Cycling tips from Ljubljana in spring

Spring is here! Well, at least the loud chirping of mating birds, warm sun, smells and aromas, colorful little flowers and budding trees, and I’m sure it won’t be long until the landscape turns completely green. Definitely my favorite time of year {although I might say this for every turn of season}. The most fitting sport during the early spring? Cycling, definitely. So, here are five of my favorite cycling tours from Ljubljana.

1. Jezersko
Less than an hour away from Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, lies Jezersko, a mesmerizing place hidden at the foothills of high mountains (check their web camera and promo video … WOW right?!). You see it once and you are in love. With activities like cycling, hiking, Nordic walking, cross-country skiing and sledding, Jezersko is ideal not only for sports enthusiasts but also young families and people with a heartthrob for a pristine landscape and virgin nature. And the best part is, you can easily arrive there by bike.

Cycling from Ljubljana to Jezersko,Jezersko by the lake, exploring Slovenia

Quite truthfully, this is one of my top bike tours from Ljubljana. The start and the finish couldn’t be more different; if you start the tour in the city, juggling lanes to avoid pedestrians and looking out for cars, you finish it in peaceful pristine nature underneath white mountains. You can end your cycling tour right there by a small heart-shaped lake and boost back your energy in a great local restaurant by the lake, or you can follow the road a few kilometers further up the mountains (and return to pig out later). Sign me up for the latter!

Cycling from Ljubljana to Jezersko

Cycling under high mountains; Jezersko, Slovenia
Are you getting that cycling itch already? I know, me too!
Cycling from Ljubljana to Jezersko, map, Slovenia
Stats for cycling from Ljubljana to Jezersko? 50km, 660m elevation, 2.5-3hours.

2. Bled
While Jezersko is incredible, here is yet another cycling tour which you shouldn’t miss out. Bled, for sure. 60 kilometers from Ljubljana, you could be sipping iced coffee and indulging in a yummy cream cake by Slovenia’s most famous lake after about 3hours of cycling through cozy countryside. Known for its countless outdoor activities and stunning views of the Alps, Bled looks best from a small hill called Ojstrica.

Panoramic point in the Bled Lake, Slovenia
To get that picture-perfect view, extend your tour to a 611m-high hill called Ojstrica. It’s a 15-minute walk uphill on a trail starting near the parking lot in Zaka.

3. Kamniška Bistrica
Seriously, I really can’t wait to repeat this tour again! I did it twice last year and it was amazing. The road passes endless fields full of wildlife, so you can’t really not see deer at least somewhere on the way. Although the whole tour is fulfilling, the last part turns particularly gorgeous with clean spring water of the Kamniška Bistrica flowing rapidly just beside the road. The water has also formed beautiful waterfalls, the Orglice Waterfalls, about 45minutes deeper into the forest, and a stunning gorge on the Kamniška Bistrica River, the Predaselj Gorge, only 5 minutes from the main road. And if that’s not a big enough reason to point your bike towards Kamniška Bistrica, this breathtaking glaciated valley at the foothills of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps definitely is.

The Predaselj Gorge, Kamniška Bistrica, soteska Predaselj, Slovenija
The Predaselj Gorge looks beautiful, radiating mystical vibes through its turquoise rapids and a misty veil.

What I discovered last year was a tempting mountain torrent Krvavec just above a restaurant in Kamniška Bistrica which just called to be explored. And if you like climbing rocks up a dry riverbed towards steep mountains as much as I do, you should definitely try this torrent out (note from last year: wear hiking shoes).

Kamniška Bistrica mountains, Slovenia
Explore the unknown underneath the high mountains above Kamniška Bistrica? Sign me in!
Cycling map from Ljubljana to Kamniška Bistrica, Slovenia
Stats for cycling from Ljubljana to Kamniška Bistrica? 36km, 300m elevation, 2hours.

4. Šmarna Gora and around
What you might not know about me is that I moved away from the city center to live closer to Šmarna Gora, a lonely hill to the north of Ljubljana. I never looked back. It’s the 366m-hill that keeps me sane and in shape. And you know what, I don’t mind repeating the same trail all over again, as long as the adventure keeps changing. Surprisingly, it does. I’ve seen countless sunrises from the top and not two were the same. I’ve seen deer, hedgehogs, rabbits, even a mouflon, which have allegedly moved to the forest of Šmarna Gora from underneath the Alps. I’ve walked the trail alone and with my family. I’ve sunbathed in a deckchair at the top and toppled down with a headlamp. I’ve walked, run and sledded. Nevertheless, the hill succeeds in keeping its charm and luring me back up.

Sunrise at Šmarna Gora, Ljubljana

Equally captivating as hiking to the top of Šmarna Gora is cycling around it. Sure, I could also pedal up to its peak, but the elevation gain is too fast for my taste and it seems to be reserved for a higher dose of testosterone and muscles. Starting from the parking lot beneath Šmarna Gora, it’s a roughly 30km-ride through green plains and small hills, passing a small plantation of the sweetest strawberries I’ve ever tasted (May, June; that’s number 24 on the map below).

Cycling around Šmarna Gora, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Cycling map around Šmarna Gora, Ljubljana
Stats for cycling around Šmarna Gora? 32.5km, 130m elevation, 2hours.

5. Kurešček and Ljubljana Marshes
About 30km and 500m elevation from the city center, Kurešček makes a great 2.5-3hour cycling tour in the midst of laidback countryside. As it happens, my parents have a weekend house just a few kilometers from the top of Kurešček and its famous St. Mary Church, renovated in 1992 from the remaining ruins of the old church built on the basis of the apparitions and messages sent by St. Mary. Today, a popular place of pilgrimage, the church is also my cycling destination whenever visiting my parents for a weekend picnic. The best part? I get to cycle across the Ljubljana Marshes, wetlands greatly diverse in wildlife.

Sunset at the Ljubljana Marshes, summer, flowers

Tucked away at the southern rim of Ljubljana and expanding to the first foothills of the mountains in the south, the Ljubljana Marshes cover 163 square kilometers or about one percent of the country and as such qualify as Slovenia’s largest wetland. In layman’s terms, imagine long empty roads passing the plains well-known for their booming wildlife. And if you follow my lead and pass the cycling trail from Črna Vas to Brest on your way to Kurešček, you’ll make a nice long detour across the marshes and most probably spot deer and rare birds on the way.

The Ljubljana Marshes, Ljubljansko barje, Slovenia

Wildlife at the Ljubljana Marshes, Slovenia
The Ljubljana Marshes are home to 89 species of butterflies, 48 species of dragonflies, 70 percent of all species of frogs found in Slovenia, deer and countless other animals.
Cycling map from Ljubljana to Kurešček over the Ljubljana Marshes
Stats for cycling from Ljubljana to Kurešček? 30km, 500m elevation, 2.5-3hours.

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