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Over the hills and far away… cycling Slovenia in the winter

07:24 Kasia i Przemo 0 Comments Category :

”You’ve choosed the worst possible month for visiting Slovenia…” – said Marjan, our host from warmshowers, who we stayed with after 4 days of cycling through Slovenia. Well, maybe. It’s rather cold, probably less sunshine than in the summer, not so green and pleasant, but if this is how the worst month of the year looks here, I wonder how spring looks like?!


Actually, we have almost forgot how it is to cycle – I thought, watching through the window snow covering Alps again. This is another winter in Germany, more likely with snowbaord than with bicycle, or even rather more with rope and a harness, as winter is exceptionally mild this year, and there is plenty of great rock around. The only problem was – we’ve left our climbing shoes to repair as we nearly destroyed them all through during last few months. So, one morning we’ve got this great idea to rimind how it is to cycle in the winter while in the mean time our shoes are being fixed.

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Mountains everywhere!

SSlovenia is a very tine country. So while we were watching map, we’ve calculated that a loop around the country would be about 700km – easily to cover in a week time, we thought. When we’ve arrived to Dovje – a tiny village in Slovenian alps – to Pija, a girl from warmshowers, who was happy to store our car for a several days and we’ve told her about our plans she just smiled and told us how oftern people send her a message that they will arrive in a couple of days and then show up after 4 days. I’ve seen it so many times…
First 3 kilometers took as one and a half hour. For a good start we’ve been switching between cycling zigzags and pushing bikes up. Slovenia gave us a lesson on the very beginning, as on the first day we managed 40km. 50 at second. And the longest distance we did was 74km. Almost with no brakes. From early morning until dusk.
We wouldn’t change all these ascents for anything! Slovenian mountains are beautiful, cristal clear, turquose rivers hipnotizing, and forests are never ending. It is actually possible to cycle on reasonably flat terrain through Slovenia, sticking to the main roads and going through the cities, but for what reason? But there is one thing which is for sure – views will be rewarding!

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Campings in Slovenia are quite expensive – about 10€ per person per night. Supposedly, as we’ve never used any. And wild camping is illegal which put you in risk of not little fine. Supposedly, as we’ve wild camped for first 3 nights and nothing happened. We wouldn’t risk it in national parks – here it is really strictly forbidden and it’s very likely you will meet patrol. But over 60% of Slovenia is all forest so for a nice place for your tent overnight isn’t that hard. We were just looking for a good spot when it was slowly getting dark, pitched a tent in the forest and then continuted in the morning.
If that is still not that convincing you can always ask somebody for permission to pitch a tent on their land. Firemans who allowed us to pitch a tent on the pitch grass next to their building were very friendly :).
Warmshowers is a good option too. There is lots of people regiestered all over country, so if you’d really like you could stay with somebody probably every night within a cycling distance. And people in Slovenia are really friendly and helpful. When we’ve got the idea to go to Slovenia, we’ve been searching warmshowers for somebody to leave our car with. Because it was very next day we didn’t expect much of positive answers, so we’ve written about 15 messages with hope to get maybe 1 positive answer. And then we’ve spent evening answering to over 10 people that we are really thankful, but we’ve already found someone… and there is nothing which warm you up so much after dark, cold wintery cycling than an evening with people who soon become your friends and you cannot stop talking all evening until late night…


Slovenian delights

You won’t be starving in Slovenia, that’s for sure! Slovenia gathered cuisine from all surrounding countries, which makes it’s cuisine really interesting. So you can have polenta for breakfast followed by perfect cappuccino, taste ajvar for lunch, snack burek after that, stop for a pizza and finish the day with beans and sour turnip.
For us, as a winter cyclists, bakeries were most valued. You can find them in almost every bigger village, including mountains. It’s super warm there, there is always a table or bench to eat at and take a rest and first of all, Slovenian pastries are extremally good! We would place cafes as second bet, for similar reasons, plus coffee here is as good as in Italy, and as cheap :).



While cycling through Slovenia we were wondering which route should we choose. Our starting point was Dovje, north-east part not far from Austrian border. We’ve decided to go south and then going east to make a loop around the country. It didn’t go exactly as we planned – we’ve done a loop but much smaller than planned as weather was becoming worse – rain and temperatures about -15°c so over 6 days we’ve managed to cycle our longest 350km. Pija from Dovje recommended us route from Dovje to Borec and route through Triglav national park (up to 1600m, rather not in the winter), but if you stick to the smaller roads it’s beautiful everywhere! You will not likely get lost, as people are super helpful here and almost every time we’ve stopped for longer period to check the map somebody stopped the car or came over to ask if we need any help. And there is internet almost everywhere, we’ve found open wifi access even in the smallest villages so you are rather connected.

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Over the hills and far away… you must visit here once!