Length 71.7 km
Time needed
Time needed 05:00
Največja strmina vzpona[%]
Greatest slope of the ascent: 13 %
Greatest slope of the descent: 9 %
Average slope of the ascent: 5 %
Length of ascents above 5%: 8.10 km
The lowest point of the route: 610 m
The highest point of the route: 230 m
Difference in altitude: 1092 m
Poraba kalorij
Consumption of energy for men: 10174 kJ (2430 kcal)
Consumption of energy for women: 8290 kJ (1980 kcal)
Difficulty: Very demanding
Quality of the surface
Quality of the surface: Mixture
Type of bike: Trek bike
Short description

This is a demanding route for a bicyclist and the bicycle. It has some difficult ascents and descents, it is quite burdened with traffic in a small section, and also almost impassable at times. A signpost from GEOSS (Geometric Centre of the Republic of Slovenia) to Ihan would be of use, but it is non-existent.


Podgrad – Laze – Kresnice – Litija – Ponoviče – Ržiše – Vače – Slivna – GEOSS – Gora – Drtija – Moravče – Tuštanj – Vrhpolje – Dole – Zalog pri sv. Trojici – Rača – Gorjuša – Ihan – Pšata – Podgorica – Šentjakob – Zadobrova – Zalog – Podgrad

Paddle vividly
It is at Pri Peclju Inn – an inn with sports ground in Podgrad east of Zalog – that you sit on your bike and paddle towards Litija along the narrow, but well-maintained road between the railroad on the right and the Sava River on the left. The road is quite empty in the morning during the week. It is best to start slowly and easy for a long and diverse terrain is ahead. Do not take too much time either, although the beginning offers many sights worth the visit, such as the confluence of the Rivers Sava, Ljubljanica and Kamniška Bistrica, which is seen on the left at the first bend, after the resting point and information board .
Drive through Laze and straightforward (not right under the railway line) to Jevnica , where you continue along the slope where a signpost directs you to Kresniške Poljane. In Kresniške Poljane slightly descend to the railway line and to the underpass below where the carriageway is quite narrow, then after a short section continue under the railway line to the other side. It was an easy ride to Kresnice. The place was inhabited already in the Roman times and is nowadays known mostly for the lime factory , the typical stocky-built Church of St. Benedict on the other side of the Sava River and the old Vernek Castle which was in ruins already at the time of Valvasor. A bridge over the Sava River is located here, as well as the connection to the main road Ljubljana-Litija that runs on the left bank of the river.

In Litija over the Sava River
The road is becoming worse from Kresnice on, until the macadam road starts at the quite steep slope on top of which Pogonik Castle is located. A tunnel was made through the hill for the railroad, but unfortunately you must climb it. The castle has a nice location above the river meander, but it lacks the former magnitude as it has been completely rebuilt. It was built by the Ortenburger family who moved here from the aforementioned Vernek Castle at Kresnice.
Turn right at the statue by the castle and descend down the asphalted road in the valley of the Sava River. Cycle to Litija past the abandoned lead, zinc and mercury mine below Sitarjevec Hill. Even today, the visible signs of the lasting exploit of the mineral resources are seen. One of them is the abandoned mine pit at the embankment next to the road, where water strains out of, leaving a reddish sediment behind. After the first houses, Litija starts. The road ends at the crossroads where Plečnik's monument to the victims of World War II and a smaller memorial park can be visited. The rest in Litija is not necessary at this point, it is, however, still recommended to check the water supplies and snacks, because there will be no such opportunity all the way to Vače.
Litija is an interesting place of vivacious history, rich in cultural heritage, but a closer look of it should be planned for next time, as it would take up too much time. Remember, you are not halfway through. Litija is also an appropriate start for hikes in the vicinity where many marked cycling routes lead. When the Sava River was still navigable – a statue of a boatman in front of the sports hall reminds of the latter – Litija was an important traffic junction, as it had the road connection with Lower Carniola and on the other side through Vače with the Moravška dolina Valley. The latter is also the choice for today's continuation of the route. So cycle quickly to the left on the shortcut to the bridge over the Sava River, cross it and turn right just after it towards Ponoviče past the Litija Amateur Equestrian Club .

Careful, you might go astray
In the village of Ponoviče, cycle past the preserved Ponoviče Castle from the 16th century with the interesting castle garden and park. Just after the castle, turn left and take a look at the shop with a bar ahead, only some tens of metres away. There will be no other chance to fill the bottle. The road slightly ascends afterwards and gently runs along the beautiful valley, leading you astray unintentionally. Do not look around at the beautiful meadows and forests, as you can lose your way. At the crossroads, where a better road leads to the left (towards Hotič) and a poorer one to the right, you must take the right one. Direction: Boltija . If you went wrong, you will find yourself, after a short and pleasant ascent and descent in Hotič, on the main road Litija-Ljubljana. The same happened to a friend of mine, a cyclist, who did not follow the instructions and got lost, so he swore (for a hundredth time in the season) to his soul never to cycle on unknown roads and drive according to his feeling, but he will first take a look at the map at junctions and crossroads, especially those without signposts. But feelings he had while getting lost were so intense that it was worth putting them on paper – only as a joke and as a reminder as well.

Bravely uphill
So he said: "When the yellow, black-lined table with an arrow read it was 6 km to Vače, I was relieved and worried at the same time. Relieved, because I did not have to go back and worried due to the not very fairy-like number. Seven or nine – the fairy numbers – would be of even more concern. Longer ascents are the worst part of my cycling. At a similar ascent in the first gear, I recently tried to occupy my mind with calculating the amount of energy I use for such a venture in comparison to a lighter cyclist. Of course, I did not come to any conclusion at all, let alone the correct result. Despite that, I came to the top puffing, but satisfied, as always when I succeed in something similar. The addition, subtraction, multiplication and division were soon forgotten, but the habit of calculating remained. I always think of a topic which redirects my thoughts from the pressure of constantly pushing the paddles, breathing regularly and not pushing to hard ... that day I browsed my memory and my knowledge of Vače and GEOSS which waited at the top and are somewhat halfway through this route. A rest and a snack also awaited. Nothing special, but I managed to gather some scraps from my memory".

Vače Urn
In Vače and its vicinity, one of the richest prehistoric sites was discovered, where dishes, weapon and jewellery from the old Iron Age were in abundance. The most famous and a coincidental finding is most certainly the Vače Urn (Situla) , discovered by local farmer Grilc in 1882. It is a skilfully decorated bronze urn of situla art craft from the period between the 7th and 4th centuries BC, now kept by the National Museum of Slovenia. A kilometre away from Vače, in Klenik settlement where the urn was found, its enlarged copy is put on display. Situla (urn) means a pot with a handle, usually decorated with ornaments. Such pots are informally called buckets. The famous urn could also be called vedro (bucket) or Vaško vedro (Vače bucket), more precisely. Vaško after Vače, not after vas (village). Although pronounced the same, vaško vedro (of village) sounds far less eminent than Vaško vedro (of Vače). To say nothing of the situla (urn) which could have been called vedrica (pail) instead of vedro (bucket). Vaška vedrica (Vače pail) – now that sounds quite nice.

Up to GEOSS and ...
Ascend up towards the Geometric Centre of the Republic of Slovenia and to the village called Spodnja Slivna. The Geometric Centre is well marked, although the path is steep at first, but the shade of the trees offer coolness. When the landscape opens up, especially at the top, one cannot but stop and enjoy the endless view . If you take some more time and help yourself with the map of Slovenia, you could name all of the peaks up to the Alps, which are reaching to the sky.
There are beautiful and warm farms in Spodnja Slivna . They try their best at weekends and offer their guests homemade dishes. During the week, a lot of work has to be done on the farms in the morning; however, you will not leave hungry or thirsty. You will always get something to eat and refreshing drinks are not excluded either. Thus the cyclists have their own spot there where they register. You must not overlook the most interesting Kimovec Museum and Škunder's Garden , where sculptures – a play of nature – and various humorous figures are displayed.
Ahead, behind the larch trees promenade, a stone ashlar from the Pohorje tonalite is located, marking the Geometric Centre of the Republic of Slovenia (GEOSS) . You have to take a photo there as a proof of the accomplished task on a bike, then turn around to the left and back. But be careful! Do not cycle to the crossroads on the main road from Vače to Kandrše, which you came from, but turn left before. This turning is so important that it deserves its own chapter.

... down with confusion
The unique, almost research cycling tour around this part of Slovenia has its worst variant if you set out from Slivna to the crossroads with the main road from Vače, turn left there and descend through the valley to Kandrše. This is what my cycling friend has to say about it: "The road itself, so nicely maintained that the wheels turn as if they were on fire, is not the problem. You can also get to Moravče from Kandrše and from there on according to the plan, but the route there runs along the main roads, quite busy with traffic, and the scenery is not charming either. Of course, I found that out only in the valley and the ascent back was a harsh punishment for another mistake I made the same day when I ignored the map and rather followed my nose. Just like the donkey from Butale (The Tales of Butalci) which followed and longed for the carrot that people of Butale tied on the beanpole placed just in front of his mouth."
This is the right way: In Spodnja Slivna, in the centre of the village, turn left towards the Adventure park , and straightforward at the end of the houses, along the macadam road (Adventure park is on the right). The route takes you through the forest to the Gora pri Pečah settlement (or Zgornja Gora, as this part is actually called). Stick to the main road. In Zgornja Gora, turn sharply right (for almost 180 degrees) to the first asphalted road and into the forest. Another such turn is ahead, this time to the left. Drive straightforward as long as you can. At crossroads, stick to the wider road that runs past the first houses and through the forest past some more houses to the last houses. You cannot continue straightforward any longer (at the house Gora nr. 3), so turn left and into the forest.
In Zgornja Gora, at the abovementioned first (right) turn, you can make a detour and set out for the no more than 500 m distant, but picturesque Church of St. Florian , where the magnificent views of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and Julian Alps open up. Limbarska gora Hill is practically within reach. You also get to the church if you do not turn back and down at the sharp right turning which leads from Slivna through the forest to the asphalted road. Instead, continue ahead along the steep road (the name is unjustified) to the top. When you reach the top you just have to return – no other way back. A good bike is required, because the road is undulating, if not even rocky. You can also proceed on foot.

To the Moravče Valley
The cycling friend continues: "I was in the mood to step off the bike and look for some mushrooms in order to forget my anger because of the incident with the map (a reminder of my ignorance in my pocket). Namely, I once again felt that I was lost. Luckily the road started descending and required no effort to push the paddles or to break. Suddenly a goat appeared in front of me, giving me much joy. A real domestic goat it was, standing in the middle of the road and slowly chewing the foliage (the same way my neighbour 'chews' on the street gossip) while curiously looking at me. It looked as if it blinked at me and said: "Whatcha doin' here mister – got lost?" I laughed heartily and when the horned lady kindly moved out of the way I proceeded to a large farm. It used to be a large estate which later went through some difficult times. It seems to have been picking itself up and extending too. "This is indeed the right way; this is the old road from Moravče to Litija, running through our courtyard. Just continue ahead and you shall soon reach Moravče," a vigorous farmer kindly comforted me. And the day was bright again."

"I stop here and there and check the map. I look the time as well. Goodbye, lunch, I say to myself, for Ljubljana, Zalog and Podgrad are still far away. If I was to continue in this fashion I would not be in the mood for dinner later."
The road descends and when it runs out of the forest, it offers a wide view of the valley and Drtija where turn left at the main road and continue ahead to Moravče. Quartz sand used to be dug here and transported to the (now) Czech Republic in order to be made into glass. It is still dug in Drtija today. Moravče is also known for strong Lutheran movement in the time of Reformation, as well as numerous churches and the partisan movement. The place is a great starting point for various hikes, e.g. to Limbarska gora Hill in the vicinity.
No more demanding ascents and descents from now on, only some short ones to make the route more variegated. "It is still too early for me to make a lunch stop, although lunch time has been long gone and at the famous Moravče inns dinners are already being prepared, but because the end is still far away, I turn left before the centre of Moravče in direction of Češnjice," the cycling friend commented.

A lovely valley and a castle
This is a lovely valley, only a stone's throw from the city bustle. It is not overpopulated, the villages are neat and the road well maintained. It is not so much distant from a bigger city and a lot of people would be tempted to live here. This is only but a thought. Paddle on and through Češnjice and cycle to Tuštanj , where a castle from the Middle Ages (built in 1490) is located and which was one of the few which were not burnt down, damaged or nationalized after World War II. A lot of its original interior is preserved; a part of the castle is open for visitors so it is worth making a small detour. Then proceed in the direction of Vrhpolje.

Where and where to
Our cycling friend describes this part of the route as following: "Vrhpolje, then Stegne, Dole pod Sveto Trojico, Kokošnje and Zalog pod Sveto Trojico follow. I drive confidently with the map in my hands and think of taking a pencil with me next time, so I can take notes about orientation points or sections where I am in doubt of where to turn. Next time then, just to be sure. Who could remember all goat paths to where my friends directed me this time. One such example is the way to Zalog. Do not take the right turn along the main road and to the other side of the Rača Stream, but turn left just before the stream and continue along the macadam as far as possible, then right across the bridge to the other side and ahead along the stream. Another bridge follows after a kilometre and then a junction to the asphalted road where you need to turn right. The rule goes: keep to the Rača Stream and you will not get lost. As simple as that. Or not. At least for me. Third time lucky, although it went wrong. Once more I missed the path big time, returned halfway and at last I saw the board: Gorjuša. I just wanted to hug it."

Snorting to Krumperk
"I did not puff, but I snorted like a bull in a Spanish arena, and not due the slopes or the bumpy road, but due to my anger for being too indifferent to the map. Will I ever learn? I calm down a bit in Krumperk ; however, there aren't any experts on angry bulls there, because the castle hosts Equestrian Centre which breeds thoroughbreds and employs in overall equestrianism."
Up the slope and past the castle, then down to the macadam road again. You get to the ski jump on your left and cycle past. Štajerska motorway is on the right. Prelog pri Ihanu settlement. There is a 'thirst service' (an inn with a garden) at the beginning of the town, as the cycling friend would say. He also said: "I run the paddles to Ihan while I hold the map in my hands to prepare myself to a sharp right turn over the Kamniška Bistrica River, ahead to Mala loka and at the edge of Dragomelj and all the way to Pšata and Podgorica."

Over the Sava and Ljubljanica Rivers, the end
Turn left in Podgorica to Domžale-Ljubljana road, drive past Šentjakob, over the Sava River and just behind the bridge over the river at the first crossroads (with traffic lights) turn left under motorway to the other side to another traffic lights. This is the busiest part of all. Proceed to the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant Ljubljana (CČN). You cannot go astray – the asphalted road leads directly to CČN, a macadam road follows and you are in Zalog. Turn left to Agrokombinatska cesta Road and continue to the Cooperative Hall, then take another left turn and from there on only straightforward – over the Ljubljanica River to Podgrad.

"Sir, have you come from far?" people ask me in front of the inn when I almost tumble off my bicycle and confirm their observations: "You look pretty beat." Holy cow! I was embarrassed enough and thus quickly folded my tent.

Pogonik Castle (Poganick)
The castle was supposedly built by the lords of Vernek from the remains of the old castle Vernek pri Kresnicah. The year of the building was 1552. The castle did not have only one owner. Numerous noblemen owned it and in 1804, it passed into the hands of a townsman. During World War II, the German post used to be there, so the partisans burnt the castle down. Its after-war owner Franc Gnezda renovated the castle and made it into a villa with corner piers.

Litija and the mine below Sitarjevec Hill
Litija used to be an important point at the Sava River. Litija's position at the crossroads of transport paths (in connection with river traffic on the Sava River) contributed to its importance and later the mine below Sitarjevec Hill too. The mining took place already in the antiquity and in the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the mine in Litija was the biggest lead and zinc mine in the entire territory of the monarchy. Beside those two metals, mercury and barite were also extracted, and some other ores (antimony, zinc, copper) in small quantities. Until the closure of the mine, 50,000 tonnes of lead, 1,000 kg of silver, 42,5 tonnes of mercury and 30,000 tonnes of barite were extracted. The mine was closed in 1965. It was not properly closed down, only abandoned. The abandoned pits are now decaying and the clapped-out retaining walls are crumbling and Litija may well face a possible ecological catastrophe. Already in the past, when the mine still operated, ecological accidents occurred (in 1895 and 1932). The clapped-out protective dam gave in and water, mixed with silt, burst out from the auxiliary shaft onto the surface and flooded a part of the city. There were about 80 wagons of mud. Such a disaster can repeat again as several thousand cubic metres of silt and water are behind the collapsed pits in the mine.

Ponoviče Castle (Ponawitsch)
At first, Ponoviče were an estate of the Višnja Gora knights, then of Ortenburgers and later of the Counts of Celje. The castle was built in the middle of the 16th century by Viljem Praunsperger, the Carinthian Vidame. In 1635, the castle was conquered and ravaged by the rebellious peasants. In the Baroque period, the castle was thoroughly reconstructed. One tract was added so the castle now has a shape of the letter L. It became the property of a townsman in the last third of the 19th century. Until the downfall of Austria—Hungary, there used to be a spirit and yeast factory, between both World Wars, a Russian grammar school and a school for girls were at the castle. After World War II, the administration of a stockbreeding estate was arranged there. Nowadays, it houses apartments.

Vače had market rights already in the 15th century and were the centre of the mining and iron works. In 1935, the researchers from the Imperial Academy of Sciences in Vienna found a settlement in the vicinity of Vače from the Hallstatt period whose walls can still be seen today. A special site is the Church of St. Andrew with a Holy Sepulchre made of glass, donated by the glassworkers from Moravian Ostrava. Nothing similar can be found for miles around, if anywhere at all. The church originates from the middle of the 19th century and has many paintings from painters Langus, Metzinger and Šubic. Its smaller predecessor was located here in the 13th century. A well was dug out in the central square in 1879 and it reaches 32 m deep in bedrock. A peculiarity worth seeing is 13-million-year-old fossil remains of a seashore with shell fossils, which can be seen at the cemetery. The marked path leads to it.

Klenik is a settlement, approximately 800 m away from Vače. It is known for its finding of the bronze urn from the Hallstatt period and has a large copy put on display in Klenik. The urn was probably made at the turn of the 6th and 5th centuries BC when intensive metal activity connected with extracting ores, especially copper, took place there. A local Janez Grilc found the urn on 17 January 1882. It is kept by the National Museum in Ljubljana. It was made of bronze sheet and is 23.8 cm high. It is richly decorated with protruding ornaments that run in three series along the rim. The first series shows processions, the second sacrificial rituals and the third animals. Figures of the urn are depicted on the Slovenian Identity Card.

GEOSS is the barycentre of the Republic of Slovenia's surface. A commemorative monument was discovered on 4 July 1982. It is located on the deep dug foundations and supported by four pedestals marking geographical directions. Number 644,842 means the height above sea level. The monument is a quadrilateral granite reminder with geographical coordinates of the GEOSS centre on the northern side and the national coat-of-arms on the eastern side and below it is the carved shape of the Republic of Slovenia. Prešeren's Zdravljica (A Toast) is on the southern side and the names of sponsors, who enabled the realisation of the project, are on the western side.

Tuštanj Castle (Tuffstein), Zgornji Tuštanj
The year 1490 above the entrance portal of the castle indicates its origins, although the town itself was first mentioned in documents in 1238. Until 1800, the castle was owned by the Schwab-Lichtenberg family, later counts (their coat-of-arms still adorns the eastern frontage), and was later bought by Ignacij Scaria (Škarja/Scissors). His granddaughter Maximiliana married the former castle gardener Luka Pirnat in 1854, and left him the castle after her death in 1873. Since then it belongs to Pirnat family. In 1704, a chapel was built close to the castle, where frescoes of Franc Jelovšek from 1725 and Layer's painting of the altar are displayed. The castle has been under renovation since 1990. Much of the original interior is still preserved. The castle is open for tourists and even weddings can be held there.

Krumperk Castle, Gorjuša
In 1580, on the grounds of the tower castle Kreutberg from the 14th century, Baron Adam Rauber built an exquisite two-storey Renaissance building which, due to its four corner towers and attic console eave with embrasures, has the image of a fortress. The castle was transferred to the ownership of the Raspi Counts and it remained so for a while. In 1928, a Maribor factory-owner Pogačnik bought it and after World War II it was nationalized. It was made into apartments and for a while a straw-hat museum used to be there. It was returned to the descendants of the former owners after denationalization.

Pri Peclju Inn, Cesta v Kresnice 19, Podgrad
Type: inn. Gastronomic offer: Slovenian cuisine, homemade dishes, fish dishes. Distinguishing features: organized picnics, parties and banquets for closed groups.

Pergola Pizza Restaurant and Inn, Valvazorjev trg 16, Litija
Type: inn, pizza restaurant. Gastronomic offer: Snacks, pizzas.

Mrva Inn, Vače 7, Vače
Type: inn. Gastronomic offer: homemade dishes, pork sausages in winter.

Vrabec Inn, Slivna 18, Vače
Type: inn. Gastronomic offer: homemade dishes, international cuisine, fish dishes, grill, venison. Distinguishing features: sport activities, bioenergy park.

Peterka Inn, Drtija 22, Moravče.
Type: restaurant, caffe. Gastronomic offer: homemade dishes, veal, desserts, lunch. Distinguishing features: Children playground, ponies.

Mngan Inn, Breznikova cesta 2, Prelog pri Ihanu
Type: inn. Gastronomic offer: homemade dishes, snacks, lunch.

Tuštanj Castle is known for its love story between the owner Maximiliana Scaria and fifteen years younger castle gardener Luka Pirnat. When they finally married in 1854, she was already forty-four years old. Maximiliana was a woman of firm character and they became a harmonious and successful couple, although they were not of the same class. It is known that Maximiliana's society never fully accepted him. Despite of that, Luka was most deserving for saving the dominion burdened with debt from the ruin. No children were born during their marriage. Luka took over the castle (according to Maximiliana's will) after her death in 1873 and Pirnat family still owns it. Nikolaj Pirnat (1903-1948), a painter and sculptor, originally born in Idrija, also comes from this family.

Pri Peclju Inn
The inn has a venerable tradition. When the Sava River was still navigable, a route along its bank ran by. The route was used for pulling (either on foot or by yoke) the river carriage boats counter current. Hungry and thirsty horse and cart drivers liked to stop at the inn. The origin of the inn's name is quite interesting. The then landlord of the inn (that was Vrhovšek at the beginning of the 19th century) was also involved with fruit sale. The oral tradition says that he threw the cherry stalks left from the cherries that were used in the inn's offer, among the cherries for sale. Children first noticed that and named him Pecelj (Stalk). The inn has been owned by the Grad family since 1938.

Yarn Day or Andrew's Fair in Vače
Annual event at the end of November or in the beginning of December. It has been based by the imperial right to organize fairs which Vače gained more than 500 years ago.

Vače day is annual event that takes place on the last Sunday in August. It is organized by the Vače Women and Girls Society. Hardworking hands of the members bake a lot of diverse pastries; they put it on view and offer it at stalls. In the afternoon, there is a rich cultural programme, reviving various customs that are slowly falling into the oblivion (such are: grain threshing, marriage traditions, sawing wood, preparing charcoal pile, flax threshing, etc.).

On road Kresnice-Litija, a short section of poor macadam road awaits. The worst is when ascending towards Poganek Castle where the road crosses the railway tunnel of the same name.
Section from Slivna to Drtija is not populated. Stick to the broader road, otherwise you can go astray. Nevertheless, all the paths end on road Kandrše-Drtija which leads to Moravče. If you are not in the mood for exploring, return to Vače and find the turn of the asphalted road towards Moravče. This road will lead you to the Drtija Valley where you can proceed according to the plan.
The section between Podgorica and Zgornja Zadobrova is very busy. There is no possibility of a bypass since there is no other bridge over the Sava River and an underpass under Štajerska motorway.