On a meadow
The starting point could be anywhere along the route; it is, however, most suitable to start at the car park at Livada Inn. Either direction is appropriate for a start. The route is nicer clockwise, but is more interesting counter-clockwise and is thus also described. Regardless of the direction, the length is nevertheless the same in both ways. Let's start... Turn towards Ižanska cesta Road (or left at the car park at Livada Inn) and cycle north. The first site is soon reached – the Botanical Garden . It is worth a stop for a minute or two to walk the main paths. Just to get the impression of it. The garden was created in 1810, in times of the Illyrian Provinces. A mighty linden tree, planted by the governor of the Provinces, Marshall Marmont himself, originates from that period. This is but one of the many sites of the garden. Fleischmann's parsnip (Pastinaca sativa var. fleischmannii), discovered on the castle hillside more than one hundred and fifty years ago, but nowadays grows only in the Botanical garden is worth seeing, as well as the hladnikia (Hladnikia pastinacifolia), the only representative of its kind and a Slovenian endemic plant named after Franc Hladnik, the founder of the Botanical Garden in Ljubljana. The plant appears on the Slovenian commemorative two euro coin . The plants might disappoint you at the first sight. Both are of quite mediocre appearance and resemble common parsley from a distance. Nevertheless, the Botanical Garden collection is extensive enough to suit different tastes.
Continue along the Hradeckega cesta Road at the northern edge of Golovec. The bumps are inconvenient for the cyclists, but effective for cars. Left below is the railway and Gruber Canal behind it. Since 1780, it has been serving its purpose exceptionally well-protecting Ljubljana from high waters of the Ljubljanica River. The canal begins at Špica in Trnovo and drains away a part of the Ljubljanica's water along the new riverbed while the rest of the water runs peacefully through the city centre. Two sluices regulate the system, one at the Gruber Canal (you cycle past it) and the other one on the old riverbed (you'll get to it later).
At the turn, close to the sluice on Gruber Canal, a steep road branches to the right and leads to the Astronomical and Geophysical Observatory at Golovec which you can also visit, otherwise continue to the traffic lights and cross Poljanska cesta Road, then go left over the bridge and sharply (180 degrees) back to the right.
You are at Turnsko nabrežje Embankment, on the left side of Gruber Canal. You are in the park at Codelli's manor Turn , numerous sports facilities and inns are also near. The broader area of the manor is nowadays called Kodeljevo in Slovenian. Codelli's would be linguistically more correct, but this is a trip, and not a grammar lesson.
A nicely maintained cycling lane leads to Kajuhova cesta Road where you turn left to the asphalted footpath and continue to traffic lights. Cross Kajuhova cesta Road and turn east to the former main bridge over Gruber Canal, nowadays protected from motor vehicles by pickets. Ahead is Štepanjska vas, a typical village settlement with a church, a courtyard and a cluster of houses, crowded in a small area. At least the original settlement was such, but it seems to have lost its image and is nowadays completely encompassed by apartment blocks. Just after the bridge turn left to a sandy path and continue past nicely arranged and typical Ljubljana gardens to the next bridge (reserved for the walkers from the beginning) where the walking-cycling lane along the Ljubljanica River starts . Just ahead, on the left, the confluence of the Ljubljanica River and Gruber Canal can be seen fleetingly. From there on, the water again flows along one riverbed. The route leads in a wide curve around Štepanjsko naselje, a nice example of successfully executed the so-called directed residential construction, which, despite its high concentration of residents, maintains plenty of green surfaces and enables the required infrastructure for comfortable living.
The lane ends its course in Trpinčeva ulica Street. It is busy with other traffic, but it doesn't disturb cycling. A lorry here and there might surprise you, so do not forget to stay focused. Continue past the Totra factory and as approaching the Ljubljanica River , take a look at its width which is broader than usually. The reason is the impoundment at the Hydroelectric Power Plant Fužine , one of the oldest still operating power plants in Slovenia. It was originally built for the paper mill in Vevče, but it has been now running the water for more than one hundred years. Considering its power, it could be called a small hydro power plant nowadays, but the requirements were, of course, different in the past.
Continue along the river bank, cross Chengdujska cesta Road (do not worry - you are not in China yet). The crossroads at the bridge is quite difficult to scan – danger on the right side of the road. Cycle ahead past the Žima factory. The road is no longer asphalted, but it is still of good quality. You soon find yourself under the bridge called Harfa (Harp) . Eastern motorway is above and if you look up you will notice the ribbons glued onto the concrete, which have hardened the bridge, when the substitute evaporators for Krško Nuclear Power Plant were transported in 1999. The cargo including the vehicle weighted more than 660 tonnes. Ribbon-hardened bridge sustained, although it was planned and built for noticeably lesser weight. Strong ribbons, indeed. .
Just after the bridge is the staircase leading the pedestrians to the higher level where there are cars, but the cyclists must, however, continue 60 metres, where a sharp ramp, turned back, also takes you up. When you reach the top, the road directs you back to the bridge and just before the motorway turn left to the path that runs along. Continue along the motorway fencing until reaching Litijska cesta Road. There is no pedestrian crossing at the next traffic lights, let alone cyclists crossing. It is thus impossible to cross there. This will, however, be done somewhat eastern, at the bus stop. On the other side of the road, continue to the east and past a famous and well-frequented Pri Micki Inn. It will not take long along this dangerous section; you only have to reach the first asphalted road which joins from the left. Thus turn left there and straight down to Papirniška pot Street. At the end of the descent is a space where a car fair used to be (Comrades, remember?), Vevče Paper Mill is ahead and the Kamnik-Savinja Alps behind it. What a contrast. Do not look around too much. One of the lorries which regularly arrive at the Paper Mill might surprise you.
Turn right and up at the crossroads with Pot heroja Trtnika Road and then left to Cesta 13. julija Road at the top of the slope. You are again on declivity and can observe a beautiful view of the flood meadows and the Ljubljanica River below. Quite a narrow road runs through the old village Zadvor. When you cycle to Litijska cesta Road, turn left and as the road turns right (at the bus stop), continue towards Zavoglje.
A charming village indeed – it is almost unbelievable to find such a peculiarity in the area of Ljubljana. Its most important site is the lovely renovated Church of St. Ulrich , which served as a defence camp in the period of Turkish invasions. The walls are well preserved. The remains of the paintings and inbuilt Roman stones are visible on the façade. Pass the church on the right and continue between houses to the wooden footbridge , where you cross the Dobrunjščica Stream. Immediately turn left to the asphalted road. Continue towards north and turn right to the macadam road as soon as you spot it. It is just before the bridge over the Ljubljanica River. Another crossroads follows where you turn right, across meadows. The approaching hill is called Deben vrh (or Debni vrh) and is the highest peak of the Kašeljski greben Ridge. Below is the artificial Kašelj Pond where you can take a break. It is quite busy so you will probably have some company. Fishermen will be there in the summer, and in the winter, children will be ice-skating on the pond. In the interim period, a lot of strollers and picnickers can be seen. At the edge of the pond, mighty willows grow , but they have heavily declined with the passage of time (and the 'help' of the visitors).
Approximately 600 m ahead is an oxbow meander of the Ljubljanica River , overgrown with aquatic plants. Oxbow meanders are common on rivers running on flat surfaces (e.g. the Mura River). This particular meander is somewhat special, as it has an island in the middle, which is reachable by the footbridge . Just little ahead is a fishing hut of Vevče Fishing Family where you can eat and just after it are two bridges over the Ljubljanica River. The first is the railway and the other the road bridge. The road ends at the latter, so turn left to the main road and cycle to...
You are now on the left bank of the Ljubljanica River. Zalog used to be a huge river port with all necessary warehouses, customs, scales and similar junk. You can read about this on the information board. The Ljubljanica River was navigable all the way to Fužine, but only for small boats. Short is also the route through Zalog, as you have to make a left turn at the first crossroads to Vaška pot Path. Railway underpass follows next, then sharp turn to the right (Attention! Narrow opening) and soon to the left again, along Kašeljska cesta Road across the field which is a known archaeological site from the Roman times. A famous silo which keeps national food reserves is on the right and in the background, the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. The view is more beautiful if you exclude the silo.
Kašelj, Vevče and Slape
When a built-up settlement of Spodnji Kašelj (having an interesting series of the old farms) begins, turn left between houses to Trtnikova ulica Street and after 150 m right to Krmčeva ulica Street. When the street ends, follow the path towards west: up a short slope, then few metres of a really narrow path (or better: a track ) and you are already at the Španski borci settlement. Settlement is on the left while you continue along the asphalted road towards west. Cycle to a better maintained road (Ulica Mirka Jurce Street) which ends in Zelenova ulica Street. Below on the left are the sports facilities, and Vevče outdoor swimming pool on the other side of the Ljubljanica River. Former outdoor swimming pool, unfortunately. Continue past the bridge over the Ljubljanica River on the left and cross the industrial track, then proceed straightforward. Left is the Vevče Paper Mill, established already in 1842. It used to be the property of Fidelis Terpinc, the first Slovenian business magnate.
Cycle through Vevče past warehouses and then proceed to the village settlement of Slape. Only past the inn and the firehouse, then turn left to the V toplice Street. The street is short and it ends in a macadam road which takes you to the Fužine Park . Find the passage in the wall enclosing the park and turn to Pot spominov in tovarištva (PST or POT; Path of Remembrance and Comradeship), which is quite steep for the first few meters and it's better to walk along this section. The wide and reinforced road at the end of the slope again enables a safe ride. This is an interesting area as hot springs used to be there – real thermal springs of Fužine. The area is also known for frogs. Special pools to preserve the frogs (the green ones and others) was made when the eastern motorway was built.
Continue under the Harfa (Harp) Bridge and past the University Psychiatric Hospital and Labyrinth of Art along the nice road to Nove Fužine and cross Chengdujska cesta Road. Fužine Castle , worth a visit, is on the left. It originates from the 16th century and today houses the Museum of Architecture and Design. Furnaces (fužine) used to be there – the iron works on a trade level. Continue along the Ljubljanica River, then along the Pot na Fužine Road and left at the first crossroads (at garages) to the old settlement of Selo. Staircase suddenly appears when you reach Portal Inn. Stop! You need to use the wheelchair ramp. Thus continue on foot past the inn. Or stop for a refreshment. The inn's outer garden at the Ljubljanica River is very tempting and the offer is not arguable. At the end of the car park, continue parallel with Zaloška cesta Road, pass the petrol station and cycle between apartment blocks to the road along the Ljubljanica River and continue on to Kajuhova ulica Street until possible. Then join the cycle lane which leads, for a short while, to the crossroads with traffic lights of Zaloška cesta Road and Kajuhova ulica Street. Cross Zaloška cesta Road and turn left on the other side, then cross Kajuhova ulica Street.
Along Zaloška cesta Road continue towards the city and cycle past Selo Manor from the 18th century to the centre of Moste. Malič's Mill on the Ljubljanica River used to be located opposite the manor. Proceed along the cycle lane past the marketplace Moste and Moste Grammar School to Grablovičeva ulica Street where you cross the railroad and paddle along the road towards Maternity Hospital. Opposite is the park, after which you turn left towards the new bridge over the Ljubljanica River.
Just before the bridge turn right. Until recently, a famous Mrtvaški most Bridge (Mortuary Bridge), which was built of cast iron (from the foundry in Dvor pri Žužemberku), stood there and was said to have been one of the rare preserved bridges of its kind. The name Mortuary Bridge originates from folk tradition (after a mortuary nearby), which has stuck. It was originally located where Plečnik's Čevljarski or Šuštarski most Bridge (Shoemaker's Bridge) in Old Ljubljana is nowadays. Due to the building of Plečnik's bridge in the beginning of 1930s, the old bridge had to be demolished. It was thus dismantled and transported to the location at the mortuary in Moste where it remained until 2009. It was then that the building of the new concrete bridge began and the old one was left hanging again. It was dismantled yet again, repaired and repainted piece by piece and in 2011, again reconstructed at a new location in Krakovo. The new concrete bridge bears the name Materinski most Bridge (Maternal Bridge) , after the nearby Maternity Hospital. Nice name, definitely more appropriate than the old one.
Continue down the river bank, counter current of the Ljubljanica River and past the southern part of the University Medical Centre Ljubljana to Vrazov trg Square. Observe the water gates of the Ljubljanica River , which regulate the water level of the main riverbed – the excess of water is drained off in Gruber Canal The water gates were built according to Plečnik's plans. Since August 2012, the water gates can be better seen from the bottom floor of Fabiani Bridge . There was no such view before as the bridge was not existent.
Cross Rozmanova ulica Street and continue to the first part of Petkovškovo nabrežje Embankment. Cycle past the former Rog Factory and past Žitna brv Footbridge towards the centre. Cross Resljeva cesta Road at Zmajski most Bridge and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the second part of Petkovškovo nabrežje Embankment which offers the most astonishing views of Ljubljana Castle, Plečnik's Arcades and the Cathedral of St. Nicholas. Few more paddles and you are at Prešernov trg Square .
This is a very crowded area (especially pedestrians), so drive slowly and carefully. Take it into consideration and follow suit.
Past France Prešeren Monument and Tromostovje , along Hribarjevo nabrežje Embankment and to one of the prettiest streets in Ljubljana, named Breg . A look on the left over the Ljubljanica River unveils marvellous old city houses, crowded below the slope of the Castle. They are reached via Plečnik's Shoemaker's Bridge , which connects Jurčičev trg Square with Pod trančo Square. At the beginning of Breg Street, a monument to Ivan Hribar , one of the most meritorious mayors of Ljubljana, was erected.
The Ljubljana's sightseeing cannot end without visiting the greatest work of Plečnik - the National and University Library (NUK) . It is quite near and the slope on Novi trg Square should not represent an obstacle. Set out for the Library then. Its northeast corner can be seen already from the middle of Novi trg Square. When you get there, NUK can be seen in all its beauty. It was built between 1936 and 1941. Turn to Gosposka ulica Street to see the mighty statue of Moses (made by sculptor Lojze Dolinar) on the eastern façade of NUK and descend along Salendrova ulica Street back to Breg. Continue counter current of the Ljubljanica River to Zoisova cesta Road.
Before crossing Zoisova cesta Road, take a look at the Zois Mansion just before the crossroads and the nearby Plečnik's Pyramid dedicated to Žiga Zois (somewhat higher along Zoisova cesta Road), which is said to have a magic meaning. Zoisova cesta Road is crossed approximately where the old city mill used to be. Continue along Trnovski pristan Street. At the confluence of the Ljubljanica and Gradaščica rivers, take a look at the new location of the famous cast iron bridge (former Mrtvaški most Bridge, mentioned earlier), now called Hradeckega most Bridge and cross the Gradaščica River. The river mouth of the Gradaščica River into the Ljubljanica River used to cause problems as the Gradaščica River is known for its sudden quantity of water, which the Ljubljanica was unable to drain off. Floods were often, so, similarly as with the Ljubljanica River, a bypass called Mali graben was built intended for the overflow of the Gradaščica River. You will cross it just before the end of the route.
Cycle past the new apartment blocks in Trnovo and through the crossroads until possible. The street is one-way, narrow and often parked. Slowly, as you cycle opposite the driving direction. You are not in a hurry – the route is about to end anyway. You are positioned opposite Špica at the right turn. Gruber Canal begins there and the regulation of the Ljubljanica's riverbed through the city. Up to this point, waters run wild (as they used to), which has a special charm. Semicircular turning of the road leads back to Opekarska cesta Road, named after former brickworks of which no slightest indication can be found. Turn left to Opekarska cesta Road and at the first traffic lights left again to Hladnikova ulica Street. Cross the above-mentioned Mali graben , and the Ljubljanica River soon after . This is the end (and at the same time the beginning) of the tour. Surprised? Not at all, as the tour is, of course, circular.
This was indeed a very exciting trip from the city to the village and back. And you cycled approximately 28 km.