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.
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!
You stay at the Hotel Triglav (breakfast and evening meal)
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.
You stay at the Hotel Triglav (breakfast and evening meal)
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.
You stay at the Hotel Edelhof (breakfast and evening meal)
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 (open 25/5 - 28/9) 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!
You stay at the Hotel Edelhof (breakfast and evening meal)
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 mediaeval walled town, famous for its lavender.
You stay at the Agriturismo Casali Scjs (breakfast included)
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.
You stay at the Astoria Hotel Italia (breakfast included)
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.
You stay at the Astoria Hotel Italia (breakfast included)
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 mediaeval Pavia di Udine then it's on through sun-dappled cornfields and swaying vines to the 16th century star-fort citadel of Palmanova.
You stay at the Hotel ai Dogi Palmanova (breakfast included)
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.
You stay at the Hotel Hannover (breakfast included)
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.
You stay at the Hotel Hannover (breakfast included)
Please note that cycling helmets are compulsory in Slovenia for all customers under 15yrs. As we are unable to provide these, we strongly recommend that you bring your own.
Please see our Planning your holiday page for full details.
During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking. If you'd like to keep your bikes with you for any extra nights we can arrange this for you for just £ per adult per day and £ per child per day.
Read customer reviews on Tripadvisor.
NEARBY:The Hotel Triglav is a historic hotel sitting above beautiful Lake Bled, dating back to 1903 it has an interesting history through the times of communism and the break-up of Yugoslavia. It has in recent years become renowned for its innovative take of Slovenian cuisine.
Room upgrades: Suite.
Extra nights: Please contact us for details.
Sitting just a short walk from the centre of Tarvisio and at the foot of the winter ski slopes the Hotel Edelhof takes its influences from bordering Austria in its design and feel.
Find out more on the hotel website.
NEARBY:The Agriturismo Casali Scjs is a quaint farmhouse in a rural setting. There is a restaurant next door or it's around 400m into Venzone. A national monument, Venzone is a great example of architectural renovation. The Tiere Motus is a museum that retraces the history of the town and especially of the earthquake and the subsequent reconstruction work.
The Astoria hotel sits on one of the squares in the centre of the old town of Udine, the hotel building dates back to the 14th century and has been owned by many noble families.
Room upgrades: Superior Room, Junior Suite or Suite.
The superior room offers more space, the Junior Suite offers more space with lounge area and the Suite offers more space with a separate lounge.
This lovely 3 star hotel is in a quiet spot in the corner of the piazza which is the heart of the geometric perfect town.
The Hotel Hannover is in the perfect position for visiting the town of Grado, situated looking over the harbour and on the edge of the charming old fishing quarter.
Extra nights: Please contact us for details.
If you'd like to extend your trip with extra nights at the start or end, or if you'd like to arrange a stop off point en-route, then we recommend the following hotels.
The Grand Hotel Union is one of Ljubljana's most prestigious hotels. Built at the turn of the century it was considered one of the finest hotels in Europe at this time with its lift, central heating and telephones (a rarity in 1905). Its hall was used as the city's concert hall for many years and its clientele has traditionally been associated with the arts. The hotel has hosted many famous pianists and singers over the years.
Extra nights: Please contact us for details.
The hotel has a pleasing open aspect looking out over Lake Bled, there is a lakeside promenade accessed directly from the hotel.
The Hotel Kette is set in the heart of Venice, a short distance from Teatro La Fenice, from via XXII marzo, the elegant shopping street, 2 minutes from piazza San Marco and only 10 minutes from Ponte di Rialto. So this is an excellent base for exploring the many delights Venice has in store.
This stunning 19th century palazzo has been beautifully converted into an elegant 4 star hotel which simply oozes sophistication. It blends contemporary facilities with classical elegance - expect to see marble columns and ceilings with the original stucco detail as you wander round the luxurious public rooms. The hotel boasts a superb location too, on Trieste's pretty sea front, just a few minutes' stroll from the town's historic centre. There are fantastic views over the Gulf of Trieste, especially from the hotel's panoramic bar. Other facilities include a fitness centre and restaurant.
Room upgrades: Superior or Deluxe.
Superior rooms come with a view over the Gulf of Trieste as well as bathrobe, slippers, kettle and espresso machine Deluxe rooms are larger with private terrace with view, and come with bathrobe, slippers, kettle and espresso machine Rates available on request.
Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus an overall rating and comments about their holiday.
Any feedback collected is posted to our website, so that people can make an informed decision based on past experiences before heading off on holiday. We don’t edit the reviews, the only thing we do is proofread them and alter any typos, where necessary, to ensure they are easy to read for everyone. All reviews will be published (except in certain extreme circumstances), and a member of the Headwater team will respond to any constructive criticisms/comments under the reviews, at their discretion. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.
Wonderful views while cycling although we found some of hills slightly challenging especially on hot days! GPS guidance was better than we expected but on occasions instructions should be given slightly earlier and repeated - traffic noise could obscure! Printed instructions are if anything too detailed and would be difficult to follow if GPS failed. In event of GPS failure a visible point of reference, like a nearby town on the screen shot maps might enable easier identification of where you were on a map!
A great way to see a country. Headwater have obviously done their homework. Lovely places to stay - great routes between locations - not too strenuous, but enough to make you feel you deserved that beer at the end!
Excellent cycling holiday with plenty of diversity from the Alps of Slovenia & Italy to the Adriatic coast. Cable Car to Monte Lussari shouldn't be missed.
Excellent all round. Good mix of accommodation all good anor excellent. Fascinating route : mountains to the sea. Very interesting to see the earthquake damage and recovery in Versone. Plenty to do an the rest days. Good to have the occasional two day stay. Really liked the electric bikes (first time use). M tours and hotel staff all very pleasant and helpful.
Great holiday with lovely contrasts in cycling through the mountains and along the valleys and coast. Some really nice hotels along the route. Hotel Triglav was particularly nice with wonderful balcony and views across the lake. Make sure you take clothing for all weather conditions, in the main weather was lovely warm and sunny but be prepared for heavy rain in the mountains.
Great adventure from beginning to end. Thankyou
Amazing scenery, fantastic hotels and excellent service as usual from Headwater. Totally loved Slovenia and Italy, stayed 2 nights in the hotels at the start ( Lake Bled ) and end ( Grado ). Preferred Lake Bled though Grado nice too especially the lagoon and bird watching. Found the cycling quite a lot more challenging than in the Loire, slightly surprised its only graded as a 1 plus. but we are not regular cyclists. The first 3 days felt a little too long, but maybe because we were delayed starting first day; the cycle path blocked on second day meaning a detour and we were staying in Valbruna so 7 further on than the standard tour and the third day it was 28 degrees and a fair few inclines. We only stayed one night at each place en route and this worked well and the later shorter days were easy and fun. Loved the variation and found when we were in towns the Italian drivers were very supportive of cyclists. Will book more Headwater holidays!
Overall a really enjoyable cycling tour of Slovenia and North Italy offering wonderful scenery on dedicated cycle tracks. We would have benefited from local advice of where to have lunch stops as some were quite a distance. It was our first experience of using GPS and more information on the first day about its alert function etc would have been useful as we went off piste a few times on the first days.
Fantastic holiday, wonderful scenery from the Alps to the Adriatic, staying at really super hand-picked family-friendly hotels along the way. Worked really well for us as a family with children ages 17, 15 and 11. GPS brilliant as we could all cycle at our own pace, without worrying about directions, or who has the map. Saved a lot of family arguments, what a marvelous invention! Loved our "add-ons" of three nights in Ljubljana at the beginning and three nights in Venice at the end, hotels really central and (as usual) very well chosen. Bikes great quality, representative very helpful, including when I left the passports and money on the table at the hotel on the second day - after he had already driven us half an hour to the start of the day's ride (oops). We went in the really interesting Alpine museum, whilst his colleague came with our items. Thank you!
This is one of the best holidays we have done with Headwater, with an interesting variety of scenery, but luckily mostly downhill gradients.
Inevitably the highlights were in the first half of the holiday as we cycled through the Julian Alps. We particularly enjoyed the day between Tarvisio and Venzone - fabulous views and really interesting cycling through tunnels along the old railway line. We would also recommend the suggested excursion to Arnoldstein - the climb to the chairlift is tough but well worth it.
The second half through flatter land is obviously a bit less dramatic, but we enjoyed Aquilea in particular and Grado was fun.
An excellent mixture of accommodation. We had a few early problems with the route finding (not clear at a couple of points on the full day in the Lake Bled area) but you can't really go wrong if you follow the FVR signs in Italy.
Lovely route .Every day seemed to be completely different in scenery . We went through places that we would never have seen on any other type of holiday.
The new Ridewithgps system is good and a great help especially now we need glasses to read the notes alternating them with sunglasses all day long!
Challenging, enjoyable, comfortable. Scenery and locations excellent.
This was our fourth holiday with Headwater and our third cycling tour. We felt that our last cycling tour, Passau to Vienna, was going to be a very hard act to follow.
As we have now come to expect from Headwater and their agents, the travel, transfer and luggage arrangements were seamless and the local agents were excellent and engaging. Remarkably, our luggage was always ready for our arrival; even on the shorter rides at the furthest point from their base. A great effort!
The stay in Bled was enjoyable but the cycling to Venzone through Tarvisio was truly exceptional; an absolute delight and without doubt the highlight of this tour for us. Indeed, probably the highlight of all tours to date. The mountains and the river gorge provide a spectacular backdrop to the perfect tar sealed path through countless tunnels and over many bridges. So many photo stops needed!
As advised at the briefing, after Venzone, the landscape changes and frankly, it is in stark contrast to the previous days. Although the destinations of Udine, Palmanova and Grado were certainly photogenic, we didn't find ourselves making so many photo stops en-route now. Also, many of the tracks are now gravel requiring heightened concentration. Although mostly fairly well compacted surfaces there were inevitably are few places where we struggled at times.
For us, we would have happily foregone the stopover days in Udine and in Grado but we appreciate that others would likely have a different view. We would suggest that these could perhaps be optional.
Overall, a really enjoyable tour and the Julian Alps will live long in the memory.
A good cycling holiday.
Amazing scenic approach into Ljubiana airport. Scenery in the mountains was fantastic. M Tours (the local agents) were brilliant; always there to help and always on time. Good level of cycling fitness required especially during hot weather. Very good accommodation. Route signage when you know what you are looking for is great.
A fascinating and varied cycling holiday through beautiful countryside and interesting locations, plenty to see and do and much to admire in the countries visited.
This was a fabulous holiday one of the best that we have had with Headwater because there was jaw dropping scenery, easy route & excellent hotels "What's not to love"!!
A lovely ride through beautiful varied scenery. The hardest rides were the optional detours and those suggested for ‘rest days’. Seamless logistical support and generally lovely hotels. Definitely worth arranging own flights direct rather than involving stops in Germany which makes for hideously long days travelling.
Fantastic routes, mainly downhill and 90% safe cycle tracks. Beautiful scenery en route with good options for days off.All hotels in great locations and great service and bikes.
Excellently thought out, organised and worry-free holiday with a good blend of saddle days and optional activities. Enjoyed having two nights in some hotels.
our self guided cycling holiday was organised perfectly despite our booking at short notice. Fabulous scenery of Julian Alps and the Alpe Adria exceeded our expectations. Everything worked perfectly. Worth noting that as some gravel cycle paths are quite rough and potholed, progress on these is much slower than when you are on a good surface.
Very scenic tour. Gentle easy cycling, definitely not challenging. Good food & wine with friendly welcome along the journey. Very efficient baggage delivery service.
Ride with GPS took a while to download before the trip but was very worthwhile & worked well.
Absolutely breath taking scenery, couldn't recommend this holiday highly enough. Do make the effort when in Tarvisio to cycle to Arnoldstein & take the chairlift. The hill to get to the chairlift is very very steep, I walked, but my husband who is a regular cyclist did manage it. What a view from the top. The accommodation throughout our holiday was lovely. We would recommend this holiday. At the end of our holiday if we could have gone straight back to the beginning we would have cycled it all again!
First half of journey was through magnificent mountain scenery on well maintained and exciting trails, including old train tracks, tunnels and bridges. Would liked to have spent longer there, but the latter journey to the Adriatic is an enjoyable contrast, culminating in a dip in the sea.
Really enjoyed the cycling almost all on excellent cycle tracks away from cars. The hotels were great a nice mixture of smart classy places, mixed with some lovely homely, welcoming and well - thought out smaller places.
Scenic cycling through a wide range of terrain. Good options to reach off-track sights. Nice sense of achievement to cycle from the Alps to the seaside.
We are a family of six, with kids 18, 15, 13 and 10. All of the cycling is completely doable on this route, with the longest day being the nicest cycling day that we have every done. We stopped at waterfalls, swam in rivers and generally glided down hill for about 50km! Nice and varied route, but the early days were my favourites up in the mountains. This is our fourth Headwater holiday and we always enjoy them immensely. The guide (Miroslav) was fantastic, really detailed induction all of which was helpful, came and changed a bike for us very promptly, and tried to help us with flight issues too.
Lovely cycling holiday with changing landscapes from Lake Bled and the Mountains down to Grado by the sea. Opportunities to swim in lakes, rivers and the sea. Mainly well signposted dedicated cycle paths. Excellent Hotels and food. Definitely recommend this trip!
We enjoyed the holiday overall, but felt that it wasn't the most picturesque, having been on various other cycling holidays like the Carinthian Lakes. We did not enjoy the long day's cycle under and around motorways and through endless tunnels, some of which were pitch black and pot holey. Miroslav and his team were excellent and replied to my emails very quickly. We would really have appreciated getting our bikes and having the briefing on the first day, particularly as we arrived very early and could have cycled around the lake. We had our briefing at 0930 on the second day, which meant that we couldn't start cycling that day until 11am, and it was really hot. The other disappointment was that the Hotel Triglav did not have an outside seating area, apart from the small terrace for dinner. We absolutely loved Lake Bled and it was wonderful to have a day on the beach in Grado which was delightful.
Lovely scenery and easy cycling (even for less experienced cyclists).
Great varied holiday with beautiful scenery in the mountains and easy cycling in the main. Nice hotels, friendly welcoming staff. Cable car trip at Camporosso was fantastic on our day at Tarvisio. Route easy to follow using FVG1 signs with occasional reference to the written notes. Bike panniers were very good and bikes comfortable. Havng to change flghts in Germany made for a long journey at each end. Everywhere we went was very cycle friendly and lots of people out cycling on the route. All in all a lovely holiday.
Very varied and beautiful scenery, excellent and varied hotels. Really enjoyable holiday.
Route notes generally very clear, just got a bit lost a couple of times.
A well balanced holiday. A good insight into Slovenia, and the part of Italy South of it. Worth researching the areas that you will travel through as they have survived some amazing changes. The cycling at the start of the holiday was more interesting than the last few days but there were still some wonderful sites to see. We had a great holiday!
We have been on 9 Headwater holidays and enjoyed them all but this one was the best. We really enjoyed the scenery in the Julian Alps. As we headed south we cycled through interesting countryside and visited places we would never otherwise have seen. The hotels were all very good, with friendly and helpful staff. The holiday definitely lived up to its “billing“ in your brochure.
A beautiful trip through the Julian Alps visiting places I had never really heard of. Stunning and varied scenery from the mountains to the coast on largely safe cycle ways. fabulous hotels and food.
Fantastic Holiday with 'Wow!' locations and good accomodation.
The Julian Alps cycling holiday is an amazing trip. We thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it to anyone. The cycle routes are amazing through the Alps and down to the Adriatic and for approximately 95% of the time we were on traffic free routes, away from cars in the beautiful, peaceful countryside.
We really enjoyed the cycle from The Julian Alps to the Adriatic. The scenery was stunning , it felt very untouristy and we got to see the real Italy. Every location was an interesting place to visit and we loved the variety of moving from place to place. The cycle paths were excellent as we're the route maps. We will definitely be booking another cycling holiday with Headwater!
This was our 8th cycling holiday and was certainly the most dramatic in terms of different scenery. From the snow-topped peaks of the Julian Alps through the fertile vineyards to the sea was certainly an unforgettable experience and the 65-km run from Tarvisio to Venzone was eminently easy with a more than 500-metre drop in altitude to assist! As pensioners, we were concerned that this holiday might be hard for us but we had no difficulty at all and it was certainly a lot easier than Headwater's previous Lot Valley and Jura routes.
We were unfortunate in getting a spell of 'very unusual' September wet weather. On Day 3, the wind-lashed rain and temperature of just 3 degrees persuaded even the hardiest of us to travel in the van and the excellent Miroslav was happy to organise this, even stopping off to ensure we didn't miss the planned Alpine Museum visit. We used the rest day in Tarvisio to retrace the route as far as Kranjska Gora so we didn't miss much at all (and we could admire the snow not much higher than us!) Again, on Day 8, we got very wet between Udine and Palmanova but we had turned down the option of taking the train as we had assumed, wrongly, that it couldn't rain all day.
The hotels were varied in their accommodation and comforts but all were clean and welcoming (particularly at Palmanova where the arrival of 10 very wet cyclists was just greeted with laughs and loads of towels). Breakfasts were usually excellent as also were the supplied dinners.
The route notes could do with some improvement (as noted by most people in the Grado blue book) but the FVG1 signs were all that we actually needed.
This was a fantastic holiday! In fact it was our best ever holiday. It was full of contrasts, starting with beautiful Lake Bled in Slovenia and then through into Italy on very safe dedicated cycle paths stopping at great hotels. The route was either downhill or flat as we cycled down from the alps towards the Adriatic coast. The scenery was marvellous and the people we met were very kind and friendly. Weather was mixed, including four days being cold and wet but overall it was all very very good!
This was our first cycle holiday on a supported basis, as we usually travel alone. Very good experience and we felt we were left on our own as much as we wanted and yet knew luggage etc was well organised. Arrangements for transporting us and luggage was very good. All Minibus drivers were interested and interesting. Good conversations and pleasant company. Cycling was not demanding and the scenery was just perfect, in fact we will return to Slovenia. Just a perfect location and not one bad word or thought about those Slovenians we met. Great advert for their country and for Headwater.
The early part of the holiday in the mountainous areas of Slovenia and Italy was spectacular. We loved being away from busy roads and using the old railway line dedicated cycle paths. You can't beat Italian food!
Excellent holiday, Great route even though we were not blessed with the best weather. The hotels were great , so were the bikes and the luggage was transported without any problems.
Great family holiday with views second to none. Highly recommend the location and activity.
Headwater never fails to deliver in putting together a great cycling trip. The holidays offer wonderful variety in terms of the scenery, locations and things to see and do . They also provide places to stay which are varied , high in quality and usually with a unique charm. Added to this the level of service provided by the staff both at head office and the reps on site is first class. This explains why so many of us return to book with Headwater time and time again!
This is our third trip with Headwater. The organisation was excellent and the hotels all superbly located and of a good standard. We enjoyed the route immensely, cycling in beautiful countryside with a good mix of mountain and lowlands and coast with amazing scenery.
This was a wonderful holiday, the best of several good holidays that we have done with Headwater. The variety of landscapes, routes, and hotels, taking us from the stunning landscapes of Lake Bled and the Julian Alps down through the plains of Friuli Venezia Giulia to the lagoons and coastal islands around Grado, with a variety of fascinating places to visit en route, provided for a wonderful experience. The cycling was superb - the majority on cycle tracks and lanes, with the sections on the Alpe-Adriatica long-distance route often being of a very high quality - sections are gradually being improved and tarmacked each year & hopefully it won't be too long before some of the remaining gravel sections are renewed. My anxieties concerning 'too steep uphill/too steep downhill/too long distances' proved totally unfounded. The local agent, Miroslav, was wonderful. His briefing was thorough, full of advice and illustrated with images on his laptop. We were able to easily contact him when necessary - as on the day that it looked as if thunderstorms and heavy rain forecast would continue into the afternoon, thus would making cycling difficult - he was able to advise on alternatives; in fact the B&B owner had already produced a train timetable and driven Gordon. to the station to show him the route & correct platform, how to get tickets etc - typical of the friendliness and help received throughout the trip. Miroslav also suggested and organised for us to spend a few hours in central Ljubljana before returning to the airport. We also took the train to Trieste from Udine, an interesting city and well worth the visit (having arrived in Udine earlier than expected, by train, the previous day). Thank you Headwater and Miroslav for setting up such a fantastic holiday!
This was our 7th Headwater cycling holiday and by far the best in terms of overall satisfaction - cycling, routes, variety of countrysides(not circular), choice of hotels, prearranged dinner and personally arranged dinners. Previously we have booked gastronomic itineraries but this holiday surpassed our expectations.
its a great way to see places in an area of a country, soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying different foods, whilst achieving a level of exercise and time to relax
active, cultural, sociable, reasonably paced , good relaxation Thank you Headwater
Beautiful, varied scenery. Easy cycling most days and some fabulous places of interest, especially if interested in Roman history. The mosaics at Aquilea were fascinating and the audio guide was most interesting. The proprietors of the B @ B at Venzone were so helpful and kind. One of the valves on the tyre of our proved faulty and resulted in a flat tyre. They drove us to a neighbouring town to a cycle repair shop to try to get it fixed. Unfortunately it was a Monday, so all the shops were shut! Miroslav came to our rescue after a couple of hours.
Excellent route and great scenery
This was a first rate cycling trip, with overnight stops at interesting places. Excellent weather helped tremendously and allowed full enjoyment of the amazing mountain scenery as we passed through the Julian Alps. With large sections of the route on an old railway line, it made for relatively easy cycling. The hotels were very varied but quality standards were consistently high. We enjoyed all the overnight stops but especially that in Palmanova, such a fascinating small town.
Having done several Headwater holidays over the years, we would give this holiday our highest marks for variety and quality.
We thoroughly enjoyed the stunning scenery and the experience. The cycle paths were excellent and the route was very well signposted. We enjoyed the suggested days off . This was one of the best Headwater Holidays that we have been on.
An excellent trip for the novice of 'non hardcore' cyclist. Route and cycle paths are excellent - scenery stunning. Accommodation good considering where the route goes.
This was our third cycling holiday with Headwater. Our first and second were excellent, but this was the best ever. Indeed this holiday now sits on our list of best holidays ever.
Everything about the trip excelled. The bikes were new, comfortable and well set up. The hotels were all excellent, each offered a first class welcome and service. Whilst being very different, from large chain hotels to small family units typical of a B and B, each was special and offered a memorable experience. But most of all what made this holiday was the cycling. The Alp Adria trail is something to behold. 200 miles of dedicated cycle track. Track that is off road for most of the route and as wide as a country road. Because of this the cycling was stress free, and you were able to take in the magnificent countryside in all its glory. Starting in the mountains and finishing at sea level meant that a good proportion was downhill.
The scenery all the way was outstanding. From the mountains of Slovenia, Kranski Gora being particularly memorable. To the salt water marsh areas of Grado. The contrasts were astonishing. The towns passed through were every one interesting with their own history (ancient in most cases). Also very quiet which suited us. Even in July/August, you never felt like a tourist. You just fit in to their normal life.This meant that we were also afforded the opportunity to practice our languages (most spoke English when needed).
We added two days to the end of our trip in Venice. What can be said about Venice. NOthing except that it needs to be on everyones Bucket list.
Overall a fabulous trip, We recommend unreservedly to anyone contemplating a cycling holiday but are maybe not in the best of shape, right up to an experienced cyclist. There is something for everyone on this trip.
I hope this comment communicates how much we loved our holiday. Thank you Headwater for introducing us to this part of the world and to the Alp Adria trail. The rest of Europe, indeed the world should take a good long look at this piece of engineering,it should be a model to all and duplicated by all.
Chris and Liz, Cardiff
Dear Dr Wigham,
Thank you for taking the time to share your holiday experience with us, it sounds like you had a memorable holiday. I am sure your comments will inspire future customers to try this holiday and hope they enjoy it as much as you did.
Headwater Customer Service team
Another fantastic Headwater cycling holiday! The scenery was amazing, hotels were all high quality and in excellent locations. The cycling was undemanding and very enjoyable, linking up lots of interesting and attractive places. We are already thinking about next year's holiday!
route notes could be better but otherwise great scenery and people
Stunning scenery, good food and wine and safe cycleways
Excellent. The best cycling holiday we have done. Fantastic scenery and excellent food.
Very pleased; we really enjoyed it!
This was undoubtedly the most spectacular holiday of our 15 with Headwater. The scenery coming down from the Julian alps along the line of the old railway was unsurpassed.
A perfect holiday for cycling softies, we loved the fact that most of it was on beautiful scenic paths, (we certainly wouldn't have enjoyed cycling on Italy's busy roads). We loved the days in between visiting historic villages and sites and really enjoyed the changing landscape as we descended from the alps in Slovenia to the coast in north east Italy. The handbook provided by Headwater was very useful when looking for things to do and visit on the non cycling days.
The ride down from Bled to Grado was a great trip. Except for the two short days at the end of the trip our days were full of wonderful scenery and beautiful towns. The majority of our hotels exceeded expectations being in great locations with good service and food. Stopover destinations were interesting and Udine, Palmanova and Grado were especial delights. Support from the Slovenian team was good and as usual the Headwater experience was one we will repeat.
Very good cycling with very few up-hill stretches, lots to see and do en route - we would gladly do the holiday again. Bikes were comfortable and easy to use. The routes are largely on cycle paths that kept us feeling safe from traffic. All the hotels made us feel very welcome. Everyone seemed to understand pidgin Italian or German, or English so communication was rarely a problem. M Tours reps were reliable and helpful.
Thoroughly enjoyed the holiday. Quite sad when it finished. Could easily have kept going
The routes were lovely, mostly on cycle tracks which was great and well planned mileages.
Especially enjoyed Slovenia. Would like to go back.
Hotels generally of a very good standard although next time we would make requests eg. for a quiet room or room with good outlook
If you are a beginner cyclist the route is great but the bikes make it feel hard as they are too heavy and too highly geared. Otherwise the route is fantastic and well signed. The scenery is great all of the way.
A break that takes you off the beaten track to meet the people who live in the region, rather than just other tourists. A holiday that slows you down to the speed you can cycle including the most amazing 60km down hill ride!
We have been on 3 previous Headwater holidays, but this one was the most enjoyable of them all. The cycling was wonderful, though it wouldnt suit those who dislike cycling mainly on flat terrain. The cycle paths much of the way to Grado were amazing and Italy in particular is very much geared towards the cyclist. The hotels ranged from quite posh to comfortable, located centrally and excellent. Four of the dinners were included in our holiday and were very good and not having to go and find somewhere to eat in those two hotels was a fortuitous because of the inclement weather. However we enjoyed having the freedom to find our own restaurants subsequently.
The tour operator was very reliable with excellent English.
The route notes were challenging and there were times when we were directed right instead of left. My husband has offered to 're-write' them since they could be modified to make it much less likely to have to retrace your pedaling.
On our second day, our tour guide asked us if we wanted to cycle because it was raining quite heavily with the forecast of no let up all day. I asked him if there was a choice and he offered to transport us to our next destination in the car. We had no idea that this was an option, but foolishly or not, we declined and arrived at our next hotel, very wet and bedraggled. However we were allocated the most wonderful room, with loads of space to dry off all our dripping clothing and bags. What a silver lining that was. Sadly we didnt see much of that day's route since the rain was relentless.
I would definitely like to do this trip again.
Enjoyable; well managed; good variety of scenery and places; lots of fresh air and opportunities to enjoy tasty regional cooking.
Despite having to opt out of cycling, thanks to the help given by M Tours we had a most enjoyable holiday. (We had flu just before departure)
This cycle trip from the Julian Alps to the Adriatic was really excellent - beautiful and varied countryside, interesting towns and cities on route, well-chosen hotels (and some excellent food) and a very good route using well established cycle track most of the way. The highlight for us was a couple of days cycling on the route of a former railway through the mountains of Slovenia and northern Italy. Miroslav and the team looked after us beautifully throughout. Thank you for a great holiday!
Biking from Slovenia to the Adriatic provided us with diverse scenery and conditions ,which we enjoyed.However it was by no means easy and two 50 km bike rides back to back was fairly challenging .
Highly recommend tis holiday. Slovenia was new to us. Especially enjoyed all the cultural highlights of Udine, Palmanova and Aquiliea.
After several good walking holidays with Headwater, this was our first cycling holiday, suggested by experienced cycling friends who accompanied us. The route is mainly downhill, but there are some longish steady uphill climbs, and we calculated an average of 50km/day (exc. Rest days) and did 64km on one day. Some beautiful Slovenian/Italian mountain scenery (albeit rarely out of sight or sound of roads) is succeeded by some very interesting Italian town stopovers (Venzone, Udine, Palmanova) and stopping at Aquilieia's basilica is highly recommended.
A really great and varied cycling itinerary, including fantastic scenery, sites of historic interest and interesting museums. Mostly traffic free or along cycle paths, starting in the mountains and cycling through plains to the coast. Would recommend adding a couple of days at Lake Bled and exploring the area by bike and foot. The hotel there is lovely with friendly staff and excellent food and Slovenian wines (an education!). Varied accommodation, but all clean & comfortable and in the right locations for a well paced cycle ride. We really enjoyed ourselves and were fully relaxed at the end.
We were the first people on the Julian Alps holiday. We really enjoyed it. The concept is excellent, and achieved. We did find it quite hard, though we both cycle
(mountain bike) regularly. Some days were long, and hot. I think it was the hardest holiday we've done with you, though my husband thinks some days on the 'Discovering Secret Provence' holiday were harder, because there was more climbing. Don't think it would be for people who don't normally cycle ( though we are getting on a bit).
There was one day which couldn't be done as anticipated, because the cablecar didn't start running on the advertised date, so an alternative had been suggested, and arranged for us. I think this might not affect anyone else though; I think the cablecar starts this week.
Miroslav and Matej were really keen to help, and on the whole experience. Miroslav was a bit concerned that Locanda al Fogolar might not come up to our expectations as it isn't a hotel; but we loved it, and couldn't have been made more welcome, despite Fulvio having very little English, and us having very little Italian
We found that if you don't speak Italian, German is more useful than English in this part of Italy. English is fine in Slovenia.
Later in the year, it could get very hot; take plenty to drink.
You can be confident that our pricing includes all the standard requirements of your holiday and many additional extras. Always ensure that you are comparing like for like when booking your holiday.
This 10 night self-guided cycling holiday includes:
Hotel-to-hotel accommodation in a mix of , and hotels
All continental breakfasts and 4 evening meals
Management by your local Headwater-appointed agent
GPS route directions and maps
RideWithGPS navigation app
High quality bikes
Standard transfers at the start/end of the trip (if booking inclusive flights)
Luggage transfers between hotels
Cable car tickets for Monte Lussari
How to book:
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Minimum group sizes
No minimum group size, however transfers are subject to at least 2 people (in total) booked on each departure.
This holiday is unsuitable for children.
Self-guided cycling Managed locally by Headwater appointed agent.
Saturdays and Wednesdays from 8th May 2021 to 15th Oct 2022, for 10 nights. All dates are subject to availability, please contact us to check.
All continental breakfasts and 4 evening meals
It is possible to hire electric bikes for this holiday at a supplement of £194 per person. As these are available on a first come first served basis, we recommend early booking to avoid disappointment.
Transfers can be arranged at a supplement from Ljubljana airport at 12:15, and back to Trieste airport at 10:15.