Just over a year ago while working in Slovenia, I made the most of a small window of opportunity to hire a road bike to make my way around Lake Bled, and into the surrounding hills. A short teaser of what it might it be like to journey through the breathtaking Soča Valley and Triglav National Park on two wheels.
Donning only hiking shoes, swim shorts and a trucker cap, I was unprepared in not only my attire, but also for the Cheshire Cat grin that stuck to my face while grinding up the forest climb away from the famous and beautiful body of water.
This trip cemented the stunning country in my mind and offered a riding experience like no other.
Not without its challenges, this route from Budapest to Venice takes in all manner of terrain and vistas. Sloppy paths amidst acres of corn fields, perfectly smooth tarmac stretches and crispy singletrack that cut effortlessly through towering trees deep in the mountains, there was a bit of everything!
This Collection will cater to all tastes and riders, whether you are seeking a solid week of relentless climbing with rewarding views or a stretched out fortnight of natural swimming and hiking opportunities on those all-important rest days.
Quickly leaving the beautiful architecture and buzz of central Budapest, the route inches up over the hills of Buda, west towards Lake Balaton.
With crunchy gravel slowly morphing into cake-like mud alongside crops of corn, it can be slow going if the area has recently had rain; but not long after a bit of criss-crossing over the main trunk roads …
Hugging the perimeter of the beautiful Lake Balaton the first 50 or so kilometres, I linked together the small resorts along the south of the lake, before veering south into a beautiful national park.
Littered with great gravel trails, surrounded by what seems like endless swampland and cattle reserves; this is a really superb section for feeling thoroughly immersed in wildlife.
The end drops you just a stone's throw from both the Croatian and Slovenian border.
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The third day held minimal elevation gain, and took in farmer's fields and quiet singletrack that ran alongside treelines.
There were a few great spots along the way to start appreciating some Slovenian culture and rural history.
The day finally ended in Maribor, where the fields glow yellow and the mountains begin to show their presence.
This was the first day with some real elevation and challenging climbs, and for me one of my favourite sections.
Dense forests and roads wound up mountains offering spectacular views, and even greater descents. But with one or two being made of loose rocks, be careful.
With so many opportunities for wild swims along route, this can be broken up into two days or perhaps longer if so desired.
Starting out on the plains that sit at the bottom of the Triglav National Park and the Julian Alps, the mountains eventually reveal themselves, barren shards of stone that bridge the gap between horizon and sky.
The tough road climb at 25km in offers a pit stop at its crest, for ice cream, beer or even a cuppa.
On the …
This day was a long, winding route that doesn't make much sense on paper, but is well worth the round trip to take in both of Slovenia's most famous Lakes.
Bled and Bohinj; these wonderful bodies of water are linked by incredible cycling infrastructure in the form paved and gravel routes which cut along the valley and the river.
Despite what the first 4 kilometres suggests, it's probably best to avoid a river crossing here. With five or six attempts to cross at various points and with the singletrack turning to soggy pudding, we made the call to turn back and join the official cycle route on the north side of the river.
This saw us more quickly arrive …
With a cycle route firmly divided from the busy road traffic by the aqua blue river below and lined with steep, verdant hills, Slovenia quickly becomes Italy and the landscape changes dramatically.
On a 180 glance in the distance, the hazy mountains are but a ghost on the horizon now and the mediterranean temperatures make themselves known.
You'll find gravel …
The last day was a gentle pootle from beach life on the coast to a jewel of architecture and culture in Venice.
This 56 km Tour was pan flat with some great espresso stops, little-to-no shade and some excellent singletrack.
This short route to Venice takes you to the ferry port Punta Sabbioni where you have to get two ferries; …
Bike Touring Collection by Tobias
Hiking Collection by Country Walking Magazine