m (330 ft)
- 1,300 m (4,265 ft)
Hotel
b,
l
4
Slovene Tuscany - Italy - Brda
Biking
4.5 hours
23 km
14 mi
+ 700 m
- 700 m (2,297 ft)
Hotel
b,
l,
d
5
Poklon (Croatia) - Učka - Buzet
Hiking
7 km
4.5 mi
+ 479 m (1,571 ft)
- 479 m (1,571 ft)
Hotel
b,
l,
d
6
Groznjan - Motovun
Biking
3 hours
26 km
19 mi
+ 440 m (1,440 ft)
- 530 m (1,740 ft)
Hotel
b,
l
7
Lim Fjord - Vrsar
Sea Kayaking
3 hours
14 km
9 mi
— / —
Hotel
b,
l,
d
8
Porec - Ljubljana airport
Departure
— / —
b

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Phil C
March 8, 2019

The trip we did to Slovenia and Croatia was fantastic. I cannot say enough great things about the custom trip that Trish and Bike Hike put together for us, which was a combination of two of their itineraries in Slovenia and Croatia. Not only was the adventure aspects and scenery magnificent, but we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food and wine.

Nashville, TN, USA
GS
Greg S
August 15, 2018

The hike was beautiful and just the right level of challenging for me. The bike ride took us on a great route -- I loved being able to cross into Italy and see how it differed from Slovenia. I loved that we got to see so many different towns and villages.

Washington, DC, USA
AB
Angela B
August 2, 2016

Thoroughly enjoyed our trip and all of the activity. The guides made our trip. All three of them. I felt they really went above and beyond and Bike Hike has selected a great team.

Vancouver, BC, Canada
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