Elec Bikes in the Vipava Valley
It is only polite to have an answer to this question.. "what is the biggest secret place in Slovenia?".. Well, for many years now we have been telling anyone who would listen to us, that the Vipava Valley is both geographically the largest secret place in Slovenia as well as being the "biggest" undiscovered secret tip we could give you about Green Slovenia!
In 2018, Lonely Planet agreed and put the Vipava Valley into it's 10 most undiscovered secrets in Europe.. So if you want to go explore this amazing 40km long valley, stuffed with vineyards, unique wines, hidden villages, little churches on top of spectacular hilltops, sheer Karst rockfaces, fantastic restaurants and Roman villas, then why don't you get on your bike.. how about an electric one!
We tell you more secrets about the amazing Vipava valley in our "Secret Places to Visit" section, so here in this blog, we will concentrate on the E-Biking way to explore this shiny green jewel in Slovenia's crown!
From Lipizzaner Lodge, the neighbouring Vipava valley is located just 10 mins around the corner, or if you are a crow, then just fly over the top and to the other side of Nanos, (1,313m), Slovenia's last mountain, which dominates the sunset view from the Lodge.
We are always trying to meet new local Slovenian people who are dedicated to introducing the secrets of Slovenia to our guests. So we were delighted to be invited to try out a brand new fleet of top of the range electric mountain bikes by Alex and Jana of Rockvelo, in the heart of the Vipava valley.
Being keen cyclists ourselves, we had never tried or even thought about electric bikes.. we thought these bikes were what pensioners in Switzerland went around on, but all we can say now is wow, give one a try and you will be converted!
We are reasonably fit, but could not have dreamed of covering so many km and seeing so much, whizzing up and down the stunning hills of the Vipava valley as easily as on these bikes.
If you add in the expert guiding element, to find places that even we as locals did not know about and the yummy lunch with wine at the end of the trip, then you have the recipe for quite a unique and special Slovenian experience!
It really doesn't take long getting used to these bikes. Basically, they give you a boost if you need one, so hills pretty much disappear (this is very handy in the Vipava valley, you will see) and you feel like you are cycling along a flat road the whole way! But you do feel you have been on a bike ride, you are in the saddle for 1-3 hours and can pedal as much or as little as you please so you can still feel a very happy tired at the end of the road.
We turned off the power assistance several times and just cycled up some of the hills ourselves and of course there are lots of flat bits and free wheeling down the hills to enjoy, so its pretty much an amazing bike experience!
Jana accompanied us on our tour and she was both informative about the local area and we were very impressed by her "mother hen" safety awareness, which is wonderful when you are whizzing around on a charged up bike.. You feel a lot safer when she takes the lead and checks all the crossings are clear so you can concentrate more on enjoying the cycling and taking in the amazing views.
As said, we already knew how beautiful the Vipava valley is when you get off the beaten track, so it was a pleasure to immediately cross and leave the main road behind and stay on local roads, tracks and traverse little villages alongside Jana for about 2 and a half hours of fun.
The Vipava valley is one of Slovenia's seven wine region's, so don't be surprised at how many different vineyards you will cycle past & through. We also biked along the Vipava river, which runs along the base of the valley. There are numerous routes which you can take. We snaked up and up from the river base and felt ever more at ease with the extra push the bikes gave us.
Even though it was a cloudy sunny day you will pretty much always find some sunshine on the Mediterranean Vipava wine slopes and we had some great views across to the 1,000m plus mountains on the other side of the valley. We also had time to visit one of the hidden little treasures of the valley, being the hilltop village of Kriz.. (in our view every bit as good as those you will find in Croatia.. The difference in Slovenia is that our hilltop villages are pretty much totally undiscovered for tourism).
Kriz (above), is a great example of a diamond just waiting to be discovered, only last year did a café / shop open in the village to offer visitors some info, focus and refreshments when exploring this ancient little walled village, poking up on top of a hill in the centre of the Vipava valley. We did a short circle on wheels and stopped for a coffee before we rode back home to the unpronounceable stunning little village of Skrilje where Rockvelo is based!
But even then the trip was not over, as we had just enough time to visit their very own vineyard! As it was mid September, the grape picking season was in full swing, so we helped out, (for a few minutes)! and then returned to the cellar for a wonderful lunch with home produced meats & cheeses and a glass of their own wine.. Delicious, what a day!
We took one of our guests with us to try out this experience and he also absolutely loved it, so we have no hesitation at all in recommending E-Biking to anyone who wants to explore Slovenia's biggest secret, the Vipava valley.
You also have an option just to rent the bikes and go off on your own, but even knowing Slovenia as well as we do, we ALWAYS recommend taking a guide here when available. Not only will you not need to navigate yourselves, your eyes will be opened to so many things you would otherwise miss, but you will also get some quality time with a local person!
And another thing.. we will work with Rockvelo in the future to get E-bike trips maybe one way from and to the Lodge over Nanos to the Vipava valley, with a pick up home for a wonderful day out. In Slovenia, the options are endless for E-biking. And if you want to add on another Vipava valley experience to the E-Biking, such as paragliding, wine tasting or paddle boarding for example, then it's only a matter of your time and energy as to what you can do here!