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Istrian marathon and generous Slovenian cuisine

$3750 per person

The first full marathon (also half marathon and 9.5 K (5.6 miles)) in Slovenia’s road running calendar is the Istrski maraton, Slovenija, or Istrian Marathon (as in the geographic region, Istria). Scheduled for the first weekend in April, the race runs through the three main cities on the Slovenian coast: Koper, Izola, and Piran. The curious thing about this marathon: the Start rotates among different towns, so the marathon is never the same!

  • Eat a fancy meal in four different regions and Ljubljana!
  • Run with the Adriatic Sea in view!
  • Visit four regions: the Alps, the Karst, Styria, and the coast
  • Sample local food and wine


  • Experience top-notch Slovenian cuisine!
  • Three restaurants awarded with the Michelin star!
  • Two restaurants with the Michelin Bib Gourmand and Plate award!
  • Pass through Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital
  • Visit Piran, the “pearl of the Mediterranean”
  • Hike the Škocjan Caves, a UNESCO natural and cultural world heritage site
  • Go back in time to Ptuj, the oldest Slovenian town


Running highlights
  • Run around Lake Bled with a local running group
  • Visit three Mediterranean medieval towns en route from Start to Finish!
  • Run a famous race along the sparkling Adriatic Sea!
  • Compete or volunteer!


Quick itinerary video
  • [Day One, Ljubljana:] Welcome dinner at one of Ljubljana’s best restaurants
  • [Day Two, Ljubljana:] Admission to Ljubljana Castle, lunch and dinner
  • [Day Three, Lake Bled:] Transportation, pletna boat, lunch and dinner
  • [Day Four, Ptuj:] Transportation, admission to Ptuj Castle lunch and snack
  • [Day Five, Škocjan Caves and Piran:] Transportation and prosciutto lunch
  • [Day Six, Explore: Free time and] Coastal fish dinner
  • [Day Seven, Slovenian coast:] Istrian Marathon and farewell dinner


  • Destination
  • Departure
    Ljubljana airport/Ljubljana airport
  • Departure Time
    April, 3 2023 in the afternoon
  • Return Time
    April, 10, 2023 after breakfast
  • Dress Code
    Casual, comfortable athletic clothing, hiking shoes, hat and light jacket.
  • Included
    Istrian marathon and generous Slovenian cuisine
Day 1: Welcome to one of the greenest countries in the world!
On the day of your arrival, we’ll pick you up at the Ljubljana Airport and take you to your hotel. In the evening, we’ll dine downtown with the finest of flavors.
Day 2: Ljubljana and its Dragons
In the morning, a guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you on a short walking tour to visit some of the historic sights of Slovenia’s capital city. Dragons are a famous symbol in Ljubljana: Legend goes that one was killed by the mythological Greek heroes Jason and the Argonauts (founders of Ljubljana). Today, dragons are portrayed in statues, in the city coat of arms, and on the mysterious Dragon Bridge! Let’s see how many we can spot during this tour of the Slovenian capital. After the tour takes us through Ljubljana’s Old Town, including Ljubljana Castle, you’ll have time to explore on your own in the afternoon. We’ll have dinner in a Michelin awarded restaurnat.
Day 3: Lake Bled
Lake Bled is one of the most recognizable tourist destinations in Slovenia; we’ll walk along its shores and marvel. There’s time to explore on your own, take a trip by boat to visit the iconic island and ring the wish bell after lunch, or simply enjoy the lakeside. That afternoon, we’ll join a local running group for a jog around the lake. In the evening, we’ll dine at a prestigious restaurant in Ljubljana.
Day 4: Ptuj
Today we’ll travel through Ptuj, Slovenia’s oldest city. Settled in the Stone Age, Ptuj has a rich and varied history, including jurisdiction by the Roman Empire, the Frankish Empire, and German occupancy during World War II. Our tour takes us from the old city center to Ptuj Castle (12th century). Try phenomenal Slovenian food from a different about a homemade pastry the size of a softball, filled with blueberry jam?
Day 5: Škocjan Caves and Piran
Next up: the Škocjan Caves, a UNESCO natural and cultural world heritage site. The caves are one of the largest known underground canyons in the world, due to specialized ecosystem and microclimatic conditions. After the caves, we’ll have lunch, and in the afternoon visit Piran, a fascinating Mediterranean harbor, formerly part of the Republic of Venice. Nestled in the narrow, ancient streets are churches, galleries, and such cultural landmarks as the birthplace of Baroque composer and violinist Giuseppe Tartini. After a special fish dinner, we’ll lodge at a coastal hotel.
Day 6: Explore on your own
Today, explore the coast on your own! Check out nearby Hrastovlje and Holy Trinity Church with the famous seven-meter (22-feet) fresco, Danse Macabre--or, just roam around the seaside towns of Piran, Izola, or Koper. Nearby Strunjan lends itself to leisurely hiking opportunities. Dinner in Koper!
Day 7: Run
Race day! Depending on the location of your stay, we’ll coordinate transportation or a chaperone from your hotel to the Istrian Marathon Start, or to the volunteer work station. That evening, we’ll dine in fine style for our farewell dinner.
Day 8: Move on
This trip has come to an end, but we’re happy to help coordinate your next step. If you plan to vacation in Europe, Ljubljana Brnik, Zagreb, and Venice Marco Polo are the most convenient airports to fly out of. However, if you want to extend your stay in Slovenia, we’re happy to connect you with your next adventure!


Value For Money

Included in the price of the itinerary
  • Transportation from/to Ljubljana airport
  • Accommodations and breakfast for seven days in Ljubljana and area hotels
  • All hotel taxes
  • Welcome dinner on your first day
  • Admission to Ljubljana Castle, lunch and dinner in Ljubljana on your second day
  • Transportation, admission to Ptuj Castle, lunch, and snack on you fourth day
  • English-speaking guide for Ljubljana, Ptuj, Škocjan Caves, and Piran
  • Transportation and admission to Škocjan Caves and Piran, and lunch your fifth day
  • Special fish dinner on your sixth day
  • Entry fee for the race, plus transportation to the starting line, and farewell dinner on your seventh day
  • Official T-shirt and food for competitors/volunteers
  • Services of Mateja Travel staff
Food and Accommodations
  • Four nights in one of Ljubljana’s ****hotels and three nights in Piran, Koper, or Izola hotels
  • Buffet breakfasts each day
  • Six dinners and four lunches in authentic, local,  and Michelin awarded restaurants, plus tasty nourishing snacks
Not Included in the Price of the Itinerary
  • Round-trip airfare
  • Excess baggage charges; travel insurance
  • Optional trips
  • Food and beverages if not defined otherwise
  • Alcoholic beverages over provided meals if not defined otherwise
  • Optional gratuities to tour guides
  • Items of a personal nature
Consider as you sign up
  • Airline tickets Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip is confirmed with the minimum number (5) of participants required to operate.
  • Travel insurance To protect your travel investment, we recommend the purchase of travel insurance.
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  • SMALL GROUP From 6 to 14 people       $3750
  • BIG GROUP From 15 to 20 people     $2950
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