Slovenia by bike – short but sweet

Slovenia is a small but perfectly formed country bordered by Italy, Croatia and Austria. I found it a remarkably peaceful and tranquil place. It varies from the high Julian Alps in the north to the stunningin places but short length of Mediterranean coast in the south. We passed through the country twice; once from Monfalcone in Italy for a loop up into the hills, then from Trieste we followed the Slovenian coastline until we reached Croatia.
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The hills were wonderfully empty, just traditional meadows filled with spring wild flowers. We stopped and ate wild figs and endless fresh cherries on the roadside. The ancient mountain villages were alive but only just. We filled water up in the villages and rarely saw anybody moving. The temperature was scorching as we rode up into the hills and we took shelter under shade where we could mainly where there were cherry trees! We finally descended back to the coast and through Italy to Trieste. The next visit to Slovenia was from Muggia on the Italian coast. A great coastal road followed the peninsula and gave a less than inspired view back to the industrial part of Trieste, think shipyards and gasworks.

 

We reached Lazzerreto and saw an “encampment” we rode in thinking it was a good spot for the night. In hindsight it seemed odd that the staff wore camouflage and held guns. We asked if we could camp but after a rapid Italian response it was clear this was a military camp and somehow we had been blissfully unaware! We were just focused on the word camp!

Next stop was a proper civilian campsite on the border. We met an Hungarian chap who had done lots of cycle touring and I advised him on kit and bike setup as he admired our minimal lightweight set up. That night I swam from Italy to Slovenia just because I could and then watched a fantastic sunset life is good!

The beauty of unplanned cycle tours is the gems you stumble across. The D8 cycle route from Slovenia to the coast in Croatia was one of these. A car free route that followed the coast before using a disused salt railway route to the interior. This included old bridges and tunnels to allow a super interesting route. It was, as you might expect from a railway, very flat which was also nice. We passed Koper to Izola and crossed the border at Secovlje into Croatia on this same D8 route.