Just outside Trieste there's a highland - 300 m o.s.l. - called "Carso" [Kras], part in Italy and part in Slovenia, which lends itself to MTB; but let me use some poor graphics:
__ __ / \ / \ / \_______________/ \____ / ~~~~~~~~/\/\/\/\/ Italy <--- | ---> Slovenia Sea Trieste --> CarsoBest periods are March to June and September to mid November; nice weather and beautiful landscapes. The process of formation of the Carso is thought to have taken million of years. In this area limestone is plentiful and, owing its permeability, surface hydrography is practically non-existent here, which leads to the presence of typical phenomena due to the penetration of the water into the soil: the dolines, the grottoes (the best known and most easily accessible is the Grotta Gigante, the central hall is so large that it could contain St. Pter's cathedral) and the swallow holes. The geomorphological aspects of our Carso are such that, when found in other regions they are called karst phenomena.
In planning an excursion to the Carso area, the "Castellieri" must not be forgotten. They are the remains of villages of the Bronze Age built on hills and surrounded by sound loose-laid walls.
The vegetation is a mix of Mediterranean, Sub-Alpine and local flora. So you can find maritime and Aleppo pines, juniper, heath and brooms as well as black pines, larches, beeches, oaks and "sommacco", a typical bush whose leaves, in Fall, become so red that it seems to be burning (the botanical garden "Carsiana" will offer you an overview of all the species). As far as the fauna is concerned, it reflects the eniromental conditions of this area. It is therefore easy to meet fallow and roe deer, hares, hedgehogs, moles, dornice and various species of birds and reptiles.
Carso offers many chances for off-road riding. The roads bed is usually rocky; half of trails are single track, half are "cart-roads". There is a network of fire roads which is increasing year by year. From the top of the hills that surround the Carso the landscape is great. From Mt. Taiano [Slavnik] 1028 meters, in Slovenia, the view ranges from the Adriatic sea to the Alps. For those who prefer road-riding, there are many secondary roads connecting the small villages of this highland.
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