Depart the U.S. for Slovenia. The particulars of your
arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.
Day 2 - Arrive in Ljubljana
Upon arrival at the Ljubljana Airport, claim your luggage
and clear customs. VBT's local representative will meet you outside the customs
area in your arrival terminal and will be holding a VBT sign. Your
representative will help you transfer (approximately 30 minutes) to your hotel.
The rest of the day is free for you to settle in and explore the city. Tonight,
choose a restaurant for dinner on your own. VBT provides you with City Information in your Final Travel Booklet that
includes information and recommendations on what to see and do in Ljubljana
during your stay.
Please note: If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be
available until 2:00 pm. You may store your luggage with the reception desk. If
you are traveling from the west coast, your arrival in Ljubljana may not be
until late in the evening.
Stroll the quiet pedestrian streets of this romantic city
and explore on your own.
Day 3 - Meet Trip Leaders / Warm-up ride / Welcome reception
VBT No-Air Package guests: Meet your local VBT
representative and the rest of the group at our Ljubljana hotel—Lesar Hotel
Angel (address: Lesar Angel Post, Gornji Trg, 7, Lubljana Slovenia; tel: +386 142
55 089; fax: +386 142 55 090) at 10:00 am. Please meet your VBT representative
dressed in cycling clothes and ready for biking. Make sure your luggage is
tagged with VBT yellow tags. If you have brought your own pedals, please have
them ready to give to your Trip Leaders.
If you are delayed for any reason, please contact Lesar
Hotel Angel in Ljubljana to advise of any travel delays or changes, and the
staff will pass your message on to your VBT Trip Leaders.
VBT Air Package guests & Pre-trip Extension guests: Meet
your local VBT representative at the Ljubljana hotel at 10:00 am. Please come
dressed in cycling clothes and ready for biking. Make sure your luggage is
ready in the lobby and tagged with VBT yellow tags. If you have brought your
own pedals, please have them ready to give to your Trip Leaders.
From Ljubljana, transfer by private motorcoach (approx. 2
hours) to alpine Italy where we'll be treated to staggering vistas of the
snow-capped Julian Alps to the south and the rugged peaks of the Carnic Alps to
the north. We will meet our Trip Leaders in a countryside setting outside of the
charming hamlet of Valbruno, Italy. After our included lunch they will hold a safety and bike-fitting
session followed by a warm-up ride. The
area is particularly charming and ideal for easy bike rides through the scenic
Canal Valley (Val Canale).
This afternoon explore the main street of Tarvisio and maybe
indulge in an Italian gelato or visit the town's quaint shops. Later we gather for a welcome reception and a
delectable dinner prepared by our hotel owner.
The Hotel Edelhof is a charming family-run inn set between
the surrounding forests and the center of Tarvisio making it easily accessible
to everything this small alpine town has to offer.
Day 4 - Cycle the Alpe Adria Bike Path / Venzone
Today we have the opportunity to experience the renowned
“Alpe Adria” Bike Path which enables cycle enthusiasts to ride from Salzburg
through the Alps to the Adriatic Sea. Our journey will follow the recently paved train path downhill from
Tarvisio to Venzone, sometimes travelling through old mountain tunnels opening
upon wonderful views of the "Val Canale."
At times we will catch glimpses of the River Fella, a
tributary of the Tagliamento. We can pause in the small town of Pontebba
located at the confluence of the Fella and the Pontebbana Creek. The rail road
line in Pontebba was the target of heavy aerial bombing during World War II as
this was Germany's main resource for transporting supplies to Italy. During our
scenic ride we'll pause for a picnic lunch prepared by our Trip Leaders.
Later we shuttle to the old town of Venzone which has been
restored to its medieval splendor. This
excellent example of reconstruction has been declared an Italian National
monument. The reconstruction includes the Cathedral of St. Andrea, home to the
mysterious Chapel of St. Michele with its famous mummies dating back to 1647.
Prior to burial, these bodies were perfectly preserved and recognizable decades
later, leading some people to periodically retrieve the bodies and commune with
their dead ancestors. Later this afternoon we will shuttle back to our inn.
Back in Tarvisio, enjoy time to relax. Then join your Trip
Leaders for an Italian wine tasting with a local wine expert. Choose a local
restaurant for dinner on your own.
Day 5 - Laghi di Fusine / Cycle to Kranjska Gora and Podkoren, Slovenia / Cooking
After breakfast this morning, shuttle or ride to Lahgi di
Fusine (Fusine Lakes). Enjoy an
inspiring walk around the lake with breathtaking views of Mt. Mangart. Back on our bikes, we ride an easy path in a
pristine alpine landscape into Slovenia. Our first destination is the charming
village of Kranjska Gora, famous for its World Cup ski area and the adjacent
peaceful retreat for nature lovers. Explore the village at your leisure and
find a quaint restaurant to have your lunch on your own. After, we cycle
through pine forests, passing picturesque wooden houses along the Sava River to
our inn, the Hotel Vitranc in the quiet hamlet of Podkoren. Named for the
beloved stallion of the first owners, the Hotel Vitranc has a long tradition of
hospitality. The house maintains the simplicity and charm of a family-run
mountain guesthouse, where guests immediately feel at home. Its Pajzl, or pub,
has a separate entrance and is still the preferred place for the locals to stop
for a chat and beer after dinner.
Upon arrival, take some time to settle in and relax, or
enjoy a stroll before we gather and learn how to prepare struklji, a Slovenian
sweet, with Chef Darinka and some local friends. The class is an opportunity
for cultural exchange with people still tightly linked to old traditions.
Dinner is at a traditional Slovenian restaurant in the
nearby ski resort town of Kranjska Gora.
Day 6 - Cycle the Radovna Valley / Lake Bled
Our alpine adventure continues today with a ride through the
Radovna Valley, passing pristine pasturelands. We stop at one of the farms to
sample the wonderful alpine cuisine produced in this region of Slovenia.
Afterward, we continue to the storybook setting of Lake Bled. Circumnavigate the lake by bike and, if time
allows, you may opt to take a boat to Bled Island—the only natural island in
Slovenia and home to the beautiful Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary.
Or walk up the hill to Bled Castle, the oldest castle in Slovenia, offering
amazing views over the lake.
After our exploration of Lake Bled we shuttle back to
Podkoren to relax or enjoy a sauna. Indulge in a hearty dinner at our inn
Day 7 - Bike to Austria / Easy bike paths along the Gail and Drava Rivers /
This morning, a scenic reel on an easy bike path leads
through a century-old forest into Austria. Beyond a pass—and through the
immense limestone wall formed by the Carnic Alps and the Karavanken—we
continue cycling along the banks of the Gail River in Carinthia. This region is
a scenic paradise due to the abundance of rivers and small emerald lakes set
against the backdrop of the Noric and Carnic Alps. En route we'll enjoy a
traditional Austrian alpine lunch at the Almwirschaft Hut.
This afternoon's longer option takes us to Wörthersee Lake.
Our path follows the valley through deep wooded slopes and sunny cornfields. At
times we'll catch a glimpse of the high roof of a church bell tower or a small
village laid out like a blanket against the flanks of mountains. For a shorter option we stop and explore the
town of Villach and wander the pedestrian streets for shopping or sampling a
local brew. From Villach take a short
train journey to Velden and enjoy a leisurely walk from the train station to
our hotel for the next two nights.
Velden is known as the little “Monte Carlo” of Carinthia.
Home to many wealthy families of ancient lineage, Velden is a town of elegant
mansions, colorful gardens and refined lakeside restaurants. Our hotel is the
magnificent Falkensteiner Schlosshotel Velden, an ancient castle on the lake's
banks, reopened in 2007 after a long and detailed restoration. Condé Nast
Traveler has featured it as a “Hot Hotel” and its spa center as the “Hot Spa”
of Austria—making it one of the 139 most luxurious and innovative hotels and
resorts in the world.
Day 8 - Cycle around Wörthersee Lake
Our bike ride today takes us around the Wörthersee Lake. On
the northern side, Pörtschach is an exclusive tourist resort, beautifully
located on a little bay. Continuing to
the southern bank we arrive to the picturesque village of Maria Wörth, which
features two little medieval churches and a small peninsula that juts
dramatically into the lake. A more challenging option for avid bikers follows
the hills south of the lake into a scenic forest. For shorter options, a boat
ride across the lake helps you cover more ground quickly.
You may shuttle back to our hotel and spend the rest of the
afternoon swimming, relaxing or enjoying water sports on our hotel's private
beach. Thanks to the natural hot springs, the waters are sure to be warm and
pleasant. Alternately, you might choose to pamper yourself at the hotel's
luxurious spa center.
In the evening, we gather for a festive farewell dinner.
Day 9 - Transfer to Salzburg / Free time / VBT No-Air Package ends
VBT No-Air Package guests:
After breakfast, our private motor coach takes you to Salzburg, Austria
(approx. 2 hours, 45 minutes). You will be arriving at about noon. Your trip
ends here at the Hotel Goldener Hirsch in Salzburg. We recommend booking
flights no earlier than 3:00 pm from Salzburg.
VBT Air Package guests: After breakfast, our private motor
coach will take you to Salzburg, Austria (approx. 2 hours, 45 minutes) for our
final overnight stay. Our hotel is
ideally located in the Old Town of Salzburg, easily within walking distance of
all the major sites.
VBT provides you with City Information in your Final Travel
Booklet that includes information and recommendations on what to see and do in
Salzburg during your stay.
Day 10 - Depart for U.S.
After breakfast* this morning, transfer to the Salzburg
airport (approximately 30 mins) for your departing flight. Please ensure that
you are ready in the hotel reception area at the designated time**.
*For guests with early-morning departures,
breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk
to verify the times that breakfast is served.
**VBT recommends that you check your transfer
time in your “Transfer Reminder.” VBT transfer times and departure points are
finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you
extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to
the airport will be at your own expense.