Travel from north to south of Croatia’s picturesque Istria Peninsula on two wheels on an 8 day cycling holiday. Follow quiet country roads and ride along discontinued railway tracks as you pass through medieval settlements and rolling hills. Stop off along the way at wine cellars, local eateries and coastal towns as you make your way from Buje to Pula.
Pula - Buje. Upon arrival at Pula Airport make your way to the start hotel in Buje, located on Croatia’s northern border with Slovenia (a single group transfer is offered, see the Trip Notes for further information). Later this afternoon you’ll pick up your bikes and your guide will be at hand to help and answer any questions about the week ahead. In the evening enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel with your guide and the rest of your group.
Overnight: Buje | Dinner
Umag & Wine Tasting
Today begins with a cycle to the coast, passing through pretty olive groves and vineyards en route. Upon reaching the sea front we continue our journey northward following the coast until we reach the colourful harbour town of Umag, after 23 kilometres of cycling. We stop here for a short while to take in the ambience and people watch from the comfort of a local cafe.
Back on our bikes we head north for a further 8 kilometres until we reach the north-eastern tip of the Istrian Peninsula. Here we can see the oldest lighthouse in the Adriatic – standing 36 metres tall it is still in use and protects the southern approach to the Gulf of Trieste.
Heading inland we follow the northern border with Slovenia on a slightly more challenging uphill ascent, gaining 200 metres in the final 20 kilometre stretch. We end our ride for the day at a vineyard and wine cellar close to Momjan, where we’ll get to sample some of the local tipple. Later a road transfer returns us to our hotel outside Buje.
Overnight: Buje | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
The Wine Railway
Buje – Motovun. Over the next two days we will be cycling along the old railway track of Parenzana, and as such we change over to mountain bikes for a more comfortable ride. Heading inland on an easy gravel path, we pass through tunnels and over old bridges as we make our way to rural Istria. Original constructed in the early 1900s as a link between Porec and Trieste, the Parenzana is today referred to as the wine railway as it passes through what is affectionately known as Croatian Tuscany. Our first stop today is at the medieval hill-top settlement of Groznjan, a thriving centre for artists and artisans that overlooks the Mirna River.
After some time exploring this quaint town and perhaps grabbing a drink at one of the tempting pavement cafes, we continue eastwards through undulating countryside to Livade. A town renowned for its truffles, we simply cannot leave with sampling some of these much sought-after fungus. Our hotel for the evening is just a short ride away in the hill-top village of Motovun.
Overnight: Motovun | Breakfast, Lunch
Cycle to the coast
Motovun – Porec. Today we make our way back to the coast, continuing to cycle along the old railway track of the Parenzana. After an hour or so on the road we stop off in the residential village of Vizinada to rehydrate. While throughout our journey today we will be following the route of Parenzana, in some places the tracks are no longer visible as we find ourselves cycling over red Istrian soil. In the afternoon we stop for lunch in the hilltop village of Visnjan, famed for its architecture and astronomical observatory.
Following lunch we continue with a leisurely 15 kilometres ride out to the coast, passing by the last of the old Parenzana railway stations just before we reach Porec. This pretty town is our base for the next two nights and is home to a UNESCO-listed basilica and a quaint old quarter.
Overnight: Porec | Breakfast, Lunch
Day trip from Porec
After breakfast we head out on our bikes for a day of cycling. Our first stop is the Euphrasian Basilica, an impressive 16th century cathedral that is one of the most important landmarks of Porec. Heading inland we cycle on quiet country roads to the village of Bacva – the highest point of today’s ride, where we have a short cafe break. We continue our cycle heading southwards back towards the coast where we stop at Vrsar, a fortified 12th century village with commanding views of the sea. While here we visit the remains of the castle before cycling northward to the fishing village of Funtana. Later today we head back to our hotel in Porec, cycling through the resort areas of Zelena and Playa Laguna en route.
Overnight: Porec | Breakfast, Lunch
Bale Olive oil tasting
Porec – Rovinj. This morning you can choose to either have a leisurely start to the day with a short road transfer to Kanfanar, or if you’re feeling energetic you can cycle the 20 kilometre distance. From here we all hop on our bikes to continue the day. Our ride is flat today and takes us back through the Bale region. One of our stops en route is Svetvincenat, with its renaissance town square and imposing Morosini-Grimani fortress.
Our next stop is the small picturesque town of Bale – considered by many to be one of Croatia’s best kept secrets. Here we can visit the Soardo-Bembo Palace and visit a famous olive oil producer, where we can learn about the trees, harvest and process of producing the oil. We may even try some too! Upon arriving at our hotel in Rovinj later today we have time to explore this colourful city. This evening you are free to try the local cuisine – and the fresh fish combined with a glass of Malvasia wine is highly recommended!
Overnight: Rovinj | Breakfast, Lunch
Cycle south to Pula
Rovinj – Pula. A road transfer this morning takes us to the medieval town of Zminj before we set off on our final bike ride in Croatia. Cycling southward through rural countryside and small villages, we make our way towards our ultimate destination of Pula. We stop for lunch in the vibrant town of Vodnjan, with its pretty colourful painted houses. Upon arrival in the harbour city of Pula, we enjoy a sightseeing tour of the old part of the city. We end the day with a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
Overnight: Pula | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Your cycling holiday of Croatia comes to an end after breakfast and hotel check-out. A group transfer to Pula Airport is provided.
Is This Holiday For You?
ADVENTURE CYCLING. This is a relatively leisurely cycling holiday, mostly on quiet country roads. However, there are also 2 days when we will be riding on sections of the dismantled railway track of the Parenzana. This is one of our easiest cycling holidays. We ride for an average of 40 kilometres on each of 6 days of riding. This equates with approximately 4 hours of cycling each day. The emphasis of the trip is on sightseeing and enjoying the rural and coastal landscapes of the Istrian Peninsula. Anyone who rides a bike occasionally will manage this holiday. Vehicle support is available for most of the route. Within the cost of the holiday, 2 different bikes are provided to suit the changing conditions. For the 4 days when the group is riding principally on tarmac backroads, hybrid-type bikes are provided. Whilst, for the 2 days of cycling on the gravel track of the Parenzana, 29er mountain bikes are used. Please read the Trip Notes for further information about this cycling holiday, including the distance and duration that you'll be cycling each day, bike requirements and bike hire.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 4 persons. Please DO NOT book flights until we have contacted you to confirm your booking and informed you that the tour is guaranteed to run.