Cycling has become a common activity among many people in Slovenia. For many, cycling presents for casual recreational activity and for many, a more serious sports activity. A number of cycling events, which annually take place, invite many to Slovenia. Cycling events which also present cyclists with the picturesque diversity one can find in Slovenia. In the past, Robert Posl, an active cyclist in Slovenia, shared what it is like taking part in the most challenging cycling event in Slovenia, the Marathon of the Alps.
Yet some cyclists come to Slovenia for a more casual ride through Slovenia, at their own pace. Thus, not taking part in cycling events. To get to know more about the diversity one can experience through Slovenia, Robert agreed to share more about the diversity one can experience through Slovenia.
Living in Slovenia, now already over 25 years, I am still fascinated by the diversity one can meet with, in Slovenia. Coming from South Africa, a much larger country, and a country with a much more uniform landscape, it only fascinates me more.
I enjoy taking part in cycling events, which annually take place in Slovenia. One year, I decided to take part in one event, the “Marathon of three borders”; Though this cycling marathon took place more than 200km away, in the province of Prekmurje, which is in the extreme east of Slovenia; I decided that after I completed with the marathon that I would take on the challenge of cycling through Slovenia. A tour, which would take me much further than just getting home, but a tour crossing the borders of every country neighbouring Slovenia.
On the road from Murska Sobota. I thought I would never experience riding down roads like this in Slovenia; straight and absolutely no hills. And also, in the dry climate as it often is here, and relatively unvegetated
My tour started by going to Murska Sobota by train, the only larger city in the Prekmurje province. This was the first time I had ever been to this area of Slovenia. My first stretch of cycling was to get to Lendava, a town in the absolute corner of Slovenia, in almost walking distance from both Croatia and Hungary.
Cycling in this area, I experienced something I only ever experienced in South Africa. Cycling on absolutely flat terrain, with straight roads, which disappear off into the distance, as far as one can see. The next day was the marathon, which took us first into Croatia, then into Hungary, and finally back into Slovenia.
But that was not the end of cycling for the day for me, because I planned to cycle to Rogatec. This meant cycling out of Prekmurje, off the hot and dry Prekmurje plateau, as many call it, and into the Styria province where my parents live. This brought on a considerable drop in altitude above sea level and into terrain, which brought on a gradual change in the climate.
After a day’s break, I took on the next stage of the challenge, which took me, at first South, to the Lower Carniola province and to the Sava river, and then West towards Ljubljana. The Lower Carniola province is known for its unique quinze and whines. This was one stage where I faced the greatest transition in the countryside and in the climate. Even before getting close to the Sava river, I gradually came into more vegetated landscape, which I am more used to in Slovenia. Heading West, towards Ljubljana, I gradually met up with more forested countryside. After almost reaching Ljubljana, I headed North for Kamnik, and back towards the Alps region of Slovenia.
The next day, I went on a short round trip out of Kamnik. For many, Kamnik is that picturesque town at the foot of the Alps. For those visiting, they soon find out what that means. From Kamnik, there are many directions a cyclist can choose from. I decided to head west and up to a cabin known by most cyclists in the region, “The 902”. It’s a pub, which is located on a mountain pass, at 902 meters above sea-level. This is very much different cycling than that I had faced in the 400km so far, across from the East of Slovenia to here. The presence of the mountain ranges is so persistent; with roads winding through the mountains, crossing and following mountain streams from one woodland and into the next.
Kamnik, almost wedged in between the Kamnik, Savinj Alps. Makes for excellent mountain riding, which attracts many, to this alive and vibrant town
After another day’s break, I took on the most daunting stage of my tour. It was into the Upper Carniola province. Going into the Upper Carniola region, you get that feeling, that you are now really in Europe. The first section of the day was to get up to the border with Austria. This involved following through another river valley, to get up and over another Alpine pass, and across the border into Austria. In Austria, I followed yet more mountain roads and into the river basin of the great Drava river. I then turned South to Italy and in Italy, back to Slovenia. I was in Italy for a short time, as I followed the road back into Slovenia. I crossed back into Slovenia, near the renowned Planica ski-jumping centre. One of the highest, if not the highest or largest known ski-flying hill.
One of the many mountain passes, along one of those mountain roads
Even though I had come into the mountainous region of Slovenia, cycling back to Kamnik did not involve any more cycling along mountain roads. All thankyou to the Sava River, which has carved its way out through the land already in Austria, through the Carniola province, passed Ljubljana and further through Slovenia.
Taking on this cycling challenge across and through Slovenia, I experienced first-hand the diversity you can find in Slovenia. Various provinces of Slovenia, which are all unique and known for their individual countrysides.
More by Robert Posl: See Slovenia by bike, with the marathon of the Alps