From castle, past castle, below Castle
Are you up for a cycling tour that includes hunting the castles of Ljubljana? You will find eight castles on this route. Start at the entrance of Tivoli Park at Celovška Road.
If you came by car, you can leave it at a large public car park in front of Tivoli Indoor Swimming Pool.
Due to one-way traffic at the area of Tivoli Hall you have to cycle the first quarter of serpentine road to the old Bellevue Hotel and just before Tivoli Hall, turn left to the platform before it. A gate preventing motor traffic is located at the entry ramp to the platform, so be careful. Cycle the entire length of Tivoli Hall and turn at the end of it. Then you'll reach today's first castle - Cekin Castle , where National Museum of Contemporary History is housed nowadays.
If you don't have time to visit the museum and discover history, continue past the building along the sandy path between the hill and tennis courts. Cycle along the upper wide road. Ascend to Pasja poljana (dog's plain), a meadow between Tivoli Indoor Swimming Pool and Jakopič Promenade. Cross it along the western edge and past Pristava descend to Tivoli Castle . Nowadays, the latter houses International Centre of Graphic Arts and a lovely café. A beautiful view of Jakopič Promenade and the centre of Ljubljana opens up from the terrace in front of the castle.
Instead of carrying your bike down the stairs, cycle past the castle along the sandy path which descends in a curve to Jakopič Promenade . If you're lucky, you'll see an open-air photographic exhibition, a regular feature at the promenade, while cycling or walking down Jakopič Promenade.
At the end of the promenade, descend to the underpass under the railroad and Tivolska Road , then quickly pass the Museum of Modern Art and continue along Cankarjeva Road and Čopova Street to the Triple Bridge. It is recommended to walk along Čopova Street and window shop on the way, instead of meandering among pedestrians, café tables and street musicians.
When you cross the Triple Bridge, cycle along Stritarjeva Street and before turning to Stari trg Square, you can quickly make a detour and cycle for about 70 m to the right, where the Bishop's Palace is located at Ciril Metodov trg Square 4. Napoleon himself spent a night there in 1797.
Return back to your route. From Mestni trg Square head to Stari trg Square. When you reach Tranča (especially in the summer time), you should step off the bike, as a section of inns is ahead and the inn gardens occupied even that little space of the medieval streets that was intended for pedestrians and cyclists. As you reach Hercules' Fountain at Gornji trg Square , shift into a lower gear and slowly ascend to the crossroads of Ulica na Grad Street and Rožna Street .
The most demanding section of the route is approaching, including the dilemma whether to cycle up the slope or just walk it. You'll have to quickly conquer about 55 m of altitude difference. The ascent is quite comfortable at the beginning, because Ulica na Grad Street is partly asphalt and partly paved . Somewhat more demanding is Osojna pot Path, as this is a sandy path which is at some places diagonally crossed by drain gullies - real bicycle traps . When you reach the saddle of the castle hill, cycle the last few metres along the tree-lined alley to get to the main trophy - Ljubljana Castle . You deserve to take a rest or have a refreshment at the castle courtyard and if you have time, you can visit the viewing tower or have a look at the virtual history of the castle in Virtual Castle - the rooms below the viewing tower.
...and down to Rakovnik
It is time to set off. Four more castles await. The next one is at Rakovnik. Descend along Cesta slovenskih kmečkih uporov Road to Streliška Street . Turn right and cycle along the remaining section of Roška Road, and at the crossroads of Roška, Karlovška and Dolenjska roads cross the crossroads twice and continue along Dolenjska Road. Approximately 300 m after the first crossroads with traffic lights, continue to the pedestrian crossing and cross it, then turn to Rakovniška Street. When you pass the kindergarten, keep to the left and proceed along the one-way road to the Church of Mary Help of Christians at Rakovnik and Rakovnik Salesian Institute. When in front of the church, turn left and ascend past the music school up a short slope to the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes on the left . The road turns right and so do you. After about 60 m a view of Rakovnik Castle opens up on the right . The original building was built in 1536 by the Ljubljana citizen, Pankracij Lustaller. Nowadays, Salesian Inspectorate has its quarters there. The road from here onward descends quite quickly at the beginning, but slows down after a turn to the cart track with fruit-lined alley. This is a 300-metre long section of macadam and cart track which is diagonally crossed by open drain gullies, so cycling there won't be easy. It is best to walk the first part up to the fruit-lined alley. When you reach the asphalt road, descend back to the blocks of flats, bypass them and continue to the crossroads with Dolenjska Road.
From Rakovnik over Rožna dolina to Bokalce
You've discovered half of the castles. It is 8 km to the next 'trophy', so keep on cycling. Cross the crossroads and descend along Galjevica Road. When you cross the railway tracks, turn right to Ob dolenjski železnici Road. Turn left at the crossroads with Orlova Street and at the beginning of Ižanska Road, turn right towards the Botanical Garden, and then at Conservatory for Music and Ballet Ljubljana turn to the footbridge at Špica and continue to Prule. Follow the flow of the Ljubljanica River and further to Mrtvaški most Bridge at Grudnovo nabrežje Embankment, cross the bridge and proceed right along Krakovski nasip Embankment, through Breg and to Dvorni trg Square.
. Just a note of warning: a section of the embankment between Breg and Dvorni trg Square can be full of pedestrians, so you may want to step off the bike when it is crowded and walk to Kongresni trg Square. From Kongresni trg Square continue your cycling hunt towards west, past Drama (Slovene National Theatre) and along Erjavčeva Road to the railway underpass. Be careful at the underpass to not miss the access ramp to Tivoli Park (on your right immediately after the end of the underpass). When you cross the access ramp, turn right and over the bridge to Cesta v Rožno dolino Road . A good kilometre of easy cycling along one-way roads for motor traffic follows next. After arriving at Cesta na Brdo Road at the second crossroads with traffic lights (at Azur Pizza Restaurant), turn left to Sattnerjeva Street. At the end of school playground of Vič Primary School, turn right to Viška Road and continue along one-way road past Žabar Inn to Cesta na Vrhovce Road. If you pay attention, you'll see the Chapel of Mother of God on the left after 155 m from Origano Inn and before the house Cesta na Vrhovce Road 23. The chapel dates in 1938 and was built by Jože Plečnik. It is one of the less known Plečnik's works.
Cycle the entire length of Cesta na Vrhovce Road. At the end of the school playground of Vrhovci Primary School, continue along the non-priority road at the edge of the forest. After the first bend, you'll see Bokalce Castle , the sixth castle of this route. The overpass of Ljubljana motorway ring spoils the view of the castle. And the sad decaying image of the castle doesn't improve the impression either . The castle serves as a multi-apartment building nowadays, so it is impossible to make a lengthy visit. When you cross the underpass under the motorway, turn right and up the hill with a sharp S-turn and low visibility. You have to be mindful of the vehicles driving in the opposite direction. The drivers tend to speed at the S-turn and cut it. When you pass the turn, the road flattens a little. Cycle past the first houses of the settlement of Grič and turn right before the roundabout in order to make a shortcut along the old road past Bokalce Retirement Home to Cesta na Bokalce Road.
Around Rožnik to the nonexistent castle...
Head along Cesta na Bokalce Road over the bridge above the motorway and proceed to the centre of Ljubljana. At the crossroads with traffic lights and Mercator Market, turn left to Brdnikova Street. Pay attention to the motor traffic; despite being a two-way road, the street is very narrow and lacks a pavement, let alone a verge. At the end, there is a steep, but short descent to the crossroads with traffic lights of Brdnikova and Pot za Brdom streets. Quickly head straightforward along the section of Brdnikova Street that leads to Večna pot Road. Just before the crossroads with Večna pot turn to the cycle lane (on your left) which runs along the route of the old Pioneer Railway (railway line operated by children-pioneers, which connected the areas of Rožna dolina, Koseze and Podutik between 1949 and 1954). A short, but lovely section of pleasant forest cycling is ahead. When you get from the forest, keep to the left and continue to Koseze Pond, past the new settlement of Mostec . When at Draga Street, turn right and head towards Spodnja Šiška. Along Pod hribom Road continue to Vodnikova Road where you stop for a minute. There is Dr Peter Držaj Hospital opposite the crossroads. What does this have to do with you, you may ask. Hospitals are not of any interest since you seek castles, you may think. However, the today's hospital is actually at the location of the former Jama Castle or Lukman Castle , which was supposedly mentioned already in the 14th century. After thorough renovations and building of the hospital, which took place after World War II, the last traces of the castle faded away.
...to the last castle and back to Tivoli Park
Let's continue the cycling hunt. Only one castle remains which is only a stone's throw away from the former Jama Castle. When you cycle from Pod hribom Road to Vodnikova Road, turn right and stay on the cycle lane which will take you straight to Gale Castle , located at the crossroads of Vodnikova Road and Na Jami Road. Gale Castle was built in the 18th century when Baron Anton Nepomuk Taufferer bought a country cottage at this location and rebuilt it into a country mansion.
Congratulations, you've found all eight castles situated along this cycling route. You can now return to the starting point. Continue along Vodnikova Road and follow the contour of Rožnik. When you reach Pod gozdom Road at the end of the line of blocks of flats, turn left, past the Church of St. Bartholomew in Šiška which is one of the oldest churches in Ljubljana (first mentioned in 1370) and was restored according to the plans of architect Plečnik. The path towards Tivoli Park and your starting point runs on the cycle lane along Celovška Road.