UPDATED September 1, 2023

BY Guest Author

IN Trans-Europa

no comments

UPDATED September 1, 2023

BY Guest Author

IN Trans-Europa

no comments

What To Love About Slovenia: A Rest Day Guide


Ethan Weil is the Content Creator on the 2023 Trans-Europa Cycling Tour.  He sends this report on Slovenia and its amazing highlights.

There is, tucked away in Central Europe, an absolute hidden gem, perfect for all outdoor enthusiasts to visit. I’m talking about the beautiful country of Slovenia. It features an outdoor centric culture, an attitude to rival any others, and it shows through the records achieved, the events held, and the conservation efforts on display throughout the country. For winter sports, water sports and mountain sports, it’s truly an outdoor adventurer’s dream. I got to witness first hand the incredible beauty that Slovenia has to offer as our tour, the Trans-Europa, cycled through the country!

Putting the LOVE in sLOVEnia

The capital city, Ljubljana, translates to ‘Beloved’, fitting in many ways as it has a sustainable mindset in its development with green spaces both in the heart of the city and the surrounding areas. It is a educational experience walking around the city, as in other Slovenian cities, as the streets and parks are spotless due to a sophisticated garbage system that has separate bins for glass, packaging, paper, residual waste and organic waste. Not only that but there are also numerous street sweepers and a community outlook that cares for the city and the surrounding nature.

One thing that is immediately noticeable once you enter the country are the lush green forests. That’s because Slovenia makes it a priority to protect and conserve the natural environment. About 60% of the country is covered by forests and overall about 41% of all Slovenian territory is protected through conservation.

The Adventurous Spirit

While we were cycling through the country I made it my goal to explore and highlight the outdoor culture of Slovenia as well as to show what one can do while having a rest day in Ljubljana.

Outdoor activities in Slovenia seem to be endless! Want to rock climb under a castle? You got it! Want to cycle in a cave? Can do! Want to paraglide off a mountain and see the landscape from an adrenaline-rushing, bird’s eye view? You betcha! With a mountainous landscape that runs down the sea, there’s a tremendous amount of activities to choose from: climbing, mountaineering, hiking, cycling, mountain biking, rowing, kayaking, parachuting, canyoneering and caving. It’s no wonder that Slovenians have a deep love for the outdoors and with that, excel in a multitude of sports.

Many notable Slovenian names have achieved great things within the sporting world. When it pertains to cycling, one can’t help but mention the two-time winner of the Tour de France, Tadej Pogačar, who became the second youngest cyclist to win the prestigious race at the age of 21 years old. As a result, a growing cycling community can be seen whilst traveling through the country. There’s Primož Roglič, a former ski jumper turned world class cyclist, Janja Garnbret, a sport climber who is the first in the history of the sport to win the Olympic gold. and Alenka Artnik, a world record holder in free-diving. There are many other Slovenian athletes in sports like rowing, basketball, hockey, motocross, alpine mountaineering and many more.

Many unique outdoor events have been, and are being held, in Slovenia such as the Red Bull sponsored climb where two adventurers scaled the Trbovlje chimney, the highest flue-gas stack in Europe, standing 360 meters high. A popular film of this was subsequently made – the 360 Ascent. The 2023 European rowing championship were held in May at Lake Bled, a picturesque location nestled in the mountains just 55 kilometres from the capital.

So why tell you all this? Well it goes to show just how important the world of sports and recreation is to Slovenians and the country as a whole. Even the hotel we stayed at in the capital was broadcasting climbing competitions. What to do on the rest day in Ljubljana

It’s the age-old question on TDA tours – what to do on rest days? Sometimes they aren’t always restful as many riders choose to explore the town or city they’re in to see what it has to offer. From restaurants, tours, history, museums and more, there’s a little something for everyone on Slovenian rest days, especially whilst in Ljubljana. I talked with rider Nancy to see what she was going to do in Ljubljana and she noted, “I’m going to do a food tour as it’s a great way to meet new people and try local foods from the area you’re in! Sometimes it’s too much food.” I found this to be a great way to spend the time on a rest day as it’s a way to culturally immerse yourself along with meeting others who have a similar interest as you.

Things to do around the city are abundant. There are many cafes, restaurants and things to do within walking distance, along with just wandering aimlessly within the city. One can visit the Mesarski Bridge which has a bunch of love padlocks lining the rails but what is notable are the restaurants nearby. Riders Greg and Eve enjoyed eating by the canal right next to the bridge and have been back twice since they arrived in the city. Another thing to do would be to visit the castle that is in the heart of the city as it can be a good viewpoint from above. Otherwise, the castle in the Slovenian city of Celje is much more interesting to visit.

My Ljubljana Rest Day Suggestion

If you’re looking for a bit more of an active rest day while in Ljubljana, I have a couple of suggestions for you! While in the city, Michael Coo from the Toronto office had joined the tour and together we decided to wake up early at 6am to head to Lake Bled. I suggest visiting in the early morning to beat the traffic as well as to witness the stunning morning sunlight. It is an absolute fairytale of a lake to visit, as it has an island in the centre of the lake with a church built on it and a castle overlooking the surrounding beautiful landscape. There are a ton of activities to do around the lake and it’s only about 55 kilometres from Ljubljana. A bus ride from the city centre will take you straight here, taking about an hour to an hour and a half to reach the lake.

You can hire a wooden paddle boat called a ‘pletna’ which means ‘flat-bottomed boat’ which can take you out the island to walk around. I highly recommend this. It’s a pleasant and smooth ride as the boat doesn’t have a motor so all you hear is the chatter of your fellow boat passengers, the splash of the paddles and the occasional church bell. We got lucky and were able to watch paragliders sailing off the nearby mountains and over the lake as we traveled to the island which added to the overall adventurous atmosphere. Beyond the pletnas there are other ways to reach the island. One can rent a stand-up paddle board (SUP), kayak, or even swim to the island. From there visitors can enjoy a drink at the cafe, a little walk around the island’s edges or even scuba diving. There are plenty of large fish that feed near the shores of the island and can easily be seen through the crystal clear turquoise waters.

To reach the nearby castle requires a walk up quite a few stairs but the views make it all worthwhile! There’s a great exhibit about the castle which also includes history of the surrounding area. Worth some time to check it out. Once one feels they’ve seen enough of Lake Bled, it is time to head back to Ljubljana to rest or do laundry if needed. As it gets closer to sunset and the city lights come on, I suggest a stroll in the city. With restaurants opening up along the canal and people wandering through the street, the city comes to life.

If you’re looking for an alternative active rest day to Lake Bled, I would suggest booking a cycle tour through a cave. Slovenia is known to have over 10,000 caves and in a few of them, bike rides are offered, ranging from leisure rides to more technical riding. These companies can give you a ride from Ljubljana to the tour’s starting point.

Overall there are so many things to do while staying in the capital city of Slovenia. It is truly is an outdoor centric nation and as the world takes notice of this small European gem, it is evident that Slovenia’s passion for sports will continue to inspire and to build on a legacy of athletic achievement. I hope this has helped foster some ideas of what to do while visiting the country of Slovenia and its largest city, Ljubljana, while on tour!



Join us on this spectacular 2 1/2 month cycling adventure across Europe. The route passes through eleven countries, starting in Tallinn and finishing...


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