Friuli Venezia Giulia

Cycle into the season: Autumn bike trips in Friuli Venezia Giulia

Pedal power is one of my favourite ways to explore the port city of Trieste and the Friuli Venezia Giulia region.

Nuzzled up against the Italian border with Slovenia, it’s an area oozing with culture. There’s just no better feeling than whizzing around the beautiful scenery and the striking architecture of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region with the wind in my hair. And with temperatures ranging between a pleasant 13 and 24 degrees Celsius in early and mid-autumn, this season is definitely one of the top times of year to tour on two wheels.

I’ve selected my favourite routes – a mixture of easy, medium and more challenging levels, so it doesn’t matter whether you’re a cycling newbie or a full-on aficionado. Here are the trails I’d recommend if you’re keen on exploring this enchanting region.

Courtesy of PromoTurismoFVG

Leisurely loop around Trieste


For an easy introduction to Trieste, set off by bike from the city’s main square, Piazza Unità d’Italia, on a 12-kilometre ride. You’ll tour the Teresian district and pass by the Venice-esque Grand Canal of Trieste.

Cross the leafy Viale XX Settembre boulevard and stop by the Synagogue of Trieste to admire its grand arches, then cycle through the centre along Via del Monte and Via Capitolina towards the top of San Giusto hill. This is the trickiest bit, so if the children are with you, you might want to get off and wheel your way to the top!

Once here, have a (much-deserved) break and take in the mesmerising view of the towering cathedral, castle and cityscape. Next comes the fun part: rushing downhill towards the sparkling seafront. You’ll come to a halt back where you began at the main square.

Hotels - Trieste

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Where to stay for a classic stay in Trieste


Once you drop the bikes off at the sea-facing Piazza Unità d’Italia, this hotel’s just a 50-metre walk away. Rest in one of the 19 rooms with their timber floors and sleek ensuites. In the mornings, brew up a coffee from your Illy machine and admire the surrounding Habsburg-period buildings from your windows. I also love the lobby at this boutique hotel – it’s furnished in Le Corbusier pieces.

Hotel Vis à Vis

Top rated
9.1 Excellent (571 reviews)

Where to stay for a boutique experience


This is the sort of spot I always go for when I’m after a modern place to stay. Urban Hotel Design may be inside an 18th-century Old Town building just around the corner from the main square, but it’s contemporary through and through. It’s furnished in Enrico Franzolini black leather couches and Catifa di Molina chairs, so you can give your pedalled-out legs a break. Rooms are decorated in minimalist white and come with all the essentials – from speedy Wi-Fi to a well-stocked minibar.

Urban Hotel Design

Top rated
9.0 Excellent (1048 reviews)

A culture-packed coast and country trail


Kick off this 30-kilometre trip in the shimmering seaside resort of Duino, just below its greenery-shrouded white cliffs about a half-an-hour drive from Trieste. Head uphill to Ceroglie village, renowned for being the setting of one of WWI’s key battles.

You’ll then freewheel downwards to the hamlet of Slivia before zooming back towards the coast with cerulean-blue views of the Adriatic Sea to gaze at en-route. Pass through the fishing village of Saint Croce then explore the limestone quarries of Nabrežina before ending the tour at Portopiccolo.

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Where to stay: a luxurious hotel in its own private bay


This five-star Portopiccolo hotel on the Italian Riviera sits inside a private bay with jaw-dropping views of the water. I was awestruck by the panoramas of the glittering Gulf of Trieste from the Cliff restaurant – serving gourmet Italian – and the infinity pool. I’d also recommend setting aside some time at the spa, a tranquil space with muted mood lighting for a refined air. If you cycled with your partner, treat them to one of the muscle-restoring couples’ massages.

Tivoli Portopiccolo Sistiana Resort

Top rated
9.4 Excellent (205 reviews)

A scenic cross-border challenge


Serious cyclist? This expert-level loop stretches on for around 55 kilometres. It starts from the city centre before dipping into Slovenia and ending up back in Trieste. Begin at Trieste Centrale station then cycle to the imposing San Giusto Cathedral before tracing the coastal road towards the town of Ankaran on the Istrian peninsula in Slovenia. Keep going towards the port city of Koper, dropping by the Venetian-style Titov Trg square and the gothic loggia, then return to Trieste via the H5 road.

Hotels - Friuli Venezia Giulia

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Where to stay: a historic accommodation near the train station


History comes to life at former coaching inn Hotel Alla Posta. This handsome building has Schüco Royal doors and windows with soundproofed double glazing – ideal for upping the chances of a good night’s sleep ahead of your expedition. You’ll have a gleaming parquet floor to pad across towards the marble ensuite in your room, too. This hotel’s just over five minutes’ walk from Trieste Centrale, giving you plenty of time to get your fill of local cheeses at the breakfast buffet before setting off.

Albergo Alla Posta

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8.9 Excellent (1280 reviews)

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