Surfing down a loose gravel grade.

Slovenia calling – a fascinating MTB destination in South-Eastern Europe

Sebastian 01. June 2017

Benny and Sebastian travelled to Slovenia and discovered unbeaten trails, cave riding and much more.

It does not always have to be Finale Ligure in Italy or Saalbach-Hinterglemm in Austria. Other destinations also offer fantastic trails and are waiting to be discovered. bc has partnered up with Mountain Bike Holidays to do just that. This time they sent Benny and me to explore Slovenian singletrack and experience the special local hospitality. It was well worthwhile.

Slovenia calling

For many, Slovenia is still not on the map of great mountain biking destinations in Europe. Even more reason for us at bike-components to load up our bikes and see for ourselves. A long day’s drive took us to Koroska, in the Jamnica region behind the Slovenian border with Austria. We were greeted by green pastures and rolling hills in front of Alpine mountains. We found our hotel at the end of a gravel road and off the beaten path. Great, let the adventure begin.

A gravel road takes us to our accommodation.

A gravel road takes us to our accommodation.

Bike and Eco Hotel Koros

Our accommodation, the Bike and Eco Hotel Koros was a rustic farm house run by 3 generations of one big family. The owner, Dixi, who was one of the pioneers of the Slovenian mountain bike scene doubles as a bike guide together with his son, Anej. He opened his hotel before many even knew what mountain biking was. Today, his company Bike Nomad is one of the main operators of guided mountain bike tours in Slovenia.  

 

 

Rustic charm, the Bike and Eco Hotel Koros.

Rustic charm, the Bike and Eco Hotel Koros.

The Bike and Eco Hotel Koros is located in the middle of a small trail park. Most of the routes have been created by Anej and his friends. You can start riding right from the door step and there is great singletrack for all skill levels:

  • 9 All Mountain and Enduro Trails
  • 17 KM of marked singletrack
  • 515 meters of elevation change
  • Guided tours are available

Of course, the surrounding area has even more riding to offer, but we will get to that later.

The view from the hotel.

The view from the hotel.

Aside from its location in the middle of a trail paradise, the Bike and Eco Hotel Koros shines with offers of local and home grown dishes. It’s not just eco in the name. Most of the ingredients are sourced from the surrounding farms. Organic comes natural here.

The surrounding farms produce most of the food served at the hotel.

The surrounding farms produce most of the food served at the hotel.

Guided Tours

Day 1: Getting to know Jamnica

Distance 32,2 km
Elevation Change 1503 m
Clmbing on the bike ca. 1200 m
Duration 4 hrs 45 min.
The guided tour from Day 1.

The guided tour from Day 1.

At 10 am, we set off right from the hotel under clear skies. First, we went up forest gravel road, gaining about 250 meters in elevation. Once we arrived at the highest point, Anej, the guide explained the trail guidelines.

  • When passing through a farm, always go at walking speed
  • Hikers always have the right of way
  • Never lock a wheel
  • Pack out what you pack in
  • When crossing pastures, stay at the outer boundaries, go in single file and try not to damage the grass
Anej lays down the trail guidelines.

Anej lays down the trail guidelines.

Then we started descending, going across some pastures and later passing through a forest. Here the trails became more challenging. Roots, tight 90 degree turns and steep downhill sections had us using all our bike handling skills. Pure trail fun.

Anej and Benny on the trail.

Anej and Benny on the trail.

To save some energy for more descending, we were then shuttled up again by Dixi to enjoy another great descent over pine-needle covered forest trails. Then we pedalled back to the hotel.

Day 2: Enduro riding

We used day two to explore some more trails in the surrounding area. We were accompanied by Anej again and used shuttle support.

Dixi loads our mountain bikes.

Dixi loads our mountain bikes.

After a one hour drive, we arrived in Podbeca. Anej, with 12 years of experience as a bike guide under his belt, showed us some fun and tricky trails featuring a mixture of roots, boulders and tight turns. Slovenian singletrack is everything but boring.

Surfing down a loose gravel grade.

Surfing down a loose gravel grade.

The area has a lot of old mines. The excavated dirt tables form part of the landscape and their loose gravel makes for excellent riding adventures. It’s not unlike deep powder skiing or snow-boarding. A completely new experience for me, what a ride!

The shuttle saved us from quite a few climbs.

The shuttle saved us from quite a few climbs.

After the descent, we were greeted by Dixi and his shuttle. The next run was down flowy trails over flower-lined mountain pastures.

One of the trails on a ridge.

One of the trails on a ridge. © https://www.facebook.com/tomo.jesenicnik

For the rest of the day, we were taken on a tour through an old mine – on our bikes of course. I did not have great expectations for a ride in the dark.

Dixi, Benny, Sebastian and Tomo, the photographer.

Dixi, Benny, Sebastian and Tomo, the photographer.

Man was I wrong. The mixture of impressive domes and side caves in combination with background information and history, made this a great adventure.

Some of the mine shafts are too low to walk upright.

Some of the mine shafts are too low to walk upright. © https://www.facebook.com/tomo.jesenicnik

Day 3: A few more trails

Before hitting the road home again on day three, we wanted to get some more trail fun in. Anej is not just responsible for designing the trails in his own “backyard”, he also partners up with Diddi Schneider. Together they have built the Petzen-Berg Flow Trail. Unfortunately, the top was still snow covered, but we were able to ride about 7 kilometres of this awesome, perfectly shaped trail.

The Petzen-Berg Flow Trail

The Petzen-Berg Flow Trail

In total, it’s 10 kilometres of jumps, turns and pure flow. Be careful though, the trail is fast. Don’t underestimate your speed. This was a great finale for our trip.

The stats of the Flow Trail.

The stats of the Flow Trail.

My verdict for bike Destination Slovenia

Slovenia was definitely worth the trip. Benny and I truly enjoyed the BIKE & ECOHOTEL FARM KOROŠ and the surrounding Jamnica Trail Park. Dixi and Anej are great hosts and treat you like family.  The home grown, homemade organic meals were just the icing on the cake. If you like trail riding off the beaten path through beautiful landscape, Slovenia is for you.

A big Thank You to Mountain Bike Holidays, Dixi and Anej from Bike Nomad

http://www.bike-holidays.com

http://www.bikenomad.com