Through the Besnica Valley
Set out from the car park at the Pri Peclju Inn in Podgrad . Check you equipment and luggage again, since you're in for a long route. Push the pedals towards Litija and turn into the underpass under the railway after just a few metres . The Besnica Valley both greets and warns you . The road is pleasantly winding and gently ascending. The red monument by the road adds variety to the green harmony . As the valley widens, first houses appear. You're in Besnica and the inscription on the chapel gives you hope . Who knows, perhaps you'll need some encouragement during the ascent... Cycle past the renowned Marolt Inn and Fish Farm . The idyllic valley end much too soon . The last kilometre is a bit steeper. In Veliko Trebeljevo, the world opens up a little. You can see Malo Trebeljevo on the left. However, you turn right past the Church of the Holy Cross towards Mali Vrh.
Up and down over a ridge
On the left, a panoramic view of the Zasavje Hills opens up . Soon, you'll ascend to a crossroads , from where a 500–metre ascent will take you to the Kamnikar Farm , which is only open from Friday to Sunday. Otherwise, cycle on towards Višnja Gora. The diverse macadam road embraced by forests with few vistas runs along the ridge stretching from Janče across Prežganje, Trebeljevo and Levskovec Plateau to Obolno, and descends towards east from there on. This is the juncture of the pre-Alpine and Dinaric worlds. Descend to the valley to Ivančna Gorica through Leskovec and return back to Obolno through Stična. You'll be pushing your pedals hard along this path. I merely wanted to say that you're very near Obolno in the middle of these forests. The only sign of 'civilisation' is the mark denoting the border of the Municipality of Ivančna Gorica. You've reached the saddle and an almost 17-kilometre ascent is behind you. Descend to the village of Leskovec along the karst plateau , . It's only a few kilometres from the populated places, but you get the feeling that you're far in the middle of wilderness , . In the centre of the village, turn right past the Church of St. Oswald . Just below the central part of the village, there's a turning for the Čož Farm . It's only 300 metres off the route . Otherwise, proceed to Vrh nad Višnjo Goro, which offers a wonderful view of the Dolenjska hills. In autumn, you surely won't be hungry along the way . Descend to Višnja Gora along the winding asphalt road through the forest.
By the motorway, the Church of St. Giles is located, while the still medieval Višnja Gora is on the other side . Cross the motorway thorough the underpass and cycle along it for some time. Cycling through urban places along the motorway isn't really enjoyable for many of you. The rather dull route is spiced up a bit with a view of the Podsmerka Manor , which is on your left on the other side of the motorway before a big quarry which has eaten up almost the entire hill. The manor was built in the 16th century. A bit further on, in Malo Hudo, there's a former postal station by the road – Fedransberg Manor from the 18th century . Ivančna Gorica offers quite a few places for a break. You've only cycled a third of the route. At the crossroads in the centre of the town, there's an almost 2,000-year-old Roman milestone . There, turn left towards Stična.
At the beginning of the settlement, a mighty chapel greets you. In the centre of the settlement, Stična Abbey , is situated, which is the only operating Cistercian monastery in Slovenia and, at the same time, one of the greatest sacral monuments of national importance. The Museum of Christianity in Slovenia hosts two permanent exhibitions: 'Life behind Monastic Walls' and 'History of Christianity in Slovenia'. You can also pay a visit to the Herbal Pharmacy, which carries on the tradition of Father Simon Ašič.
From the complex of the abbey, the road starts ascending again. You've become somewhat lazy in the valley. Obolno awaits; with 776 metres above sea level, it's the highest summit in the Municipality of Ivančna Gorica. The ascent is half the length of the first one, but more demanding. It also includes a short descent. In Mekinje pri Stični, turn right at the crossroads towards Metnaj. On the saddle, take a look over the valley to the hills of Dolenjska .
Metnaj is a dense village in a small hollow in the middle of a karst valley. The path takes you past the settlement on its eastern side , . At the end of the valley, there's a crossroads on the saddle. The signpost marked Obolno shows left, but continue straight on to the Bukovica Valley . But only for a short period of time. The road stands upright again. There's a monument on the ridge . Continue ascending left to Osredek nad Stično, which provides a beautiful view of the Zasavje Hills . Persistence is awarded. There's a signpost marking Obolno . In order not to be disappointed – your goal is the path, not the summit. As mentioned before, Obolno is one of the summits of a long ridge. If the weather is fine, you can see very far all around. 300 metres to go to the tourist farm , . The Obolno summit is right from the tourist farm. You're barely half way along the route, but you've already done away with all ascents worth mentioning. Next up is a descent. At the end of Obolno, good luck is bestowed upon the traveller and, believe me, you'll need it during the winding descent .
To the valley of the Reka Stream
You're descending to the village of Gozd - Reka. It consists of two scattered settlements – Reka and Gozd. The village got its name after two houses which were built in the area first: the first one was located in the middle of the forest and was called Gojzdarjeva and the other one was called Rekarjeva after the Reka Stream, which springs up here. Hence the name Gozd - Reka. The truth is, however, that the farms, rather far away from each other, are scattered on the slopes and summits of the landscape, which was shredded by numerous watercourses. There is no such thing as a nucleated village. People who wish to pigeonhole everything made it up. Hills and forests stretch far and wide. Almost every farm has its own hill. And another thing needs to be clarified. Reka (river in Slovenian) isn't a river at all, but just an ordinary stream. Around here, people call every running water a river. When you reach the Reka Stream in the valley, turn left and then right to the road towards Trebeljevo. You've been there today already, so pedal off down the valley towards Šmartno pri Litiji.
You'll reach Šmartno pri Litiji past Štangerske Poljane and Zavrstnik. From afar, you'll notice the Church of St. Martin . At the crossroads, turn left and left again soon, and up the hill towards the Sitarjevec Hill . Descend to Litija. At the Pergola Inn in Valvasor Square (Valvazorjev trg), you can fill up the empty batteries if you haven't done it before. You've now cycled two thirds of the route. At the end of Valvasor Square, turn onto the one-way road, so be careful. At the end of Litija, you can check out the mighty Plečnik's Monument to the Fallen Partisans . At the exit from the town, where there's barely enough space for a road between the River Sava and Sitarjevec, you can see the remnants of commercial buildings of the abandoned Litija mine , where ore of non-ferrous metals used to be excavated and elementary lead in the form of tiny spaghetti was also found, which is a real rarity in the world.
Along the River Sava
Cycle along a narrow road on the left bank of the River Sava towards Podšentjur. In some places, the road is in a very poor state. As the road turns away from the Sava, the Baroque Church of St. George is located on the hill on the right. The name of the church, St. George, indicates the old age of the settlement. These are places where pagan gods used to be worshipped before the onset of Christianity. A bit further on, Pogonik (also Poganek) Castle is located on a hill above a sharp turn of the Sava. It was erected in the 16th century. According to Valvasor's sources, it was built by lords from Vernek from material left from the demolished Vernek Castle after a powerful earthquake in 1511. During World War II, it was burnt down and later renovated so that it is only remotely reminiscent of its former appearance. Return to the Sava along the macadam hairpin bends.
Between the River Sava and railway
You'll be cycling between the railway and the Sava . The Sava is interesting all year round. The water is relaxing and the flowers on its banks are calming . In Kresnice, turn left onto a slope road , from where you can see Industrija apna Kresnice , which has been operating since 1929. The material for it is being obtained in a large quarry on the opposite side of the river under the Slivna Hill (880 m) and is transported over the Sava by a cableway. Half of the hill is already missing. A bit further on, there's the Church of St. Benedict from 1500. Before Kresniške Poljane, there's a monument , and the prominent Church of St. Mary in the village, the construction of which was undeclared, without the permission of the then bishop. Through Jevnica and past Laze, you'll reach the bridge before Dolsko. Continue along the left side of the Sava to the confluence in Podgrad. It's not far to the starting point. What a useful means of transport a bike is! You've made it along a rather long route with your own power.