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Salzburg, Austria to Bled, Slovenia Bike Tour
Tour Dates: August 19 – 26, 2016

This tour will be accompanied by Chuck & Judy Nichols

Join Chuck and Judy on an amazing bike tour through gorgeous alpine valleys from Salzburg, Austria to Bled, Slovenia. This cycling tour takes us through the majestic Alps, it includes three countries, we have a riding guide, a support van and it is a moderate ride. The fun begins in Salzburg, Austria, the birthplace of Mozart, and finishes in Bled, the most charming town in northern Slovenia. Keep your camera handy as we cycle picturesque river valleys with waterfalls, towering peaks and storybook perfect towns. Great food, historical sites and comfortable lodgings are part of each day’s adventure.

From Salzburg, we will be cycling on bike paths and quiet country roads that immerse us in the spectacular scenery of the Salzach, Gastein and Molltal Valleys. South of Villach, we briefly pass through NE Italy before crossing into Slovenia in the heart of the Julian Alps. The grand finale ride ends in Bled, Slovenia, home of the iconic Bled Castle.

This bike tour is perfect for riders of all abilities. We will have electric bikes (E-bikes) as well as road and hybrid bikes available for rent. Daily distances are 45-65 km over mildly rolling terrain with a nice combination of short and long climbs. Each day a support vehicle accompanies us, and you are welcomed to take a lift at any time.

2017 Price:€2200 Euros/per person double occupancy, Single Supplement:€390

Price Includes:

  • 8-day / 7 night guided bicycle tour
  • 7 nights hotel with breakfast
  • 7 dinners
  • Cycling guide and vehicle support
  • route notes and maps

Price does not include: Rental Bikes (Hybrid bike rental / €80 Euros, Road bike rental / €120 Euros, Electric bike rental / €250 Euros), lunches, beverages, gratuities for local guide & driver

Trip Difficulty

We rate this tour as moderate. Daily distances are 45-65 km over mildly rolling terrain with a nice combination of some short and a few longer climbs. Each day a support vehicle accompanies us, and you are welcomed to take a lift at any time. We have road, hybrid and electric rental bikes available. There are portions of the bike path that are not paved, so if you are not comfortable riding a road bike on some gravel and dirt paths, you may prefer riding a hybrid or electric bike.

  • Difficulty: Moderately Hilly
  • Road Conditions: Combination of Paved secondary roads and bike paths with some gravel
  • Recommended Bike: Hybrid, Electric or Road

Trip Highlights

  • Salzburg, Visit the birthplace of Mozart
  • Lake Bled with its medieval castle perched on a steep cliff overlooking the lake
  • Stunning alpine scenery
  • bike paths and country roads
  • Stunning alpine scenery
  • Hohenwerfen Castle, one of the oldest and best-preserved castles in Europe
  • Liechtenstein Gorge

Trip Overview

From the birth city of Mozart to a shimmering alpine lake amid the majesty of the south-eastern Alps, there is something for everyone on this unforgettable alpine ride. Beginning at the baroque city of Salzburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you will cycle from stunning baroque architecture to a splendid alpine landscape laden with meandering rivers, picturesque valleys, waterfalls, and towering mountain peaks. You’ll cycle through quaint villages where you can sample great local food, before arriving at the fairytale setting of Lake Bled in Slovenia.

A network of cycle paths and quiet country roads will take you through the magnificent Salzach, Gastein, and Molltal valleys. South of Villach, you'll pass through Italy briefly before turning into Slovenia and continuing on through the heart of the Julian Alps and onwards to the magical, fairytale setting of Lake Bled, with its unique island church and hilltop castle to top it all off.

Tour Map

Salzburg to Bled Bike Tour

Day 1

Meeting day in Salzburg, Austria. We will meet in the late afternoon at the hotel for a tour orientation, bike fitting and a welcome dinner. NOTE: We suggest arriving in Salzburg a day of two prior to the tour to get over jetlag and to enjoy Salzburg with its picturesque Altstadt (old town), a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 2 - Cycling from Salzburg to Bischoffshofen (60 km)

Our first day’s ride takes us from Salzburg through the Salzach valley to Bischofshofen, a summer sports destination in the Austrian Alps. HIGHLIGHTS : The 900-year-old Hohenwerfen Castle, one of the oldest and best-preserved castles in Europe, in Werfen.

Day 3 - Cycling from Bischoffshofen to Mallnitz (55 km)

We follow a bike path through the Gastein Valley and end the day with a short train ride. HIGHLIGHTS: The scenic ski town of St. Johann im Pongau, the Gastein Valley and the famous mountain resort of Badgastein with a waterfall in the center of town.

Day 4 - Cycling from Mallnitz to Sachsenburg (50 km)

Today we enter Carinthia, one of Austria’s most impressive vacation regions, and enjoy a downhill ride through the Molltal Valley beneath impressive 3,000 meter mountains. HIGHLIGHTS: Liechtensteinklamm (Liechtenstein Gorge) and the downhill ride into the Molltal valley.

Day 5 - Cycling from Sachsenburg to Villach (65 km)

Enjoy our slightly downhill route along the Drau River as we cycle to the beautiful town of Villach. HIGHLIGHTS: Drau Valley and town of Villach.

Day 6 - Cycling from Villach to Podkoren (65 km)

Today we ride in three countries and cross from Austria to Italy and then into Slovenia to enjoy the stunning Sava Valley and overnight in Podkoren. HIGHLIGHTS: View of Dobratsch mountain and the mountains near the Kranjska Gora alpine ski area.

Day 7 - Cycling from Podkoren to Bled (45 km)

The ride begins with a gentle downhill to Kranjska Gora, a World Cup alpine ski area. The bike path continues down valley and then we make a short climb into a beautiful forested valley. Our final stage ends with a downhill into Bled. This picturesque town is on the shore of a gorgeous lake that is surrounded by mountain peaks. HIGHLIGHTS: Historic farm museum in Krma valley, lunch at Psnak restaurant, and Lake Bled with its medieval castle perched on a steep cliff overlooking the lake .

Day 8 - Bled

Bled. The tour ends after breakfast. Let us know if you want us to make reservations for any additional nights in Bled.

AIR TRAVEL INFORMATION: THIS TRIP BEGINS SALZBURG, AUSTRIA AND ENDS IN BLED, SLOVENIA. One option is to schedule your flights into Salzburg airport (SZG) at the start and return home from LJUBLJANA (LJU) at the end of the tour. You might find cheaper flight options into MUNICH (MUC) and out of LJUBLJANA (LJU), with a 2 hour train ride from Munich to Salzburg. You could also look at roundtrip flights from LJUBLJANA (LJU), with a 4 hour train ride to Salzburg at the beginning of the trip. Bled and Ljubljana are equal distance from the Ljubljana airport. If this is your first time in Slovenia, it is worth visiting Ljubljana. Let us know if you would like assistance with additional hotels in Salzburg or in Slovenia.

Who comes on a Nichols Expeditions bike tour?

You can expect a spirited mixture of singles and couples in their 20′s to 80′s from all corners of the US and a few international locations as well. Many have accompanied us on numerous tours in the past. Most folks are recreational riders and all seem to share the common bond of an active lifestyle, an appreciation for the outdoors and a love for fun. We will gladly supply references of any trip that you are interested in joining.

The Guides

Our staff includes a bilingual local cycling guide and driver for our support vehicle. The owners, Chuck and Judy Nichols, accompany most trips and supply a fun style that brings folks together like a group of friends having a great time on an unforgettable vacation.

The Food

We will be staying in hotels and inns that serve great food! The meals are hearty and there is enough variety to please everyone. Vegetarian diets can be accommodated with advance notice. All breakfasts and dinners are included beginning with dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 8. You are on your own for lunches and snacks and we will suggest local restaurants.

Weather

Weather can be changeable, so be prepared for riding in both sun and showers. Daytime temperatures are 60º to 80º and nights are 50º to 65º. There is always the chance of rain, so to insure your personal comfort please make sure you have a good quality rain jacket with a hood and rain pants, too. For the sunny days, we recommend using SPF 30 sunscreen and lip screen. If you are really sun sensitive, we suggest sun-blocking clothing.

Rental Bikes

We rent good quality hybrid bikes, road bikes and electric bikes with a bike bag, a water bottle cage and flat pedals without toe clips and straps. You are welcomed to bring your own pedals and seat. We will supply full mechanical support during the tour. NOTE: You will need to provide your own water bottle and helmet.

Camera Gear

Bring a smart phone or compact digital camera and you will be ready to capture the action. Also, use large storage cards (16, 32 or even 64gb size), or bring a laptop or portable hard drive to download your photos. Other useful items are extra batteries, lens cleaner, lens tissue, lens brush, a mini tabletop tripod and a toothbrush to remove grit from your camera.

Language

It is not necessary to be able to speak German or Slovene, and many locals speak English fairly well. A small dictionary is handy and some creative sign language will usually get your point across.

Money

The currency of both Austria and Slovenia is the Euro. You will need Euros for lunches, meals before and after the tour, beverages, shopping, snacks, and tips for the Italian guide. We suggest starting with a minimum of €200 Euros (more if you like to shop and sample the local wine and ice cream).

Tipping

On the tour: we suggest €150 Euros per guest to cover our local guide and various service people at the lodges during the tour. On your own: most restaurants include a service charge, but an additional 5-10% for exceptional service is always appreciated. We suggest a small amount for baggage and taxi service.

Cash & Credit Cards

US CASH: bring only NEW bills with NO tears. You can exchange money at the airport and in major towns. CREDIT CARDS: bring 2 or more Visa or MasterCards in case you have trouble with one. There are ATMs in most of the towns on the tour. To use your Credit Card to get Euros at an ATM, each Credit Card will need a PIN#. Be sure to activate the PIN# and check that it works BEFORE you begin your travels. We also suggest contacting your credit card company prior to your trip to inform them of the countries where you will be traveling and the dates. We do not recommend bringing Travelers Checks because some places do not accept them, exchange rates vary widely and they require a bank to exchange them.

Passport

You must have a current Passport. Please make sure that your passport does not expire within 6 months of your trip’s completion. These requirements do vary from country to country, but just to be safe, we recommend going by the 6 month standard, because it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry when it comes to international travel!

Make copies of your passport! We recommend making 2 photocopies of your passport’s photo page and any other valuable documents you might carry with you on the tour. Travel with one copy stored separately from your passport. Leave the other copy at home with a relative or friend (ideally the same person you gave as your emergency contact). In the event that any of your documents are lost or stolen, this will greatly assist the process of replacement.

Immunizations

For all travelers, we suggest keeping your tetanus immunization up to date (every 10 years), and we suggest a Hepatitis A immunization, too. You can check your state health department, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or the online traveler’s data base http://www.mdtravelhealth.com/ for the most current information.

The secret to stress free travel

Simply put, pack light and arrive at the starting point of your trip a day or two early. Many have told us this was the most important thing they did to get ready for their trip. They felt rested and more acquainted with the customs and pace of life in their new surroundings.

Additional hotel lodging

Let us know if you would like us to make additional hotel reservations for you in Salzburg, Austria at the start of the tour and in either Bled or Ljubljana,Slovenia after the tour.

Train Schedules

If you find it easier to fly into Vienna, you can take a train to Salzburg. The airport in Ljubljana is midway between Bled and the city of Ljubljana, so we can assist with your logistics at the end of the tour. You will not need advance train tickets from Bled to Ljubljana and we can arrange transfers to the Ljubljana airport from Bled for an additional charge at the end of the tour. Check out European Train Schedules (http://www.raileurope.com) for schedules.

Travel Delays

Nichols Expeditions is not responsible for any costs you may incur due to travel delays or other contingencies we are unable to control. For international flights, arrive at least 2-3 hours prior to departure (check with your air carrier for their requirements) and allow ample time between connecting flights. If you miss your flight and you need a special shuttle to meet up with the group, you will be responsible for the cost.

Travel Insurance

To protect yourself against life’s uncertainties, we highly recommend purchasing a travel insurance policy!

Learn more about the Travel Insurance.

About Salzburg

Salzburg, literally: "Salt Fortress") is the fourth-largest city in Austria and the capital of the federal state of Salzburg.

Salzburg was the birthplace of 18th-century composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In the mid‑20th century, the city was the setting for parts of the musical play and film The Sound of Music.

About Bled

Bled (pronounced [ˈbleːt]; is an Alpine town alongside glacial Lake Bled in northwestern Slovenia. It is the seat of the Municipality of Bled. It is most notable as a popular tourist destination in the Upper Carniola region and in Slovenia as whole, attracting visitors from abroad, as well.

Bled is known for the glacial Lake Bled, which makes it a major tourist attraction. Perched on a rock overlooking the lake is the iconic Bled Castle. The town is also known in Slovenia for its vanilla and cream pastry (Slovene: kremšnita, kremna rezina). ~ Wikipedia

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