Gravel cycling is slowly inspiring cyclists across Europe. On the cycling scene, there are more and more lovers of secluded, dynamic roads and various gravel paths that take cyclists through the most beautiful parts of the country and offer them an intense exploration, a true experience. Being a cyclist, cycling fast, even bold, totally sporty, but still exploring the remote places is something truly wonderful. Gravel cycling in Slovenia offers all this and much more.
I wonder often what would be a great location for cyclists, who love macadam roads, now and then choose a pleasant single trail, rush along fast gravel roads, sliding through bends, indulging in mud and puddles, enjoy socializing, local culinary, good coffee along the way… I pretty much follow the happenings in the gravel cycling scene, where all the most beautiful stories of this kind develop, where the gravel communities are built, where the gravel cyclists go in search of the most amazing experiences. Personally, I’m a big fan of gravel cycling, and my home destinations are primarily Slovenia and Croatia. Every now and then, I also go to Austria and Italy. In light of all the cycling and experience to date, I have found that any location can be good for gravel grinders – there are always secluded roads that connect areas along side trails, and there are possibilities for exploring the unknown everywhere.
For gravel grinders, Slovenia offers a variety of cycling options in a truly preserved nature, full of surpluses and fascinating locations. In such a small country, with outer boundaries in the shape of a hen, the cyclist can experience a really diverse variety. From flat cycling through fields of corn and vineyards in the eastern part of the country, to exploring the vibrant coastal landscape in the west. In the north-west and north a cyclist experiences the pre-alpine and true alpine mountains with numerous valleys, passes and crystal clear rivers. The interior of Slovenia is also diverse, crisscrossed with gravel roads and dotted with forests and numerous remote regions. The surroundings of the capital Ljubljana offer beautiful routes and longer tours for gravel grinders. Slovenia is also interesting because natural, rural environment begins immediately on the border of large urban settlements, which in turn enables a unique exploratory gravel cycling. In short, this seemingly small country of ours simply does not leave you indifferent, on the contrary, you can experience a diversity and variety of cycling unlike anywhere else.
I can say that my most beautiful gravel cycling tours are those in the alpine world, these are also in the highest number because I live just at the gates of the Julian Alps. I usually ride through the beautiful forests of Pokljuka, Jelovica and explore the Karavanke Mountains, where I embark on more demanding roads that lead over peaks. I like to connect these tours to the Soča Valley, where you can find numerous mule tracks and further into the vibrant hills of Gorizia, the land of vineyards, cherries and excellent cuisine. Later in the year, I set off for the Slovenian Karst, which smells of teran and provides excellent cycling on macadam roads and karst trails.
At the beginning of the season, which is sometimes at the end of winter, the first choice is the Slovenian Coast, with the beautiful and vibrant Istria’s inland. Imagine speed biking on a great gravel road through olive groves. Pure ecstasy! The interior of Slovenia is interspersed with forest roads and gravel roads that connect small villages, remote places and enable locals and foresters to navigate the terrain. All these paths and roads call for pleasure cycling and exploration: Ljubljana with its surroundings, Notranjska, Kočevje forests, Styrian hills, … Unique and enjoyable graveling. All this diversity of cycling and landscapes in Slovenia can be combined into a multi-day cycling tour, a true bike packing experience. Everyone, who goes into this kind of cycling, can find wonderful places for camping, lodging in mountain lodges or in villages with the locals. Slovenia is a pretty safe country, with friendly people, who are happy to help, so it’s cycle-friendly from this point of view.
Every gravel cyclist has high expectations and Slovenia, with its macadam infrastructure, which is traversed in all directions, and with its pristine natural environment, is a great choice. It is almost impossible for a gravel enthusiast to stay cool, on the contrary, with a wide choice of great gravel trails, experiences and places along the way, it will warm the heart of every cyclist, or even “burn” them with a real adventure.
We offer excellent and specially designed gravel cycling tours in Slovenia; Gravel Riding Slovenia (9 days); Juliana Gravel Grinding (5 days); Gravel Grinding Triglav Park and one-day gravel biking tours. We are also pleased to offer the full range of Trek Checkpoint gravel bikes. We hope to see you on a great gravel experience – you are more than welcome to join us!
Written by Matey Mejovsek; Photography by Maja Zupan, Simon Erjavec, Matey Mejovsek, Gravel Epic Inc. and Lajf d.o.o.