Four trails – moderate difficulty – asphalt only, uphill and downhill Mojstrana – Bled – Bohinjska Bistrica Track: 40 km + 450 / – 600 mBohinjska Bistrica – Bohinj Lake (road) Track: 31 km +/- 150 mBohinjska Bistrica – Bohinj Lake (bike lane) Track: 17 km +/- 160 mBohinjska Bistrica – Mojstrana Track: 46 km + 500 / – 360 m
Sometimes the whole universe is working on your behalf. This is what I felt when a business trip in Slovenia showed up for the end of May. The special thing about this is that during that time we had two bank holidays, so two off-days for us to explore and visit. Long story short is that we managed to book almost an entire week in Slovenia while combining work with pleasure.
The counter play to all our beautiful plans came from the weather forecast which apparently had a different agenda than ours. Despite the full week of rain we decided to go along with the plan as the business trip was already booked and all details have been arranged. We also thought that maybe our luck will not be all that bad.
On our way to Slovenia, the weather was excellent. On the second day, the sky started to be covered by rainy clouds but not a single drop. On the third day, when we actually started our holiday, it rained so much that we got hydrated for a whole year.
Our plan for the trip was to do a bike circuit around the Triglav National Park and to carry all the stuff we needed with us, tent, sleeping bags, etc. The trip was split over four days with about 1000m vertical relief per day and about 60-70 kilometers on asphalt roads. On paper, the plan didn't sound that hard but with a heavy bike and with steep ascents we were starting to have doubts. Of course, nothing is impossible but taking into consideration the rain + the road bike cassette on my MTB + my rage on the whole situation, I was slowly cracking.
Day 1: Mojstrana – Bled – Bohinjska Bistrica
Here we go. So, we reached our starting point, Kamne camping in Dovje village and it was raining hard. Even though they had a big empty parking lot in front of the camping the owner let us know we can't leave the car there and that we should park in the village center of Mojstrana. We left in that direction and thought that on our way we will decide what we shall do.
The situation looks similar to what we had during last year's holiday, it was raining all over central Europe, so no chance to dodge the conditions. In between two rain sessions, we decided we will go on as it is, but we will do the circuit in the opposite direction.
Our initial plan was to do the circuit counter-clockwise – in this way the first day was the hardest when theoretically we would be best rested. But to complete 70 kilometers on hard rain with 1000 meters vertical relief that stretched for only 10 kilometers was too hard for us so we changed direction from Mojstrana to Bled – Bohinj – where we would reassess the conditions and set future plans.
Our tour didn't include any touristic objectives along the way as we have already seen most of them in past visits. Worthwhile mentioning is that Bled is really nice to visit on a boat or SUP and so is the castle above the lake. The emblematic little island in the middle of the lake is worth the time and effort to check off your list of to-dos.
Back to our trip – we installed all our things on the bike, took a breath of air and set off. At this point, we were still not thinking that we might not be able to complete our initial plan. We set out during a hard rain session on a more than 10% incline ascent. Not a lot of time passes until I got off my bike and started pushing it uphill, the problem was that this was also hard. We didn't even complete 5 kilometers, now that is a fucked up start!
The track is really nice. It consists of an asphalt road, one and a half lanes wide, that twists and turns between trees going uphill at times pretty hard. On the road, we meet a group of elderly Brits that are more off of their bikes than on them. This only lifts up my spirit. You know, not necessarily that I have a better time but the other should suffer too. Just kidding and laughing at my past misery.
It wasn't easy to climb this hill but when the descent came I was thinking that my breaks might not be enough, but obviously, they were.
Meanwhile, the rain gave us two more showers and enveloped the forest road in a thin mist. We found it extremely beautiful and for no specific reason I was very happy.
After that, it started pouring. We were fortunate enough to find a house where we took shelter until the rain calmed out.
Eventually, we reached Bled where the weather seemed to look somewhat better. Clouds, sun and dry asphalt. The people there wearing shorts and flip-flops were looking at us funny with all-out rain layers, completely soaked and with water drops on our glasses.
We stopped to eat on the lake shore and to feed the sparrows… peace and quiet.. until the sky turned black and the lightning and thunder destroyed our peace. It was clear that we brought the rain.
We left in a hurry but not before we encircled the lake on its bike lane and made our way to Bohinj on the national road.
No need to explain the details but it rained on us hard. On our way, we made two stops because we just couldn't see where we were going and we were also afraid for the traffic, which even though is hats off civilized, I am sure drivers had a hard time seeing us on the road. We stopped in the middle of nowhere, under a tunnel on a side road that was in a puddle of mud and the second time under a semi-abandoned building. We were disillusioned as with such conditions it was hard to enjoy the route and the sights.
We reached Bohinj and Camp Danica that evening and in a short time, the rain had stopped also.
- Distance: 40 km
- Total Time: 4h 42 min
- Pedaling Time: 2 h 42 min
- Vertical relief: +444 / -604 m
- Min/Max altitude: 477 – 848 m
- Max Speed: 43 km/h
- Average Speed: 14.7 km/h
Day 2: Bohinjska Bistrica – Bohinjsko Jezera
The next day we learned our lesson: the weather forecast said storms and heavy rain were expected between 12 and 16. After yesterday we believe it without a doubt so we plan accordingly. We have two possibilities: we either pack our stuff and move out back to the car in Dovje or we leave the tent and all our gear in place and attempt a short track until the rain breaks out. Obviously, we chose option number two.
FYI: This was the moment when we realized we were not going to do the Triglav circuit as planned for this holiday.
We packed only the rain layers and some snacks in our small shopping backpacks and set out on our track to lake Bohinj.
The road is all asphalt and takes you through different small touristic villages along the way.
For the moment the weather was visually improving despite the forecast.
We almost forgot how beautiful Slovenia and this area in particular are. There were many stops for photos.
This track is very easy, with close to no vertical relief (+/- 150 m), just perfect for a relaxing day. Also worth mentioning there is a pedestrian path that goes all along the lake.
You can reach the Southern part of the lake on asphalt. Everything seems in harmony… people rock climbing, running, walking, rowing.
From the Southern side, a footpath goes on the other bank that is closed to bike access. We took a small peak to see how it looked like but at times the landscape is pretty rough. Since it is very populated and narrow I can see why it is pedestrian only.
As such, we returned to the Northern side of the lake on the same road and from here we did a circuit back to the camping.
A small ascent took us to more Slovenian villages that were visually appealing and in line with the surrounding landscape. On the below GPS track you can see two points of interest, a mini-market with a well and a great restaurant.
A few words about the restaurant: it is a nice place with a great view of the valley below and with gigantic meals (mind how much you order here). A normal pizza here is not your common 32 cm diameter, but something closer to 45 cm – more in the direction of a family pizza. We had no idea about this so we ordered a pizza and a large portion of fries with grilled cheese. Of course, we couldn't eat it all but we had enough food now for dinner and breakfast combined. All in all, we paid 25 euros for the food and two beers and two coffees.
Details: Bohinjska Bistrica – Bohinjsko Jezero
- Distance: 31 km
- Time: 5 h
- Pedaling Time: 2 h 19 min
- Vertical relief: +/- 160 m
- Min/Max altitude: 514 – 639 m
- Max Speed: 32 km/h
- Average Speed: 11 km/h
GPS Track – Wikiloc
Since the track was short we reached the camping ground early in the day. Also since we still had a lot of daytime left and we had lots of energy we set out to explore where the bike lane from behind the camping would end up.
We were surprised to see what we found. The route takes you on a tour to the lake and back again with excellent markings and info panels.
Basically, we did the previous track once again but this time on the inside of the asphalt road.
Only a small part has no bike lane, but it is under construction, and we followed the same road back.
All in all, we had 17 kilometers of bliss for that evening with no rain.
Details: Bohinjska Bistrica – Bohinjsko Jezero Bike Path
- Distance: 17 km
- Time: 1h 20 min
- Pedaling Time: 1 h
- Vertical relief: +/- 150 m
- Min/Max Altitude: 500 – 610 m
- Max Speed: 46 km/h
- Average Speed: 15.7 km/h
GPS Track – Wikiloc (PS: we had an altitude glitch as you can see in the link).
Day 3: Bohinjska Bistrica – Bled – Mojstrana
On day three we scheduled our return to the car and since we wanted some diversity we chose a different path back.
We had to go on the same route until Bled. I will repeat myself, even though this is a national road with plenty of traffic the drivers here are really careful towards cyclists. This is partially due to the fact that they have a lot of bicycle enthusiasts but also because of their mentality and education.
We made good time to Bled, the track proving much easier than we had anticipated and compared to what we have remembered from our stormy approach.
From Bled to Vintgar we started to go up but the ascents are not long even if they are not particularly easy. You simply must visit Vintgar canyon if you are in the area. We didn't do it as we saw it a few years back but it is really nice.
We continued on this road until we reached Jesenice where we stopped for something to eat at Spar supermarket and to visit the nearby sights.
From this point, we got on the bike path. And what a bike path it is! Two wide lanes with road signs, side fences, and gates for auto traffic. Really great, you simply want to hug these people for the nice infrastructure that they created.
The lane goes continuously up and down, it is located at the footsteps of the mountains and it is parallel with the motorway. We follow it until Mojstrana where we find our car. As a side note, this bike path will take you from Ljubliana up until the Italian border.
Details: Bohinjska Bistrica – Bled – Mojstrana
- Distance: 46 km
- Time: 3 h 50 min
- Pedaling time: 3 h
- Vertical relief: + 500 / – 360 m
- Min/Max altitude: 451 – 679 m
- Max Speed: 53 km/h
- Average Speed: 15.1 km/h
Where do we sleep?
By the ways, Camp Danica is a A+ grade, we really recommend it if you are in the area! Nice facilities, extremely clean toilets and showers, a central location in the central part of the valley. The only minus we found was that they do not have an area for eating that has a rooftop in case of rain.
Some 100 kilometers from here there is another great accommodation facility that we recommend and that we have visited several times now, Ranc Dravinja. It is an agro-tourism farm, run by a great and warm family.
Here we had one of the best vegetarian breakfasts ever, made exactly per our tastes.
The location has a nice design and is full of interesting ornaments. Besides this is also has a lot of animals, from horses to goats, and is full of positive energy.