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The Dinaric Alps – explore the Adriatic Sea in a different way

Marek Ziółkowski

The Dinaric Alps – explore the Adriatic Sea in a different way

Bike Touring Collection by Vincent Reboul

11

Tours

61:40 h

574 mi

39,700 ft

This adventure takes you from Trieste in Italy to Zadar in Croatia – a journey through the northernmost part of the Dinaric Alps, also called the Dinarides. Located in the western Balkans, this mountain range is named after Croatia’s highest mountain, Mount Dinara, which stands at 1,831 metres (6,007 ft). Seven countries share this mountain range, from north to south: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Albania.

These beautiful mountains are a bit off the beaten track. The roads are wonderfully quiet and run through magnificent landscapes. Between spring and autumn 2020, I travelled through Europe by bike. This stretch through Italy, Slovenia and Croatia is where I experienced some of the most beautiful moments of my trip.

In this Collection, I want to share my enthusiasm with you so that you too can discover these incredible places. I was thrilled to see that there are still parts of Europe that have remained untouched and authentic and avoided urbanisation. These pristine mountains offer a real change from many other places in Europe. Cycling here is a never-ending pleasure – a paradise to be known, appreciated and preserved.

This route focuses especially on the Velebit Mountains which are very close to the Adriatic coast. Right by the sea, the city of Zadar was surprising. Although it is very crowded in the summer, I think it keeps an atmosphere that Dubrovnik or Split no longer have. This city is the perfect place to relax in the middle of your adventure before leaving again to explore the Croatian islands or just enjoy the sea.

The 11 stages and 920 kilometres (571 mi) of this Collection are mainly aimed at experienced bike travellers as the distances are quite long. The small asphalt roads alternate with gravel roads, which you’ll love if you’re a gravel or bikepacker. The best seasons to ride are from late spring to early autumn.

On all stages, you easily find a place to stay and something to eat. It is best to pack some provisions for lunch, as there are very few small restaurants or stores between the start and finish of each stage.

The route starts and finishes in Trieste, which you can easily reach by train. This Italian city is very well connected and also made it to the list of my favourite places.

One very important detail: when you cross the border with Croatia, you leave the Schengen area so make sure you pack your passport.

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Une autre Adriatique

569 mi

39,425 ft

39,425 ft

Last updated: June 15, 2022

Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Étape 1 : De Trieste à Fužine — Une autre Adriatique

    Difficult
    08:00
    67.4 mi
    8.4 mph
    6,150 ft
    3,850 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Leaving from the central railway station of Trieste, this first day covers a little over 100 kilometres. It can be easily accomplished in one step, but feel free to cut it in half, depending on your shape and how much time you want to spend in the saddle. The difference in altitude for the start of the

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  • Difficult
    05:20
    46.0 mi
    8.6 mph
    4,525 ft
    4,325 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    This stage is exceptional in more ways than one. You take a mountainside road that offers some of the most beautiful views of the Croatian coast. A real waking dream guaranteed! You actually ride the Croatian part of Eurovélo 8 almost all day.

    

    The first part is more rolling. The last 25 kilometers are

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  • Difficult
    02:21
    18.4 mi
    7.8 mph
    2,600 ft
    1,650 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today's route is very short and consists of a long climb in the woods, followed by a descent. You move on a deserted road on the edge of the national park.

    

    The Northern Velebit National Park is the newest but also the northernmost national park in Croatia. Its name comes from the Velebit massif which

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  • Difficult
    05:05
    55.8 mi
    11.0 mph
    1,700 ft
    3,325 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Despite its significant mileage, you have a day of recovery ahead of you. The route has very little elevation gain. At the very beginning however, you will start with four kilometers of ascent. This will be the first raidillon but also the last for today!

    

    A long descent will then make you leave the national

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  • Difficult
    04:38
    46.1 mi
    10.0 mph
    2,750 ft
    4,600 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This step will remain etched in your memory for a long time. It will make you feel a very pleasant feeling of adventure and freedom. Leaving Sveti Rok, you start the day by taking a deserted road. Initially paved, it quickly turns into a gravel track.

    

    You will climb gradually on this road which is near

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  • Difficult
    07:24
    73.4 mi
    9.9 mph
    3,825 ft
    3,775 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Start this day early, when there is little traffic around Zadar and when the sun is not too strong. If possible, go at sunrise in the middle of summer. You'll arrive in Nin before the tourists arrive, so you can fully enjoy this charming historic village.

    

    Around kilometer 60, you find the now famous Velebit

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  • Difficult
    02:10
    12.7 mi
    5.8 mph
    3,100 ft
    50 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This day is deliberately very short to give you time to enjoy a day of rest on site. The cycling part consists of a 900 meter climb over 20 kilometers and brings you to Kamp Velebit or Velebit campsite. The place itself is really worth it, as it is original. Your climb is also splendid. The view is so

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  • Difficult
    06:02
    59.6 mi
    9.9 mph
    2,900 ft
    4,150 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Here is one of the highlights of this adventure that is looming on the horizon. I mean Plitvice National Park. The end of the day's stage arrives at the very heart of this famous park, in the hamlet of Poljanak. I take good care to get you there by secondary roads free of traffic. The park is indeed

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  • Difficult
    08:43
    87.5 mi
    10.0 mph
    4,800 ft
    5,975 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today's route is largely free of traffic. After the town of Slunj, the cars suddenly disappear and the roads become deserted for the remaining 120 kilometers until you arrive in Slovenia, in the town of Novo Mesto.

    

    Located in a meander of the Krka River, it is very pleasant to stay there. You will find

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  • Difficult
    06:32
    58.1 mi
    8.9 mph
    4,600 ft
    3,350 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    A beautiful day awaits you as you progress through the heart of the karst region of Slovenia. The term "karst" is indeed from this eponymous region that you cross. It is a high limestone plateau located between Italy, Slovenia and Croatia.

    

    From Novo Mesto, you follow the G10 cycle path which itself goes

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  • Difficult
    05:25
    48.7 mi
    9.0 mph
    2,800 ft
    4,600 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    For this last leg of your journey, you are getting closer to Italy and this evening will be back in Trieste, where your adventure began. If you didn't have time to visit this Italian city on the way, take the time to rest there and explore it a little more in depth before taking the train.

    

    The route today

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    11
  • Distance
    574 mi
  • Duration
    61:40 h
  • Elevation
    39,700 ft

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The Dinaric Alps – explore the Adriatic Sea in a different way

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