In August 2021, just after having finished the Slovenia West Loop route, Belén and I set out to cycle one more loop in the country. Belén decided to create it from scratch as the area of north-western Slovenia seemed really interesting and scenic for bike rides. While we completed the route in 5 days, it can easily be done in 4 or less, provided you don't get or mind rain, and aren't documenting the route in detail like ourselves.The route starts in the town of Kamnik, and shortly after riding your way up into the valley north of town, there's an adventure awaiting you! As we were eager to visit the upper mountain plateau of Velika Planina, where one can find traditional shepherd hut villages, we had two options; either cycle up to it from the east end, having to cycle the same way down afterwards, or taking the cable-car on the west end, shortening the riding window for this route but also maximizing its adventurous feeling. We settled for the last option, and boy was it worth it! Just glance over day 1 to get a good impression. After descending Velika Planina, you'll find yourself on a valley road leading north before going off the asphalt in Solčava. This is where you'll enter the Trans-Slovenia 03 mountainbike route, a trail with mixed surfaces and a lot of scenic views. We based our itinerary upon it as the signposts will help you find your way without looking at your screen too much, as well as making sure the ride is on an established, safe way. However, as with almost all mountainbiking and bikepacking routes, you have to keep in mind that there's a few really challenging sections, the most serious one being on day 4 between km1,67 and km3,20. You can check the extensive photo walk-through to get a preview of that section, and we encourage you to push / ride this one on a dry day for mental sanity. Besides the challenges of the northern section of this loop, there is a ton of spectacular views all along the Kamnik and Savinja Alps, and nowadays you might already find more cyclists on the western part (between Zgornje Jezersko and Tržič) as there's a newly established bikepacking.com route called the Trans-Karavanks. Alike our loop, it follows along the Trans-Slovenia 03, but it takes a slightly different route at the challenging section of our fourth day by routing you through a swampy area (photo of the entry to that attached in day 4). Spinning down to Tržič from the mountains is insanely pleasant as you'll soon trade the rough gravel of earlier days for smoothened asphalt, leading you through a river gorge right into town. It's where you'll be able to have your first big supermarket stop (Hofer, Lidl, etc) as well as a café / hotel stop if needed. From town, you'll now enter the softer section of our loop, routing you back to Kamnik through rolling Slovenian hills with traditional architecture, empty roads, bike lanes as well as some funny hidden photo spots along the way (check day 5!). This was a tricky section to create, as it's all too easy to take a wrong turn and find yourself on one of the busy valley roads, but we're confident in having chosen the most peaceful, scenic way back to Kamnik.As we preferred not to sleep in Kamnik (Slovenia can be really expensive in the summer season) we camped on a hill before town, hence our sixth day being a really short one. And that's the entire loop! In the center of town you can find a cute little cafe by the church for good coffee, and just south of it is a train station if you'd like to take a train elsewhere in Slovenia instead of riding. As a suggestion, you could perfectly ride a huge loop in western Slovenia (I've already taken the liberty to create the planned route, you can download the GPX in my planned routes), combining:
- the western side of the Slovenia West Loop (with our Soča Variant) between Kransjka-Gora and Ljubljana, with a short connection between Ljubljana and Kamnik on a section of commuting asphalt
- our Kamnik-Savinja Alps Loop between Kamnik and Tržič
- and a part of the Trans-Karavanks, between Tržič and Kransjka-GoraOther than that, here's the first episode of the 'Cycling the Savinja Alps' series, where you can sit back, relax and watch the tranquility of the route unfold before you in gorgeous 4K video. Feel free to subscribe to the channel to see new series and other adventure cycling related videos as soon as they're live.
It's day one of a new adventure! Those are always exciting. After having cycled from Ljubljana to Kamnik, @belletoscan and I found a nice spot in the old center of town to commence this new and self-made route; enter the Kamnik-Savinja Alps Loop!
We started relatively late in the day, as we usually do…
Day two of our Kamnik-Savinja Alps Loop adventure. Waking up after a good night sleep, we caught just enough sunshine to warm up in the fresh air of the morning, with fog playfully rolling upon the hills and mountains all around us. From camp, a section of nice but rocky gravel roads with herds of cows…
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The third day of our Kamnik-Savinja Alps Loop adventure. Having not had enough sleep the night before due to stressful wild camp circumstances, climbing the switchbacks into Slovenia was tiring, but nice thanks to the smooth asphalt. We knew that rain might catch us on this day and set out to try and…
Day four of our Kamnik-Savinja Alps Loop adventure. As mentioned at the end of day three, the rain woke us up and kept on going until 1pm. So we had a very late start this day, yet managed to dry our tent which was nice.
The following section is where a big challenge arises. It's a short one, but it'll…
Day five of our Kamnik-Savinja Alps Loop adventure. Today started sunny and blue, great weather to descend the plateau. Since we'd reached the top of the climb the day before, today was basically all downward until the flat southern stretch of the loop.
After reaching a farm with a herd of cows, we moved…
Day six of our Kamnik-Savinja Alps Loop adventure... and the end! As mentioned in day five, we preferred to camp just outside of Kamnik, and therefor rolled into the town in the early morning of August 7th.
This little cafe by the old town square is a great place to celebrate the finish of your loop…
During our journey covering the 'Slovenia West Loop' we were recommended by locals in various to visit the area of Kamnik—so we couldn't leave the country without doing so!
The Kamnik-Savinja Alps is a mountain range in the north of Slovenia but South of the Karavanks range, which become the natural…
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