Slovenia is the country that every biker would dream of. Cycling as a mode of transport is one of the most famous options for locals. Now, cycling holidays in Slovenia are also a better, greener type of activity that you can do as a tourist.
Slovenia has kilometers upon kilometers of designated cycling paths within cities and towns. Even if you find yourself along scenic routes, there’s a lot of greenery and country roads that you will see as you go cycling around the beautiful locale. There’s also a concerted effort across the country to expand its bicycle roads.
If you’re visiting for an enjoyable cycling holiday in Slovenia, you need to know what you can do. Here’s everything you need to know about cycling vacations in this gorgeous country.
Why Go To Slovenia For A Cycling Holiday
When you go around Slovenia, the general activity is to drive. Driving between hills, plains, mountain peaks, forests, along the coasts, karst landscape, and rivers and lakes of Slovenia is beautiful. What’s better, however, is to cycle around this green fairy tale.
Slovenia is among the best countries to bike around because of the general size and bike-friendliness of the country. Within cities and towns, almost every one of them has cycling lanes that allow for a scenic tour.
Within outdoor activities, almost every major natural site in Slovenia is accessible with a bicycle. You can bring your bike, go around, and see a whole new world right before your eyes. For tourists, Slovenia is also a great cycling destination.
Slovenia is one of the most popular cycling holiday destinations due to many classic characteristics that bikers love. Its exceptional location and varied terrain attract road cyclists. Whether you like cities or nature, there’s so much you can see.
Within cities, there is a ton of history at every corner, wherever you may be. In natural attractions, you’ll see swaths of forests that you can fall in love with. There are forests, karsts, mountains, hills, and vast plains.
Those who like to cycle outside will find well-maintained cycle paths. There are also different cycling marathons all year round, together with more casual cycling events.
Slovenian long-distance routes also wind through the varied landscape in various parts of Slovenia. You’ll experience various things in the country and see cycling roads along the Drava, along the coast, in the Alpine world, and along the Mura.
Bicikelj, and Bike Rentals In Slovenia
If you find yourself in Slovenia, one of the biggest services you’ll find is their public bicycle sharing service. Named Bicikelj, the self-service bike borrowing system offers a healthier option to move around Slovenia.
Bicikelj provides 300 bikes within Ljubljana, major towns, and cities within Slovenia with great public transport. They give as many as 300 bikes up to 600 parking places and 31 stations in Ljubljana alone.
Residents and visitors can get about the broader Ljubljana city center area virtually free by bike. The annual cost of registration is a measly €3 and works like a credit to your account. If you’re a visitor who won’t stay too long around the city, registration goes for €1.
The first hour of bike borrowing is free for all Bicikelj system users. You can borrow another bike after five minutes, then use another bike. When you put the bicycle back and use a new one, this new use will count as another free first hour.
In essence, you can get free bicycle rides around Ljubljana if you return your bike on time. If you don’t want interruptions, you can go and pay for the succeeding hours of use.
How Do You Use Bicikelj?
So, how do you use Bicikelj? You would need to first register on their official website prior to your first use. Once you do, you can pick between two options: annual or weekly subscriptions.
The annual subscription charges €3 every year, with weekly subscriptions costing up to €1 per week. If you plan on using the system for more than three weeks, it’s more cost-effective to get a one-year subscription.
The subscription itself allows for an unlimited number of bike rentals. You can rent one bike for as much as last a maximum of 24 hours. The first 60 minutes of each use are free, and another hour of riding will cost you € 1.
On the third hour, the system will charge you € 2. By the 4th hour onwards, you would need to pay € 4 for the succeeding hours.
Annual subscribers can use the system with their Urbana card and personal identification number while, upon registration, weekly subscribers receive a user’s code and a PIN.
If you find yourself outside Ljubljana and you need a bicycle, there are many bicycle rental shops all over Slovenia. You can rent a trekking bike for as little as $10 for an entire day, which should last somewhere between 10 to 12 hours.
It’s best for those planning to go cross country to bring their own bike if you can. It will allow for more comfortable travel and lower cost in the long run.
Best Cycling Holiday Routes In Slovenia
Are you tempted by Slovenia’s hills and mountains? The countryside of Slovenia has some of the best long-distance trails for cycling enthusiasts. Going through nature trails via cycling will be the right choice.
Within Slovenia, there are several touring cycling routes – many as long as 1120 miles (1800 km) long. The routes are circular, so you can go around Slovenia and more. These routes not only go in and around Slovenia but also to other countries.
For example, Austria, Italy, and Slovenia offer a Trans-Slovenia cycling route for enthusiasts. There’s also Pohorje, considered as the cycling mecca of Slovenia, offering the famous Pohorje cycling transversal.
For those who want to see the Alps, you can cycle through the mighty alpine chain of the Karavanke, going to the Trans Karavanke route.
Trans-Slovenia 01 Route
The trans-Slovenia cycling route is a celebration of all things Slovenia. When you get on the circular cycling route, you will see that the locale is a very diverse source of pride for many adventurers and locals alike.
The Trans-Slovenia route is 1120 miles (1800 km) long. While you can go to it using a private vehicle, riding a bike to it too makes it a great sight to behold. You can see as much as 164,000 ft (50,000 m) of alpine locale!
The highest point of the entire route is the 1,688 m high Poštarski dom na Vršiču or Postman’s Lodge on the Vršič Pass. You’ll also find the lowest height in Slovenia, which are the Piran and Sečovlje Salt Pans 1 m above sea level.
If you pick this route, you’ll see that taking it is not an arduous task. There are no sudden spikes in difficulty, but it has enough technicality to challenge the average cyclist.
You can expect as many as 109 checkpoints and up to 50 mountain huts along the route. You will also find specialized accommodation for cyclists, where you can relax and refresh, and many tourist attractions.
Pohorje Cycling Transversal
For those who love forest trails, and mountain bikes, the 46-mile (75-km) long, varied cycling trail winds through the forests of the plateau of Pohorje. You’ll see that it connects the eastern part of Pohorje, rising above Maribor with the western part. The entire cycling transversal ends at the foot of Kremžarjev vrh in Carinthia.
As you’ll see, the path is marked in both directions, which means you can start with either direction and enjoy the same sights. Wherever you start, you’ll indeed find a sight to behold.
If you set off from the eastern Maribor route, you can take the Pohorje cable car to the starting point on Bolfenk. Once you’re in the area, you’ll see local bicycle paths from all major centers around Pohorje are connected to the transversal.
As long as you follow through the transversal, you’ll notice that the routes will bring you to different parts of Pohorje. The vista is beautiful, and everything is unbelievably breathtaking.
Trans-Slovenia 02 Route
The Trans-Slovenia mountain biking route is a trail that goes beyond domestic. If you are willing to enter several countries, there are two cycling routes that connect Slovenia, Italy, and Austria.
Depending on where you start, the entire process leads from the Julian Alps through the picturesque Soča Valley to Brda. You’ll then work across the Vipava Valley and the mysterious Karst to the sea coast.
As you travel on the way, you can enjoy different types of delicacies, local cuisines, and rich cultural heritage. You’ll enjoy beautiful cultural experiences that you’ll only find in quaint locales within the route.
As you cycle around these locales, you can enjoy traditional Slovenian food and taste what every village has for its visitors.
When you get to it, the second trans-Slovenia route is a natural continuation of the first tour. Much like the first route, you will see a vast variety of beautiful villages, woodlands, and rolling fields.
The route starts at Lake Baška (Faaker See), leading through the Karavanke to Slovenia, across Pokljuka. It then goes from Soriška Planina to Idrija, across the Karst to Piran. If you’re not in great shape, this route might be more of a challenge compared to the Trans 01 route.
Trans 02 is more demanding to the legs, so if you have an electric bike, this is a great place to use it. Even then, it can still be an enjoyable cycling holiday for people looking for a great adventure.
The longest Slovenian mountains, the Karavanke Mountains wind for as much as 75 miles (120 km) away along the border. It goes through neighboring Austria, and its cycling holidays are a real magnet for mountain bikers – and for a reason.
When you take this cycling route, you can expect a breathtaking view of different Slovenian locales. The Trans Karavanke touring cycling route is divided into 5 stages and stretches from Jezersko to Tromeja. You can find this route in the extreme north-west of Slovenia, so it will be mostly you and natural attractions.
It mostly runs along the forest roads of the sunny slopes of the Karavanke. Its route is great for people who like to prep for a long adventure, making it suitable for well-prepared mountain bikers.
At every stage, you can expect somewhere between 15 to 21 miles (25 to 35 km) of routes. The stages have a maximum altitude difference of 1,650 m in one day, so you can expect a stunning view of nature and inspiring vistas all over.
Mura-Drava Cycling Path
In the north-eastern, one of the easiest, most picturesque cycling routes are there for you. Once you reach the flat hilly part of Slovenia, the Path along the Mura and the Drava Cycling Path is there for you.
The riparian cycle path along the Mura River begins in Austria, where the river originates. You can visit many different tourist attractions, including riding a bike in the Hohe Tauern National Park.
The path itself follows the river Mura past Graz, and you’ll see it crossing towards the Slovenian side towards Pomurje. The route ends in Croatia, at the confluence of the Mura and Drava rivers.
The coast of the Drava Cycling Path is crossed by the famous bike path – Path of Peace and Friendship – Parenzana. It’s among the most beautiful cycling routes in Slovenia, located in the alpine regions of the country. It is one of Slovenia’s hidden gems, and among the places where not the average tourist visits.
The route itself leads from Rateče, past Kranjska Gora to Mojstrana. You will also experience the alpine pulse on the asphalt on the circular path around the Kamnik-Savinja Alps.
You can go around and cycle through the mystical Bela Krajina on the long route. The locals’ proverbial hospitality and the local cuisine and wines produced on the surrounding hills certainly contribute to the popularity.
Rateče-Kranjska Gora-Jesenice Route
For those looking for an easy cycling holiday in Slovenia, you would want to go through the Rateče-Kranjska Gora-Jesenice route. It is a generally undemanding cycling route in the idyllic alpine landscape, with a long-distance route perfect for everyone.
This specific path leads you from Rateče, through Kranjska Gora, past Gozd Martuljek to the alpine village of Mojstrana. It overlaps with the Mura and Drava cycling route so you can change to a more challenging route.
This picturesque route runs over many bridges along an abandoned railway line and is almost completely separated from motor traffic. On the undemanding route, you will find rest areas and many refreshments, so it is also very popular among families with small children.
Drava International Cycling Route
The Drava International cycling route is another route that you can partake in if you are willing to go around several countries and a variety of historical paths. It is part of a trans-Slovenia route that starts at the source of the Drava River in Italy.
Once you’re there, the entire path continues through Austria, Slovenia, and ends in Croatia. The river has as many as 441 miles (710 km) of routes in its confluence with the Danube.
The Slovenian part of the Drava cycling route itself is 80 miles (129 km) long. The roads mostly lead along less busy local roads that only a few people pass through. Even then, it also partly goes to well-maintained cycle paths and trails.
The Drava International Path is not for the faint of heart. It is most suitable for well-prepared recreational cyclists, as it is necessary to overcome the ascent between Podvelka and Lovrenc on Pohorje. The use of trekking or mountain bikes is recommended.
Parenzana Coastal Route
One of the most famous cycling holidays in Slovenia, the Parenzana coastal route is one of the best you can find. It’s also called the Path of Health, and Friendship, running along the former narrow-gauge railway line between Trieste, Poreč in Italy, and Croatia.
The Parenzana cycle path runs along the coast and hinterland. You’ll find it running along abandoned tunnels, going from Trieste in Italy, across the Slovenian coast to Poreč in Croatia. It is a little demanding, but it’s also quite popular among families and recreationists in general.
The cycling path runs along the former narrow-gauge railway, which from 1902 to 1935 connected Trieste, and Poreč with places in the interior of the Istrian peninsula on a 123 km long route.
The Parenzana route was once used to transport agricultural products that thrived in the fertile lands of Istria back in the day. In its entirety, the route measures 81 miles (130 km) and goes as high as 3543 ft (1080 m).
Much of the route runs through coastal towns and villages. The picturesque vista shows a gorgeous look right by the sea and goes between vineyards and olive groves. If you want, you can also visit some abandoned tunnels for a super special experience.
Among these potential tunnels, you’ll find the Valletta tunnel between Strunjan, and Portorož, which is a little more than a kilometer long. It’s beautifully landscaped and equipped with signposts, and you’ll see these tunnels illuminated too.
If you are inspired by history, and technology, stop at the Parenzana Museum in Izola. You will get to know the technical heritage of Slovenian seaside resorts.
This is among the most satisfying cycling routes you can take during your holiday. The Slovenian part of the route, for example, leads along the coast. It shows up along vineyards and leads through a number of abandoned tunnels.
It is a generally undemanding route, which means it’s great for all ages and fitness levels. It’s ideal for a family trip or relaxed socializing on a bicycle as well as on foot. The mild sub-Mediterranean climate, typical of the Slovenian coast, enables cycling in all seasons.
Mount Peca Underground Tunnels
If you’re going on cycling holidays in Slovenia, why not visit something unique? Why not go by bike to the underground or through abandoned tunnels? With this, you can combine your love of cycling and an adrenaline-pumping adventure for much of the experience.
If you’re up for it, you can go on a cycling adventure 2300 ft (700m) deep in the underground of Mount Peca! Once you’re underground, you can go between Peca and Uršlja Gora in Carinthia. These tunnels were created to mine deep veins of ore deposits and are now a network of interspersed paths.
In the 300 years that the mine has been in operation, almost 500 miles (800 km) of underground tunnels have been created. Once mining stopped in this locale, the underground works were flooded, creating beautiful underground lakes.
The mine is now open to tourists, and the curious can see it by train too. Even then, the best way to traverse it is via bike or kayak, with guides and former miners taking you almost 2300 ft (700 m) below the surface of Mount Peca.
You’ll see the sunken tunnels of the former mine, and you’ll even get to go underground and discover the underground paths on your own.
Specialized Lodging For Cyclists and Bike Labels
Cycling holidays in Slovenia are also some of the most strenuous, so lodging is something that you want. Even then, not all hotels have the right facilities for cycling holidays. Slovenia has made identifying these lodging easier for you.
A bicycle label can identify specialized accommodations for cyclists, hotels, hostels, boarding houses, apartments, and other accommodations. Many cyclist-friendly accommodations, catering providers, and the classic star rating also help the bike label.
These bike labels go from one bike to five bikes, showing the breadth and quality of the offer tailored to cyclists. Here’s what you can expect from each.
A “One Bike” label provides information on the cycling offer. Most of these include an overnight stay at no extra charge and a safe storage room for bicycles. For those who are on long journeys, you’ll also find the rental of basic tools, a drying area, and a breakfast catered specifically to the needs of cyclists.
The “Two Bike” label, in addition to everything that the settings that have acquired the sign with one wheel offer, offers a bicycle ticket. These bicycle tickets come with a bicycle guide and the possibility of renting bicycles.
These also provide food, internet access facilities, lunch packages, laundry, and organized transport of cyclists, bicycles, and equipment.
Once you see the “Three Bikes” label, you’ll start seeing more serious facilities catered especially for cyclists. For example, most of the accommodation, even during the planning stage, provides professional cycling advice for tours.
You’ll also get GPS tour data, a 4-day program of cycling tours, and several cycling guides too. If you want, you can also get guided tours for cycling holidays and a bicycle service corner. If necessary, these lodgings arrange the essential repairs and bike rental.
When you go around, and find a “Four Bikes” label, expect them to go above and beyond. This type of accommodation has a 6-day program of bicycle tours, and several bicycles guides too. You can expect them to have dedicated cyclist facilities for both tourists and pros.
They provide the sale of spare tubes of various sizes, free transport to the service station, an extra bicycle, bicycle rental, energy drinks, plates, and snacks. A professional massage is even available to help you through the day.
Once you find a hotel or apartment with the “Five Bikes” label, expect an all-out pitstop you can use. Tourist facilities with five bicycles strive to meet the diverse needs of cycling tourists.
Many of these facilities employ a cycling guide who will present you with many suggestions for individual cycling tours. You’ll also get invites to visit the school’s good riding program.
The bicycle shed will have a security alarm or video surveillance, together with high-class bicycles available for rent. The facility will offer transport of cyclists and bicycles to the desired starting points.
Local food will be adapted to athletes’ diets, especially for professionals, for maximum performance. A massage corner and a sauna round off the offer.
If you’re the type who wants to be with other like-minded people, you can sleep in cyclist-friendly campsites. Many of these campsites will have information on cycling trips, together with a 4-day cycling tour program ready. They boast experienced and qualified guides too.
In these camps, you can expect bicycle service tools, the possibility of washing bicycles and equipment, safe storage, drying space, transport of bikes, and the possibility of renting bicycles are available.
Cycling holidays in Slovenia are unlike anything you’ll experience around the world. Slovenians love cycling, and for a reason! With so many natural attractions, mountains, hills, seaside views, and scenic tours, why wouldn’t you go on a cycling adventure?
Start your cycling holiday with us by finding out the best places you can visit. Slovenia is among the most bike-friendly, if not the most bike-friendly, country for cyclists who want to enjoy their holidays.
Visit more places around Slovenia with us. You can do so many things, from hiking around the many mountains to enjoying local food. Slovenia is an entirely new world of its own, combining many modernities with the traditions of yesteryears.
Talk to us now. Let’s find out which parts of Slovenia you would enjoy. We’re confident that we can find a Slovenia that fits everything you want during your cycling holidays.