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Biking in Slovenia

I’m too old for hard-core mountain- or cross-country biking, but I still prefer gravel roads and dirt trails with an occasional (careful) single-track descent over asphalt. If that sounds familiar, you might find my collection of bike tours useful.

Notes

  • The biking tours are the green dots on the above map. Hiking trips with English descriptions are red, hikes without descriptions are gray.
  • I started publishing my tracks in early 2021. Don’t expect miracles.
  • I’m publishing GPX files instead of turn-by-turn descriptions.
  • You’ll find notes attached to every tour, identifying interesting places worth visiting, navigational hints, or alternate paths.
  • I usually drive to somewhere and bike from there. The starting point is usually where I managed to park my car. You might also find parking opportunities in tour description.

Recent Tours

Exploring the Ressel Trail (20 km, Δ=730 m)

The edge of Gora (plateau high above Vipava Valley) is full of fantastic vista points. A few of them are reachable with a road bike; we’ll visit the westernmost one and explore an ancient dirt trail laid out by Josef Ressel on the way back of the ship propeller fame.

Javorniki Ridge from Rakov Škocjan (33.8 km, Δ=840 m)

If you love biking on gravel roads through beech forests (autumn colors could be beautiful), the Javorniki ridge might be just what you'’re looking for.

For everyone else: the ascent is pretty steep, and there are no views. Try Slivnica.

From Predjama to Stara Pošta on Hrušica (22 km, Δ=420 m)

Starting from a medieval castle built into a giant cave, bike through Hrušica’s dense forests to reach the ruins of a Roman fort and an old post waystation.

Exploring Karst: Pliskovica – Tupelče (18.5 km, Δ=260 m)

We decided to continue our exploration of Karst dirt trails when visiting our friends in Tupelče. We started in Pliskovica, dropped by Volčji Grad and Gabrovica, barely managed to find a long-lost dirt trail from Gabrovica to Kobjeglava, and returned to Pliskovica via Kosovelje.

Ermanovec from Trebija (15.3 km, Δ=530 m)

Take a trip from Trebija to the mountain hut on Ermanovec if you happen to be in Poljanska Valley with a bike – the views (once you get out of the forest) are well worth the effort.

Abram (Nanos) from Vrhpolje (22.9 km, Δ=830 m)

Two roads lead from Sanabor (a hamlet on the western slopes of Nanos plateau) to Abram (one of the few still-active homesteads): a pleasantly cool gravel road along the Bela stream and a sunny asphalt road going straight from Sanabor to Abram.

Zadlog from Wild Lake (22.4 km, Δ=450 m)

Zadlog is a dispersed settlement stretched across a fairy-tale flatland high above the upper Idrijca Valley. We’ll start at Wild Lake, use an old road supposedly built during the Napoleonic occupation of Slovenia, and return via the scenic Strug gorge.

Vojsko from Čekovnik (24.1 km, Δ=640 m)

Vojsko is a high, densely forested karst plateau with one of the highest-lying settlements in Slovenia. You could bike around the Vojsko and admire the people who made their living in that harsh environment for centuries or enjoy the views while biking to Vojsko from Idrija, Spodnja Idrija, Idrijska Bela, Gorenja Trebuša, or Čekovnik.

Zakojca from Idrijca Valley (24.8 km, Δ=640 m)

Zakojca is a tiny village on the northern slopes of Kojca with a beautiful view of the southern peaks of the Julian Alps. Starting from Idrijca valley, you could get there on an asphalt road via Bukovo or (more interestingly) via Vrh Ravni pass.

Slivnica (on a Bike) (23.4 km, Δ=580 m)

If you’d like to enjoy the view of Lake Cerknica and don’t feel like hiking to Slivnica, use the gravel road to bike there. Be careful on summer weekends – some people think that “spending a day in nature” means “drive to the mountain hut and have a beer,” and many of them haven’t yet mastered the art of driving on a gravel road.

Planinska Gora (on a Bike) (12.1 km, Δ=450 m)

While hiking towards Saint Mary'’s church on Planinska Gora, I thought to myself: “this should be doable on a bike.

A few months later, I decided to test that hypothesis (TL&DR: barely) and found an unexpected dirt trail.

Pasja Ravan from Polhov Gradec (28.9 km, Δ=660 m)

Pasja Ravan used to be the highest peak in Polhov Gradec hills until the Yugoslav army decided to level it to build a radar station. Yugoslavia is long gone, and so is the radar station. Still, the gravel road to the top remains – an ideal opportunity to bike there and enjoy fantastic views from the ridge separating Gorenjska from Notranjska.

Križna Gora and Javornik (24 km, Δ=790 m)

Getting to Pirnat Lodge at Javornik from Col is easy – you can drive there – but it’s way more fun to take a detour via Križna Gora and another one through Vodice on the way back.

Betwixt Gorenjska and Primorska (20.3 km, Δ=440 m)

The eastern part of the boundary between Gorenjska and Primorska (two historical regions in western Slovenia) lies on Idrijca and Sora’s watershed. We’ll explore a picturesque ridge on that watershed with great views of Kamnik Alps, Julian Alps, and Idrija hills.

Velika Milanja on Volovja Reber (18.8 km, Δ=520 m)

Volovja Reber is a long ridge on the southwestern edge of the Snežnik plateau. It’s one of those magical places where you rarely encounter a fellow hiker or biker, even though it’s only a few kilometers away from an overcrowded main road. Let’s enjoy the beauties of karst meadows and pastures while biking to Velika Milanja – the highest peak in the ridge with an unusual rocky top.

Exploring Hrušica: Polšak Hut and Roman Fortress (19.2 km, Δ=420 m)

We’ll start in Kalce, bike through the forests on the slopes of Hrušica, drop by a renovated homestead in the middle of nowhere, and visit the ruins of a Roman fortress. Take this tour when you need to clear your head, de-stress, or mull over new ideas. You won’t be disturbed by traffic, hikers, or spectacular views.

Exploring Karst: Lukovec and Mali Dol (17.5 km, Δ=290 m)

This time we’ll explore the forests and meadows at the northern edge of the Karst plateau, north of Kobjeglava and Komen. We’ll pass Lukovec and try to find our way through the narrow streets of Mali Dol.

Exploring Karst: From Hruševica to Kosovelje (17.7 km, Δ=160 m)

It’s easy to meander around Slovenian Karst on a bike as it’s crisscrossed with paved roads. Still, it’s more interesting to stay on gravel roads and try to find old overgrown dirt tracks, this time taking us from Hruševica to Kosovelje.

The Path of Nine Ponds (6.5 km, Δ=100 m)

This is not my lame attempt at reaching Zen… the farmers in Slovenian Karst used ponds with clay bottom to collect rainwater, and there’s a nice path linking nine of those ponds as well as several small caves around Kobjeglava and Tupelče.

Vipavska Brda (Vipava Hills) from Podnanos (17.3 km, Δ=560 m)

I’ve been watching the tiny church of Sv. Socerb (Saint Servulus) high above Vipava Valley for over a decade as I was climbing in Gradiška Tura. I’ve heard of a dirt track leading from it back to the valley years ago, but it took me a long while to go and find it. You might want to do it sooner than that and enjoy the spectacular views of the Vipava Valley and Nanos on the way.

Karst Edge and Praproče from Rižana Valley (14.8 km, Δ=450 m)

Hordes of tourists visiting the famous church in Hrastovlje might spend a few seconds admiring the rocky cliffs high above the village. We’ll explore them, and the lovely meadows north of the Karst Edge.

Slavnik from Podgorje (on a bike) (12.1 km, Δ=510 m)

I’m lamenting the loss of the dirt track leading to Slavnik every time I hike there, but the gravel road it was bastardized into comes handy if you decide to get to the top with a mountain bike.

Žibrše (18.6 km, Δ=400 m)

Žibrše are a cluster of hamlets peppered across the southern edge of Rovte hills. You’ll enjoy fantastic views while exploring them, and you might be lucky enough to stumble upon a rare wildflower in late May or early June.

Up, Down and Around the Karst Edge (22 km, Δ=520 m)

Karst Edge is the wondrous land where the limestone cliffs of continental Slovenia meet the soft flysch landscape of lower Slovenian Istria. This time we’ll explore dirt tracks on its easternmost part – from Podgorje to Kavčič.

Pizza @ Tavžentroža (24.4 km, Δ=470 m)

Tavžentroža has the best pizzas in Rovte hills. Let’s bike there from Zaplana to make sure we’ll be building a proper hunger along the way 😉

Vrhnika – Zaplana – Star Maln (19.2 km, Δ=420 m)

If you happen to be in Vrhnika, take a mountain bike and explore the hills above the town. One of the shorter tours takes you to Kuren, Zaplana, Strmca, Star Maln and back to Vrhnika.

Marezige – Trsek – Popetre (18.3 km, Δ=520 m)

After enjoying the vistas of Adriatic Sea, it’s time for a trip deep into Šavrinsko gričevje (Šavrinje hills). We’ll start in Marezige, cross Rokava and Dragonja valleys, visit Trsek, enjoy the views from the road to Popetre, and return to Marezige via Lopar or Gradišče.

Marezige – Šmarje – Vanganel (18.9 km, Δ=500 m)

You’ll love biking through old Istrian villages high above Adriatic sea. Some of the vistas you’ll encounter are probably among the best ones you can get in Slovenian Istria.

From Zaplana to Rovte (22.2 km, Δ=470 m)

This circuitous tour will take you around western part of Rovte hills. Stop at the highest point and enjoy the view of Julian Alps with Triglav.