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Gorenjska region - Almost Paradise

Discover the diverse landscape of part of Slovenia through which the L'Etape Slovenia route passes.

Gorenjska, a mountainous Alpine region in the north and northwest of Slovenia, is among the economically and touristic most developed regions of Slovenia. The route of the L'Etape race also "visits" many natural, economic, and tourist attractions of this otherwise very diverse Slovenian region.


Discover hidden treasures in the places along the route

Taking a quick look at “hidden treasures” in the places along the route and in the surrounding areas, in the eleven municipalities through which cyclists will race this year, there is indeed a lot to see or at least admire from a distance.

Experience Kranj, the European Destination of Excellence 2023

Starting with Kranj, the central venue with start and finish of L'Etape Slovenia cycling rides, which has been the third-largest Slovenian city for several years (with just under 38,000 inhabitants). Cyclists will be able to admire both the natural and historical beauties of the Gorenjska capital and its surroundings. Kranj, which was the first capital of the Slovenes in the 8th century, was settled as early as the Iron Age but flourished in the mid-13th century when it gained town privileges. In the 19th century, thanks to great men such as France Prešeren (his tomb is in the town cemetery, nowadays a memorial park named after him - Prešeren Grove), Simon Jenko, and Ivan Tavčar, as well as the early-established Prešeren Theatre (1902), it experienced a cultural awakening. Among the main city attractions are Khislstein Castle, Pungert, Layer's House, Prešeren's House, Main Square, Blacksmith's Shop, Kranj Grammar School (the first in Slovenia), and the city canyon of the Kokra River. Kranj is home to another of our top cyclists today, Luka Mezgec.

In 2023 Kranj was awarded as the European Destination of Excellence and recommended by Guardian as a place to travel to as one of the “Sustainable city break – with a canyon".

>> Discover Kranj

Škofja Loka, a novelty on this year's L'Etape Slovenia route

Škofja Loka, a novelty on this year's L'Etape Slovenia route, takes cyclists through one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Slovenia. High above Škofja Loka stands the beautiful Škofja Loka Castle from the 13th century, and below it, in the old town center, we find the Upper and Lower Square (with famous buildings such as the Granary, the Church of St. Jacob, the Ursuline Monastery, and the Homan House) and the Capuchin Monastery with the manuscript of the Škofja Loka Passion Play, the oldest Slovenian dramatic text.

A slightly flatter part of the route where it pays to ride in a group for better lee side

In the slightly flatter part of the route, cyclists will be drawn to recreational areas in the Medvode municipality, such as Lake Zbilje for boating and the confluence of the Sava and Sora rivers. Nearby, on Mount Katarina, there is the beautiful Church of St. James, a traditional destination for many hikers from Ljubljana. Medvode also proudly boast as the Slovenian Mesopotamia due to its unique location at the confluence of two rivers.

Vodice, the beauty and colorfulness of untouched nature

With a view to mount Šmarna Gora, an even more popular hill for local outdoor enthusiasts the cyclists will ride towards Vodice. Here, in the Vodice municipality, stand out Šinkov Turn Castle with its walls and the Repnje Monastery, which is also the birthplace of one of the greatest European linguists of the 19th century, Jernej Kopitar.

>> The beauty and picturesqueness of unspoiled nature

Through Tadej Pogačar's hometown to the foot of the first mountain pass

The name Komenda initially became known in the nearby and distant surroundings due to the local hippodrome and equestrianism, but in recent years, it has also become recognizable due to the world's best cyclist Tadej Pogačar, who comes from this sprawling village with around 900 inhabitants. This year, the L'Etape route passes through Komenda as in its first edition.

Šenturška Gora, the first mountain climb with a ride through the towns of the Kamnik municipality

The next municipality to be visited is Kamnik, whose center is another beautiful medieval town in Slovenia with a castle, under which lie numerous cultural and religious monuments, and nearby, even more natural beauties from Velika Planina with its famous shepherds' huts and Snovik Thermal Spa to the Arboretum Volčji Potok, the most visited botanic garden in Slovenia. The route also passes through Tunjice, which are considered one of the many energy points in Slovenia and where there is a natural healing grove, especially known for its living water. So, breathe deeply here and provide enough oxygen to your muscles, as the route approaches the first mountain climb to Šenturška Gora. This segment is marked at 49 km and is 5.8 km long with an average gradient of 5.3%, a category of difficulty: 2. The climb is serpentine, a relatively easier way for many cyclists to overcome elevation. At the top – well deserved: the first refreshment station.

>> Kamnik - home for cyclists

From under Krvavec to Cerklje na Gorenjskem

By climbing to Šenturška gora you are already in Cerklje na Gorenjskem municipality, which usually attracts either skiers to Krvavec, one of the most popular Slovenian ski resorts, or travelers to Brnik, the largest airport in the country. After the first mountain pass follows a flat, a very panoramic section overlooking the entire Ljubljana Basin sheltered by the slopes of Krvavec. The descent, relatively steep and straight, with few bends, so caution is advised!

A diverse section through the towns of Šenčur and Preddvor to the sprint segment

The route leads to Šenčur, a very economically oriented municipality with many private individuals and companies, slightly further north is Preddvor with Lake Črnjava, the Dvor and Turn Castles, and a host of well-kept cycling paths that rarely run flat due to the nearby peaks. A beautiful part of the route runs at the foot of Storžič, which at 2,132 meters is the highest mountain in the western part of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. The route then makes a detour past the headquarters of the Football Association of Slovenia and the ceremonial estate of Brdo pri Kranju. Nearby is the sprint segment on the Brdo–Predoslje route, at 73.5 km. The route then continues to Kranj, where the short-distance (Ride) cyclists head to the finish line, while the long-distance cyclists continue.

>> Preddvor offers numerous active experiences in tranquil nature

Podblica, a 2nd mountain climb and a place with a unique atmosphere in the spirit of the Tour de France

In the Kranj municipality area is the hamlet of Podblica, the home of our ambassador and one of the best world cyclists of today, Matej Mohorič. The climb starts in Nemilje at 93.5 km and is 6.7 km long with an average gradient of 5.9% and a 2nd difficulty category. A more demanding climb for many, as longer sections are steeper (up to 17%) and less serpentine. At the top of the climb, deservedly: the second refreshment station. Before the climb, the route passes through Besnica, where another Slovenian cycling ace and now a coach Tadej Valjavec was born.

>> Podblica, a place where cycling high above the ground is fun

Jamnik, with its exceptional location under Jelovica, rewards with beautiful panorama and a technical descent to Kropa

To the end of the longer route (Race) await very picturesque places in the municipalities of Radovljica (locally known as Radol'ca) and Tržič; many boast an exceptionally rich natural and cultural heritage. Radovljica is also a medieval town with walls and a beautiful old town, famous for its resident, the playwright and historian from the 18th century, Anton Tomaž Linhart.

But the L'Etape Slovenia route doesn't pass through its city center; instead, it offers a breathtaking serpentine descent to Kropa, where the coolness of the beautiful forest, rocks, and waters can be felt even on the hottest day. The forging past has shaped today's image of the monument-protected town center, so be careful! Cycle here with open eyes, as the image of blacksmithing is unique – in the town center, you are greeted by magnificent smithy houses, water barriers, and thresholds on the rushing Kroparica stream, the lower foundry pond, and the uniquely preserved Vigenjc Vice.

Route will take us through Begunje, the birthplace of the Avsenik family, whose brothers founded a folk music group in the 1950s, which to this day remains the most successful Slovenian music group of all time, having sold more than 30 million copies of records and tapes. Just before the visit to the next municipality, Tržič, there is also Kamen Castle near the route, at the entrance to the Draga Valley, with picturesque ruins of the Lamberk Counts Castle on a rocky promontory.

"Under the mountains" through the towns of Tržič and the conclusion of the cycling loop with the finish in Kranj

After the last visited municipality Tržič where it is worth seeing the Dovžan Gorge, a natural monument with numerous educational trails: geological, forest, mountain, climbing, with a unique deposit of remains of fossilized plant and animal life in rocks of the ancient Earth era – Paleozoic, an old town center of Tržič, the Path of Three Bells, and the linden, over 500 years old; the cycling caravan returns to Kranj, thus concluding the journey through beautiful Gorenjska.

Before that – the route sets off from Zapuže on the famous road called "under the mountains", another part of the route that runs in the depths of the hills, below Dobrča. The climb is shorter, located at 116 km, 2.5 km long with an average gradient of 2.2%, category of difficulty: 4. When it "leans a little" at a certain height, the route rewards with beautiful panoramic views of the entire land of Carniola.

>> Tržič: Discover a crowdless paradise on two wheels

Discover Slovenia - watch >> video playlist << about hidden treasures of some of the municipalities through which places L'Etape Slovenia route takes place.

Photos: Sportida, Slovenian Tourist Board