Re-post: after receiving the prestigious Bicycling Magazine Best in Travel Award, I had to dig out this blog article from 2016 where I pointed out that Friuli was an up-and-coming cycling destination, predicting that it could get into the spotlight soon and why. Fast forward to December 4th, 2019: we get the email announcing that our Friuli and Slovenia Plus tour was awarded Best in Travel Award by Bicycling Magazine in the Best Hidden Europe category.
Friuli (or Friuli Venezia Giulia) is a border region tucked between Slovenia and Austria where one will find the cultural imprints of all three countries. Over the years, this region was occupied by various European powers and it developed a unique language and culture. Lonely Planet listed it as Best in Travel 2016.
One of the reasons we are so fond of Friuli is that it is a cycling heaven. Our Magnifica Tour (a special edition program) and our Plus Tour (our award-winning collaboration with Ride and Seek) both pedal across the border to Italy’s neighbor Slovenia. Slovenia’s tourism has grown significantly since it gained its independence at the beginning of the 90's. Slovenia is often paired with Friuli for multi-day active vacations.
Slovenia is an outdoor paradise and Friuli is a must-visit destination for gourmands and wine lovers.
The Slavic and Austrian influences make this region very unique compared to the rest of Italy. It is probably the perfect destination for someone who has been to Italy several times and is looking for something new and different. In fact, travelers who are eager to experience something new and unexpected end up admitting that Friuli went beyond their expectations.
While it is unlikely that the Friulian customs (including language) will remain intact, it’s not too late to experience this vanishing culture.
Here are some of the highlights that you can expect on a bike tour of Friuli and across the border into Slovenia:
Amazing mixture of Italian and Austrian/Slavic cultures
Off-the-beaten-path cycling routes
World War I history is tangible here like nowhere else
Be among the first of your friends to ride this beautiful region
Ride through lands that inspired Hemingway, Freud, Joyce
Bike through the lush vineyards of Friuli’s Collio wine region
Pristine rivers and Alps backdrops
The stunning beauty of Bled Castle on Lake Bled
The famous cook and television star Lidia Bastianich is from Friuli and she often puts her native region at the center of her Lidia’s Italy program and books.
"There is a lot to experience and enjoy in this part of Italy. It is still an undiscovered treasure". - Lidia Bastianich
Wineries in this area are settled on some of the most beautiful hills you will ever encounter. No one would argue that the best white wines in Italy come from here. One of the most iconic wine producers in all of Friuli is unarguably Livio Felluga. The history of his wines is deeply rooted in the land and people of Friuli. Back when quality wine "wasn't a thing," he set out to reinvent winemaking.
Between Cividale, Gorizia, and Udine there are several castles that are also wineries.
If you can imagine Friuli as a possible destination for your cycling vacation in Italy, Tourissimo can help you with a standard or personalized itinerary.