“Well, I’m from Croatia, which is a really beautiful and well-known tourist destination itself, and happen to live almost right across the Slovenian border, and after this tour, which was my first in Slovenia, I keep asking myself what the hell took me so long!?
There are really two sides to why this was such a fantastic tour; one is the country it runs through, and the other is the company running it, especially my guide, Jernej.
Slovenia is just stunningly beautiful. Just look at the pictures accompanying this review, and that’s only a tiny sample of how beautiful it is. It is a small country, but what it lacks in area it more than makes up in beauty and sheer density of amazing views, places and trails. Basically, if someone blindfolded you, spun you, sat you on your bike and told you to ride, you would have made a great trail choice! The country is just jam-packed with beautiful places, and although I visited mainly because of the Alps, it turns out I’m not just talking nature. Ljubljana is a beautiful city combining modern and old, and Škofja Loka is a really lovely medieval town, both harmoniously settled within an amazing blue and green alpine backdrop. So gorgeous is that blue and green scenery that while pedalling through it a smile just would not come off my face, no matter how steep it was, how long it’s been since we’d started, and not even in fog and rain (which thankfully only accompanied us once in the entire four-day trip)!
Now a big part of why that smile was on my face was Jernej. First of all, you should know I had almost no idea what exactly my accommodation will be, so when he told me the usual place was sold out, I was a bit sceptical. Turns out Jernej is a really thorough guy who makes it a point to provide riders on his tours with a complete biking experience, stretching beyond just sitting them on a bike, taking them for a spin and then abandoning them. This includes having a cosy place to stay, so he made an effort to find me a really great accommodation (called Gostilna Lipan, by the way), above a creek, beneath a green woody hillside, in a nice huge new room smelling of fresh wood, with a big fat breakfast waiting on me each morning, my bike stored safely in a garage, and an option to have my clothes washed and dried should the need occur. So no need to frown upon accommodation, to say the least. And about that bike in the garage, I brought my own, which is not an e-bike, so that’s no problem.
On the tours, Jernej turned out not just to know a huge number of local trails, but also to be ready to share them with his riders by being very flexible and mindful of peoples’ level of skill and experience. So, beyond the offered tour, he would always describe me at least a couple alternatives of where we could ride and recommend what he thinks would suit me best. Well, he never missed – I attach some photos of trails we took that are not on the regular path, but that I’m super happy we’ve ridden.
By now you may have noticed I was mostly alone on the tour, so in case you were wondering how things are when there are more riders, one day there was another one, and the ride went effortlessly although we’d just met that day. The fact that we were different-style riders, that he was on an e-bike and I on a regular bike, and that after doing 42 km and having a small crash we were both super happy speaks for itself. After that rather benign crash on a tight super slippery corner, Jernej was extremely professional and careful and patiently examined my co-rider and his bike to cover all the bases, offered to have the van pick him up if necessary (although the fall was really not serious), and only then have we continued, at a slower pace, to make doubly sure everything was OK. So that was quickly forgotten and also reassured me that I can rely on my guide if I needed to.
As I said, Jernej makes it a point to keep the experience going even after the rides. He would regularly offer some activity afterwards, and not in that “Do you wanna do this?” kind of way that makes you pause and think whether you’re being a burden. He’d usually say something along the lines of “I was planning for us to go there and there later if you’re OK with that, so what do you say I pick you up between then and then?” So the onus is on you to decline, rather than to ask to go, which is a nice touch and keeps things friendly and relaxed. For instance, one day he arranged a nice barbecue for my above-mentioned co-rider, himself and me immediately at the end of the ride (you’ll probably recognize which photo was taken on that occasion 😉 ), another day I rested and then he picked me up for a walk around Škofja Loka and a ride on a local pump track, or we’d go for dinner and so on. It is hard to find an approach to organizing bike tours that is both so thorough and so relaxed at the same time. Simply exceeded all my expectations.
I could go on and on but this review is so long already I’m not sure anyone is reading anymore anyway. Slovenia and Greenhills are simply brilliant, stop wasting time thinking, just book this tour and go ride your bike!”