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June 2019

The Vipava Valley hosts the Tour of Slovenia

Tucked away between high Karst plateaus and winegrowing hills, the picturesque Vipava Valley captivates visitors with its diverse landscape, and attracts recreational cyclists in every season. This spring it will play host to top cyclists competing in the Tour of Slovenia whose fourth stage begins in Nova Gorica and finishes in Ajdovščina. The cycling challenge features tough ascents and descents, and the breathtaking scenery and landmarks make for a spectacular backdrop that is sure to attract throngs of onlookers. The Vipava Valley – a region of outstanding natural beauty, great wine and food – is bound to indulge visitors with its hospitality and provide a different type of travelling experience.

Cycling race among landmarks

The 26th edition of the Tour of Slovenia is the biggest cycling event in the country. Contestants from more than twenty countries flock to the valley for the famous “green ribbon” which takes in place in stages covering the whole of Slovenia. The race is a remarkable celebration of sport and a great way to promote Slovenian sport, the country and its people.

The fourth stage of the Tour of Slovenia starts in Nova Gorica, the youngest town in the country, on the border to Italy, which offers gambling thrills in its many casinos. The unique Europe Square merging Nova Gorica and Gorizia is effectively shared by Slovenia and Italy, and marks the first landmark along the route. The stage continues past the Solkan Bridge on the Soča River, which is lauded as the longest stone arch railroad bridge in the world. Next, the route will take cyclists through Renče – a typical village next to the Vipava River – which is popular with SUP fans and concert goers attending the Lakeness Music Festival in the summer months. Further on, cyclists are greeted by the magnificent medieval Rihemberk Castle overlooking the village of Branik, which is regaining its former splendour after years of restoration works, and is now becoming a popular event venue.

Crossing the Karst Region, the competitors will return to the Vipava Valley over lovely hillside vineyards. The signature green scenery and friendly roads make this hill country a popular cyclist spot in the Vipava Valley. Before the toughest ascent, the route will almost touch the medieval town of Vipavski Križ which is one the most striking monuments of cultural history in the country. Cyclists are well familiar with the ascent to Predmeja which takes them and onlookers to the edge of the Trnovo Forest Plateau and to the remarkable karst landform called the Otlica Window which is a popular overlook. The stage will finish in Ajdovščina, the second largest town in the Vipava Valley, where once the mighty Roman fortress of Castra was stood and which today boasts the largest surviving Roman wall in Slovenia.

This year's Tour of Slovenia will offer visitors plentiful opportunities to get to know the beauty and uniqueness of the Vipava Valley, as well as to taste its premium wines and dishes. The race will be broadcast live by Eurosport so that the charms of the Vipava Valley will be transmitted to TV audiences across Europe.

Taste the difference at the wine festivals

The Vipava Valley is an attractive wine region with a longstanding winemaking tradition, numerous old indigenous varieties and a strong focus on quality. The local winemakers are known for generously opening their wine cellars to the public. Wine tasting sessions where wine is poured directly from the barrel come complete with their personal stories to create a one-of-a-kind experience. In June, the local winemakers have two festivals taking place near-by to present their wines. The idyllic town of Vipavski Križ holds the annual Zelèn Wine Festival which brings together the most important producers of Zelèn in the Vipava Valley. The event also features a professional and cultural programme, and offers a variety of local delicacies. The village of Slap pri Vipavi, which is touted for its great winemakers, will host the first edition of the Slap Wine Festival. The main village piazza will indulge visitors with wine tastings and food pairings, and the wine celebration will be enlivened by two concerts.

Adrenaline pumping experiences

The unique natural features and special climate of the Vipava Valley create ideal conditions for pursuing thrill-seeking experiences. Not only over popular country roads, cyclists exploring the Vipava Valley can also venture onto mountainbiking singletracks, and go trail riding over waymarked trails or unmade tracks. Get your adrenaline kick with the Hike & Fly Adventure, go on a SUP adventure on the Vipava River or try bungee jumping off the Solkan Bridge. Local guides will be happy to create custom guided tours to match the wishes and fitness level of the thrill-seeking crowd. After a dynamic and sports-filled day, the Vipava Valley offers a variety of relaxation options, for instance savouring sessions of its finest dishes, wines, beers and other local delicacies.