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Rivers, Lakes & Canyons Route


This route passes through some of the most uninhabited places in Slovenia & Croatia and accommodation is minimal in these areas. So for those with groups looking to book this route, please reserve your places early. 

Departure: any day from March till June and from September till October

Duration: 1 week plus

The Rivers, Lakes & Canyons Route is suitable for all cycling abilities as routes can be tailor made for individuals or groups requirements. This tour is a favourite of nature lovers and for those who like to swim in clean natural water, or for those who just like to dip their toes....

Day 1 - Arrival - Ilirska Bistrica.

Welcome to your Simply Cycling Slovenia Holiday Rivers, Lakes & Canyons Route. If you are to be collected from the airport, you will be driven to Ilirska Bistrica, which is a small city in the Southern part of Slovenia. Today is a day for relaxing and settling in. Your bikes will be waiting, cleaned, oiled and ready to go. We will have a brief meeting to discuss your routes and your capabilities so that we can adapt any routes to your needs. Our self-guiding tourists will be introduced to their Garmin GPS system and maps

Day 2 - Ilirska Bistrica to Osilnica.

Today we shall leave fabulously situated tourism farm, say a sad farewell to a lovely family. After the most picturesque yet sharp climb, we enter the forests between Slovenia and Croatia. When I first rode and developed this tour I saw huge bear footprints in the snow. Not to worry, bears like to keep their distance and snow is only possible in winter. This is the most unpopulated part of the tour. Views are stunning; we are on and off road but good quality. After climbing steadily, we cross into Slovenia and its downhill for a long time all the way to yet another superb and totally different place to eat drink and sleep like a log!

Day 3 - Osilnica to Dragatus.

Today we shall follow the cycling path that runs directly along the Kolpa left hand riverbank (Slovenian side). This is a superb trip with plenty of paddling or swimming opportunities. The water of the clear, warm river Kolpa reaches a temperature of 30° in its lowland section. The view extends from waterfalls, karst sinkholes and other characteristic features to colourful fields and stands of birch trees known as “steljniki”. Natural and cultural heritage is with you at every step! This heritage enjoys special protection in the Kolpa Nature Park. Welcome to a little piece of paradise in Slovenia!

Day 4 - Dragatus to Ogulin (Croatia)

Today we ride through lush fields down to the river Kolpa and into Croatia. See how the land changes yet so still quiet and beautiful, rural life at its most natural and unchanged. However for people who are into legends and fairy tales we shall be exploring castle town of Ogulin. It was founded in a large valley formed by two rivers: Dobra and Zagorska Mrežnica. The town’s history dates back to the 15th century and wars with the Ottoman Turks. Ogulin is also known for the witches of Klek. This mountain so inspired folklore imagination that the locals created numerous ghoulish tales and legends about it. In the 17th century – the legend about the witches of Klek was first written down. This legend says that witches, fairies, and elves from all around the world gather in Klek during stormy nights. The town was also an inspiration for the most famous Croatian fairy tales writer – Ivana Brlić Mažuranić.

Day 5 - Ogulin to Plitvice.

Today’s ride makes you wonder how such a beautiful peaceful and gentlest of people could have had such a not too distant and bloody past. You can still see amongst the pretty and quaint villages a large amount of devastation from that time only 20 years ago ... If you read reviews about Croatia as a holiday destination you will probably have read about Plitvice Lakes as many visitors to Croatia say that the lakes are the highlight of their holiday.

Day 6 - Explore Plitvicka Lakes.

Today we will explore the lakes. You will not be disappointed - simply breath taking nature at its ultimate best! The exquisite series of 16 emerald green and opal blue travertine lakes, more than 90 waterfalls and numerous caves make Plitvice Lakes National Park a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The lakes are surrounded by beech and pine forests and are home to extensive wildlife. There is no car traffic on the paved roads, and the surrounding is pure natural, peaceful and romantic. Our tour will take us to Proscansko Lake, which is the highest and second largest of the 16 lakes in the park. It is from here that the waterfalls and other lakes cascade down, culminating in the park’s largest lake, Jezero Kozjak. After a picnic lunch, we will cycle along the Black River to its source and explore the area on foot. CLICK HERE for a musical taste of what to expect.

Day 7 - Plitvicka Lakes to Karlovac.

Today still in Croatia we shall cycle and hug the Bosnian border, if we take a small diversion, we can cross into Bosnia and have a drink or lunch. Outstanding views and oh the people so friendly and open. This is not a tourist trail – you are seeing Croatia Bosnia and Slovenia for real!

Day 8 - Departure day.

At this stage in your holiday, you are welcome to extend your cycling tour, or if you wish, we can arrange transfers or accommodation for you, to where ever you may be going.
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