Cycle Tours and Holidays | Tour of Croatia and Slovenia

17 May to 01 June 2020, 16 days / 15 nights

Every year we pick a new and exciting destination for Ride Holidays. In the year 2020 we visit Croatia and Slovenia for the first time. There are also some must see destinations - starting with the Unesco World Heritage city of Dubrovnik right through to Slovenia's beautiful Lake Bled. There will be a mixture of familiar RH guides as well as locals who will share all those nooks and crannies.

The format will be the same as every RH trip. Offering a choice of cappuccino, latte and espresso rides. As well as a separate Team Macchiato (non-riding) programme.

Join us for what will no doubt be a fantastic trip to a truly beautiful part of the world.

Tour Itinerary | Croatia & Slovenia 2020

DAY 1 - Sunday 17 May

WELCOME TO CROATIA

Dubrovnik City, also called the Pearl of the Adriatic. Surrounded by 1,940 meters of unique medieval ramparts preserved in their original form and open to visitors as the flagship attraction. Protected by UNESCO World Heritage status since 1979, Dubrovnik is the perfect location to start our adventure.

We'd recommend you arrive yesterday (or even the day before) to give yourself some recovery time. For those arriving today please make sure it's in the morning as there's lots to do this afternoon. We'll help put all the bikes together and make sure the rentals are comfortable so that our ride tomorrow goes smoothly.

Late this afternoon we head out for a walking tour of the old town which includes all the sites, the Market Place, Rectors Palace & St Blaises Church. Anything look familiar? Game of Thrones was filmed in Dubrovnik.

We finish off with a dining experience showcasing ocal specialities. We introduce the RIDE Holidays team and answer any questions you may have.

/ Accommodation - Dubrovnik (2 nights)
/ Meals - Welcome Dinner

Ps, yes, we will arrange airport transfers and any extra accommodation you need.

DAY 2 - Monday 18 May

Dubrovnik by bike

We spend the day exploring this fantastic city and surrounds by bike. There will be a couple of distance options - the longest being 80km. The route is reasonably easy with just few short climbs. Let's call them false flats. As it's our first day on bikes so we'll make sure there are plenty of stops. They do drink coffee in Croatia. Nice coffee.

We ride through small villages that run across the beautiful Konavle region. This route takes us along the bottom of Snijeznica Mountain, surrounded by rich flora and vineyards. Hmmm, who mentioned vineyards... Yes, we'd like to introduce you to a Malvasia winery. A famous wine variety in this part of the world.

Team Macchiato (non-riders) you'll pretty much stop at the same places we do with an optional walk thrown in around the historic city wall. (It's advisable that everyone brings good walking shoes as there are lots of walking opportunities)

Tonight, is a free dining night, however Dean will be heading off to his favourite brewery which he found during his fact finding mission in preparation for this trip. He'd love you to join him.

/ Accommodation - Dubrovnik
/ Meals - breakfast & lunch. (Dinner own arrangements)

DAY 3 - Tuesday 19 May

Now we're talking...

It's time to leave our Unesco world heritage home. Head towards the coast and turn right. What a day we have planned. We ride along next to the Adriatic Sea (no, it's not flat) from one stunning city to another. The blue blue sea will be a distraction test for even the most experienced cyclist. You'll wrestle to keep your eyes on the road rather than the beautiful coast. We ride hotel to hotel which is always nice. The shortest ride is 60km. We can add a few km's for those feeling frisky.

Only 5km away from Ston is the town of Mali Ston. Famous for its oysters with some of the farms dating back to the 17th century. Guess what we're having for lunch?

Team Mac - your first stop is the town of Ston. A medieval town known for having narrow quiet streets, noble ancient houses and the longest stone wall in Europe (2nd in the world after Chinese wall). We will then catch up with you for lunch.

Tonight we finish with a Pelješac peninsula wine degustation. Man oh man... What a fantastic day.

/ Accommodation - Makarska
/ Meals - Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 4 - Wednesday 20 May

Makarska city - just google it... go on

After breakfast we start our first serious challenge for this trip. Actually, that would be a mountain. St Jure peak on Biokovo Mountain sits at 1,762m. That's roughly 10 times the height of Mt Victoria in Wellington. I wonder what the view is like. True climbers like Froome, Mossey, Footee and Grahame will find it easy. The rest of you will certainly feel like you've earned your dinner. The maximum slope is 20%. That's what we describe as undulating. (we will have the support van close by for those needing a bit of help). Did we mention that this is the highest paved road in Croatia? Pff, it's nothing.

On the positive side - there's a mountain lodge that offers fine coffee, coke and EPO. And, the hairpin turns do make the cycling slightly easier. The actual ride distance isn't great at just under 100km but some of you will achieve over 2500m of VM. That's impressive. Cappuccino and latte ride will vary between 50 and 70km.

Team Mac - we will need your support today handing out some love and encouragement. There could be a bit of suffering. (Don't tell the cyclists) Other than Biokovo we've planned a nice walk in the nature park.

Makarska is known for it's many many fine restaurants. Pick one and enjoy. See you tomorrow.

/ Accommodation - Makarska
/ Meals - Breakfast

DAY 5 - Thursday 21 May

Makarska to Split

Our goal for this trip was to make everything easy. It is after all a holiday. So, we ride hotel to hotel again and limit the time spent in the bus. In a straight line it's only 65km. There will also be a not so straight Donald Trump line of about 80km. It'd like to say it's flat but that would simply be fake news. (Sorry) We are however on the coast so it can't be too bad.

The highlight of today is the coastal scenery just after the town of Pisak. From there you have views looking down the coast with the Biokovo massif looming above us. Been there done that.

Our home for the next two nights is the city of Split. A city founded by roman Emperor Diocletian, dating back to 300 A.C. In fact, the UNESCO world heritage Diocletian palace is a must, so we'll make sure we factor time for that. Team Mac will have already been there during today's city sightseeing tour.

Tonight we have taken the recommendation of one of our local Croatian guides and booked a small family run restaurant.

/ Accommodation - Split
/ Meals - Breakfast and Dinner

DAY 6 - Friday 22 May

Today is a 100km plus day. You'll be starting to get fit by day 6. We're staying at the same hotel tonight so chuck a day bag in the support van. Make sure you pack your togs (speedos) as we pass a lot of beautiful beaches. Our target is the UNESCO world heritage city of Trogir.

Team Mac have a guided walking tour of Trogir awaiting them. We will try and give everyone ample time here as there's a lot to see. Its preserved old town, known for its mix of Renaissance, baroque and Romanesque buildings, lies on a small island connected to the mainland and the island of Čiovo by bridges. The 13th-century Cathedral of St. Lawrence houses the Renaissance Chapel of St. John and offers sweeping views from its bell tower. Parts of the medieval city walls remain intact. Sounds fantastic.

Those who have had enough can simply hop in the van. Home please James. Otherwise, we jump back on the bikes and head back towards Split. Tonight is a free dinner, enjoy!

/ Accommodation - Split
/ Meals - Breakfast

DAY 7 - Saturday 23 May

120km and even some gravel…

It's our day of National Park as we explore Krka waterfalls. The Šibenik region is known for its Archaeological sites, protected landscapes, islands, inlets, flora and fauna.

We also take advantage of the bike trails on offer at the Nature Park of Vransko Jezero (Lake Vrana) which is also known for its birdlife. You will also start to see quite a few olive plantations which we plan to take advantage of. They're known for being the best in the world.

Team Mac have a guided tour of Šibenik city and Krka National Park before we all meet up at Tribunj which is known for its relaxed waterfront cafes. Accommodation for the next two nights is in the Roman city of Zadar. You'll never guess THIS but it's also got UNESCO status. Wouldn't it have been easier to simply roll that status out to the whole country?

/ Accommodation - Zadar City
/ Meals - Breakfast

DAY 8 - Sunday 24 May

Zadar hinterland

Some days are easy, some are more challenging. Today falls in to that later category. Please remember though that we will have the standard cappuccino, latte and espresso options available.

The espressos will cover almost 120km today as we tackle the Zadar hinterland. Again we ride hotel back to hotel. We won't lie - it's a challenging route however there are rewards. In fact, where we are going is known for its fine Mediterranean produce and that includes wine.

At times we follow the Zrmanja River which has step canyons on both sides and also beautiful waterfalls. It's really a bit of everything today - there will be no complaints of sightseeing at least!

We've booked a local guide for Team Mac to show you around Zadar which will include the monument to the sun, St Donat Church and the Zadar Sea organ.

/ Accommodation - Zadar city
/ Meals - Breakfast

DAY 9 - Monday 25 May

Mont Ventoux

Tomorrow is a rest day which is why we'd like to challenge you today. Let's call it the RH challenge as it is our longest bike day of the trip. We'll certainly know who followed the training program after today's effort.

We take a secondary uncrowded road along the Adriatic Coast to our next hotel in Crikvenica. The total distance on offer is 166.5km (just roughly) so worthy of the challenge status. Your time management will need to be clinical as there's a ferry to be caught. (we'll give you plenty of time)

We visit the Island of Pag which is known for its barren, moonlike landscape. Hence why today is referred to as Mont Ventoux. I wonder if we can find some really expensive lollies.

You'll arrive exhausted but satisfied. Let's celebrate of a glass of wine. Well done everyone. Take tomorrow off.

/ Accommodation - Crikvenica city
/ Meals - Breakfast and Dinner


DAY 10 - Tuesday 26 May

Slovenia

Are you going to Lake Bled? Was the very first question asked when we announced we'd be heading to Croatia & Slovenia? Arrrrr yes, of course.

It's about a 4 hour drive (with a sleep in) so we figure we'll mark it down as a rest day. Especially after yesterday's effort. However, it's not a compulsory non-riding (good England!!) day - feel free to pop out for a few km's after we arrive.

For the wise ones amongst us - treat today as its intended. Relax, drink coffee, take photos and enjoy the view out the window.

We stay at Lake Bled for two nights. It's rare to find a travel magazine that hasn't featured this simply stunning lake. Our plan is to arrive early afternoon so you have plenty of time. We would recommend that you take advantage of the 6km walk that circumnavigates the lake.

/ Accommodation -Lake Bled (2 nights)
/ Meals - Breakfast and Dinner

DAY 11 - Wednesday 27 May

The plan is simple - we have two days to show you as much of this region as we possibly can. We start our day with a short climb. Perched atop a steep cliff rising 130 metres above the glacial Lake Bled is a symbol of Bled and Slovenia - Bled Castle. It is a medieval castle built on a precipice above the city. According to written sources, it is the oldest Slovenian castle and is currently the most visited tourist attraction in Slovenia.

Team Mac join us at the castle before taking a traditional boat (pletna boat) excursion out to Small Island and a closer look at the beautiful Lake Bled.

Cyclists continue on towards the forest of Jelovica - located at the southern side of Bled and slightly higher than the church. In fact - it tops out at 1600m above sea level. We won't make you ride that. We will however guarantee you a view. (Undulating with some false flats)

We'd like to target 80km on the bikes today. It's your holiday so we'll listen to you and put a plan in place. Ideally, we'll fit in the town of Radovljica which isn't far away and boasts well-preserved architectural and rich cultural heritage.

Tonight is free… enjoy dinner on the lakes edge.

/ Accommodation - Bled Lake
/ Meals - Breakfast

DAY 12 - Thursday 28 May

This morning we pick up where we left off yesterday and hop back on the bikes. However, today it's a one-way ticket as we ride a scenic route back towards Croatia. The vehicles and Team Mac will meet us a few miles down the road. Let's say 70km in total as we start mentally and physically preparing for our event on Saturday.

Our destination for the next three nights is the coastal town of Rabac. Back in the day it was a little fishing port and certainly hasn't lost that charm. However, its share beauty and magical location means it's now a hive of activity. Lycra activity that would be. It's our home base for the Granfondo Nevio Valčić which will surely be a trip highlight.

Being the first group to ride this event from New Zealand & Australia we are expecting to be slammed by media upon our arrival. Suggest we let Mark Grahame do all the talking. The rest of us can shake a few hands and kiss a few babies.

/ Accommodation - Rabac
/ Meals - Breakfast, Lunch (Olive oil degustation) and Dinner

DAY 13 - Friday 29 May

Preparation…

We know by day 13 that your legs will be ready. We now just need to make sure that the bikes are tuned and cleaned. Today is a rest day however we will pop out and spin the legs. Speaking of spinning - we're really keen on you wearing RH kit tomorrow so maybe a spot of laundry is advisable.

You will also have to pick up your registration packs and with that comes a spot of retail therapy. You basically need to treat today the same you would before the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge or Tour Down Under Challenge ride!

Tonight we've booked pasta. That's it. Nice and simple - just pasta. Hmm, I doubt anyone is planning on winning tomorrow so let's add some red wine. There you go… Pasta and red wine.

Early to bed. It's an early start tomorrow.

/ Accommodation - Rabac
/ Meals - Breakfast and Dinner

DAY 14 - 30 May (Saturday)

Granfondo Nevio Valčić

We are lucky enough to tour the world seeking out the very best one-day events. Vancouver to Whistler, Flanders, Paris Roubaix, TDU Challenge Tour, Taupo Cycle Challenge and now the 140km Nevio Valčić. There's also a 60km option for the cappuccino group. You won't forget today - it will be ''O for awesome''

The event was originally introduced to honour Nevio Valčić - a local cycling legend from the 1950's who was a long-time member of the Cycling Club Pula. Today - we ride for Nevio.

The actual ride itself is more about scenery than challenge. The VM (1400m) is less than Lake Taupo but more than Paris-Roubaix. There are zero cobbles. (Oh my, I hate cobbles) Our advice is not to take things too seriously. Enjoy the company of those around you make some new friends. Stop and take photos, stop for a coffee if you feel the need.

We will be waiting for you at the finish. Tonight let's celebrate - everything good that is life - cycling, achievements, travel and friends made on this trip. Cheers to you.

/ Accommodation - Rabac
/ Meals - Breakfast and Dinner


DAY 15 - Sunday 31 May

Hmmm, it's time to start working our way towards Zagreb. And the finish of our journey. We won't ride (not that you'll feel like it anyway) today as we have a 3 hour drive ahead of us. We also have some housekeeping to take care of with bikes needing to be dismantled.

The plan is to leave reasonably early so we arrive in the Croatian capital with plenty of time to explore. For some of you - this afternoon will be your only chance. We've booked a walking tour of the Upper Town and Main Square.

There's absolutely no way anyone will have lost weight on this trip as the food is exceptional. However, for us it's important that you go out on a high. We've book a fine dining experience that you won't forget. Maybe chuck on a nice shirt. Tonight we eat flash.

/ Accommodation - Zagreb
/ Meals - Breakfast and Dinner

DAY 16 - Monday 01 June

Home James

Thank you for joining us on our very first visit to Croatia and Slovenia.

Feel free to stay in Zagreb for a day or two. We can easily arrange extra accommodation. Otherwise, travel safe for wherever you are heading to. We look forward to seeing you again on the next adventure.

Thanks again,
The team at RH.



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Tour Inclusions

  • 4 star accommodation throughout.
  • Dean Mills (Tour Leader) and one other familiar RH guide. Accompanied by 5 Croatian guides and drivers. This is based on 30 clients
  • One of the world's best Gran Fondos.
  • Choice of 2-3 rides per day at your pace. Cappuccino, Latte and Espresso.
  • All breakfasts, 7 dinners and 2 lunches.
  • All your on-the-road bike food & drink
  • Includes all tips (guides and pre-arranged meals)
  • Wine and Olive degustation
  • 10 week training program,
  • RH Croatia kit top, souvenir booklet
  • Maps provided as well as GPS assistance
  • Non-riders (Team Mac) are very welcome and well catered for. (separate guide)

The Price Excludes

  • International Airfares - Karl can advise
  • Bike Rental - Eur30.00 per day NZD800.00 (Pinarello Gan) ** this could get cheaper depending upon how many we hire.
  • Lunches and any meals not in the itinerary. (budget 50 euro per day)
  • Travel Insurance - compulsory! Karl can arrange
  • Pre-& post tour accommodation or tours

The Tour Cost

$NZD7500.00.00 per person twin share

$NZD7250.00 for past, repeat clients

$NZD900.00 for single room

Deposit - non-refundable deposit of $1500.00 per person at time of booking. However, this deposit can be transferred to any other RH trip up to 12 months from departure. From 17 May 2019 the deposit becomes non-transferrable. Balance of payment is due 90 days prior to departure.

 

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