|asphalt, dirt road, trail|
Koper. Park on one of the parking lots near the historic center of Koper.
We start the tour in Koper and a visit to its historic city center is a must! Go from the historic center of Koper in the direction of the motorway past a football stadium and turn right at the first roundabout. Drive straight on through an underpass under the motorway and come to a bigger road across a water channel. Go left here and on the first crossroad turn right. The road starts ascending and continues past a residential area to the first traffic light. Turn left and a bit higher (at the top of a hill) turn right. You are already in the middle of vineyards and olive tree plantations. Follow a narrow road – the views on Koper bay are getting more and more beautiful – and then wind around Markovec hill, where a nice view towards Izola opens.
The tour is very panoramic, almost without traffic and rises gently at all times. Follow the main road to Baredi village, where you turn slightly to the left (direction Ronkaldo) and proceed to a small church (St. Jacob). Here you head to the right and descend towards Šared village. In the village turn left and come onto a slightly bigger road. The main ascent is already behind and you can speed off on a gentle slope towards an interesting Istrian village of Korte - make a short 'detour' to the village nucleus on your left and have a lunch in one of its local restaurants. From the crossroad at Gostilna Korte go straight down (southwards) and pay attention to a small asphalt road that branches off to the right in about 2 km. Ascend on it, keep left and cycle along a tractor road past meadows and vineyards to an interesting Krog hamlet. Krog has only a few inhabitants and is unfortunately falling apart but has an incredible view on Sečovlje salt pans below you.
Descend from Krog on an asphalt road towards the salt pans and come to Sečovlje. If you have enough time and energy, I suggest you visit the southern part of Sečovlje Salina Nature Park - called Fontanigge (turn left in Sečovlje and come to the Croatian border on a cycling path past vineyards and orchards; go past the Slovene customs control and then turn right on a cart road). An entrance fee to the nature park must be paid here and then you cycle to the 'Museum of salt making' right at the marshy salt pans which provide a habitat for a large number bird species. It is a beautiful and very different part of our coastline.
After visiting the park return to Sečovlje and continue on the cycling path by the edge of the salt pans to the second entrance to Sečovlje Salina Nature Park - Lera. Here you can find out more about traditional salt harvesting (the ticket from Fontanigge is valid here as well). Carry on from here along the coast towards Ribič restaurant and continue on a nice strolling path to Lucija camping.
Enjoy the fresh air of the sea, keep cycling right on the coast the whole time and ride through touristic Portorož until the charming Piran town. At the far end of Tartini Square in Piran a narrow street ascends to the church of St. George. When you come out of the Piran's pedestrian zone (slightly behind the stairway that leads to the church) a walking path branches to the left and continues by the sea until Fiesa. From there you have to ascend again. Take on a narrow asphalt road next to a hotel at the east side of Fiesa, cycle to a bigger road among vacation houses and then go down to Strunjan. Just before Strunjan's salt pans turn left onto a narrow path, which takes you to Strunjan beach between the sea and the salt pans. Go right at the hotels at the end of the beach and at the next crossroad turn left onto a narrow asphalt road (after about 600 m, where the road to Koper turns right). Drive straight through a lovely little valley, the road starts to ascend, turns right and a dirt road starts. At the top of this final ascent of the tour an amazing view on Izola opens. You will come onto an asphalt road again and descend to Izola past the tourist facilities of hotel Belvedere. Ride by the sea through Izola town center, go around a shipyard and look for a cycling path behind it. Follow the cycling path between the sea and the main road back to Koper.
Malija hill (279 m)
Length (duration, km):
Koper - Korte - Sečovlje: 2.15 h (23 km)
Sečovlje - Sečovlje Salina Nature Park (Fontanigge) - Sečovlje: 45 min (10 km)
Sečovlje - Piran: 45 min (12 km)
Piran - Izola - Koper: 1.45 h (20 km)
Total: 5.5 h, 65 km
Type of trail:
85% asphalt (55 km)
15% dirt road (10 km)