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The Adriatic Coast on Wheels: Venice to Istria

Cycling the Adriatic Coast: Venice to Istria

Overview

Explore the scenic shores and cultural riches of the northern Adriatic coast on a self guided cycling trip from Venice to Istria via Trieste. Starting in Venice and cycling past the beaches of the classical holiday resorts of Jesolo and Caorle on the Italian Adriatic, there are many opportunities for a refreshing swim. The inland regions of the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia offer countless sites with exceptional charm waiting to be discovered: medieval fortress towns, Roman archaeological excavations, typical Italian Piazzas and buildings embossed with Venetian influences taking the visitor in another time. While on the one side, the Adriatic stretches calmly and silently, the Julian Alps rise majestically to the north. Finish with a trip down the beautiful Croatian peninsula of Istria. The return journey to Venice can be made by boat.

  • Venice – a city of art and culture
  • The beaches of the Adriatic Sea
  • The castles of Duino and Miramare
  • The harbour city of Trieste
  • The resort city of Piran
  • The resort city of Porec

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Venice mainland/Mestre

Individual arrival at the hotel on the mainland of Venice. Depending on the time of arrival you will have the rest of the day to explore the “Serenissima”, with all its splendid buildings. The city of Venice has a well organised and easily accessible public transport system, there is a bus or train stop near to the hotel.

Day 2: Venice mainland/Mestre – Jesolo/Caorle | 30 or 80 km

Today you have two possibilities: you can either cycle along the dam and the lagoon to Venice, or you can pass through the countryside along the river Sile to reach Jesolo/Caorle.

The first few kilometres in the lagoon city are carried out by bicycle. Then you take a ferry across to Punta Sabbioni (ticket not included). On the endless beaches at Litorale di Cavallino, a spit of land in the north of the lagoon, the route is lined by numerous fishing boats and souvenir stalls. Before you leave Venice through the “backdoor”, you can opt for an excursion to the lighthouse at the farther end of the island for a last view of the lagoon city and the surrounding islands. On the way to Jesolo, one can hardly resist the opportunity to have a refreshing dip into the cool water. You spend the night in Jesolo or Caorle.

If you choose the alternative through the hinterland you cycle along the river Sile. Passing the ruins of Torre Caligo, a tower from the Middle Age situated near the canal “Caligo”, you will soon reach directly Jesolo. If you will spend the night in Caorle you continue cycling along for a bit more.

  • Cycling distance for the day (Option 1): approx. 30 km
  • Cycling distance for the day (Option 2): approx. 80 km

Day 3: Jesolo/Caorle – Concordia Sagittaria/Portogruaro | 30-35 km

Cycling along the coast you will soon pass the last fishermen’s cottages, reaching Caorle, a wonderful, small seaside resort with a historical centre. From there you will leave the sea for a while, cycling across the mainland in the direction of the Julian Alps on the horizon, heading to Portogruaro.

  • Cycling distance for the day: approx. 30-35 km

Day 4: Concordia Sagittaria/Portogruaro – Grado/Aquileia | 45, 65 or 85 km

Besides the beaches of the Adriatic, there is a lot to discover; ruins of former Roman cities, ancient churches and lonely landscapes on the edge of the lagoon. From Marano Lagunare you take the boat until short before Aquileia, once a large city of the Roman Empire, excavations of the Roman city can be seen in the open-air-site and in two museums.

  • Cycling distance for the day (Option 1): approx. 65 km + boat from Marano Lagunare
  • Cycling distance for the day (Option 2): approx. 45 km, if the first part is additionally shortened by a train ride to Latisana
  • Cycling distance for the day (Option 3): approx. 85 km without a boat

Day 5: Grado/Aquileia – Trieste | 40-80 km

Today’s stage takes you through the hinterland of Trieste back to the sea and a coastline of unique beauty. The coastal road takes you through the resorts of Duino, Sistiana, Miramare, and Barcola. You should take time to visit the romantic castle of Miramare above the Bay of Grignano situated in the middle of a beautiful park in which a multiplicity of more the 2000 plants prosper. Above the Gulf of Trieste, entrenched is a city bearing the same name (once a harbour metropolis of the Hapsburg Empire) where you will be spending the night.

  • Cycling distance for the day: approx. 40 – 80 km; short variant by using the train; ticket not included

Day 6: Trieste – Piran/Portorož | 35 or 65 km

In a few kilometres, you leave Italy. In Slovenia, the route continues mostly on cycle paths through well-known seaside resorts like Koper (Capodistria) and Izola (Isola d’ Istria), to Piran (Pirano) or to Portorož (Portorose), a spa resort on the Slovenian Riviera. There is a longer alternative to this stage which passes along the Rosandra valley in the countryside.

Cycling distance for the day (Option 1): approx. 35 km + ferry Trieste-Muggia (tickets not included)
Cycling distance for the day (Option 2): approx. 65 km, depending on the chosen variant

Day 7: Piran/Portorož – Poreč | 70 km

Cycling past the salt gardens of Secovlje where on enormous surfaces and through natural evaporation, sea salt is recovered, you cross over the border into Croatia. For a distance, the route goes through the Croatian part of Istria, the largest peninsula on the Adriatic with its slightly hilly terrain on the way to Porec, the most important coastal city on the west coast of Istria. It is certainly worth visiting the Euphrasian-Basilica which has been listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site.

  • Cycling distance for the day: approx. 70 km

Day 8: Departure

Individual departure or possibility to extend your stay in Porec.

What to Expect

Accommodation

Accommodation is in 3 or 4-star hotels with en-suite facilities. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We always choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Meals

Breakfast is included. In towns, each hotel has its own restaurant where you can taste international or local meals, or try the other local restaurants. When no restaurant location is available on the route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before.

Difficulty & terrain

The routes are mainly flat until you reach Trieste, and get slightly hilly until you get to Porec. Average daily distances vary between 30 km and 60 km. You can also rent an E-bike, which makes the trip accessible to everyone (read more about difficulty grades). We provide individual information package upon arrival, including city guides, maps, programme and route description. We can also provide GPX files with all the tracks, which you can load on your smartphone app or GPS device. The road signage is good so navigating between the towns is quite easy.

When to go

The tour can depart on Wednesdays and Saturdays between April and early October.

The climate in the region is the Mediterranean, although it is usually several degrees cooler in the northern Adriatic than in the south. In the summer, the mean temperature is between 24°C and 26°C along the coast.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice on Croatia, Italy and Slovenia.

Click to view travel options

By plane

Most convenient arrival and departure airports are the ones in Venice, Treviso, or Trieste. There are good train connections from all these cities to your starting point.

By train or bus
  • By car: Take the Brenner Highway (A22) from Innsbruck to Verona and continue to Venice mainland/Mestre or drive from Villach over the border crossing point Arnoldstein to Udine and continue to Venice mainland.
  • By train: Take a train to the main station in Mestre and either a bus or a taxi to the hotel. Timetables available on: DB, ÖBB, Trenitalia. You can also use the Omio planner above.
  • By plane: Low-cost flights are available to Sant’Angelo airport in Treviso, Ronchi dei Legionari airport in Trieste and to the Marco Polo airport in Venice which offer an airport shuttle (Venice and Treviso) to and from Venice mainland/Mestre.

Inclusions

Included

  • Accommodation in 3* (some 4*) hotels
  • Breakfast buffet or full breakfast
  • Boat transfer on Day 4
  • Luggage transfer from hotel to hotel on cycling days
  • Well planned routes
  • Detailed documents (maps, route description, places to visit, important telephone numbers)
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • Airfare and connecting land transfers
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
  • Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
  • Personal expenses
  • Local tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on-site)
  • Any items not explicitly listed as included

Options, extras & supplements

  • A supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room
  • This holiday is NOT available for solo travellers
  • Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request
  • Bike rental (standard trekking bike or E-Bike)
  • Airport transfers (upon request)

Bike Rental

We can provide high-quality rental bikes and additional equipment if requested. These bikes have been specially designed for our bike tours. They are comfortable, safe and sturdy bikes and therefore perfect for undertaking tours of several days duration.

Our standard rental bikes are 21- gears touring bikes. 7- gears touring bikes (unisex model) are also available if requested but only for some of our bike tours. The bikes and appending equipment (repair kit, pump, spare inner tube, wheel-lock, saddlebag, …) will be at your disposal at the arrival hotel. At the end of your bike tour, you simply leave the rental bike at the last hotel- we take care of the return.

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