2018 August 18 to 25
A Gay Travel Slovenia Bike Tour (with surprising Food & Wine!)
Cycle along the shaded lanes and rolling hills of Slovenia, always with a view of the snow-capped Alpine peaks. We’ll swim and raft in turquoise rivers and clear glacial lakes and enjoy picnics and superb local wines along the way. This region is rich in history, with a natural splendor all its own.
Slovenia, formerly part of Yugoslavia, is a small, picturesque country tucked between Austria and Croatia, and touching the northeast corner of Italy. This active food & wine tour sends us cycling through northwestern Slovenia, following the pristine rivers and shady roads that wind between the rugged peaks of the Julian Alps. A highlight of the trip will be two nights spent in the former Presidential Summer Villa, overlooking lovely Lake Bled in whose waters we can see reflections of castles and snow-covered mountains. We’ll raft a short section of the turquoise Soca River as it heads toward the Adriatic Sea. Then we’ll cycle in and out of Italy, along roads that serve the tiny farms and villages on each side of the border. Our gay group will pause to appreciate Slovenia’s unique red wines, delicious artisan cheeses, and flavorful local produce. Join us for this truly remarkable week in a hidden corner of Europe.
Day 1: Welcome to Slovenia
We will arrive at the Ljubljana airport, just north of the charming capital of Slovenia. We will be transferred to our lakefront hotel in Bled, nestled in the hills to the northwest. Tonight we will relax and get to know each other over an intimate welcome dinner.
Day 2: Triglav National Park (14 mi / 23 km)
We will enjoy our breakfast and then travel westward, skirting the Triglav National Park to Bohinjska Bistrica. From there, we’ll do a bit of easy cycling on quiet roads to get a feel for our bicycles.
For lunch we’ll stop for a visit with a local cheesemaker. Afterward, we’ll continue our ride into the Park, where we find Lake Bohinj, a glacial basin famous for its clear water and the towering peaks that surround it. We can enjoy a swim before our bike ride through the forests on our way back to the hotel in Bled. Tonight we will dine together at a small restaurant at Lake Bled, sampling some of Slovenia’s fine red wines and perhaps enjoying a toast with a sparkling wine.
Day 3: Lake Bled and the Julian Alps (29 mi / 47 km)
After breakfast this morning we will pedal around Lake Bled and then head northward to Kranjska Gora, near the Austrian Border. Our path will allow us some exquisite views of craggy Alpine peaks. Hearty riders may enjoy more cycling: up and over Vršič Pass, well known for its switch-backs and breathtaking vistas. We may instead take it easy and head up by van, with a stop at Russian Prisoner’s Church, and then take a short hike near the top of the Pass.
We’ll end the day by descending southward to the the Soca River, near the border of Italy. We will check into one of the most charming small inns in the area, and will have a leisurely evening to have dinner on our own in the tiny town Kobarid.
Day 4: Rafting the Soca River or Simply Relaxing
This morning we will give the bicycles a rest. Guests may opt for a relaxing morning at leisure, while others will choose to go rafting on the Soca River.
This region was the site of the 1917 Battle of Caporetto, which is documented in the Kobariski World War I and in Ernest Hemingway’s novel “A Farewell to Arms.” We’ll visit the museum this afternoon, and then head to a secluded waterfall. We’ll have an afternoon at leisure, with plenty of time for relaxing, or walking through the nearby fields and forests. Our dinner together tonight will feature a sumptuous menu of locally produced specialties and regional wines.
Day 5: Goriška Brda Winery (30 mi / 49 km)
This morning we will travel south to Livek to visit the World War I trenches that still criss-cross the countryside. We’ll ride our bicycles along a woodsy route southward and trending downhill toward a winery in the Goriška Hills of Brda. Our lunch will be a grand picnic overlooking the sloping vineyards and a peek into Italy in the distance. This afternoon we’ll visit the well-known winery and sample some of Slovenia’s most delicious wines. Later we will check in our small-town B&B and enjoy dinner together.
Day 6: Italian Touring (25 mi / 41 km)
Small roads traverse the rolling countryside without regards to modern borders, so today we’ll find ourselves alternately in Italy and Slovenia, tasting internationally acclaimed wines from both countries as we go! Tonight we’ll dine in a stylish family restaurant with sweeping views of the Collio & Brda wine country.
Day 7: Exploring the Karst Region
Today we’ll return to Ljubljana, stopping along the way to visit a few medieval towns (Stanjel and Tomaj) and marveling at the unique limestone formations of the Karst region. This area produces uniquely Slovenian red wines, some of which we will sample at tonight’s special farewell dinner in the castle near our hotel in the heart of old Ljubljana.
Day 8: Departure
There are no group activities today, so feel free to schedule the most convenient flights to your next destination, or train ride if you will be continuing your vacation in Europe. We will be transferred to the airport or train station for your next destination.
Price includes: : Transfers between Lubljana Airport and our hotel; Comfortable hotels and bed-and-breakfasts that typify the region’s variety; Hybrid bike for the week; knowledgeable local bike guides; All breakfasts, all lunches, and 6 dinners, with snacks along the way; A support van to get luggage (and tired riders!) to destination; Map and route instructions; admissions to sites and museums mentioned. HE Travel provides complimentary Medical & Evacuation Insurance for every US Resident on our group tours who does not have other coverage.
Not included: Transportation to and from Lubljana, Slovenia; Optional rafting trip; Souvenirs; Gratuities for guide; Personal expenses such as phone, fax and beverages not included with meals.
Optional Tour Choices:
$1150 Single Supplement (for solo travelers who wish to enjoy a private bedroom and bathroom) – Very Limited Availability
You do not need to decide in advance if you will raft the Soca River. The price is around 45 euros per person and can be paid directly that day.
“This was an awesome food and wine tour of Slovenia with beautiful, leisurely rides through an uncrowned and undiscovered charming and welcoming country.” – Peter A., Santa Cruz, CA
“Historically significant, culturally rich, gastronomically wonderful with breathtaking scenery!” – Peter F, Foster, RI
“I loved everything about this trip. The accommodations and food far exceeded my expectations. The scenery was incredible. Biking, water rafting, and wine tasting were all well organized. The tour directors were very customer-service oriented. I knew nothing about Slovenia before my trip;I am telling everyone to put it on their bucket lists!” – Nevin K., Allenhurst, NJ
“Biking through the spectacular Julian Alps and the rolling hills of Brda’s wine region was spectacular. The biggest surprise was the Incredible range of meals created by chefs who clearly love the challenge of pairing local ingredients with fantastic wines. Our dinners were all memorable events.” – Tony M., New York, NY
Most of our trips draw more single travelers than couples. When couples do join us, it’s usually because they’re looking forward to interacting with a gay group; if they wanted a holiday by themselves, they wouldn’t have signed up to travel with us. Furthermore, the activities included with our trips serve as natural ice-breakers. Within a day, you’ll be traveling with friends. You don’t need to pay the single supplement if you’re traveling alone. We’ll be happy to match you with a roommate. Pay the single supplement only if you want a bedroom to yourself..
For selected trips, including cruises, we will charge half the single supplement if you request a roommate but we can’t match you with someone.
This tour starts and ends in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Traveling in Slovenia has no special requirements. Travelers should have moderate physical fitness levels and be able to ride a bike for several hours a day on rolling terrain. The afternoon whitewater rafting excursion is optional, but those who wish to participate should know how to swim, and be willing to paddle.
For answers to your additional questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-294-8174