Bled has been on our travel bucket list for a very long time, so when we planned a family vacation to Slovenia and Austria, visiting Bled was a must. As a family who loves outdoor adventures, we started looking to see what family-friendly activities there are around Bled. We were very excited to discover the Slovenia Family Cycling Tour throughout the Julian Alps offered by Life Bike.
We love working with companies who make family adventures easy and fun, so we teamed up with Life Bike to go on this amazing family cycling tour around Bled. Unlike many self-guided biking tours which require you to sleep in a new hotel each night, we loved that this family-friendly cycling tour allows you to stay in the same Bled hotel or apartment every night.
Sleeping in the same place every night is so nice when traveling with kids. We loved waking in a familiar place each morning before heading out to enjoy the breathtaking views of the mountains of the Julian Alps.
We loved our self-guided family-friendly Slovenia bike tour around Bled. We’re grateful to Life Bike for sharing their 20+ years of Slovenia cycling experience with us and creating this awesome family cycling adventure. As local experts, Life Bike shared with us the very best family-friendly bike trails in the Julian Alps near Bled.
Family-Friendly Slovenia Bike Tour
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Benefits of a Self-Guided Family Cycle Tour
To be honest, we don’t love the restrictive nature of typical guided tours, so the concept of an independent self-guided bike tour of Slovenia is a perfect adventure trip for families like us. We love that self-guided cycling tours allow our family to travel at our own pace, allowing us to focus our time and attention on the things we want to see and do in the Julian Alps. The best part is that Life Bike makes our family holiday super-easy and enjoyable by providing all the equipment and logistical support we need.
The benefits you can expect on a Life Bike self-guided family cycling tour are:
Detailed Route Maps
For each day of your family cycling holiday you will receive a detailed route map of your route on an easy to use smartphone app. Using the provided handlebar mount made it stress-free to use our phones to follow the exact routes for each of our daily family cycling trips around the Bled area.
Tip: Having GPS navigation on our phones was a huge benefit for our family biking tour. One thing to be aware of is that keeping your screen on for extended amounts of time can use lots of battery life on your phone. We carried a power bank with us each day, allowing us to recharge our phones while we stopped for lunch.
Chances are you will not need it, but Life Bike is there to help just in case you need it.
Cycling Tour Equipment
We were very happy with the bike gear that Life Bike provided for our family cycle tour in Slovenia. We appreciated having panniers to carry our gear and the well-stocked repair kit in case of a minor incident along the way.
Cycling Gear for the Adults
If you choose, you may bring your own bike on this family-friendly Slovenia bike tour, but coming all the way from Canada, we elected to rent bikes. Unlike many cycling tours, this Slovenia cycling tour by Life Bike includes a high quality Trek DS touring bike rental in the cost of the tour. We also appreciated that Life Bike also provides helmets, as these would have taken up an enormous amount of room in our luggage.
While we prefer pedal our bikes, e-bikes are also available for an additional charge (ages 16+ only).
Cycling Gear for the Kids
Life Bike takes good care of the kids too, with a good selection of bike sizes to choose from. Our son is at the point where he is in-between bike sizes, so we appreciated the ability for him to try a few different sizes of bikes at the Life Bike offices. This ensured he had a properly sized bike which he’d be able to enjoy for the duration of our family cycling adventure. He ended up riding a 20″ bike, while our daughter enjoyed her 24″ bike.
Slovenia Cycling Tour Accommodations
As part of their Family Cycling Holiday in Slovenia tour, Life Bike provides either 4 nights in a 3* hotel or a self-catered apartment. When we travel with our kids, we usually try to stay in a vacation rental instead of a hotel as we like having a kitchen, laundry, etc. So, we were really happy to hear that Life Bike was putting us up in a self-catered apartment.
The selection of apartments around Bled is staggering, so the chances of you getting the same one as us is small, so I won’t go into many specifics, but I will say we enjoyed many things about our Bled apartment.
We liked that our Bled apartment was newly renovated and very clean. It had two bedrooms, plus a pull-out couch, so everyone had their own place to sleep (having well rested kids is very important on an active family vacation such as this!).
Given the active nature of our family holiday, we appreciated having a washing machine to clean our sweaty clothes. In addition, having our own kitchen helped us eat healthy meals, while keeping our costs down (vs eating at restaurants every night).
The location of our Bled apartment was towards the far end of the lake, so it was much quieter than the craziness of town. Anytime we needed to go to town, it was just a short bike ride to get there, so we had the best of everything. Best of all, it was just minutes away from the Bled-Jezero train station which we used several times during our Julian Alps cycling tour.
Our Family Cycling Holiday in Slovenia
Day 1 of our Family Cycling Tour in Slovenia
Cycling Around Bled
Unlike many multi-day tours, where the first day of your trip is simply an arrival day without any scheduled activities, Life Bike has arranged for an introductory cycling tour around Lake Bled and area.
We spent most of Day 1 travelling by bus from Bovec, Slovenia to the Life Bike offices in Lesce, so we arrived a little too late in the day to enjoy the scenic cycling path around the lake.
Thankfully, we had previously spent some time in Bled at the start of our family hiking tour through the Julian Alps, so we had already visited the Vintgar Gorge and the Bled Olympic Rowing Center. The only thing we hadn’t seen was the Bled Castle, which we visited a a few days later.
Day 2 of our Kid-Friendly Slovenia Cycling Tour
Cycling Bled to Radovljica
We were very exciting to wake up on our first day of real cycling on our Slovenia bike trip. The sun was shining and we were ready and rarin’ to go!
We began our day from our self-catered apartment near the far end of Lake Bled. We passed the Bled – Jezero train station before beginning a fun, effortless descent down to the shoreline pathway which circumnavigates Lake Bled.
It had been about a week since we walked around Lake Bled, so it was exciting to be on the trail again – this time on bikes! As with our previous visit, it’s so much fun to watch the ever-changing views of the iconic St. Mary’s Church on Bled Island as we cycled along.
As we neared the old town of Bled, the pathway started to get quite busy, but we were able to cycle slowly and work our way through the many people enjoying the breathtaking views. When we reached the bottom of Straza Mountain (where the Bled mountain coaster is), we left the crowds and turned on a quiet road away from the lake.
After about a minute of cycling through some quaint houses, we left town and entered a stunning countryside, with scenery worthy of a postcard. As we cycled past old barns, drying racks and corn fields, we stopped and remarked how Bled gets all the attention, and just minutes away from the action, the scenery gets so incredibly beautiful.
As we started cycling again, we were shocked to see a stork swoop across the sky in front of us and land in the adjacent field. We saw plenty of storks on our self-guided Alsace family cycling tour in France the previous summer, so we were very excited to see a stork here too!
In the days leading up to our self-guided family cycling tour around Bled, we spent a few days in Bovec with kids. During this time, Slovenia got a tremendous amount of rain. We were fortunate that our wasn’t materially impacted by it, but we could see evidence of the rain on our Day 2 bike ride.
As we cycled along the shores of the Sava River, there were sections of the trail that were a little underwater. We had a lot of fun and laughs as we cycled through the big puddles. The Sava River is supposed to have good swimming spots, but not after all of the rain – the river was very high and powerful, a sight to see!
The cycling trail leading up to the town of Radovljica was especially nice, through a forest and Sava River flowing powerfully on our left. The path into Radovljica was pretty steep, requiring our kids to walk their bikes for portions, but we all made it up ok.
Radovljica is a beautiful hidden gem, living in the shadow of the tourist powerhouse of Bled. We stopped and walked around for a bit, before we rode our bikes in search of lunch. Our kids have learned to love kebab’s on our family holiday to Slovenia, so we cycled a little out of our way to Pekarna & Kebab Radovljica, where we all enjoyed tasty kebabs for lunch.
Cycling Radovljica to Breg
A few kilometers outside of Radovljica and we were once again on a charming country road. The land around us alternated between fields of mature corn stalks and open grazing fields. From this vantage point, it feels like we are being hugged by the mountains of the Julian Alps in all directions.
As we approached the town of Breg, we heard our daughter squeal, which could only mean one thing… a cute animal to pet. This time it was a field with several beautiful black horses, which of course meant that we had to stop to pet them on the nose. We really should start cycling with a bag of carrots for all the times our daughter stops to pet cute animals!
Cycling Breg to Bled
As we left the charming, sleepy town of Breg, we stopped at a spot where we could enjoy a beautiful elevated vista of the Bled area. We could see the Bled Castle in the distance and the Sava River in the foreground. Then, in a sudden crazy surprise, a person on a zipline went whizzing by above us!
The road beyond the vista was a long downhill winding its way through a dense forest towards the Sava River. After ascending the hill on the opposite side of the Sava River valley, it was a quick ride to the bike paths leading to our Bled apartment.
What a great first day of cycling around Bled with our kids!
Day 3 – Slovenia Family Cycling Tour
Train from Bled – Jezero to Bohinjska Bistrica
There’s something just really fun about taking your bike on a train. I think it’s because traveling by train is already such a great way to travel around Europe with kids, so the added nuance of taking your bike on a family biking adventure makes it that much better!
As we waited for our morning train at the Bled – Jezero train station, I was a little worried seeing the number of cyclists there – would there be enough room for all our bikes? I needn’t have worried – there was a special train car just for bikes with plenty of room. It was nice seeing all the cyclists helping each other load and unload the bikes from the train car – people were especially helpful with our kids’ bikes.
Cycling from Bohinjska Bistrica to Lake Bohinj
After disembarking from the train in Bohinjska Bistrica, we began our daily self-guided family cycling adventure with a quick jaunt through town. Some of the roads had a bit of traffic on them, but there are sidewalks available if required.
Once we left Bohinjska Bistrica, we began a beautiful stretch of cycling. We crossed the Sava River (the same river from the day before, just a lot further upstream) and entered a valley filled with beautiful meadows. The mountains of the Julian Alps hug the meadows on all sides, rustic old huts and barns litter the fields, and there must have been several million wildflowers (no exaggeration!)
After the first stretch of meadows, we cycled through a forest along the shores of the Sava River. The landscape started to get a little rockier through this stretch, with rocky cliffs appearing next to the trail.
Emerging from the forest, we stopped at a field with two full grown horses and a cute little foal. Our daughter can never resist the chance to pet a horse, so she walked up to the fence. Given what a family-friendly cycling trail this is, the horses must be used to being pet by children, so the second our daughter was standing at the fence, the horses came over to see her. The adult horses liked being pet, but the foal was still a little shy.
At the 8 km / 5 mile mark of our family bike trip, we crossed a bridge and were greeting by throngs of tourists. After such a pleasant bike ride through the open meadows, it was a bit of culture shock, but it didn’t take long before we once again left the crowds behind.
Cycling along Lake Bohinj
The crowds appeared as we were nearing the shores of Lake Bohinj. As we got our first glimpse, we slowed down (along with everyone else), to get a good look at the natural beauty of this stunning alpine lake.
Leaving the popular lakeshore area behind, we started cycling on a gravel path which follows the shoreline of Lake Bohinj. It’s a bit of a shame that the road was in-between the bike path and the lake as the traffic put a bit of a damper on our feeling of being out in nature. But, it’s easy enough to tune out the occasional traffic and focus on the beauty of the lake and the mountains beyond as you cycle towards the far end of Lake Bohinj.
At the far end of Lake Bohinj, we crossed a bridge over the Savica River, which flows into the lake. The river water was such an incredible emerald green, that we just had to stop for a better look.
The breathtaking views from the far end of Lake Bohinj were satisfying, knowing that we had just reached the halfway point of our family biking trip for the day. Voket Mountain was looming large overhead on the left, while we watched a family of ducks swimming past.
Cycling from Lake Bohinj to Bohinjska Bistrica
The first half of our family bike ride was very subtly uphill. So subtle, that outside of a few rolling hills, it was barely noticeable. But our bike ride back to Bohinjska Bistrica was super fun as it was easy downhill cycling nearly the entire way. Our children loved the easy cycling as we rode back along Lake Bohinj and through the stunning meadows to the train station.
The cycling was so easy, that we were quite early for our train. We stopped at Gostilnica Štrudl, which was recommended by Life Bike, to try some schmorn (a tasty Slovenian dessert), but sadly the kitchen was closed the day we were there. So, we circled back to another bakery we had passed and bought some savory pastries and some sweets to eat while we waited for our train back to Bled – Jezero train station.
We finished our self-guided family bike ride at Lake Bohinj early enough that we still had time for some more sightseeing. Given we missed out on some of the top Bled attractions on Day 1 of our Slovenia family cycling tour, we decided to ride our bikes to see the Bled Castle.
It’s a bit of a climb up a series of steps to the Bled Castle, but you are instantly rewarded with incredible views of Lake Bled. The views of Lake Bled from Bled Castle were almost as good as the view from the Ojstrica Viewpoint trail (but the viewpoint was better).
The Bled Castle is amazing to look at, perched up on a rocky hill next to Lake Bled. The castle is also fun to visit, but it’s pretty small. The simple museum has a few interesting things for children, like old rusted swords, a suit of armor, etc.
Given its small size, it didn’t take long to visit Castle Bled, but that’s ok as our kids deserved a little downtime after two great days of cycling through the Slovenian Alps around Bled.
Day 4 – Family Cycling Trip Around Bled
Train from Bled Jezero to Jesenice
As mentioned yesterday, we love taking our bikes on trains, so we were excited to go for another train adventure today. This time we loaded our bicycles onto a train destined for Jesenice. Today we were the only cyclists on the train for the short journey.
Cycling Jesenice to Mojstrana
After unloading our bicycles at the Jesenice train station, we hit the road. Our family cycling journey started with a quick ride from the train station out of town. Although Jesenice is a small city, we were able to ride on wide sidewalks and dedicated bike paths the entire way. There were no traffic worries at all getting to the countryside.
After 2.4 km / 1.5 miles we were out of Jesenice and on a dedicated, wide paved biking path. The entire route today is along the Sava River valley, with mountains hugging us in on both sides. The scenery alternated between forested areas and meadows, with many interesting old buildings and drying racks along the way. Sometimes, we’d also get close to the Sava River, which was still flowing powerfully from the recent rains.
At the 7 km / 4.3 mile mark, we reached the first of the two main hills on our self-guided bike ride today. The hills are reasonably short, but have a grade of 15 – 17%, so we were huffing and puffing by the time we reached the top. Our kids had to take a break on the way up, but they were able to pedal the entire way without walking their bikes.
Beyond these two hills, the cycling trail is a steady, but almost imperceptible incline. This section of the track used to be an old railway line which has since been converted to a paved biking path. Our family loves cycling on old railway tracks as you are guaranteed that the slope will never be too steep.
Cycling Mojstrana to Kranjska Gora
Around halfway through our bike ride to Kranjska Gora, we cycled through the small, charming town of Mojstrana. I really enjoyed the interesting woodwork on the buildings as we rode through town.
For much of this leg of our self-guided bike ride to Kranjska Gora, the bike path followed along the border to the Triglav National Park. As we neared our destination, the mountains just kept getting bigger and bigger, and more rocky and dramatic. It was a pretty cloudy day, but we were treated to a few instances where the clouds lifted and we could see some of the dramatic mountain peaks of the national park.
The cycling trail to Kranjska Gora got noticeably busier as we neared the town. There’s lots of picnic tables along this stretch of trail, in case you are interested in packing a lunch. Our daughter was excited when we passed a field with more horses in it, but they were too far away to make an effort to pet them. Although the horses didn’t work out, we were lucky enough to see a cute little roe deer in the forest!
After nearly 3 hours and 25 km / 15 miles of reasonably easy cycling, we arrived in Kranjska Gora. We had passed through Kranjska Gora few days prior after finishing our hut-to-hut hiking tour in the Julian Alps. It was a quick layover, but we were stunned by the beauty of this Slovenian mountain resort town, so we were very excited that our self-guided bike tour brought us back.
After an amazing effort by our children to cycle all the way to Kranjska Gora, we were all famished. We locked up our bikes in the main town square and walked over to Alebon for some lunch. Celine and our daughter had kebabs, our son had a massive hot dog, while I gave in to my cevapcici sandwich addiction.
Then we walked over to Lucka to treat ourselves to some ice cream. Lucka is a lot of fun as it is a self-serve ice cream shop. You buy the cup, then you can make you own ice cream sundaes, choosing from a wide variety of ice cream flavors and toppings. It was a fun way to reward the kids for a great job on their bikes.
Cycling from Kranjska Gora to Jesenice
Despite the slope on the way to Kranjska Gora being almost imperceptible, you sure can notice the downhill slope on the way back! We had a ton of fun as we cycled back to Jesenice – the riding was so fast and easy, we started racing each other, having lots of laughs along the way. It took us an hour less to get back to Jesenice, than it took us to get to Kranjska Gora!
What a great day of family cycling! It was a long day, and our kids each set a new personal distance record of 50 km / 31 miles. We’re grateful for the flat terrain and relatively easy bike path, which allowed them to set their new personal distance records, building their confidence and setting the stage for even more family cycling adventures in the future.
Day 5 – Final Day of our Family Cycle Tour Around Bled
Cycling from Bled to Triglav National Park
Day 5 is the final day on our Slovenia family cycling tour itinerary, but as with Day 1, there is an optional bike ride available. Given how much we’ve enjoyed our self-guided family bike rides around the Julian Alps so far, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do one more.
Our final bike ride took us west of Lake Bled towards Triglav National Park. It didn’t take us long to get into the countryside from our Bled apartment, and as usual, the scenery was immediately impressive. I just love the combination of green meadows intermixed with rolling hills and the Slovenian Alps that is so common in the Bled countryside.
Thankfully the scenery was nice as it distracted us from a reasonably challenging hill just outside of Bled. Over the course of 1 km / 0.6 miles we gained about 70 m / 230 feet in elevation. It was a challenge for the kids, but with a few breaks to look at some cute cats and kittens, they were able to pedal the entire way themselves.
We got a well deserved flat section after the first hill. The quiet country road we were cycling on was following along the bottom of a series of rocky hills. The break was just long enough for us to rest our legs, so we could tackle the second (and final) big climb of the day. The second hill was about the same difficulty level as the first – everyone was able to make it without walking their bikes.
As we neared the village of Krnica, the views of the Bled valley below were stunning.
Triglav National Park to Lake Kreda
After 7.3 km / 4.5 miles of cycling with our kids, we arrived at Triglav National Park. At this point, we entered the bottom of a stunning mountain valley, which we followed all the way to Lake Kreda.
As with every other moment we’ve spent in Triglav National Park during our family vacation to Slovenia, the scenery was truly stunning. The Radovna River was our constant companion through Triglav National Park. It’s translucent emerald green color was so captivating that we stopped many times simply to admire it.
The meadows at the valley bottom are typical of the Slovenian countryside. Old huts and drying racks are interspersed in between fields with millions of wildflowers. Every now and then, the meadows would be replaced with lush, dense forest with brilliant green mossy carpets.
At the 14 km / 8.5 mile mark, we stopped to look at the remains of an old building along with a memorial statue. This memorial site is what was left after the Germans burned a village to the ground in World War 2. The large memorial listed the names of all the victims. A somber site indeed, but a good opportunity to talk to our kids about the realities of war.
Just beyond the burned out old building, we reached the small, but charming Lake Kreda. We had planned to have a picnic lunch at the lake, but were quite surprised to find it fenced off with a private property sign. That’s a bit odd for a national park… So, we went back to the WWII memorial and had our lunch on a bench.
What to Pack on a Family Cycling Trip
In addition to your bike clothing, we recommend you bring the following with you each day on your Julian Alps family cycling trip:
- A small travel first aid kit. You never know when an accident will happen, so having a small first aid kit will help with the minor scrapes you many get along the way.
- A handlebar mount for your phone allows you to easily navigate your way through this family-friendly cycling trip.
- A sweat resistant sports sunscreen.
- Bug spray. To be honest, we didn’t notice any mosquitos on our cycling adventures around the Julian Alps, but it never hurts to have a small bottle with you. You’ll be glad to have it if you need it.
- A cycling backpack with a hydration pack. The cycling specific backpacks are great as they are small and aerodynamic. Having a hydration pack for every family member is imperative to ensure everyone gets enough water along their daily ride. This becomes especially important as the temperature rises. Our kids used a hydration pack from MEC (the Canadian version of REI) similar to this hydration pack from Outdoor Products, while we used this Osprey bike hydration backpack.
- A small power bank. You’ll burn through your phone battery pretty quickly running your GPS, taking videos and photos etc. It’s always comforting to have a power bank and charging cord along with you in case your phone battery gets too low. It’d be a shame to miss out on photos of the great Slovenian scenery because your phone was dead.
- Packable sun hats are useful for when you get off your bikes and take off your helmets. If the sun is strong, you’ll still want your kids to be protected from the sun without their helmets.
- Although the rain prevented us from jumping in the rivers, there are typically several opportunities to jump into the river for a fun, refreshing swim. Be sure to bring your swimsuits each day.
Final Thoughts on our Family-Friendly Slovenia Bike Tour
We have done several self-guided family cycling tours before, so we were super excited for our new family cycling adventure through Slovenia. We were a little worried that the mountainous terrain of the Julian Alps around Triglav National Park would lead to some difficult biking for our children, but our fears were unfounded.
Life Bike are local experts with over 20 years of cycling experience in the Julian Alps. They combined the very best flat biking trails in the Slovenian Alps into a single amazing self-guided bike tour for families.
Prior to arriving to Slovenia, we were most excited to see Lake Bled and the iconic church on Bled Island. Lake Bled was amazing (of course), but we were stunned by how beautiful the countryside around the lake was. The meadows in the shadows of the mountain peaks of the Julian Alps around Triglav National Park were breathtaking.
Life Bike did an excellent job. Their GPS route maps and detailed directions gave us confidence as we set out each day. Our bikes were in great shape, and with help only a phone call away, we felt safe taking our self-guided family cycling trip each day.
We would travel with Life Bike again and would recommend their Family-Friendly Slovenia Bike Tour to anyone. In addition, we encourage you to read about our Family-Friendly Julian Alps Hiking Tour, another amazing self-guided family adventure by Life Adventures (the same company as Life Bike).