Cross-border project to unite Slovenia and Italy through cycling

Ljubljana, 16 February - A cycling path will be built between the Staro Selo village near Kobarid in the north-west and the Robič border crossing with Italy as part of a project that will also improve cycling infrastructure in Italy. The European Fund for Regional Development will contribute EUR 3.5 million to the EUR 4.4 million project.

Lot, France
Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA
File photo

The project Adrioncycletour promotes cycling as a form of sustainable tourism as part of the Interreg Italy-Slovenia project. The idea was conceived within the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, Marko Koprivc, a state secretary at the Ministry of Cohesion and Regional Development, told the press on Thursday.

The goal is to create a path for cyclists along the entire north Adriatic coast, running through Slovenia, and the Italian regions of Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto. The route will be a part of the planned wider Adriatic-Ionian cycling path running from the south of Italy, through Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania to Greece.

According to Kobarid Mayor Marko Matajurc, building the cycling route connecting Staro Selo, which is home to Slovenian Michelin-starred chef Ana Roš's restaurant Hiša Franko, to Italy will be very challenging due to the terrain.

"Here are the slopes of Mt Matajur, which are very steep so they do not allow for construction, and on the other side runs the Nadiža river," he said.

But he stressed the importance of the link for neighbourly relations. Because of the state border, the people on opposite sides of the border have somehow lost touch, he said.

Once the new cycling path is built, the transport of bicycles will be organised by train from Bohinj and by bus from Cividale del Friuli in Italy.

Further south, on the coast, the towns of Ankaran, Koper, Izola and Piran will again be connected by a regular boat service, which will be set up again after a one-year break and will also enable the transport of bicycles. A bus with a trailer for bicycles will drive from Koper to the Kras region.

In the Gorenjska region in the north, two new rest areas near tourist sights are planned along with two bicycle counters and points for safe storage and charging of e-bikes.

The project officially started last September and will run until the end of August 2025. It is valued at almost EUR 4.4 million, with the EU contributing EUR 3.5 million and participating municipalities the rest. The lead partner to the project is Friuli Venezia Giulia.

© STA, 2023