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Tucked between Italy, Austria, Hungary, Croatia and the Adriatic Sea, Slovenia - once called Yugoslavia - is a roughly butterfly-shaped country with a plethora of terrain from the Alps to the Mediterranean. It boasts the world record for park land: nearly 36% of the country is protected! No wonder the first guy to ski down Everest and the first to swim the Amazon were both from here. Slovenia is known for its hospitable culture (plus, over 50% of the population is fluent in English). It's the perfect host for world travelers. Spend 9 days riding its high mountains and ancient forests. Explore human history from prehistoric hunters to farmers, miners and foresters. The northern region of Koroška is a perfect destination for mountain biking - with its labyrinth of panoramic mountain roads, forest cart tracks and over 7,000 km of epic trails.
Note: If you're in the Seattle area and interested in trying a 1-day or 1/2-day mountain bike tour, come with us! Click here for more info.
Meet in the 'European Green Capital'- Ljubljana, capital city of Slovenia. Transfer north to the beautiful region of Jamnica on the Austrian border.
Delta, United, Air Canada and Air France are just a few of the airlines that fly into Slovenia's capital city. You won't spend much time here though: meet us at the airport, then transfer 2 hours north almost to the Austrian border and the region of Jamnica, famous for its mineral springs. Spend 3 nights here at the EcoHotel Koros. Hop in the pool to wash off the flight. Meet the rest of your leaders and your new riding pals for bike setup and a safety and skills meeting - then head out for an afternoon ride. Enjoy tonight's welcome dinner prepared onsite by the resident chef, supplied by the onsite organic farm.
Explore everything from novice trails to expert single track in the Karavanke Mountains surrounding the EcoHotel Koros.
After breakfast and coffee on the farm, grab your bike and head out from the front door. Gorgeous trails wind through farmland and forest, curving upward to epic ridges and scenic views.This network of trails has been built over the last 20 years by the local riders. Ride as long as your legs work, then descend back toward the beer cooler. Pool, dinner and stories will be back at the lodge.
Ride the cross-border mountain bike park straddling Slovenia and Austria - Peca Mountain Bike Park. Then take it underground with a ride through a Roman-era mine shaft.
This morning, ride into Peca Mountain Bike Park - a network of more than 300 miles of forest roads and cart tracks that straddles the border between the countries of Slovenia and Austria
After lunch, head for the Mezica Mining Museum to pick up some lights and head to the caves. Slovenia is well known for its vast network of both natural and human carved caves. Take a 4 mile ride beneath the mountain through caves dug through solid rock and originally used for iron mining. Most of the 500 miles of tunnels in Slovenia have been built since the mid-17th century, but Mt. Peca was the site for mining dating back to the Roman Era (27 BC). Afterward it's back to the lodge for a dip in the pool and more great food.
The Petzen Flow Trail: 3,000 feet of climbing - or take the cable car. Cruise down one of Europe's longest flow trails. Then it's off to Bled Lake and the Vintgar Gorge.
Ride the Petzen Flow Trail today. Choose your option: ride a cable car for some elevation or get your climb on: it's about 3000 feet of climbing to the top. From there, cruise down one of the longest flow trails in Europe, descending 7.5 miles. Try counting the berms (closest count wins first beer!)
After lunch at local café, hop in the van for the transfer to Bled Lake. With its emerald-green lake, picture-postcard church on an islet, a medieval castle clinging to a rocky cliff and some of the highest peaks of the Julian Alps and the Karavanke as backdrops, Bled is Slovenia's most popular resort. Take some time to explore this beautiful town, stroll around the lake and maybe take a hike through the Vintgar Gorge to see its wooden bridges and waterfalls. Bring your camera: these are some of the best views in Europe.
Ride Vršič Pass, the highest in Slovenia, down to the Soca Valley. Spend the afternoon whitewater rafting.
This morning, shuttle to the top of Vršič Pass, the highest pass in Slovenia at 1,611 metres/5,285 feet. Or ride the road to the top. This legendary climb is one of the most scenic roads in Europe. Whether you climb by bike or shuttle, meet at the top for a photo. Then it's time to descend to the Soca Valley. Pick up another ride here, or spend the afternoon whitewater rafting on the Soca River. Tonight, sleep in Kobarid, a vibrant town where you'll find many options for dinner on your own.
Ride the Soča Valley today: a network of paths from World War I along an aquamarine river.
Ride the Soča Valley single track today. Carved by the Soča ('Emerald Beauty') River, the Soča Valley is the site of the Twelve Battles of the Isonzo - one of the bloodiest scenes from the First World War. But when riding the foothills of the Julian Alps, it may be difficult to tell. Now a peaceful and gorgeous valley, it's filled with a network of paths and steps, remnants of the WWI days augmented with singletrack built by local riders. This afternoon: transfer to the Karst region.
Ride the Nanos Plateau. Then go spelunking in the Škocjan Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is one of the largest known underground canyons on the planet.
After morning coffee, shuttle to the Nanos Plateau, where you'll find the Slovene Mountain Trail, the oldest interconnecting mountain trail in Slovenia. After a short climb, descend 4,500 feet to the valley floor for a great lunch in the village of Razdrio. This afternoon: head to one of Slovenia’s most impressive treasures, the Škocjan Caves. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is one of the largest known underground canyons on the planet. Together with the underground stream of the Reza River, it's one of the largest karst underground wetlands in all of Europe, in use since the Bronze and Stone Ages. Gaze in awe at cavernous ceilings 300 feet over your head. Cross the bridge in the huge underground canyon with the fast-flowing Reka river 50 meters below. On emerging from the caves, head back to Karst for dinner and sleep.
Explore Slovenia's coastline on the shores of the Adriatic Sea today. Spend tonight at the northernmost tip of the Mediterranean.
Time to head to the sea: transfer out to Piran today. Ride the coast region and explore the coastline of Slovenia. When you're are done riding, spend the rest of the day kicking back on the shores of the Adriatic Sea at the northernmost tip of the Mediterranean. Sleep in Piran tonight.
One last ride on the inland shore of the Mediterranean. Then it's time to head back to Ljubljana.
After morning coffee on the Mediterranean, pack it up and head to the inland for a short last ride. After a great lunch, it's time to pack up the bikes and say your farewells in Ljubljana.
As an optional extra, a person traveling solo on any inn-to-inn trip may reserve a room for his or her exclusive use. This will guarantee you a private room and private bath every night. Unlike other tour companies, if you're willing to share a room, there is no extra charge for coming solo, no matter when you sign up for the tour - even if you wind up with a private room by default.