Total tour distance: 160 miles
Daily tour distance: 30 miles
Difficulty: 40 / 100
Mighty fortresses, sparkling wine and spas
An easy tour with an emphasis on the rural countryside, historic monuments, castles and thermal springs of eastern Slovenia. Suitable for all cyclists of very average fitness.
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN MARIBOR. 4* HOTEL.
Tour starting point is Maribor, Slovenia’s second largest city. The town is located on the bank of the Drava River and is home to one of the country’s few town castles. The castle houses the only Slovene fashion museum, which has an excellent collection of costumes and uniforms, the most prestigious being a military uniform worn by Tito. A Helia representative will welcome you with a drink and provide you with your itinerary and maps for the trip, and answer any questions you might have.
DAY 2: MARIBOR – PTUJ (30 KM).
ptuj castleCycling along the Drava River / vineyards and orchards. Accommodation in central 4* hotel.
Your route will follow the Drava River as it meanders its way southeast across the vineyards and orchards of the Drava Plain and passes through Ptuj, the oldest continually inhabited settlement in Slovenia. Stroll through the streets and soak up the 2000 years of history as you marvel at the rich, elaborate architecture watched over by the incredibly well preserved Ptuj castle that dates as far back as 69AD. The castle houses a wonderful collection of musical instruments and an exposition on Turkish raids in the 15th century.
DAY 3: PTUJ - ROGAŠKA SLATINA (44 KM).
First cycling across the flat terrain of the Ptuj plain, then a low pass (200 m). Accommodation in 4* hotel.
Pagan shrines and thermal spas. As you leave town in the morning you can stop at the fascinating Mithra Shrines just 1km out. The town of Rogatec is home to a fascinating open-air museum and the Palace Castle Strmol. You can stop for lunch here before cycling on to your destination, Rogaška Slatina. Before you enter town we recommend that you pay a visit to Rogaška Crystal, where you can see firsthand the incredible skill that goes into creating their beautiful glasswork. In this spa town you will find a world of healing in its abundance of natural springs, said to heal everything from a bad stomach to obesity. In the evening pamper yourself in the wonderful world of spas.
DAY 4: ROGAŠKA SLATINA - BIZELJSKO (48 KM).
open air museumEasy route going through the Sotla river valley. Accommodation in wine makers villa - 3* guesthouse.
The route takes you through the lush green scenery of the Sotla River Valley, which forms the border with Croatia. It’s an area of dense forests and rolling hills sporadically covered with vineyards and farmland. You then hop across the border and visit the castle of Poklek Mijana, a beautifully refurbished centuries old mansion. The owners will be happy to take you around. Before returning to Slovenia, you'll be able to make a stop in Kumrovec. This tiny village is famous for being the birthplace of Josip Broz Tito, the long serving president of Yugoslavia. His birth house now makes up part of an open air village museum. (Please note that the section through Croatia is currebntly only possible for EU and EFTA citizens, others will need to follow a route entirely on Slovene territory, having a chance to visit Castle of Bizeljsko).
DAY 5: BIZELJSKO - MOKRICE (25 KM). Accommodation in 4* Castle hotel Mokrice.
brezice dvoranaA short cycle brings you back to the plain of the Sava River. On the way to Mokrice Castle, make a stop in the town of Brezice, where another of Slovenia’s few town castles stands. It’s most famous for its grand hall with the best acoustics by far. If you are lucky, you may even catch a musical performance which often takes place there in the summer months. Your final destination of the day is the mighty castle of Mokrice. First mentioned in 1444, it was rebuilt in the 16th century and again in 1941. After World War II it was made into a hotel with restaurants, and in 1988 a golf course was built on the castle grounds. In the same year, English pop band the Pet Shop Boys used this castle to film the video for their single "Heart“.
DAY 6: MOKRICE - OTOČEC (48 KM).
Across the Sava plain. Accommodation in 5* Castle hotel Otočec
Today will be filled with more wonderful attractions as you head along the base of the Gorjanci Hills separating Slovenia with Croatia. You will follow the Krka River back towards its origins in the Krka Valley, stopping at the mighty town kostanjevicaKostanjevica Castle, which now houses an important open-air art gallery, and the 2km-long Kostanjevica Cave. Kostanjevica na Krki is Slovenia’s smallest town, and also one of its oldest. Continuing west you’ll come to Pleterje Monastery, set in the peace and tranquillity of a narrow valley surrounded by vineyards and gorgeous green hills. Your journey will end in Otočec, where the spectacular castle sits on a tiny island in the middle of the Krka River. You’ll stay here in the castle, now a luxurious 5* hotel.
DAY 7: OTOČEC & SURROUNDINGS ROUNDTRIP (45 KM)
Flat at the beginning, hilly at the end. Accommodation in 5* Castle hotel Otočec
The final day’s theme is local food and wine. Continuing on along the Krka River, as it weaves its way across the lush green landscape of Southern Slovenia, you’ll pass through villages nestled among an array of vineyards glistening in the sunshine. The local wine “Cvicek” is unique to this region. It’s made from a mix of red and white grapes, and has a relatively low alcohol content, which might help prevent you riding around in circles afterwards! You can sample this wine along with some great local food in a typical village bar. From here you’ll head to a stunning viewpoint above the Krka plain, where you can relax, stretch your muscles and pamper yourself at the Smarjeske Spa before returning to your castle hotel.
Day 8: departure from Otočec.