Your starting point is the vibrant city of Maribor, Slovenia’s second largest city. The town is located on the banks of the Drava River and is home to one of the country’s few town castles. The castle houses the only Slovene fashion museum, which has an excellent collection of costumes and uniforms; the most prestigious being a military uniform worn by Tito.
Day 2: MARIBOR – PTUJ (29 km). Excellent **** spa hotel with own pool complex.
Your cycling route follows the Drava River as it meanders its way south-east across the vineyards and orchards of the Drava Plain and passes through the charming old town of Ptuj. With 2000 years of history, it's the oldest settlement in Slovenia. Visit the incredibly well preserved castle (69 AD), and the Ptuj Wine Cellar, which has its own shop and tasting room, and try the Traminec white wine.
Day 3: PTUJ – JERUZALEM (50 km). **** mansion, set among the vineyards
Today your route takes you across the eastern plains, through tiny villages and picturesque scenery. In the scenic village of Ormož, tucked comfortably at the foot of the Slovenske Gorice Hills, you can visit the wine cellars for lunch. From here you cycle northwards along the famous Ormož to Ljutomer wine road, through a myriad of terraced vineyards where the sound of the Klopotec, wooden wind rattles, will fill the air.
Day 4: JERUZALEM – MORAVSKE TOPLICE (4 km, 52 km with a side trip). Superb ***** spa hotel with outside and inside pools.
Continuing along the wine road, you'll find a never-ending choice of wine cellars offering some of the best white wines in the region; although you might not want to stop at too many in case you start cycling around in circles bleary-eyed. Visit the floating mill of Veržej before crossing the Mura River into the most eastern region of Slovenia: Prekmurje.
Day 5: MORAVSKE TOPLICE (Rest day or round trip of 25 km or 50 km). Superb ***** spa hotel with outside and inside pools.
Today you can immerse yourself in the healing powers of the thermal spa, Moravske Toplice. Or take a short cycling trip out to the theraputic Bukovnica Lake, said to have bio-energetic healing effects! Along the way, you’ll see many traditional L-shaped farmhouses with beautiful white storks nesting on their roofs. Enjoy a coffee in the Slovene-Hungarian border town of Lendava and try the local specialty cake, gibanica.
Day 6: MORAVSKE TOPLICE – VITOMARCI (41 km). ** family guesthouse.
As you head back westward, you can stop at the lovely Renaissance castle in Murska Sobota, which houses a regional museum with an interesting exhibition devoted to the culture and traditions of the Prekmurje region. Then you'll cross the River Mura on an old-fashioned float before cycling across low green hills and ending the day amid the lovely Slovenske Gorice Hills.
Day 7: VITOMARCI – MARIBOR (36 km). **** town hotel.
For your final day it's a leisurely ride through quaint rural villages and farms. Soon you'll join the Malečnik wine road that leads back into Maribor. Although this is predominantly white wine territory, there are some very good reds. Stop in the peaceful village of Vodole, where you can have lunch in one of the tourist farms serving up grilled blood sausages with sauerkraut.
Day 8: DEPARTURE FROM MARIBOR.
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