You can start anywhere in Črnuče since the district suffers from a chronic lack of car parks and if it happens that you arrive with a car, some inventiveness in finding a car park may be necessary. Therefore, it is better if you have a bike. Of course. Thus, cycle along the path by Dunajska Road towards east. This part of the route is still in the city and is not very interesting, but quite good for warming up. The real route starts after the junction with Štajerska Road, where you turn on the abandoned part of the old route after the petrol station, which continues to the bicycle lane. The traffic there is so scarce that the separated path seems to be completely unnecessary. The path soon traverses on the other side of the carriageway. You don't feel like turning onto it so you cycle along the road. This is of course not appropriate, and at the end, you are forced to cycle over the kerb. The road and the path end at the traffic lights where the only pedestrian and cyclist crossings are located on the southern side of the junction – but you are situated on the northern one. Your only choice is to go back on the southern side – over the kerb, of course. Crossing the four-lane road on the northern side would be very risky because there is no marked crossing and corresponding traffic lights to know when to cross. It is not recommended!
When arriving to the main road, immediately cross the local road again and, if you are too fast, wait for the green light again. If you are too slow, the green lights in just the right moment. Now the trail slightly ascends. Commercial and industrial zone (OIC) of Trzin is located on the other side of the slope. It is nicely arranged and from afar gives an impression of successful business. Therefore, you are not very amazed when you see a real pyramid in its centre . It is not as large as the ones in Egypt but it is made of glass and intended for the living not for the dead. The pyramids have always magically spurred the human imagination...
The end of commercial zone means the end of the bicycle lane as well. After a few poles, you have to cycle on gravel for a while. You soon arrive on the asphalt again; however, the bicycle lane is, except for some short sections, gone until you get back to Črnuče. Continue through Mlake residential area to the roundabout near the NLB bank office where you turn left and then right in the first street. You can also turn right at the NLB bank office and then left at the traffic lights. It does not matter because you come to the same spot at the end – to the bridge over the Pšata Canal. Just do not go straight ahead because you will not get anywhere. The 'left and then right' route is less busy but longer and it does not have a bicycle lane like the other one. At the bridge, you can see a memorial plaque which commemorates the events of 1991. Then you turn left and cycle along the asphalted road to the Church of St Florian , the first of the five churches on our tour.
Now you are in the old Trzin, a settlement with a long history. It used to be famous for butchers who were supposed to invent the renowned kranjska klobasa (Carniola sausage).
The route leads at the foot of the hill to Jablje Castle. The castle is a true Baroque gem and allegedly has a secret exit. Since it is located on a karstic area, this is quite possible but the exit has not been found yet. In the immediate vicinity of the castle are three caves but none of them is associated with the secret passage. What if the castle had an exit through the fountain which is located in the inner courtyard and is also connected with the cave? Maybe. It is yet to be explored. Otherwise, this is the first castle on your route.
If the curiosity took you all the way to the entrance of the castle, you have to move back a little to the bridge over the stream. Then turn left and cycle along the asphalted road between outbuildings to the first junction. There turn on the macadam and continue towards the Church of St Primus and Felician which is desolated in the middle of the field. It has stood there for almost 500 years. Basically Gothic, it was later rebuilt several times and is today beautifully renovated. This is the second church on your route.
When arriving to the asphalt, turn right. Now you are on the road from Dobeno to Loka where you turn right at the junction on the old road to Mengeš.
There is not much traffic; you could progress rapidly if you were not distracted by unpleasant bumps in Mengeš. Cycle straight on across Trdinov trg Square to the Church of St Michael with its distinctive stout self-standing bell tower which used to be a defence tower. The church used to be surrounded by a wall of defence against the Turks who often plundered in this area. The baptistery in the church is Plečnik's work. This is the third church on your route. East of the bell tower stands a bust of the painter Franc Jelovšek , and further on, opposite the shop with musical instruments located in Jelovšek's birth house, is a monument to the writer Janez Trdina.
Mengeš is, in addition to Janez Trdina, Franc Jelovšek and developed craft (manufacture of musical instruments, for example), also known for its three castles, two of which are preserved: the lower – Stare Castle and the upper – Ravbar Castle or Haller Court. The third castle, which used to stand on Gobavica Hill, is in ruins. This time, you route will not get closer to any of them. The closest one is Stare Castle ; so let's make a detour to it. The castle has preserved its auxiliary buildings, including the orangery – a brick greenhouse with windows facing south where the citrus trees used to be stored from the cold. Thus, their own harvest of oranges, lemons and similar exotic fruit was provided. Spain used to be really very, very far away. It is not worth wasting words about the condition of the castle and its immediate vicinity. One cannot believe one's eyes! You be the judge. Now you left behind the second castle on the route.
Continue to the traffic lights where you cross the main road and turn left on the residential street. You thus avoided the traffic on the main route although the ride through typical old town would be more scenic. Unfortunately, it would also be more unpleasant and dangerous because of the dense traffic. Turn right at the end of the street on a busy road that leads to Preserje. Cross the roundabout on the Mengeš bypass and somewhere halfway you can see Lek pharmaceutical factory . Having carefully crossed the railway and the junction with traffic lights, cycle towards Radomlje. The road runs over the Kamniška Bistrica River and another stream to the roundabout in Radomlje. There turn left towards Arboretum. The stream you have just crossed is called the Mlinščica and is artificial. It gets water from the Kamniška Bistrica River and was diverted through the village only because of the mills. For those with a vivid imagination, the name Radomlje tells everything ('Rado melje' means 'Rado mills' in Slovenian, 'Rado' being a male name and also denotes the verb 'like' (rad), i.e. 'likes to mill'). It is no wonder that so many mills used to be located there. Unfortunately, only one of them still operates today, the one in the centre of the settlement. However, the history says nothing about a Rado who was such an avid miller.
The famous Vočji Potok Arboretum is not far off but if you are thirsty, you can stop for a drink. There are many bars around. What is more, famous bottled water is pumped nearby. Continue through the settlement of Hudo where the Hudi potok Stream (Severe Stream) runs; Volčji Potok (means Wolf Stream in Slovenian) is approximately a kilometre away. This wolf had to be severely thirsty to have drunk the entire stream.
The arboretum (collection of trees for education and research, literally translated as 'avenue') is designed in a park style. In terms of size and visit, Volčji potok Arboretum is the largest botanic garden in Slovenia. It is worth visiting so you are advised to take an hour or two (preferably two!) of your time and walk around it. Naturally, it is not possible with a bike. Approximately 3,500 trees, bushes and herbaceous plants are grown there; in addition, special exhibitions are prepared occasionally. The most visited is the traditional tulip exhibition on 1 May when there are so many tulips that every Slovenian could get one. You have to see this!
Of course, Volčji Potok had a castle as well, even two of them, but they are not preserved. There are even no ruins, so they cannot be classified among our castle collection. The castle was located at the top of the hill; few modest wall ruins are a proof of that. Below the hill was Volčji Potok Mansion which stood on the levelling under it. A castle chapel, a pavilion and the staircase which leads to the park are its only remains.
It is difficult to return on bike after such a pleasant walk. However, nothing helps, you have to go back, but first you will make an interesting loop. Return on the main road and turn right towards Kamnik.
Cycle past the golf court and continue to Šmarca where you turn left just before the main road (Kamnik bypass) on the road that runs parallel to it (the road is marked). When you arrive to the roundabout, turn left again. The course of bicycle lane is somewhat vague there. First you have to turn back for 180 degrees and then a very bike-unfriendly route takes us under the Kamnik bypass on the other side of the shopping centre. There you go out, up and around the roundabout again. When you finally find the right road and especially the right side of the road, you are already in Šmarca. Turn towards Domžale. At the supermarket (Tuš) turn left again on the less busy road to the hill with a church on top. This is Homški hrib Hill with its pilgrimage Church of Virgin Mary's Birth . It was built on the spot where a little shepherd saw the Virgin Mary in his dreams around 600 years ago. In fact, the chapel was built first. And since it was too small for the crowds of pilgrims who started gathering there, the church was built. The place is also known for other, more secular events. The battles against the Turks – Homec was a fortified camp that the Turks never conquered – and against the French which were persecuted by the Austrian army took place there. Pirnat House , designed by master Plečnik, is also worth a visit. This is a holiday house high up on the slope, southwest of the church.
Homški hrib is about 60 metres high and if you climbed to the church, you have to go back as well. However, a ride down is not a problem.
Oh, we have almost forgotten! This was the fourth church on the route.
Another three castles (and a church)
Return to the roundabout in Radomlje along the main road and turn right towards Škrjančevo. Soon the road wants to take you to the right again (at Honda car dealership) but do not let it and continue straight on. Try not to be too fast because the junction is blind and dangerous. Now you are on the local road to Dob. There are fields on the left and on the right. Further to the right, Količevo with its paper mill is located. On the left, you can see the castles number three and four, Črnelo and Češenik. They are both a bit out of the way but if you are interested, go ahead...
Črnelo Castle is located in the village of Turnše, named after the original castle, 'turen' (colloquial Slovenian word for a bell tower), which stood on the nearby hill at the end of the 13th century. It was later rebuilt, as demonstrates the board in the corridor of the present castle. It was attacked by the rebels during the Slovenian peasant uprising. They used the cannon borrowed from – you will not believe it – the lord of Dragomelj. How goes that Slovenian saying again? (May my neighbour's cow die ...). The heavily fortified castle did not suffer any major damage. However, it was not able to resist the ravages of time, so a new mansion had to be built below the hill, the one that we see today and barely resembles the original Baroque grandeur. A chapel with Jelovšek's frescoes nearby is preserved.
A short distance away is Češenik Castle . This one started with a 'turen' as well, as it was normal back then. It is approximately of the same age and size as Črnelo Castle but it got its current form about 150 years sooner. This means that it has since received less profound reconstructions; and, it thus looks more pleasant today. On the northern side, a partly preserved castle park with an interesting garden pavilion is located. Another interesting fact is worth mentioning. In the surrounding of Češenik Castle, a bog orchid (Hammarbya paludosa), a plant which was considered to be extinct, was found. It is a sort of marsh orchid with yellow-green blossoms.
Let's continue towards Dob. Cross the main road Ljubljana–Celje at the traffic lights, pass the school at the edge of the settlement and turn left towards the centre. An ancient Roman road was supposed to run somewhere there. Allegedly, it ran through the middle of the settlement, the same as the present road. Turn right before the church and continue towards Gorjuša. You've just went past the Church of St Martin , the fifth church on your route. The church is nothing special, but it still counts.
Cross the motorway and you are already in Gorjuša. An interesting Železna jama Cave (Iron Cave), open for visits, is located nearby. It is not known how it got such a strange name. Perhaps because iron ore (probably bobovec, a special form of limonite ore which piles in karst hallows and sinkholes) used to be extracted nearby. This could be the case since the cave is completely karstic with stalagmites, stalactites and other cave decoration. Its peculiarities are inclined stalactites which were formed because of the draught inside the cave. Nearby is a small Babja jama Cave (this name is much easier to explain – it means woman's cave in Slovenian) where 15,000 years old remains of human settlements were found. If you are interested in museums, you must visit Jamarski dom where you can see collections of stalactites, stalagmites, rocks, fossils, cave animals and – straw weaving. There is also some debris of an American bomber B-24 Liberator which dived in 1944 near Domžale. Ten airmen jumped, five of them were captured by Germans, five by partisans. There is not much left of the plane since the locals collected the debris and used it in their own way. It seems that recycling was back then at least necessary, if not modern...
After you've cooled off in the cave, continue your trip. A gentle slope and you are already in front of a new attraction – Krumperk Castle. It was built by Adam Rauber (Ravbar in Slovenian), a famous commander of Slovenian cavalry which defeated the Turks in the even more famous Battle of Sisak. In the outbuilding near the castle, a stable is arranged; the area is known as equestrian centre. Therefore, you should not be surprised if you come across an off-road vehicle with a trailer for the transport of horses on a narrow macadam road. I-ha-ha! Perhaps you will consider riding a real horse instead of the metal one for a moment. How it would fly over hedges and ditches along the beautiful landscape! But for now, the metal one is good enough – it even goes downhill by itself. Direction: Ihan. I-ha-(ha)-n.
Cycle through the forest, past the motorway and sports park with ski jumps and (compulsory) liquid culinary offer until you arrive to the settlement of Prelog pri Domžalah. There you have to approach the main road from the left and cycle to Ihan. Immediately after the board with Ihan sign at the poorly visible junction, turn sharply right on the local road, past the houses and through the forest to the motorway overpass. Turn left towards Mala Loka just before the overpass.
In a small curve back
Cycle almost parallel to the motorway to Mala Loka where a women's convent, built on the remains of the former Mala Loka Mansion, is located. There is a famous inn opposite the convent. Continue straight on through Mala Loka to Bišče and turn right towards Pšata. The river that runs there has the same name as the settlement. It is Pšata in both cases. They are both known for mills and floods. The mills are still milling while the floods have almost disappeared since the regulation of the Pšata River. From the settlement of Pšata continue along the northern side of the reactor to Podgorica. And cross the motorway along the way. Cross the regional road and cycle through the village of Pogorica to Soteška Road which runs below Soteški hrib Hill. Pass the Belinka factory and turn right after arriving on the main road. A separated bicycle lane starts near the bus stop in Nadgorica. If you want to turn on it, you have to be focused – the junction is easy to miss. Once you are on the lane, cycle to Črnuče where your tour ends. We hope you still remember where you left your car.
You have cycled 40 kilometres and seen so many sights that you will have to piece together the impressions in the following days. Your Sunday trip was really pleasant.