About Road Cycling in Slovenia
Slovenia wins every cyclist over with its pristine nature, diversity, and breathtaking scenery. Flat high-speed stages are spiced up with various climbs, worthy of professional road cyclists like Primož Roglič and Tadej Pogačar, that serve as admirable challenges for any amateur out there willing to take them on.
With the recent upsurge in the popularity of amateur road cycling in Slovenia, the locals are used to seeing or meeting them on the road. The government has recently also begun investing in the infrastructure to support the sport, such as building new cycling paths in tourist areas.
This makes the country on the sunny side of the Alps one of the most attractive destinations for road cycling holidays in the world.
Slovenia is one of the smallest countries in the world but makes up for that with its diversity.
Touching the Adriatic Sea in the southwest, the ground climbs up to well over 2000 meters above sea level with the high Alpine peaks rising in the north and northwest but then falls steeply down towards glacial valleys through which emerald green rivers run. The karstic transitional area between the Alps and the Dinarides is covered in hills that surround the flatter area of the basins.
Each cycling stage will take you over different landscapes, so be prepared for a diverse ride full of ascents, descents, and sprints on flatter ground.
One thing that will follow you throughout is the sight of unspoiled nature. The hilly lands of the country are less densely populated than the flat ones, with two-thirds of them covered in forest. Even most of the country’s cities are relatively small, with towns and villages predominating.
You should not worry about getting stuck in the middle of nowhere in case of an emergency. Slovenia is a developed country, which means bike repair shops, restaurants, and snack shops will always be accessible to you on your way.
In case of an empty tire, gas stations that you can find anywhere have air pumps to quickly solve the problem so that you will not get stuck anywhere.
One of the ultimate advantages is also the plenty of drinking water sources that you will come across along the way. Besides that, tap water is drinkable across the whole country.
As Slovenia is visited by millions of tourists every year, most of its population speak good English and are used to dealing with foreigners.
It is also worth mentioning that Slovenia is among the ten safest countries in the world, so you should not worry about your property being stolen too much. Nonetheless, caution is always advised.
As mentioned at the beginning, Slovenians are very welcoming of cyclists and are used to meeting them. The roads are also well-maintained and wide enough to accommodate both cars and cyclists.
A huge benefit comes in the shape of secondary roads. With most of the traffic taking place on the main roads and the highway, there is almost always an alternative route you can take from point A to point B, which is less busy and usually more scenic.
The jewel of the Slovenian alpine landscape is just as interesting for road cyclists as it is for an average tourist, albeit for different reasons. The northwest section of the Ljubljana basin that stretches towards the heart of the Julian Alps takes you past the culturally rich towns of Tržič and Radovljica, past the merging point of Sava Dolinka and Sava Bohinjka rivers, before offering you a view of Lake Bled.
The other highlights of the surrounding area include the wooded Pokljuka Plateau, which offers a reasonably steep climb on a well-maintained road from Bled, and the picturesque Radovna Valley which takes you past the three glacial valleys situated below the country’s highest mountain, Mt. Triglav.
Besides the majestic view of the enclosing mountain peaks, the area around the tourist village of Kranjska Gora boasts one of the longest continuous cycling paths in the country, where you can delight in the green fields around you, unobstructed by cars. Crossing the border, the path takes you to Italy and joins with the Alpe Adria route running from Salzburg to the Adriatic Sea.
And we need to mention one of the most challenging yet scenic climbs in Slovenia, the one to Vršič Pass, which connects to Soča Valley on the other side. The ascend takes you to 1500 meters above sea level amid the mighty Alpine peaks.
As exhausting as ascending Vršič Pass might be, it is the most convenient way to visit the valley of the Soča river.
Above the valley, the highest-lying road in Slovenia climbs up in serpentines to Mangart Saddle, which is situated 2000 meters above sea level. Save your energy because this is the most demanding road cycling challenge in Slovenia if you opt to take it.
The river springs above the ground in the upper alpine part of the valley, which slowly phases into a pre-alpine hilly land towards the south. Rare are the countries where you can start the day in an alpine landscape with a colder climate and end it among the vineyards of the warm pre-Mediterranean air.
The transitional area between the Alps and Ljubljana Basin is rarely mentioned in the circles of road cycling in Slovenia, especially among tourists. That is precisely why it is so special.
The empty roads, with constant ascents and descents, some gradual and some quite steep, offer a fascinating cycling experience that most amateur cyclists only dream of. You will be rewarded with stunning views of the mountains in the distance and villages sprawling in the valleys beneath you.
The climate in Slovenia is predominantly continental, except for the Alpine climate in the northwest and the sub-Mediterranean climate in the southwest. Therefore, the cycling season usually lasts from the beginning of May to late October.
Outside of this period, the high passes in the Alps can still be under a blanket of snow, so the majority of cycling is done in the more southern parts of the country.
Besides the established weather window, there is another relevant piece of information to take into account. During July and August, the roads can get slightly busier because of the tourists. You might want to focus on cycling in the less popular areas of the country in case you are visiting during this time. Luckily, there are many such options, like Polhov Gradec Dolomites.
The temperatures also peak during these two months, so if you prefer to cycle in a chillier climate, you should consider visiting in May or June. The roads will be less busy too.
Daily weather is an important factor to take into account, as it can vary day-to-day depending on the season you will be cycling in.
Although the weather in late spring and early summer, when you will most likely be visiting, is relatively unchanging, there is a chance of storms, which are more usual in the mountain ranges of the country.
Caution is advised, therefore you should be checking the weather forecast regularly. ARSO is a local forecasting portal that is the most precise for Slovenia on a daily basis. The only downside is that it is only available in the Slovenian language, but you can help yourself with the images or Google translate.
The infrastructure allows you to travel light, so you will not need anything more than a water bottle and a saddle bag that you will refill according to your needs to get you through the day.
The majority of you will probably take your road bike with you on your visit to Slovenia. As much as this is an obvious and solid choice, a gravel bike might be an even better option if you have access to one. Being almost just as quick as the road bike, it is also more comfortable and equipped with thicker tires, which usually work better on somewhat bumpy secondary roads.
We understand that you will most likely be traveling with additional baggage that you will not be able to carry by bike. In this case, there can be a logistical problem in arranging for the baggage to be transported from one place to another if you wish to spend the night in new accommodation.
The local travel agencies usually offer you a chance to take care of such things for you, so that you can enjoy your holidays hassle-free.
The safest road you can take when planning a visit to a foreign country is always trusting the local professionals who know it well. Based on our experience of working in the industry for many years, we prepared plans for some of the best road cycling holidays in Slovenia.
We find the most suitable accommodation for you by working closely with the local providers, taking care of the baggage transport from one place to another, and providing you with an extensive guide on the stages you will take on your journey.
We also recommend that you book with us some months in advance. Booking in the winter for the upcoming summer gives us more time to properly address your wishes and prepare a plan for you. There is also more flexibility with the accommodations, as they can get quite busy by the time the summer nears.
In case you did not find anything that is in line with what you are looking for, contact us and we can devise a road cycling experience in Slovenia based on your personal wishes.