Day 1: Arrival in Maribor. Your starting point is Maribor, Slovenia’s second largest city. The town is located on the bank 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. Accommodation in 4* hotel.
Day 2: Maribor – Ptuj (25 km). Cycling tour goes across Ptuj fields, along the bank of Drava. Flat only. Accommodation in 4* spa hotel with indoor and outdoor spa center. Your route will follow the Drava River as it meanders its way south-east across the vineyards and orchards of the Drava Plain and passes through Ptuj, the oldest continually inhabited settlement in Slovenia.
Stroll through the streets and soak up the 2000 years of history as you marvel at the rich, elaborate architecture watched over by the incredibly well preserved castle that dates as far back as 69 AD. Visit the Ptuj Wine Cellar, which has its own shop and tasting room. We recommend you try the Traminec white wine. A visit to the Monday morning market is a must. The nearby Haloze Hills also offers you the opportunity to sample more of the wonderful wines of this region.
Day 3: Ptuj – Jerusalem (40 km). Across flat plains with a short hilly section at the end and one shallow 100m/330ft climb. Accommodation in 4* mansion, set among the vineyards – you’ll love the room with a view – a selection of wine in house cellar. Leaving the stony streets of Ptuj, your route takes across the immense eastern plains that lead you through tiny villages and picturesque scenery. In the village of Ormož you can visit the wine cellars for lunch and taste the white wines that are predominant in the region.
Ormož is the border town with Croatia, so you can pop across the Drava Bridge and pay it a quick visit. From Ormož you will cycle northwards along the famous Ormož to Ljutomer wine road. Although this is the smallest of Podravje’s wine growing districts, it’s also one of the most famous. You will cycle through a landscape of terraced vineyards where the sound of the Klopotec, a wooden wind powered rattle designed to scare off birds, will fill the air. Your day will end at the hilltop village of Jeruzalem, named by the crusaders who passed through the region and loved the wine so much they named the settlement after the holy city.
Day 4: Jerusalem – Moravske Toplice (45 km, 49 with a side trip). Some hilly sections in the morning followed by an afternoon across the plain. Accommodation in a 4* hotel – part of the thermal spas in Moravske Toplice. In the morning you will continue along the wine road; on a clear day you can see as far as Hungary. There is a never-ending choice of wine cellars between here and Ljutomer 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. The black pottery workshop in Filovci and the modern church in Bogojina are just two of the places you visit before arriving in Moravske Toplice.
Day 5: Moravske Toplice (Rest day or round trip of 50 km). Accommodation 4* hotel. Relax at the hotel swimming pool or take an easy cycling trip towards the Hungarian border. You can take the day off and immerse yourself in the healing powers of the thermal spa that Moravske Toplice is most famous for. Or you can take a short cycling trip out to the border of Hungary. Visit Bukovnica Lake, said to have bio-energetic healing effects! Along the way you’ll see the many L-shaped farmhouses and the beautiful white storks nesting on the rooftops. Cycle a couple of kilometers and cross into Hungary and visit a typical market in the border town of Lenti. Enjoy a coffee in Lendava and try the local specialty, gibanica; a sweet pie containing apple, walnut, poppy seeds and cottage cheese. Lendava is Slovenia’s most easterly town and has a sizable Hungarian population. Once refueled you can then take a leisurely ride through the vineyards of the Lendava Hills back to your hotel.
Day 6: Moravske Toplice – Cerkvenjak (41 km). First part flat followed by gentle rolling hills. Accommodation in 2* country inn (it has been voted as most hospitable hotel of 2011)! Price includes wine tasting! As you head back westward you will stop at Murska Sobota Castle, which houses a regional museum with an interesting exhibition devoted to the culture and traditions of the Prekmurje region. You will then cross the River Mura on an old-fashioned float before cycling across low green hills, stopping for a picnic beside a tranquil lake. You will end the day in the small settlement of Lenart, set amid the center of the Slovenske Gorice Hills with beautiful surroundings and the spire of the lovely Church of St. Lenart, which was also used as a walled fort against the invading Turks, standing proud over the village.
Day 7: Cerkvenjak – Maribor (35 km). A slightly hilly day. Accommodation in 4* hotel. Sauerkraut and blood sausages: for your final day you can take a leisurely ride through more vineyard covered hills and quaint rural villages and farms. Soon you will join the Malenik wine road that leads into Maribor. Although this is predominantly white wine territory, there are a couple of very good reds. Stop in the small village of Vodole just on the outskirts of Maribor, 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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