Why is bicycling Slovenia so special? There are few, if any, dedicated bicycle paths like in Germany and Austria. There are no bicycle signs to follow. Cyclists must ride on regular roads with the cars and trucks. There are rarely shoulders for the cyclist. The country is mountainous and challenging to cycle. So why did it become our favorite country to cycle?
Many touring cyclists we met used Slovenia to get from the Adriatic coast to Poland, or Austria. They followed the major west-east auto freeway routes that connect the coast with Ljubljana and Maribor. How did they like it? “It was pleasant”, they remarked, “but nothing really special”
They missed everything that Slovenia has to offer a touring cyclist:
- stunning, peaceful countryside
- spectacular Alps
- beautifully paved roads with hardly any traffic
- a host of suggested bicycle route maps available locally
- extremely courteous drivers who are happy to share the road with cyclists
- exceptionally friendly people many of whom speak excellent English
- delicious local food
- very pleasant accommodations and camping facilities
- wonderful, historic towns
So we wrote a book about bicycling Slovenia
Slovenia is a cycle touring destination that has not yet been discovered. Cyclists simply don’t know where to ride! There are literally hundreds of mountain bike routes that are mapped and advertized, but information about routes for the touring cyclist are hard to find. So we wrote our own guide book.
This PDF book details 6 cycle routes in Slovenia adding up to 1200 kilometers (745 mi). They wind through incredibly scenic areas of this beautiful and friendly country on low traffic paved roads. One of the routes connects to Austria and the Drava River Basin while another highlights how to get to the islands of Croatia. The routes are designed for touring cyclists who want to see what Slovenia is all about.
PDF format is like an e-book and can be carried with you as you ride. But what really sets this book apart is the link to download all the GPS data with associated map into your computer, tablet phone, or GPS device. You don’t have to rely on reading paper maps or following long winded verbal directions. Load the routes and follow visually. You will always know where you are!
We have loaded this page with photos from the various routes just to stir up those cycling juices! Hope you enjoy.
Kolpa River Loop Route
A circular route from Ljubljana south to the Croatian border makes a wide loop back to the capital city. The heart of this route follows the pretty Kolpa River through lush green mountains dotted with small villages.
Sea to Alps Route
Local folks know about the areas this route covers. There are even Italian cyclists riding so much of this area because the roads are well paved. If you know the right routes to choose, the traffic is minimal. The route starts in the historic old center of Koper on the Adriatic, works its way inland passing some of Slovenia’s famous destinations: Skocjan Caves, the Lipizzaner horse farms, the charming old towns of Kanal, Tolmin, Kobarid and Bovec on the lovely Soca river. The highlight is crossing Vrsic Pass, Slovenia’s highest at 1611 meters (5285 ft). The cover photo for the book was taken descending this gorgeous pass.
Skocjan Caves (left) is our favorite. The Reka River dives underground and visitors can enter the caves to follow the river. Fascinating!
The Lipizanner horse farm has new foals running about the pastures. There are performances and tours as well that give an in depth perspective to this amazing place.
Wonderful places to camp at reasonable prices is a highlight of bicycling Slovenia. We camped almost every night on our tour around the country. Many camping places are locally owned and operated; they are small and exceptionally friendly. Many sites also offer lodging as well as restaurants.
The Soca River Valley offers outdoor recreational opportunities in every venue, from Kayaking to climbing peaks.
There are charming small towns scattered along the river that provide groceries and lodging as well as activities. Don’t ride through too quickly. There is a lot to discover here.
The highlight of the route is climbing and descending Vrsic Pass. A grade of 14% for 9 kilometers is very challenging. A wonderful restaurant welcomes you when you reach the top. Fantastic views of sharp peaks in a row reward your senses as you coast downhill into charming Kranska Gora. This is one incredible cycling route!
Famous Places Route
There are at least two exceptionally well known scenic areas in Slovenia: Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj. They are within easy driving distance from the capital Ljubljana. We bicycled there from the north having already crossed Vrsic Pass and landed in lovely Kranska Gora. In addition, we continued on through more mountains on a beautiful route to Skofja Loka, the best preserved medieval town in Slovenia before ending back in Ljubljana.
Route to Austria
Many cyclists continue into Austria from Slovenia. One popular route is to go through Maribor and then follow the Drava River upstream into Austria. The route we took visited the charming town of Kamnik and Kamnik Bistrica, a remote area sitting against the Alps. The route continues on to most loved valley in all of Slovenia, Logarska Dolina, before heading up into the high mountains that separate Slovenia and Austria. This is exceptionally scenic way to enter Austria and still meet the Drava River which has a designated cycling route all the way into Italy.
Kamnik has a wonderful old city center with cafes and pubs offering delicious Slovenian specialties.
A castle perches on a hill above the center.
Kamnik Bistrica is a dead end valley north of Kamnik.
High soaring mountains frame the narrow valley.
The smooth paved road following the Kamnik Bistrica River makes for a lovely day ride out and back from town.
At the end of the road is a wonderful restaurant service really delicious Slovenian food. There are numerous hiking trails that continue into the Alps.
There is also the cable car ride up to Velika Planina further down valley. Lots of high elevation hiking trails issue from the top. A popular restaurant plays live music on Sundays.
Logarska Dolina is the most loved valley in Slovenia.
The views of the Alps from the valley floor are unsurpassed.
There is an assortment of beautiful Farm Stays in the valley.
Hiking trails abound.
Panorama Road ia a paved and gravel road the stays on the spine of the Alps and eventually ends up in Dravograd, Slovenia.
On route to Austria, after leaving Logarska Dolina, the road begins its ascent to cross the border.
About 3/4 of the way up, the road splits: right goes out Panorama Road, left goes to Austria.
A short side trip out Panorama Road is well worth the time spent.
Cycle Scenic Slovenia/Routes/Maps/Gps Downloads
Introducing a New Format for Cyclists
PDF has been around for a long time. Still, many e-books are published only in Kindle or E-Pub formats. Those latter styles simply do not handle photos, maps and charts very well. Everything moves around depending on reader preferences for text size. Pictures and words no longer display together.
PDF format keeps everything in place…just the way the book was written. Everything is in color, just like the original. If you want to magnify the text or photos, go ahead. Everything will still stay in place. And, because it is digital, it can be carried in your phone or tablet while you are on the road.
Even with all this convenience, we have added the ability for buyers of the book to download all the GPS tracks into their GPS, phone, or tablet.
If you are a cyclist, you know how important this can be.
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