The Slovenia Green Pannonian Route (SGPR) is a cycling itinerary that takes travelers squarely through the Heart of Europe. The phrase “heart of” is often used loosely. In this case, it is quite specific. Slovenia’s Pomurje, in the country’s far northeastern corner, sits in the center of Europe and is at a junction where multiple countries meet … along with their diverse traditions, cultures, topographies, and gastronomic strengths.
Pomurje is a land of thermal sources, amazing gastronomy, high-quality wines and warm hospitable people. It borders three countries – Croatia, Austria and Hungary. It is an area of rich heritage with a wide-spread system of healing waters, which provide the sources for soothing spas along the way, and a diverse landscape — hilly, flat, and rolling — that’s loaded with vineyards, an endless supply of photo opportunities, and a lifetime of stories.
It is not a coincidence that the European Union has made a point of focusing on Pomurje for some of its most fascinating cycle tourism initiatives. This region lies at the center of a cluster of cultural routes aimed at bringing the unique mixture of culture and traditions to a wider audience. The cultural routes were developed within Transdanube Travel Stories project implemented within the Interreg Danube Transnational Programme. Two of those cultural routes, which served as the basis for this cycling connection, pass right through Slovenia’s Pannonia. Trail 6, Danube for the Soul, is dedicated to religion and spirituality, while Trail 4, “Cultural harvest” along the Danube: art, music and architecture, focuses on — as one might imagine — art, music, and architecture.
Between the waters, history, culture, and spirituality, one might forget that this is also a great place to be on a bicycle. But don’t worry, you’ll instantly recognize that the moment you hop on the saddle to ride the Slovenia Green Pannonian Route.
The three-day SGPR is a loop route, which stops in green-certified destinations. The journey begins in Murska Sobota, the largest town in the Pomurje Region, which surrounds the Mura River. It then heads south and east, paralleling the river, to the beautiful town of Lendava. The next stage travels across the Mura — from the Prekmurje Region, on the left bank, to the Prlekija Region, on the right bank, and to the wine-growing hills connecting the town of Ljutomer and Jeruzalem. The SGPR completes its loop with a final stage back to Murska Sobota.
While cycling along the heart-shaped loop, you’ll be aware of the mix of cultures: Slovenian, Hungarian, Austrian, Croatian. You’ll drink incredible wine and eat fresh local food. You’ll be blown away by the local hospitality. And, you’ll realize that history, adventure, and therapeutic thermal waters are omnipresent in Pomurje. The only thing you’ll have left to ask yourself while riding the SGPR: Why did it take you so long to visit this singularly amazing region in the Heart of Europe.
Route was developed as part of the Transdanube Travel Stories project within the Interreg Danube Transnational Programme. Project co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA).
Slovenia Green routes are recommended itineraries for your green travel in Slovenia.
Why are they special?
Slovenia Green routes connect exclusively destinations that have been awarded the Slovenia Green certificate by committing to a green future and developing their tourism in a sustainable manner.
The Slovenia Green Pannonian Route starts in Murska Sobota. Because of its proximity to the Mura River, this was a point for travellers as far back as Roman times. Today, the town is a magnet for active travellers, and a hub for culture, gastronomy, and nature. Even before cyclists hit the trail they should check out this dynamic town.
First, stop in at the newly remodelled Tourist Information Center to pick up maps and tips from the helpful staff. While there, stick around for a tasting of local delicacies and treats so you’ll have a better idea of what to expect while you cycle over the next few days.
Among the town’s impressive offerings is the Jewish Trail. The trail includes important monuments from the town’s Jewish heritage and a virtual reconstruction of the Murska Sobota synagogue, which was destroyed in 1954.
Other treasures one must visit while in town include the 16th century Murska Sobota Castle, which houses the Pomurje Museum. The Catholic Church of St. Nicholas dates from the 13th Century and is an essential spot to enjoy, learn from, and photograph. The Evangelical Church was completed in 1910. A delightful walk around the City Park is a perfect time to check out the Park Theater and the Galerija Murska Sobota. The Rakičan Mansion has an equestrian club, loads of activities for the kids, and an escape room.
Of course there’s a world of outdoor attractions around the Murska Sobota as well. It is no secret that this is a big part of the reason why groups seek out the area for team-building activities, rafting down the Mura River, and cycling. You can rent a bike and helmet right in town and at Expano Interactive Adventure Park.
Speaking of Expano, also called the “door to Pomurje,” and the site of the Sobota Lake: This venue is worth a visit on its own, and not just once. Take advantage of your time in Murska Sobota to stop here twice … on your first day and on the last day as the loop passes it on the way back to town. This Interactive Adventure Park has a wide offer of interactive exhibitions and virtual reality tours. The beautiful lakeside building also has a bar, restaurant, regional tourist info centre and a shop so you can take home all your favourite flavours from the Pomurje Region.
The route then leaves this fantastic opening destination and heads east toward Lendava. Along the way, the SGPR rolls to Moravske Toplice — a Slovenia Green “Gold” town — to visit some of the best spas in the country. Perhaps the most famous is Terme 3000, which is both the largest and one of the best equipped facilities in the country with a vast array of sports, health, wellness, accommodation, and gourmet offers.
Another treat awaits at the nearby Terme Vivat. Here, with its outdoor and indoor pool complex, its “world of saunas,” the Thai massage salon, a medical centre, and the space for business events, you’ll start to wonder why you haven’t spent more time here in the past.
Lendava Castle⎮Theatre and concert hall⎮Synagogue and Jewish cemetery⎮Museum of the bourgeoisie, printing and umbrella-making⎮The Mummy of Michael Hadik⎮ The river Mura and its Backwaters⎮Hotiški brod
The SGPR’s second stage starts from Lendava. This town will win you over with both its understated elegance and its dramatic offerings.
You’ll notice the elegance as soon as you roll into this enchanting town with its refined storefront facing a welcoming main avenue. Stop for a coffee and a slice of cake at the impossibly inviting Kavarna Torteraj cafe. Take a moment to just breathe, relax, and watch the clouds roll by. Then, get ready for culture.
Make sure to visit the Synagogue Lendava and the permanent exhibition there dedicated to Jewish heritage in Lendava and Pomurje. Then, walk along the main street to the fascinating museum dedicated to Bourgeoisie, Typography and Umbrella Manufacturing. No trip here is complete without spending time at the Lendava Castle. First mentioned in 1192, the castle is the centre of cultural and historical development of Lendava through its families. Today, it houses many museum collections and is the primary venue for travelling exhibitions that bring renowned artists to town. One of town’s most unique attractions is the mummified body of general Mihael Hadik, one of the greatest heroes in the battles with the Turks.
Information for all of Lendava’s galleries, museums, and cultural must-sees can be found here.
The other half of your visit here will be dominated by dramatic superlatives. For instance, the town holds a Guinness World Record for the largest serving of bograč, the region’s signature stew. On September 4, 2021, Lendava citizens cooked a pot with 1,801 kilograms of the traditional dish. Bogračfest, the largest competition in cooking bograč in Slovenia has been held in Lendava for over a decade now.
And, of course, there are the two other calling-card attractions one should see and experience while here. The first is the 53.5-meter Vinarium Lendava Tower, which gives visitors clear views of four countries from this northwestern corner of Slovenia, including Croatia, Hungary, and Austria. This is also the perfect place to gaze out at the incredible landscape covered in vineyards … the reason for the tower’s name. From here, you can make out your next activity along the area’s Wine Road and if time permits sleep in one of the vineyard cottages, members of the dispersed hotel Vinarium.
For the truly brave, you can finish your bird’s-eye sightseeing excursion by taking the Zipline Vinarium across the vineyards. Following this incredible experience, a little time at the Thermal Resort Lendava might be the perfect way to unwind.
Your odyssey through Slovenia’s Pannonian Region, which is one of the country’s most culturally diverse, continues as you cross the Mura into splendid wine country. There are two wonderful towns to explore … along with the communities that are within close proximity.
From the eastern side of the Mura, we cycle over the beautiful water to the river’s western side. The SGPR takes us into the Prlekija area and to two of the most beautiful locales on the entire route: Ljutomer and Jeruzalem.
Ljutomer is a cozy town with generous city squares, museums, wine shops, cafes and bistros. Make sure to visit the Church of Saint Janez Krstnik. Then, take a stroll through the General Maister Park or the Park 1. slovenskega tabora before taking advantage of the several museums in town and throughout the municipality.
The Ljutomer Museum and its collections can be found in the Town Hall, where you can also stop at the local goods store. As well, there are the Pristava Viticultural and Peasant Museum and the Krapje Beekeeping Museum. A very special attraction is the Ljutomer Trotter Museum, which enlightens visitors about the town’s history of horse racing and its harness racing club.
Just to the south, enveloped in hills, sits the idyllic vineyard-covered countryside surrounding Jeruzalem below which lies one of the more beautiful and unusual attractions, the Ljutomer Ponds Landscape Park. You will be hard pressed to find another area that so instantly claims your heart as this famous wine-producing area.
Before investigating the jaw-dropping beauty of this community, visit the tourism information center, with its excellent wine shop, the Vinoteka Jeruzalem, to figure out the best plan for visiting vineyards. Grab your maps and purchase a few bottles to impress your friends back home and step next door and inside the Church of Our Lady of Sorrow and then let the vistas and endless fields of terraced vines absorb you.
Before jumping back on your bike, take a few moments for three special attractions. The atelier of potter Saša Žuman will instantly solve your problem of what to bring home for presents. The gallery is filled with his magnificent pottery collections. Next, head over to Dvorec Jeruzalem for a nice meal and continue to the Vineyard Cottage Malek, which is more than 350 years old and is an ideal place to catch the sunset and enjoy a taste of wine.
If tired cyclists know anything, it’s that they have to find ways to relax their hardworking muscles after a day in the saddle. Take a much-needed break at the Slovenia Green-stamped Bioterme in Mala Nedelja, just west of Ljutomer. The spa there is divine and has an assortment of wellness offers including a thermal water park, and glamping villas and tents. Or, go for a plunge at Terme Banovci, just north of Ljutomer.
As you cycle back north to complete the three-day loop, stop in to get a history lesson at the Babič Mill, which sits along the route on the Mura River, in Veržej. Then cross the Mura and head back to the place where your incredible journey to Slovenia’s diverse northeastern corner — where four countries meet and share multiple traditions, languages, and religions — all started in Murska Sobota.
Interactive experience park Expano⎮Sobota Lake⎮Treasury of Prekmurje delights⎮Going down the River Mura⎮Research and Education Centre Dvorec Rakičan⎮Escape Room⎮Sobota Jewish Route⎮Vujdi vö iz Sobote (Escape from The City)⎮Cycling
Visit Murska Sobota