Adventure | Destinations |

Four-day cycling in Kočevje: WILD. BUT NICE.

Experience the forests, the Kolpa River and the bears
by Matevž Hribar
October 25, 2023 · 4 min read

Kočevsko, the largest and most forest-rich area in Slovenia, is becoming a paradise for all who love to spend their free time in nature, and preferably as far away from tourist crowds as possible. Kočevsko is not a destination for mass tourism (and it does not wish to become one), but a few recognizable events (the Navkreber na Strmo reber road cycling race, the Pofurajmo Kočevsko MTB race, the Kočevsko Outdoor Festival run in nature, and the annually sold-out Po medvedovih stopinjah hike) let you know where the bear’s paw is pointing – towards active leisure. We present a plan for a cycling route that you can take whenever you want and at your own pace.

You can also get to Kočevje by train with your bike. The green mode of transport will take a good hour from Ljubljana ( – look for a direct connection). The plan is designed for a leisurely, family pace, and is therefore feasible even in a shorter period, for example from Friday to Sunday.


You can find the route plan and a free navigation package on our Kočevsko Cycling Loop page.


Cyclist in kocevje woods


1. Kočevska Reka, Osilnica

The first stage leads from the city center, where you can purchase some snacks for the day if needed. You will find some inns along the route, but no stores. The route takes you through Kočevska Reka and past Reško Lake, around which the Eagle’s Trail is laid out. In the vicinity, one of the rare pairs of white-tailed eagles still living in Slovenia nests, representing the largest bird of prey in the country and symbolizing nature conservation… You can also take the time to walk around the edge of the Krokar virgin forest, which was included in the UNESCO World Natural Heritage list in 2017. A cycling treat awaits you at the end, with a descent down the serpentine road from the Strma reber pass, also named Bear’s Gut. You’ll see why. After it, you descend to Osilnica, the smallest municipality by population in Slovenia, also known as the Land of Peter Klepec.


A steep road in kocevsko


­2. Along the Kolpa: Kostel, Laze, Dol

The continuation is somewhat less adrenaline-pumping, as the path gently descends along the Kolpa, the border river between Slovenia and Croatia. Whenever you get hot on this section, simply park your bike and refresh yourself in this clean and tranquil forest river. If ‘gliding on asphalt’ still seems too easy, turn steeply uphill to the village and the castle of the same name, Kostel, the second largest castle complex in Slovenia. Look for accommodation somewhere along the Kolpa, to be lullabied by the subdued song of riverside life for at least one evening.


Kayaking in the Kolpa river


3. Rajhenav, Primeval Forest, Queen of Rog

You will have to say goodbye to the Kolpa and head north, where forests will again be the common thread of cycling. You will touch the edge of the Rajhenav Primeval Forest in the heart of the Kočevje Rog and even visit the “Queen of Rog”, a majestic, more than 55 meters tall spruce, one of the most powerful far and wide. If the whole family is cycling, try to hug it together.



4. Željnske Caves, Kočevsko Lake

The last stage will be relatively short and undemanding. Take time to visit the Željnske Caves, a natural phenomenon and proof that the karst world is very close to Kočevje. Be prepared for the darkness (hint 1: headlamp) and the cold (hint 2: warm sweater). Finish the cycling at Kočevsko Lake and visit one of the local restaurants, or you can order your “FOREST PICNIC BASKET” with local delicacies at the central tourist information center and have your own picnic by the lake. If you are craving a more adrenaline-pumping cycling experience, you can visit the MTB Trail Center in nearby Dolga vas, and by prior arrangement, you can also participate in various programs of tracking wild animals or learning about and observing bears in their natural environment. For assistance, visit the website


Cyclist sitting by the kocevsko lake


Photo: Žiga Koren, Jošt Gantar, Žiga Marin

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