Length 34.6 km
Time needed
Time needed 02:00
Največja strmina vzpona[%]
Greatest slope of the ascent: 8 %
Greatest slope of the descent: 8 %
Average slope of the ascent: 3 %
Length of ascents above 5%: 2.40 km
The lowest point of the route: 503 m
The highest point of the route: 302 m
Difference in altitude: 481 m
Poraba kalorij
Consumption of energy for men: 4070 kJ (972 kcal)
Consumption of energy for women: 3316 kJ (792 kcal)
Difficulty: Demanding
Quality of the surface
Quality of the surface: Mixture
Type of bike: City bike
Short description

A difficult but attractive cycling route round Šmarna gora, Smlednik and Vodice, with a spectacular view of the neighbouring hills and mountains as well as various sights along the route. Excluding the ascent to the Smlednik Castle, the road is less difficult and is also recommended for the physically less fit cyclists.


Tacen – Vikrče – Zavrh – Smlednik – Valburga – Zapoge - Dornice – Dobruša – Repnje – Vodice - Bukovica – Utik – Koseze – Šinkov Turn – Selo pri Vodicah – Vojsko – Povodje – Šmartno pod Šmarno goro – Tacen

Tacen and tax collectors
The starting point of this cycling route is in Tacen in the car park which can be reached by city bus (no. 8 or 15) and is known mainly to Šmarna gora hikers. Tacen is known for the River Sava rapids , and competitions in white-water kayaking and canoeing. In the summer heat, the sandy banks of the River Sava become temporary swimming facility, where numerous inhabitants of Ljubljana find some refreshment when the Sava water level is low.
The name Tacen perhaps originates from the terms dace and dacar (tax collector), but not to worry, these days you don't have to pay bridge toll anymore and the tax for the bicycle was paid for upon purchase.
If you bring your bicycles to Tacen by car and the first car park is occupied, you can probably park the car a bit further on in the village in a bigger car park near the Police Academy.
The route starts at the first car park and continues towards west, following Rocenska road towards Police Academy where an interesting Rocen Castle can be observed from a distance . You were not aware of it, were you? Nevertheless, it is now that you have the chance to rectify your mistake and rethink its former importance. Noblemen who collected bridge toll used to live in Rocen.

Commander Stane and Jakob Aljaž
Past Police Academy, descend to the main road and turn right in direction of Vikrče. In the middle of the slope, the road diverges to the left towards Pirniče, but continue straightforward to the top of the slope where you turn left behind the last house or workshop and continue on the sandy path that leads towards garden centres and a birthplace of the partisan commander 'Lieutenant general' Franc Rozman – Stane . When crossing the asphalt road earlier, it is necessary to be cautious of possible traffic. The path continues from Commander Stane's birthplace to yet another famous Slovenian from this area - Jakob Aljaž. Return some ten metres back to the asphalt road and turn left towards Šmarna gora. Soon after, cross carefully the main road and cycle for a few hundreds of metres across fields up a minor slope. At the beginning of the Zavrh pod Šmarno goro village, turn right up the hill and you will soon arrive to the birthplace of the legendary priest, mountaineer and composer Jakob Aljaž, who was a builder of the tower on Triglav and author of the popular song 'Oh Triglav, my home'.

Let's jump a few centuries back
When returning from Jakob Aljaž's birthplace, go back to the main road and turn right towards Smlednik. The route continues through a forest and slightly ascends past the golf course . The ruins of the Old Smlednik Castle can be seen in the distance. When arriving to Smlednik, stick to the right and follow the Old Castle signposts. The macadam road leads to the top of the slope and it is possible to cycle there, but the slope is quite steep. The castle is situated atop the hill in the village, where once there was a prehistoric site and later a Roman fortress.
After reaching the top gasping and with burning feet, your efforts will be repaid by the marvellous view in all directions . If the weather is fine, Šmarna gora on the southeast, Polhov Gradec Hills on the southwest, Lubnik, Ratitovec, Julian Alps with Triglav on the west, as well as Karavanke and the Kamnik-Savinja Alps on the north can be observed. It is worth reaching the top, although cycling there is perhaps not even necessary. It is even recommendable to continue on foot – past chapels of the Stations of the Cross . Stari grad Inn is located next to the castle, where it is possible to quench one's thirst and get some refreshments.

Counts and barons
Let the old ruins whisper thrilling stories about the former noblemen, their lifestyle and habits, while you set out for the next chapter in history. Proceeding through Smlednik to the main road, which you cross carefully (direction Valburga) and after 100 metres slightly turn right to the narrow asphalt where we continue our journey. But before doing so, take a look around of the surroundings.
A little further from our turning to the side path towards Hraše and Vodice, there is the Valburga Mansion or, as the locals call it, Lazarini Castle . It is also possible to cycle somewhat further south, past the Church of St. Walburga and visit the bloody sign , a chapel from the 19th century, placed on the very spot where a place of execution for criminals used to be. The Old Castle with Kalvarija underneath is nicely seen from there.

To Vodice through villages
Cycling continues towards Vodice along the sandy side road that leads across the fields and offers magnificent views of the neighbouring hills and the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. You soon arrive to the two swampy lakes or rather ponds, emerged from the abandoned clay pits . The banks are overgrown with rush and other aquatic plants and are thus perfect hiding and nesting places for numerous water birds.
The road leads between both ponds, across the fields and past the farm behind which, on the left side in front of the forest, a lovely Church of St. James, first mentioned in 1118, can be seen . Somewhat further, the enjoyable drive on the field road ends and before Zapoge turn to the main road. Follow the main road for about 500 metres and then among houses turn right at the Dornice signpost and back on the side way.
Continue straight towards the hill until the rectangular left turn in the Dornice hamlet directs you left to the transverse road. Cycling continues towards Dobruša where you can freshen up with clean water from 'Dobruše well' just next to the road . The water analyses statements, published on the bulletin board, prove that this water is drinkable. Thus our plastic bottles can be filled with water if we have emptied them already. The houses by the road are nicely maintained and resemble those from the Smurfs cartoons. As a major road joins, turn right and proceed towards an underpass under the motorway to Vodice. The village of Repnje is just on the right and we recommend you to make a detour and visit it. Namely, Repinje is a birthplace of Jernej Kopitar, Slovenia's great linguist, known after his quarrel with Prešeren who answered him with the famous line 'Let the cobbler stick to his last'. At triangular crossroads (the chapel and monument), turn right and drive through the village to the house no. 34 with a memorial plaque dedicated to Kopitar . From there, return to the underpass under the motorway and continue to the long-distance road Ljubljana-Vodice where there is a left turn in direction Vodice.

Cooked-baked Vodice pretzels
Before traffic lights in Vodice, turn right past the library with an interesting inscription on the front 'Everything for Religion, Home, the Emperor!' Only for a short section does the road take you through the settlement , and then as soon as possible turn right to the road to Bukovica and Utik. It has to be mentioned that Vodice are a suitable place for a short rest in case of tiredness or in need of some refreshment. Not to forget: Vodice are known for their pretzels which are made according to the traditional recipe and prepared by the Jagodic family for the forth generation. One must not overlook the mighty Church of St. Margaret, built after the earthquake in 1895.
As said before, when leaving Vodice take the road past the school and drive towards Bukovica and Utik. The road is exemplary and even descends a bit so you can reach Bukovica quickly and from there proceed towards Utik and even further towards Koseze. The first branching for Šinkov Turn is not the right one, but the cycling continues through Koseze for another kilometre and before the forest, take the right turn.

Schenk and his tower
There is Koseze pond soon after the crossroads and a chance for a short stop in the coldness of the trees. The route leads to the village of Šinkov Turn and up the hill to the ruins of the Šinkov Turn Castle and the Church of the Mother of God nearby. The castle has been burnt by the partisans and devastated after the war so no stone remained on top of the other. The castle wall and pavilion have been restored. There are copies of original and other documents about the village and the castle put on view.
As this is the top of the slope, the way down will not be difficult; however, it is necessary to drive carefully because it is steep. After descending past the church to the first crossroads, turn left to the narrow asphalt road that runs under the hill to the ski-jump and sports ground SD Strahovica. Here you can step off the bicycle and stretch your legs in the shade of the trees, then return back to your means of transport and descend down the slope into Selo and further on to the local road in direction of Vojsko and Šmarna gora. The latter rises as a huge natural signpost above the southeast horizon. The road across fields is pleasant for cycling, with low traffic burden and in addition, it offers beautiful views.

Povodje, Šmartno and the end
Past the nice village of Vesce with the birthplace of the painter Matija Koželj (it is not far if you wish to visit it), the road leads to Vojsko where, at an interesting plague sign , turn left to the long-distance road Vodice-Ljubljana. The mentioned road has somewhat more traffic, so be cautious.
You are now returning to the starting point. Almost instantly, you will find yourselves between Rašica and Šmarna gora, in Povodje, where a huge fish farm and further on a pond are located . In Šmartno , take a right turn round Šmarna gora and be particularly careful due to quite narrow and winding road, full of traffic.
But if you've managed to here, you will manage even further. Right or wrong? Indeed, you have cycled 33 kilometres. In Tacen, at the end of the road, there is a chain of inns awaiting you to regain your strength.

Rapids in Tacen
There is a dam on the Sava River in Tacen and serves the old city power plant. The water flows over the dam and so the rapids were arranged, including a training centre and tracks for canoe slalom competitions.

The Rocen Manor
The noblemen used to live in the manor, being the only ones in the present territory of the Municipality of Ljubljana to have the headquarters as well as feudal land or manor, i.e. the land being cultivated by the serfs exclusively for the lord of the manor. This was, however, not their only source of income, the noblemen of Rocen also collected bridge toll on the wooden bridge over the Sava River.
The toll was six kreutzers (this would be called six euros today) for the large livestock – draught animals and animals not used for drawing loads –, one kreutzer for small livestock and another one for a person who crossed the bridge on foot. The toll being high was a pet hate for many, so in 1848, when the Payment for Land Act was announced which annulled the feudal social order, some looked forward to being exempt from payment. But their joy was early, much too early! The bridge toll was confirmed with the Imperial-Royal Act and was being collected until 1907 when the swollen river washed away the bridge.

Birthplace of Franc Rozman - Stane in Spodnje Pirniče
The birthplace of Franc Rozman - Stane, the legendary commander of the Slovenian partisan army, is located in Pirniče.

Birthplace of Jakob Aljaž in Zavrh
In the village of Zavrh pod Šmarno goro, one of the greatest Slovenians, Jakob Aljaž, was born in 1845. He was a priest, composer, mountaineer, but, first and foremost, he was a nationally conscious Slovenian. We remember him as a patriot who was aware of the dangers of the German influence. At the top of Triglav, the highest mountain in Slovenia, he bought some land with his own money and in 1895, erected the famous tower, named after him, which became our national symbol. Amidst the competition of the Slovenian and German mountaineering societies in the Julian Alps, this act emphasised the fact that Triglav was a Slovenian mountain. His song 'Oh, Triglav, my home' is one of the most popular Slovenian art songs, not just among the mountaineers but all Slovenians.
On the sixth of July, Aljaž's birthday, Medvode celebrate its municipal holiday. The Municipality of Medvode bought his birthplace and renovated it as a cultural monument.

Old Castle in Smlednik
The castle is situated atop the hill in the village, where there once was a prehistoric site and later a Roman fortress. The castle was first mentioned in 1136 in connection with a knight named Ulrik. The original Roman castle included a mighty free-standing defence tower, surrounded by a moat. During the mature Gothic period, the tower was enclosed by a platform, and during the following centuries, residential buildings and defence towers were built. The castle was later not rebuilt, so its design and development of the medieval castle in the Central Slovenia are shown in their purest form.
Its position was carefully selected and enabled strategic supervision of the road towards Italy and boat across the Sava River. Such locations were exploited by the skilful rulers to become rich by collecting taxes. It goes like this: 'to cover the expenses', 'to protect against robbers', 'to...' etc. - there are as many excuses and reasons as one can imagine. The money was flowing in every day. And if was not flowing, it was at least dripping. In time, a considerable amount was gathered and enabled them a comfortable life.

Kalvarija in Smlednik
Kalvarija with its 14 Baroque chapels and three crosses at the top was erected as early as 1772 in a straight line between the castle and the bloody sign on the plain near Valburga. The chapels deteriorated during the decades after World War II, but were so beautifully renovated during the recent years that the village is justifiably proud of them.

Lazarini Castle
Valburga Mansion or, as the locals call it, Lazarini Castle is a typical Renaissance architecture building. It was built in the 17th century when the Counts of Andechs, owners of the Old Castle in Smlednik, admitted that going up a steep hill perhaps did not contribute to the residents' feeling better and being healthier so much, that it would be worth doing it every day, so they decided to build a new home on the plain. And they did. And what a castle it is! There is a 200-metre tree-lined alley of wild chestnuts in front of it, a castle park with a garden behind it, and beautiful frescos with fantasy images from the Greek mythology in its interior. The castle is truly beautiful. And also: until the end of World War II, it was owned by the Lazarini barons, then it was nationalised and returned to the descendents in 1991. In the winter of 2007, someone set it on fire, which ravaged the most beautiful hall – the Knight Hall.

The swamp and ponds in Hraše
The two swampy lakes or better, ponds, emerged from the abandoned clay pits. The banks are overgrown with rush and other aquatic plants and are thus perfect hiding and nesting places for numerous water birds.

The Church of St. James in Hraše
The lovely Church of St. James was first mentioned in historic documents as early as 1118.

The birthplace of Jernej Kopitar in Repnje
The birthplace of Jernej Kopitar, a great linguist and patriot, is situated in Repnje, but is unfortunately closed for the public. Kopitar studied history of the Slavic languages and collected as well as translated numerous historical data in Slovenian language and thus saved them from destruction and oblivion. The peak of his scientific and linguistic work probably represents Grammar of the Slavic language in Carniola, Carinthia and Styria. He helped his friend Vuk Karadžić with writing the Serbian grammar. The Municipality of Vodice named the municipal publication (Kopitarjev glas) and the main square (Kopitarjev trg) in the municipality after him. For many years, Kopitarjev hram Inn has been located at Kopitarjev trg square.

The Church of St. Margaret in Vodice
The great Church of St. Margaret was built after the earthquake in 1895 on the foundations of a much older predecessor. It is interesting that the original church was enclosed with the camp wall, demolished as late as 1871.

Pretzel craft in Vodice
Vodice's pretzels are made by the Jagodic family who have maintained the tradition of pretzel making since 1932. The German nuns brought the skill of baking pretzels to Dominican monastery in Adergas pri Cerkljah na Gorenjskem already in 1700. In 1782, the Emperor Joseph II abolished many monasteries, among which was also the Adergas monastery. So the pretzel craft began to spread from monasteries to the neighbouring areas. Today, they are made according to the old Adergas recipe only in Vodice in the Jagodic Bakery.
The Vodice pretzel is made of dough, i.e. flour, water, yeast and salt. It is wrapped three times and has a specific figure-of-eight shape. The speciality of those pretzels, whose method of preparation has been kept secret for a long time, is that they are cooked before baking. This gives them a typical glitter and better permanence. No additives are used during the preparation of the dough in Jagodic Bakery. Firm and crunchy pretzels are decorated with crystals of salt, giving them a specific taste. Fresh pretzels are kept in the air in order to last longer. With ageing they become more tough and crunchy and must not be bitten, but broken into pieces. It is then, that they melt in our mouths.
Pretzels used to be a constant feature on the wooden stands at restaurants and are nowadays a part of every municipal celebration or fire-fighting party (and others). They can also be found in some mountain huts and inns. Pretzels are popular among the old and the young, many buyers carried the Vodice pretzel into Europe and around the world.
Each day, Vodice pretzels are baked according to the good old Adergas recipe. Salty and crunchy pretzels go best with a glass of wine or a good cup of tea.

The fishing pond in Koseze
Clay used to be dug in the area of the present pond. Hence the cave, flooded by the near well, emerged. The clay was transported to Komenda where pottery and stove making were quite frequent. Stream Graben, also called Dobrova, flows from the pond. Koseze pond emerged approximately 200 years ago. It is 300 metres long and 100 metres wide at its widest part. The depth of the pond does not exceed two metres. Prior to World War I, the ice was broken in the winter time and was used by the innkeepers for cooling beverage and meat. Twenty years ago, the pond was cleaned and deepened. Medvode fishing family managed the pond as fishing water for its members and other fishermen. In 1993, the pond dried out for some time. Swimming in the pond is not recommended due to muddy water, it is, however, popular among fishermen for its diversity of fish: carp, grass carp, sheatfish, tench, crucian carp, common rudd, zander and even freshwater crayfish. The biggest carp ever caught in Koseze pond supposedly weighted over 15 kilograms. Past the pond, a walking path leads to the tourist spot, Mengeš cottage.

The ruins of the Šinkov Turn Castle
On the north foot of Rašica, few kilometres from Vodice, lays the village Šenkov Turn. The village got its name after the Šenkov Turn Castle and the latter got it after his first owner, Schenk. In 1250, Schenk had the high tower and strong defence wall erected.
The castle had many different owners. Amidst the 17th century, the original tower was brought down and a new manor was erected, having been rebuilt many times afterward. In 1632, the castle was bought and renovated by Andrej Hren. After his death, Tomaž Hren, bishop of Ljubljana, became its owner. Prior to World War II, school was organised in the castle. The castle had a shape of a triangular building with arcade courtyard. In 1943, the partisans burnt down the castle. After the war, the castle was being slowly demolished and the stones were used as construction material.

The plague sign at Vojsko
The sign is situated between Skarčuna and Povodje and was most probably erected in 1668. It is entirely carved out of sandstone. A pillar is placed on the round pedestal and it supports a triangular chapel with semicircular openings which carry the traces of pictures. The chapel has a low pyramid roof with a massive dual cross atop. The sources claim there is but few so interesting signs as this one.

Povodje Fishing Farm
It is possible to buy fresh fish at the fishing farm, and the enthusiastic fishermen can catch their own fish there.

Košir Inn in Tacen
The Košir Inn at the very foot of Šmarna gora has a venerable tradition. For centuries, it has attracted individual guests, families and closed groups, who come for the good food, relaxation, entertainment and gatherings. The Inn is famous for its quality home-made food, great service and is open every day of the week. Shady chestnut garden with its playground for children offers an enjoyable comfort.

Sava Snack Bar in Vikrče
The Snack Bar offers beverages and basic dishes.

Stari grad nad Smlednikom Snack Bar
The Bar offers beverages and basic dishes.

Kopitarjev hram in Vodice
A rich offer of home-made dishes and beverages.

Dvor Café in Tacen
Café, confectionery, and bed and breakfast.

Old Castle above Smlednik
There's a tale of this castle, which says that once upon a time, a nobleman lived in this castle and he really liked to gamble. It was an expensive habit, but he was enough well-off to afford it. When he played against the devil himself one day, he gambled away all his possessions, his own daughter and, finally, his soul. But for everything not to go 'to hell', the smart nobleman thought of a trick and buried the most precious valuables under the castle. When the devil came for what he had won the night before, he had to kiss everything goodbye. In his anger, he supposedly cast a spell on the nobleman's daughter, turned her into a snake and told her to guard the treasure for eternity. A word of warning to all treasure seekers: 'Be careful not to get bitten by a snake.'

Šmarna gora race
The Šmarna gora race is a traditional mass sports event which, in addition to recreational runners, attracts best international fell runners.

The path also leads along macadam roads (the road to Stari grad in Smlednik, Valburga—Zapoge) which are otherwise maintained. The ascent to the Old Castle above Smlednik is suitable only for the physically well prepared cyclists; others can leave their bicycles at the foot of the hill and set out on foot.