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May 2021

Bikes, Bites and Sights

The Paradise Valley is a real treat

Cycling seems to be more popular than ever. In Slovenia, this is partly due to the stellar results from international competitions achieved by its world-class cyclists. In fact, the Vipava Valley and Goriška Region are considered a cyclist’s paradise. The serene setting and oh-so-perfect landscape, the myriad cycling paths and a cycling season spanning the whole year, cater to cyclists of all ages and skill levels. Unique dishes and local hospitality turn a day of outdoor pursuits into the ultimate heavenly experience. This year, this popular cycling destination will play host to two high-profile cycling races: Giro d'Italia and Tour of Slovenia. You are kindly invited to retrace one (or both) of these spectacular tours.

Elite races and cycling superstars

After a hiatus, one of the biggest cycling races in the world, the spectacular Giro d'Italia is slated to run over Slovenian roads on 23 May. The peloton will first ride over Brda, a hilly region stretching along the westernmost part of Slovenia, and then head for the conurbation of Nova Gorica and Gorizia, Italy. Italy’s biggest sports event, the Giro will symbolically tie together the cities which today – no longer separated by a border – actively engage in joint creative pursuits, and share the title of European Capital of Culture 2025.

Only a few days later, on 12 June, the Vipava Valley and Goriška Region will host stage 4 of Slovenia’s largest cycling event, the Tour of Slovenia. As part of the World Tour series, the famous race has been held under the motto "Fight for Green” for a number of years now. The motto has a double significance: first, the tour's overall winner gets the coveted green jersey, and second, it simultaneously expresses Slovenia’s commitment to environmental protection and sustainable development in the tourism sector. From the start of stage 4 in Ajdovščina to its finish on Mt Sveta Gora (which boasts a great view of Nova Gorica), the race runs past impressive natural and cultural landmarks which will be aired to over 10 million viewers from around the world in a live broadcast.

Both races are a great way to explore the picturesque and occasionally challenging cycling routes in the valley, and experience everything this cyclist’s paradise has to offer.

Distinctive flavours

A laidback cycling tour across the Vipava Valley, over the vine growing hills, high plateaus and the flatland of the Goriška Region, presents a plethora of opportunities for tasting authentic local fare. Traditional or designer dishes prepared by world-class chefs boasting high accolades and even fancy Michelin stars will captivate you by their commitment to staying true to the local character. Fresh fruit and vegetables, authentic Vipava Valley prosciutto or a steamy bowl of comforting jota (a type of stew) will take you into a world of wholesome and authentic flavours not to be found anywhere else. To round off your gourmet experience, you are invited to pair your sophisticated designer dish or even a simple hearty snack with a glass of local wine for which the region is famous for. For a safe and responsible stay, we suggest that you book your tasting sessions with the local winemakers in advance. It’s also advisable to call ahead to the local inns or agritourism farms to make lunch or supper arrangements. Plan your visits responsibly: you can hire local guides to take you to the tastings. Also consider booking a ride back to your lodgings while you’re booking your tasting.

Cyclist friendly

The varied cycling trails lend themselves to all cycling types, skill levels and ages (even families). Cycling in the Vipava Valley and Goriška Region is very well worth it. The cosy cyclist-friendly accommodations provide a peaceful and comfortable retreat, and a place to safely store your bike. You can choose between countryside rooms and apartments, camping sites, holiday homes, glamping and hotels. Accommodation providers will happily take care of your bicycle. For a spur-of-the-moment bike tour, you can rent a conventional bike or an e-bike at any of the local bike rental places which typically also offer roadside assistance and can deliver your bike to the place you’re staying at. Now you know: the best way to explore this picturesque region, its valley, hills and plateaus is by embarking on a top cycling tour. Local guides, seasoned cyclists and expert hikers will accompany you through your day of cycling with local tales that will stay with you long after you’re back home. Get a glimpse into another, quite possibly the most astonishing, side of this Paradise Valley.