Important: In early August 2023, Slovenia was hit by severe floods that affected two-thirds of the country. Some roads that are part of the Slovenia Green route may not be passable, and there are also problems with railway connections. As the situation changes daily, before deciding to travel, please check with local tourist points or on the website www.slovenia.info, where useful information and links are posted. When the situation calms down, the Slovenia Green team will take care of refreshing the navigation packages. If you want to be informed about changes, sign up for our e-newsletter. Thank you for your understanding.
The Slovenia Green Wellness Route (SGWR) is a cycling itinerary that combines Slovenia’s most sought-after strengths: fantastic cycling; responsible travel; incredible culture; wonderful food and wine; and, at the end each day, a session in one of the country’s world-class spas to rejuvenate the body, mind, and soul. The route averages about 40 kilometers of moderate cycling per day on mixed surfaces with more than two-thirds of the trail paved.
The Association of Slovenian Natural Spas is one of the country’s most active and engaged associations and it works tirelessly to keep their 13 members — the top spas in Slovenia — focused on best practices with Slovenia Green tourism and making guests feel at home.
The route weaves around the peaceful, beautiful, thermal-water-filled eastern half of the country. Along the way, the trail’s stages pass through Slovenia Green-certified destinations, where travelers will experience jaw-dropping landscapes and safe cycling for all skill levels, from veterans looking for new challenges to beginners, who are rediscovering the joy of using their own power to fuel an incredible holiday.
Here, in “the world’s most sustainable country,” the SGWR has something for every adventurer, but this cycling loop always keeps in mind that it is the power of its communities and their unique cultures across this magnificent Central European nation. The itinerary was created to give travelers all the information necessary to cycle and visit the therapeutic spas that are scattered across Slovenia.
The Slovenia Green Wellness Route, which is actually a loop, begins in Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana. The path then pedals north toward Kamnik before heading east to Maribor and then the country’s Pannonian Region corner before heading south across the Drava and Sava Rivers. Some 16 days later — if one decides to cycle its entirety, the loop eventually curls back to the Slovenian capital. Riders can choose to do all or portions of the route while also utilizing the nation’s convenient train system.
The SGWR is a route that makes nature, food, wine, green-certified destinations, and Slovenia’s incredible thermal waters the focus of an unforgettable holiday experience. But, as always, the real star of this tour of Slovenia is the Slovenian people, who share their lives and country with travelers of all kinds.
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.
Upon arrival in Ljubljana, get your bearings in this bike-able — or walkable — capital by pedaling along the Ljubljanica River, which bisects the city. On both banks, you’ll find cafes, bistros, wonderful restaurants, and boutique shops. The food and offerings here are, like the country itself, full of fresh ingredients, unique character, and authenticity. Make sure to visit on a Friday to enjoy the Odprta Kuhna (open kitchen), held between the main square and the outdoor market, when chefs from some of the country’s best restaurants show off their skills and dishes with gourmands.
The route then heads around 30 kilometers north to the outdoor paradise of Kamnik, a Slovenia Green (Gold) destination. Wedged in the foothills of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps and surrounded by the Kamniška Bistrica Valley, the shepherd’s settlement of Velika Planina, the Tuhinj Valley, and within shouting distance of the Logar Valley, any visitor could stay in this natural wonderland for weeks at a time.
After a day of pedaling on a bike (or e-bike) and exploring the region, get your reward at the Terme Snovik. Another Slovenia Green (Gold) destination, the complex has indoor and outdoor pools, Finnish, Turkish, and Ice sauna possibilities, an assortment of massage offerings. But, it is the Kneipp philosophy of health that the area is most famous.
The World of Kneipp is a way of life created over a century ago by Sebastian Kneipp. The system believes that healthy living is a holistic experience and can be broken into five sections: water, herbs, exercise, nutrition, and balance. At Terme Snovik, one method for manifesting this program for life and health is on the Kneipp Barefoot Path — a wonderful way to center oneself and prepare for the rest of the wellness itinerary along the SGWR.
The tour of beer and freedom ⎮ Footsteps of the shepherds path on Velika Planina ⎮ Following the footsteps of Jože Plečnik ⎮ Kneipp’s barefoot experience ⎮ Bread baking in the smoke kitchen of Budnar’s house ⎮ Recharging in Healing Resort Tunjice ⎮ 5* Experience “Feel Velika Planina”
The SGWR continues east for about 35 kilometers — following the scenic Dreta River for much of it — to the town of Ljubno ob Savinji. This beautiful settlement, with welcoming architecture set against the Alps, sits on the Savinja River. Among the highlights here: the 15th century St. Jakob Church in the nearby village of Okonina, the yearly FIS Women’s Ski Jumping World Cup, and the Log Driver’s Ball, which takes place every summer.
You can also decide to go rafting or fishing, and after an active day, treat yourself to a rest at Herbal Glamping Ljubno or experience a superb gourmet experience at the boutique Hotel Planinka. Let them take you through selected Slovenian delicacies and gastronomic masterpieces. At the same time, you can discover famous Slovenian and foreign wines in the wine cellar.
Experience original cuisine among the Alpine peaks, where nature and culture come together on plates, and enjoy the culinary experience with a homemade non-alcoholic accompaniment or by combining dishes with top wines.
As you cycle across the countryside, you’ll see fishermen in waders casting lines atop the water. You’ll want to stop here and start a new life, but save that for another time.
On this cycling excursion, your next stop — eight kilometers down the trail — is Camping Menina. Located near the town of Rečica ob Savinji, Camping Menina — in the Upper Savinja Valley on the Savinja River — is an ideal spot for adventurers of all sorts: individuals, couples, and families. The complex has something for everyone with cottages, a hostel, and camping spots. For wellness visitors, there’s a spa area, massage services, and an array of body care possibilities including manicures, pedicures, and facials. For those looking for more active-based endeavors, the adrenaline park, kayaking school, rafting, and standup paddle boards (SUP) are all a great way to mix up a cycling-and-wellness tour.
If a bird’s eye view is what you’re after, the sky is also an option for visitors here. Paragliding and sightseeing plane excursions are the way to go. After your time in the sky, come back to earth to get to know the region’s culinary specialties and then find the relaxation needed at the traditional Brineč farm and mill with wellness possibilities or take a walk along a soothing forest trail.
Raft driving in the new interactive timber rafting collection ⎮ Hiking in Smrekovec mountain range ⎮ Exploring Golte Landscape Park and its Alpine garden ⎮ Fly fishing on Savinja river ⎮ Paragliding ⎮ Camp Menina adrenaline adventures ⎮ Panoramic flight ⎮ NaturPlac Na Skali ⎮ Wine tasting in the wine cellar of Hotel Planinka ⎮Tasting Upper-Savinja Želodec (dry meat specialty)
Interactive timber rafting collection ⎮ Collection of Ljubno’s Palm Sunday potica cakes ⎮ Fašun Homestead ⎮ Ski jumping center Savina ⎮ Pranger whipping post ⎮ Farmers mill Brinovc ⎮ Tavčar mansion ⎮ Forest trail Blate
Visit Rečica ob Savinji
Approximately 40 kilometers further down the route takes the SGWR to Velenje, one of the most interesting spots to visit in the country, if not the larger Central-Southeastern Europe region. A former mining town, this lakeside city is a mixture of eras — from the Hapsburgs to Yugoslavia and today’s Slovenia — and activities.
In the city proper, make sure to visit the massive, 10-meter statue of Josip Broz Tito, located, appropriately, on Tito Square. After, head to the hilltop, 13th century Velenje Castle. Your next stop should take you to the Coal Mining Museum of Slovenia to understand the industry that made this one of the most important places in the country. After a day of sightseeing, make sure to take a plunge in the sublime Lake Velenje with a perfect beach to watch the clouds roll by on a hot day.
The SGWR is a passion-filled route that combines fun, culture, cycling, and, of course, wellness. There are two perfect wellness centers in the Velenje region. Northwest of Velenje, Terme Topolšica offers pools, massages, a world-class hotel, and family apartments. and a medical center.
Southeast of Velenje, Terme Dobrna is a world unto itself. The spring here was mentioned for the first time in 1403. Today, the incredible buildings surrounding the complex — which include spa suites, a boutique hotel, thermal baths, saunas, pools, and wonderful restaurants — are within moments from hiking and cycling trails … all perfect for clearing your head and your body before getting back on the SGWR.
Mysteries of submerged villages ⎮ Fly into the tannery of Europe ⎮ Velenje Underground ⎮ Tito is waiting! Observe the modern style! ⎮ Jump into Lake Velenje ⎮ Lamperček Tourist Farm ⎮ Find yourself in Šalek Valley ⎮ Gonžar Rock
THINGS TO SEE:
The ride from Velenje to the Rogla-Pohorje area — which is made up of the Oplotnica, Slovenske Konjice, Vitanje, and Zreče municipalities — is one of the most scenic places to pedal of the entire itinerary … also one of the most restorative. The region, which is known for great skiing and the Rogla Ski Resort in the Pohorje Mountains, is covered with rolling hills that provide inspiring panoramas of the countryside. Those hills also bring rewards to anyone lucky enough to cycle here in the form of wine, great food, farms, boutique stays, and endless wellness possibilities.
A good way to get the lay of the land and a sense of all the attractions you’ll enjoy is to head over to the top of Rogla Peak (1,517 meters) and then climb the tower of the Pot med krošnjami Pohorje which rises an additional 37 meters and provides incredible vistas and photo ops.
Back on the ground, don’t miss out on a whole slate of incredible experiences within the region. The EKO Urška Tourist Farm is a great place to eat, sleep, and get in touch with nature. The Oplotnica Gorge and its educational trail is a nice break from being on the bike saddle. A tour of the Noordung Center of Space Technologies is a certain trip highlight. To get a sense of how diverse the region is, treat yourself with a visit to the Skaza Fiddle Studio in Zreče, before taking a sip and elevating your culture at the Zlati Grič Wine Cellars.
No trip to the area is complete — especially if you are on a wellness cycling tour — without spending time at Terme Zreče, one of the most sought after spa experiences in the country. The complex includes a health care center, a sauna village, fitness studio, and thermal swimming pools. And, after you’ve cycled and relaxed, nothing is better than a sleep in the amazing, Slovenia Green, four-star Hotel Atrij.
Zlati grič wine cellar ⎮ Educational Trail Oplotnica Gorge ⎮ Circular walking trail in Natural Biotope of Partovec ⎮ After the footsteps of poet Ivan Minatti ⎮ Terme Zreče Spa thermal pools ⎮ Noordung Center ⎮ Skaza Fiddle Studio ⎮ Old Vitanje square centre
Zlati grič wine cellar ⎮ Oplotnica gorge ⎮ Natural biotope of Partovec ⎮ Old town square centre of Slovenske Konjice ⎮ Terme Zreče ⎮ Noordung Center ⎮ Skaza Fiddle Studio museum and demonstration of making a new violin ⎮ Old Vitanje square centre guided tour
LTO Rogla – Zreče, GIZ TIC Zreče
The SGWR heads next to Maribor. A culture-filled and wellness-inducing destination and Slovenia’s second largest city. This stage takes you on easygoing asphalt and gravel sections to the Drava River. As well, today’s trail follows, at times, the Drava Cycling Route, which makes the city particularly manageable because the bikeway provides immediate access to the city and its attractions.
In Maribor — a city with Slovenia Green Bronze certification — wellness cyclists will visit the fabulous Terme Maribor. But they should also take advantage of a different and important type of wellness in the form of the world’s oldest vine, which has its House and Museum, where you can taste wine from this ancient vine as well as others from the region. This vine, which is of the Žametovka variety, is more than four centuries old and recognized by the Guinness Book of Records.
The age of the vine is indicative of the depth of the area’s gastronomic and gourmet prowess. Take the time to relax with great food and wine along your SGWR pedaling odyssey. The city is a hub for excellent bistros and Michelin-recognized restaurants, such as the nearby, Michelin-starred Hiša Denk in the village of Zgornja Kungota. We also recommend you grab a chocolate bar in the chocolate shop Teta Frida, which also hosts an incredible riverside glamping complex, near the city center.
But Maribor is more than just a city with a beautiful river and wine. The city has the Maribor Provincial Museum, theaters, art galleries, an important Synagogue and memorial space, and underground tunnels, the Tezno Zone, built in the Second World War. The wellness cycling route also leads you along the Drava River to the Drava Center, where you can rent a canoe or a paddle board.
After this pause, take the opportunity to see the surroundings from above. A cable car will take you to the ridge of Pohorje which offers a magnificent view of the surroundings. You can also hike along the Piramida-Kalvarija Nature Trail, to the local landmark known as Piramida, to visit the 12th century castle.
Wine highlights tour with the World’s Oldest Vine ⎮ Maribor beach & boat rental ⎮ Creative workshop: From grapes to the glass of wine ⎮ Rafting along the river Drava ⎮ Bee flight zipline ⎮ VR experience of the story of the World’s Oldest Vine ⎮ Woodcraft workshop at the Esen Woodcraft joinery shop ⎮ The honeyest holiday
Back on the saddle for another magnificent stage … this one takes you into the townships of Lenart and then Sveta Ana, approximately 10 kilometers away. Pedaling down quiet roads and paths, visitors will glide through rolling hills and, not for the first time, wonder why they never knew how incredible the cycling is in every corner of Slovenia.
The first stop is in the town of Lenart. From kilometers around, you’ll see the Maister’s Viewing Tower in the distance. This 17-meter tower gives panoramic views of the countryside below as well as into Austria, Croatia, and Hungary. Originally 24-meters high and wooden (it is metal today), it was named for Slovenian hero General Rudolf Maister. While here, make sure to visit the Maister Museum and the cafe across the street. The cafe’s shop also sells local food, wine, and spirits from the farms around this Slovenia Green “Silver” destination.
Cycling on, the SGWR route pedals to Sveta Ana, where the 18th century Church of Saint Anne is among several must-visit locations in which traditional products and ways of life still hold great importance. After showing respect to the local namesake church, take a break at a truly unique locale: the Tea House Kolarič, where the owners grow, serve, and sell the tea that they sell right on the property. Have a seat inside their “hobbit house” built into the hillside.
At the end of the day, make sure to relax properly with the area’s extraordinary wine from the Hafner Winery, which produces 10 varieties. Arrange for a visit and tasting. The sparkling pinot noir rosé is wonderful and worth the visit alone.
General Maister and Zavrh tour ⎮ Once and today at the Šikers (Agricultural Museum & Wine Cellar) ⎮ With a bee from flower to honey and health at the Vogrinčič family ⎮ Organic Farm at Frida ⎮ Winemaking Hafner ⎮ Kapl Homestead ⎮ Teahouse Kolarič
Komarnik lake ⎮ Hrastovec castle ⎮ Lenart central square and centre ⎮ Maister’s viewing platform ⎮ St. Ana’s Church ⎮ Memorial Room of dr. Roman Lesnika ⎮ Evangelical Cementery ⎮ Viewing platform in St. Ana village
Restaurant and pizzeria Vinska trta ⎮ Restaurant Gostilna 29 ⎮ Pri babici Marici (Žgajner Farm) ⎮ Restaurant Šiker ⎮Tourist Farm Senekovič ⎮ Restaurant Eder ⎮ Tourist Farm Bauman ⎮ Excursion Farm Gundel Šenveter
Municipality of Sveta Ana
This stage heads into the heart of the incredible Pomurje Region. This far northeastern corner — heading towards Hungary — is often called the Thermal Pannonian Slovenia because of its many springs sprinkled throughout the district. This far northeastern corner — heading towards Hungary — is often called the Thermal Pannonian Slovenia because of its many springs sprinkled throughout the district.
After crossing the Mura River, the route will head just over and past the capital and main town of the region, Murska Sobota. Stop in to gather information about the area and to ask questions about activities and alternate bike rides. This responsible-tourism focused town is a gateway to a wonderful place to be on two wheels.
After, roll 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, accomodation, 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 center, and the space for business events, you’ll start to wonder why you haven’t spent more time here in the past.
House Tara beekeeping and chocolate shop ⎮ Fairytale park Telekaland ⎮ Passero Estate’s chocolate shop and cafe ⎮ Evangelical Church of Jesus the Good Shepherd ⎮ Prekmurje Reformation Park ⎮ St. Martin’s Church in Martjanci ⎮ Wellness in Hotel Vivat (wellness center, salt room, Thai massage salon, sauna)⎮ Wellness in Terme 3000 (sauna, wellness center, massage with diluted pumpkin oil)
Terme Vivat (Eko Marjetica) ⎮ Terme 3000 ⎮ Aparthotel Vital (salt room, private wellness, sauna)⎮ Tara House ⎮ Hotel Maj Inn ⎮ Guesthouse Pri štorklji (sauna, jacuzzi) ⎮ Pannonian Village ⎮ Passero Estate
TIC Moravske Toplice
You will remain in this splendid cycling region, which is layered with great routes including the nearly developed Slovenia Green Pannonian Route, for another stage before heading into the Prlekija Region.
This eighth stage loops down around and under the southeast of Murska Sobota and then next to the lake: Soboško jezero, where you can cool off with swim, sail, or a standup paddleboard experience. In the beach- and shoreside Expano Pavilion, which is part museum, part interactive learning experience, and part neighborhood clubhouse with an excellent cafe, take a moment to enjoy the special activities on offer. The art, concentration activities, and VR explorations are worth the stop alone.
From here, we continue riding through the Prekmurje (eastern side of the Mura) over the river and into the Pomurje Region on the western side of the Mura. The SGWR takes us back into the Prlekija area and to two of the most beautiful locales on the entire route: Ljutomer and Jeruzalem.
Ljutomer is a cosy town with generous city squares, bistros, museums, wine shops, and cafes. Make sure to visit the Church of Saint Janez Krstnik and the Ljutomer Museum, which sits next to the Town Hall. A 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. You will be hard pressed to find another area that so instantly claims your heart as this renowned wine-producing area. Visit the tourism information center, with its excellent wine shop, to figure out the best plan for visiting vineyards. Then step inside the Church of Our Lady of Sorrow before letting the vistas and endless fields of terraced vines absorb you.
The day ends with a much-needed stay at the Slovenia Green-stamped Bioterme in Mala Nedelja. The spa here is divine with an assortment of wellness offers including a thermal water park, and glamping villas and tents.
Bioterme Mala Nedelja ⎮ Terme Banovci ⎮ Johann-Janez Puch Museum ⎮ Pottery Žuman ⎮ Ljutomer Trotter Museum and Harness Racing ⎮ Ljutomer General Library Museum ⎮ Local Shop Prlekija ⎮ Wine shop Jeruzalem
Babič mill on the Mura river ⎮ Forest Reserve Babji ložič ⎮ Park of the 1st Political Rally of Slovenes ⎮ General Maister’s Park ⎮ St. John the Baptist’s Church ⎮ Ribniki – Jeruzalemske gorice Landscape Park ⎮ Church of the Sad Mother of God ⎮ Gajševsko lake
Hotel Bioterme Mala Nedelja ⎮ Manor Dvorec Jeruzalem ⎮ Jeruzalem Terasse Resort ⎮ Ranch Jureš ⎮ Garni Hotel Jeruzalem ⎮ Tourist Farm Frank Ozmec ⎮ Tourist Farm Stari Hrast ⎮ Apartments and Tents Silva
Today’s route continues south and west to the ancient, buzzing Ptuj, which is Slovenia’s oldest town. Visitors marvel at Ptuj’s magical lake, buzzing cobbled streets, castles, and festivals showcasing outstanding wine, food, and art.
There is evidence of the city’s settlement as early as the 3rd millennium BC. The Celts left their mark during the Iron Age and then the Romans made this area an important army camp. The middle ages brought stability to the region and made Ptuj what it is today with several of its main buildings and sightseeing attractions already taking key spots of prominence, including the Dominican Monastery, the Minorite Monastery, and the Church of St. George.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Ptuj, which straddles the Drava River, is a magnet for visitors — especially active travelers. A tradition of wellness and spa possibilities along with a full calendar of events make this a premier stop for cyclists along the Slovenia Green Wellness Route.
A great way to start your day is with a stay at the Panorama Bed and Breakfast — with Slovenia Green and EU Ecolabel certifications — for home-grown and home-made food as well as a nice view of town and the castle. From the castle, you’ll see the city and marvelous vistas over the wine-growing hills, the river, fields of Ptuj, and Ptuj Lake. There are a wealth of varied ways to enjoy the region during your cycling stop here, including a visit to the Ptuj Regional Museum, birdwatching, and hiking.
But, don’t forget about the wine. This is staggeringly delicious wine country and a visit to the Ptujska Klet wine cellar is a must. Stay for a tasting and to see the cellar’s collection of thousands of rare bottles of cataloged vintages. Then, reward this big day of discovery with a stay at Terme Ptuj.
At Terme Ptuj, there are multiple categories of accommodation. The Grand Hotel Primus, for instance, offers Romanesque wellness options for facial, body, and massage services as well as thermal baths. The Flavia sauna world and Vespasianus pools are not to be missed. In the summer, guests often gravitate to the large water park (across from the hotel) with an Olympic swimming pool, wave pool, and water slides.
Hotel Primus Roman experience (wellness, swimming pool, sauna) ⎮ Hotel Mitra relaxation at the springs of Millenia ⎮ Circular walking route to Mestni Vrh hill ⎮ Water sports and relaxation at lake Ptuj (bar Ranca, bird observatory)⎮ Coffee place Bodi ⎮ Green lake ⎮ Golf Ptuj ⎮ Observation hill Gomila
Medieval city of Ptuj ⎮ Landscape museum Ptuj-Ormož ⎮ Dominican monastery ⎮ Ptuj wine cellar ⎮ Museum of Janez Puh ⎮ Dornava Manor ⎮ Collection of the traditional Ptuj carnival masks ⎮ Hike to Ptujska gora hill
The next day has the SGWR moving south and west along the Croatian border. There are plenty of attractions as well as great wine and sublime food along the way. From Ptuj, pedal south to reach the town of Rogaška Slatina. This gold-stamped Slovenia Green destination is home to one of the country’s oldest spa sites.
For centuries — the first mention of the springs dates back to 1141 — people have been coming here to heal and relax. The mineral water, which produces the well-known Donat Mg water, has the world’s highest content of magnesium. While strolling down the promenade of Spa Park, you can even visit the Hall of Minear Water to try the renowned mineral water. Later, we recommend a walk to the historical Crystal Hall and a special beauty treatment at Kozmetika Afrodita beauty center.
But, Rogaška Slatina isn’t only about spas and springs. Ana’s Palace Museum shows everything that Rogaška Slatina is known for. There is also a wonderful wine road in the area and the town has a long history of glass production as well. Dating back to 1655, the Rogaška glasswork and the artistry of its creation are some of the most impressive on the planet. For a change of pace, it is always a good idea to visit the Beaver’s Center, which shows the rich nature around Sotla river. For a perfect end of the day, you can visit Rogaška Glassworks to see how crystal glass products are made.
The route then makes its way to Podčetrtek — a town and Slovenia Green Gold destination surrounded by nature, spas, gourmet experiences, and a chance to interact with forest and mountain wildlife in a unique way. Nearly everywhere you turn you will find a different place to try great food and sample wine.
This area is known for numerous attractions, which all fit perfectly with a cyclist’s priorities when the day’s ride is through. For the kids and family, relax at Jelenov greben, a family farm with splendid food and a petting zoo of sorts with around 100 freely roaming deer and mouflons. The Olimje Chocolate Shop is a family-run business that produces some of the best homemade sweets you’re likely to taste. The Kozmus Beekeeping Farm welcomes guests to learn about this incredibly important, gourmet process. And the Terme Olimia Resort, where spas, restaurants, and accommodation exist in one spot, your body will be ready for the next day.
Day 11 of the SGWR rolls down along the Croatian border — following its indentations and undulations all the way to Slovenia’s southeast corner before taking a hard right turn at the town of Dobova. For the next three stages, the route will take on a very river-based theme as it flows along the Sava and then Krka Rivers.
A little over halfway between Podčetrtek and Dobova, in the village of Brezovica in Bizeljsko, make sure to stop in at Repnica Najger. Here, Aljoška Najger Runtas and his family have converted a cave, which was once used to store vegetables like turnips, into a cellar to store their incredible wines grown on the surrounding acres.
Continue onto the Slovenia Green town of Brežice and the adjoining village of Čatež. There’s more to do here than a couple of days will allow, but it is certainly worth giving it a try … or, at least, enjoying as much as possible with a promise to come back later.
Brežice’s old town center is a must. Along your stroll, you’ll see the Town Hall and multiple historic churches. The star of the show is the beautiful Brežice Castle, where you should also visit the Posavje Museum Brežice inside. Finish your tour of town in the incomparable restaurant Ošterija Debeluh.
In the small stretch of land that spans the communities of Brežice, Čatež, and Dobova, all of which are within a short distance from the confluence of the Sava and Krka Rivers, there are two well known wellness and spa centers. Terme Čatež, which has a slew of incredible offerings for the whole family, is known for having the largest waterpark in the region. Just to the east, Terme Paradiso — with its thermal pools, spa center, saunas, and great food — is considered one of the most intimate wellness destinations.
Posavje Museum Brežice ⎮ Mokrice Castle ⎮ Wine Cellar Repnica Najger ⎮ Pišece Castle ⎮ Babič Family Majolica Collection ⎮ Brod na Mostecu ⎮ Brežice town centre – Brežice water tower ⎮ Natural Park Jovsi
Discover Čatež & Brežice
One of the shortest legs takes you to one of the most beautiful stage endings: Kostanjevica na Krki, which is known as Slovenia’s smallest town. Sitting on an island in the middle of the Krka River — which also makes it the only Slovenian town to hold that distinction — this incredibly photogenic destination dates back nearly 1,000 years. The town is also famous for its festivals, its wine country, and as a great place to sample wines and just relax for a while.
No trip to Kostanjevica na Krki, a town of unexpected superlatives, is complete with a visit to the Božidar Jakac Art Museum, which resides in a 13th century Cistercian monastery. Opened in 1974, the museum occupies many rooms inside the mammoth monastery and features artists from both Slovenia and abroad.
After riding 75 percent of the route, Kostanjevica na Krki is the perfect chance to cool off and take in great art. Relax, enjoy this creative wellness and get ready for the last push.
The trail continues along the Krka River to Novo Mesto, the capital of the Dolenjska Region and a magnet for travelers who place a premium on nature, great food, history, and beautiful landscapes. Oh, and by the way, this city is one of the best places in the country to be on a bicycle. The final stage of the Tour of Slovenia, held in June, ends here every year.
While in and around the city, which was founded in the 14th century, make sure to spend time in the historic city center and visit the Dolenjska Museum with its wide-ranging departments: ethnology, archaeology, as well as art, cultural and contemporary history. On the natural end of the spectrum, cyclists can take a break from the saddle to hike, fish in the Krka, and wander across the hills around Trška Gora, one of the country’s most famous wine-growing locales.
After you’ve replenished your mind, head to the Terme Krka in nearby Otočec, where the Otočec Castle Hotel, a Relais & Châteaux establishment sitting on an island in the Krka, will make even the most tired bodies feel rejuvenated. After checking in, amble over the spa, where wellness awaits in the form of saunas and the thermal pool awaits.
And, finally, the coup de grâce: finish your experience at Hiša Fink, a Michelin-starred restaurant and one of the best gastronomic experiences you’ll have anywhere. Run by all-star couple, Damjan and Tanja Fink — who cultivate a family atmosphere with their staff that includes Gregor Kren, Slovenia’s sommelier of the year for 2022 — an afternoon or evening here is worth cycling the route all by itself. The seasonal and local menu — and phenomenal wine list — is a true testament to Novo Mesto, the region, and Slovenia as a whole.
Odprta zidanica walking and cycling trail ⎮ Machov Trail ⎮ Otočec Adventure Park ⎮ Boating and fishing on Krka river (with paddles on Krka in summer, Rudolf’s raft, Green Adventures) ⎮ Wine tasting in the Colnar Wine Cellar ⎮ Rudolf’s Trail ⎮ Trail Slakova ⎮ Golfing at Otočec
Visit Novo Mesto
The next stage takes Slovenia Green Wellness Route riders to Laško, a town often associated with beer. What cyclists will find out — as they pedal north from Novo Mesto along the Krka, Laknica, Hinja, Sava, and finally the Savinja Rivers — is that this region is impossible to define and a haven for wellness seekers of all varieties.
Heading north, the route takes you past Šmarješke Toplice, another phenomenal spa in the Lower Carniola Region. If you are looking to get in an additional health and wellness session, or a spa treatment before continuing along the SGWR, you have found the right place.
You’ll know it when you reach Laško, a Slovenia Green Platinum destination. The famous Laško beer is made here, of course. But there is a common thread between brew and spas: water. As you will have seen cycling here, water is the major theme.
When you stop in town, the first thing you should do is have an ice-cold beer, naturally. Then take a moment to really enjoy the old town center — loaded with churches and beautiful architecture — and the Laško Museum. This is also the time to take a beer tour and have a drink with a brewer.
The other half of Laško’s wellness strengths comes in the form of superior spas and resorts fueled by thermal springs along the Savinja River and in the pristine rolling countryside. Rimske terme, located just south of the town center, is a one-stop location that includes thermal baths, an assortment of massage options, saunas, pools, fitness, and a beauty salon. This incredible resort also has spacious, palatial rooms to sleep as well as restaurants and cafes. Just north of Laško’s center, the Thermana Laško complex has multiple accommodation possibilities, pools, saunas, an Ayurveda center, incredible gastronomy, and medical and therapy facilities.
Let’s have some beer with a brewer ⎮ Escape Room Brewers Gold ⎮ Unlock Laško ⎮ HoneyBrew Laško Tour ⎮ Thermal Baths in the Historic Temple of Rimske terme ⎮ Hum Trail ⎮ Wellness & Culinary based on honey ⎮ Beer wellness experience in Thermana Wellness
The last real riding stage takes us to a trio of must-see destinations, each with its own charm and each a Slovenia Green certified destination.
Celje has long been a key spot for travelers. This is immediately obvious when visiting the Celje Castle, which is Slovenia’s largest medieval castle. Come stand amidst history and learn about it too at some of the many galleries and museums. Then, among the rolling hills and the Savinja River, go make your own history.
To the east, the trail takes cyclists and the SGWR to another stellar stop: Šentjur. This is another destination crisscrossed by rivers — in this case the Voglajna, Pešnica, and Kozarica. Come enjoy the soothing, central square Zgornji trg, and then, if you are ready to really cool off, visit the nearby lake, Slivniško jezero.
West of Celje, cyclists will likely be blown away by Žalec: a town of eco sensibilities and natural beauty. An incredible landscape for growing herbs, plants of all varieties, and hops used for beer, you can feel the green the moment you pedal into the place. Among the most important sites here include The Eco-Museum of Hop-Growing and Brewing Industry in Slovenia, the 2,000-year-old Roman Necropolis, and the Savin House, where musician and general Risto Savin was born.
Visit old castle of Celje ⎮ A green experience in the city of the counts ⎮ Picnic for the countrs at the Old Celje castle ⎮ Treasure hunt Rifnik ⎮ Mill Art Center and Gallery ⎮ Museum of the Southern Railway ⎮ First Beer Fountain in the World ⎮ Hop Trail Hike ⎮ Brewery tour and tasting in Clef Brewery
Visit old castle of Celje ⎮ City forest and its tree house ⎮ Tehnopark Celje ⎮ Lake Slivniško jezero ⎮ The upper Šentjur Square ⎮ The treasure of Rifnik ⎮ Pekel Cave ⎮ Roman Necropolis ⎮ The Eco-Museum of Hops-Growing and Brewing Industry in Slovenia
Restaurant Oštirka ⎮ Restaurant Stari pisker ⎮ A La Carte Restaurant Hotel Evropa ⎮ Restaurant Bohorč ⎮ Mountain Lodge on Resevna ⎮ Urbajs Biodynamic Farm ⎮ Hotel A Restaurant ⎮ Privošnik Restaurant ⎮ Restaurant Galerija okusov
Žalec – In the Land of Green Gold
As the Slovenia Green Wellness Route comes to a close, you have multiple convenient and responsible-tourism-focused options. The first is to continue the ride with another 35 kilometers to Velenje to complete the 16-stage loop. You can then take the train back to Ljubljana. The second is to take the 1.5-hour train directly from Celje to Ljubljana.
Either way, upon your arrival back to the Slovenian capital, make sure to gather your cycling crew for a celebratory drink and toast your incredible accomplishment cycling to some of Europe’s best spas and wellness centers.