Postcards from Slovenia #25: Bled – Bohinj by bike

Lakes Bled and Bohinj, twin jewels of the Julian Alps, are linked by the Sava Bohinjka river which flows between them through the breathtakingly beautiful Bohinj Valley. If you enjoy cycling, you might well want to cycle between the two lakes when visiting the area. This post describes the route, including alternatives to using the main road where available.

Note: if you want a safe, easy family bike-ride, I recommend taking your bikes as far as Bohinjska Bistrica by train (from Bled-Jezero station) or by car, and then continuing from here along the Kolesarska Pot (cycle route) as described below. From Bled to Bohinj by the main road, the distance is 30km. From Bohinjska Bistrica to Lake Bohinj by the cycle route, the distance is approximately 6km.

Part 1: Bled – Bohinjska Bistrica

It was Sunday. My family and I were looking for a relaxing family bike ride, so we thought it might be a good idea to cycle between the two lakes. We knew there was a cycle route following the main road for part of the way, so we mistakenly thought there might be a safe cycle route the whole way. We were wrong. The safe cycle route begins at Bohinjska Bistrica. Up to this point, you will be required to cycle on the main road in several sections. This is fine for adults who are used to cycling, as the cars are generally respectful and keep their distance. It is not, however, suitable for young children who are not used to busy roads. That said, we managed to avoid the main road as much as possible using the route described below.

Army Barracks at Bohinjska Bela
  • Section 1: Bled – Bohinjska Bela (6km)
    Take the path around Lake Bled in either direction for magnificent views. We took the anticlockwise path beneath the castle and past the rowing centre. From the head of the lake, a small road leads up to emerge above the near-abandoned Pristava building (originally intended as a Court Stables and used as a Communist housing block during Tito’s time). From here the only option is the main road for about 500m, after which a marked cycle route on the right runs parallel to the main road as far as the turn-off for Bohinjska Bela. This charming village has a picturesque church, a cafe with small playground and a mini-supermarket, so makes a good place to take a short break.
  • Section 2: Bohinjska Bela – Nomenj (10.5km)
    Follow the road through the village and down towards the Army Barracks (Vojašnica) which are still in use by the Slovene Army. If you stop for too long to take photos (as we did) you may be questioned by a suspicious member of Army staff!
    Continue along this minor road with very little traffic through the hamlet of Obrne to emerge back onto the main road close to the Sava Bohinjka bridge. There is a car park beside the bridge and tracks offering access to the river for a secluded and picturesque picnic spot should you wish to stop here. The next section of cycling via the main road is often busy, and the traffic is fast, but unfortunately cannot be avoided. The next place where you can turn off the main road is Nomenj, another small village en route to Bohinjska Bistrica. Turn right when you see the signpost and follow the minor road through the village.
  • Section 3: Nomenj – Bohinjska Bistrica (6km)
    You can follow the minor road from Nomenj as far as Log, where it once again emerges onto the main road. Continue along the main road until you see a church on your left, Cerkev Marijinega vnebozetja, which I am convinced means ‘The Church of Mary of the Terrified Cyclist.’ From here you can turn right along the gravel road through the field past the church and soon you will reach the marked Kolesarska Pot which leads through Bohinjska Bistrica all the way to Lake Bohinj.

Part 2: Bohinjska Bistrica – Lake Bohinj

Cycle Route along the Sava Bohinjka

Up to this point, the family bike ride may have passed through much beautiful scenery, but it certainly wasn’t relaxing due to the sections of busy road as described above. If you are a seasoned road biker, you may prefer to take the main road all the way, but the only parts I enjoyed were the detours on minor roads. From here on in, however, the cycling is along a delightful purpose-built cycle path completely separate from the main road, with only one steep hill to climb.

There are plenty of places to eat and drink in Bohinjska Bistrica: if you like sweet treats, you’ll love Štrudl, a cafe specialising in apple strudels and homemade teas. The Planika bakery makes a handy re-fuelling point if you want to grab a quick bite to eat. Incidentally, it used to be a petrol station. Now it provides fuel to hungry cyclists.

Once you have refuelled in the town centre, return to the Kolesarska Pot near Camp Danica and enjoy the gentle ride along the path of the Sava Bohinjka. After one steep climb, it is plain sailing down to emerge at Stara Fužina close to the lake. Here there are further food and drink options including the delightful Majer’ca restaurant where you can eat lunch in the hotel garden whilst taking in the stunning mountain views. Continue for a short way downhill to the lake along the marked cycle route. Now is the time to take a well-earned rest and relax (or even take a dip in the lake!) before making the return journey. Alternatively, you can take your bike back to Bled via train from Bohinjska Bistrica, as we most gratefully did.

For more pictures from this cycle route, check out my Instagram page, and stay tuned for more Postcards from Slovenia.

Srečno pot!

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