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Cycling the Istrian Wine Roads 23

Cycling the Istrian Wine Roads

Overview

Explore Croatian Istria on wheels, passing through a landscape of rolling hills and vineyards peppered with charming medieval hilltop towns. Add to this the welcoming local hotels and the excellent Istrian wines, and you will get an unforgettable cycling holiday.

Highlights

  • The coastal town of Umag
  • The hilltop town of Motovun
  • The coastal town of Poreč
  • The coastal town of Rovinj
  • The Istrian landscapes of rolling hills and vineyards

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Buje

Today you arrive at your accommodation in Buje, where you will meet our representative for an info meeting and receive your package including hotel vouchers, roadbook and maps, and your bicycle in case you have rented one. Overnight in Buje area / Brtonigla.

Day 2: Buje – Umag – Buje | 47 km

Today’s tour starts with an easy downhill ride to the coast on the northernmost point of the Istrian peninsula. The route continues south to Umag, a little town with about 45 km of coastline and scenic hinterland. Umag was founded by a Roman nobleman who decided to make it his summer residence. The glamour, magnificence and glare of the times can be seen today in the old town’s Venetian houses. The city walls and fortifications are partially preserved as well as some renaissance and baroque buildings and churches. The local vineyards and olive groves create an atmosphere of the typical west Istrian landscape. Visit the wine cellar to taste the local Muscat or Malvazija wines. Overnight in Buje area/ Brtonigla.

Day 3: Buje – Brtonigla – Novigrad – Buje | 39 km

From Buje area, you cycle through the picturesque village of Kršete, arriving at the small town of Brtonigla with churches and monasteries dating back to XV century. The route continues through the vineyards and olive groves of Brtonigla area. You’ll reach Novigrad where you can visit the olive oil production site and taste some of the best olive oils. You continue through the Dajla and Karigador villages on the coast, getting to Lovrečica Venetian bishops coastal village. Following the road through Škrinjari, Babići and Buroli village, you’ll see traditional Istrian houses. The road by the vineyards will take you back to your hotel. Overnight in Buje area/Brtonigla.

Day 4: Buje – Motovun | 37 km

From Buje, you will continue towards Grožnjan, a typical Istrian medieval town nestled high on top of a hill along the river Mirna’s right coast. If you pass along its streets where almost every door leads to an art studio or a gallery, and where the windows from every direction echo the sounds of different music genres, from classical to jazz, you’ll understand why Grožnjan is known as “The town of artists”. From Grožnjan you’ll ride on quiet Istrian village roads and arrive at Oprtalj, known for its medieval architecture, narrow streets, cosy shops, beautiful Venetian palaces, and unique views Istrian peninsula from the town of Loggia, one of the most beautiful of Istria. From Oprtalj you are going downhill enjoying the view of Mirna river and eventually arriving in Livade, the truffle centre of Istria where you can visit the local truffle shop and taste its specialities. On the hill in front of Livade is Motovun, surely the most famous and attractive Istrian medieval hill-town where you will stay for the overnight.

  • Accommodation: Hotel Kastel or similar
  • Cycling for the day: 37 km, ↑718m

Day 5: Motovun – Poreč | 38 km

This part of the route will take you from the inland to the coast. It follows the road to Višnjan where you will pass by an observatory (one of the 5 most famous observatories in the world). The road continues to the town of Višnjan located on 246 m altitude and from where you’ll be able to get a view of the west Istrian coast and the coastal town of Poreč. Cycling across the Višnjan countryside it is possible to visit many wine cellars with wine from Poreč area, especially Malvasia. The tour continues to Tar, a little town on the hill above the sea and to Nova Vas village by the famous cave (which you can visit). After passing a few more villages the trail reaches Poreč. Overnight in Poreč.

  • Accommodation: Hotel Poreč 3* or similar
  • Cycling for the day: 38 km, ↑394 m

Day 6: Poreč Loop Ride | 44 km

From Poreč the route for today starts with sightseeing the Euphrasiana, the most valuable monument in Poreč, a church build in 6th century. You follow the road until you reach the village of Bačva. Bačva is the highest point of today’s stage, and there is a local restaurant with traditional dishes where you can enjoy tasting local food. The route continues to the southern villages coming down to the coast in the town of Vrsar. With its position on the coast, it was natural for Vrsar to become a defended fortress. Only parts of the fortification, built in the 12th century, have been preserved but the fortress-castle used as the summer residence of the Poreč bishops is well worth a look. After Vrsar, the trail passes Funtana fishing village, through Zelena and Plava Laguna touristic villages and leads along the coast back to Poreč.

  • Accommodation: Hotel Poreč 3* or similar
  • Cycling for the day: 44 km, ↑417 m

Day 7: Poreč – Kanfanar – Rovinj | 33-64 km

After breakfast, you can choose between taking a car transfer to Kanfanar or reach it on your own by your bike. Kanfanar is a small town above the Lim valley from where starts the flattest ride of the tour. Passing by Istrian inland villages you will see traditional Istrian tool-houses (Kažun) and after reaching Bale you can visit the Bembo palace, city square and museum. Continue to Rovinj and on the way you can visit Palud, an ornithological reserve where you can cycle around. After village Kokuletovica you can turn to Monkodonja, a prehistoric hill-town inhabited about 1800-1200 BC during the Bronze Age. After Monkodonja you will reach Rovinj, your goal of this tour, the Pearl of Adriatic with its church and bell-tower on the hill by the sea. Also called the Istrian Venice, the old town was once an island and then connected with land, famous for its traditional boat called batana. Restaurants with fresh fish combined with Malvasia will complete this week’s atmosphere. It will fascinate you. Overnight in Rovinj.

  • Accommodation: Hotel Villa Lili 3* or similar
  • Cycling for the day (Option 1): 33 km, ↑562 m
  • Cycling for the day (Option 2): 64 km, ↑730 m

Day 8: Departure

Departure on your own or extension upon request.

What to Expect

Accommodation

The accommodation is in welcoming 3-star hotels with en-suite facilities and breakfast included each morning. All places have been carefully hand-picked by us and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Click to view default hotels

Guesthouse La Parenzana 3*, Guesthouse La Parenzana 3*, Hotel Kastel, Hotel Poreč 3*, Hotel Villa Lili 3*

Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfasts are generally buffets that take your active program into consideration with a variety of low-fat and high-nutrition choices. Lunches and dinners are generally on your own, but arrangements with accommodation can be made on the spot.

Difficulty & terrain

This trip requires a good physical condition as the daily cycling can reach up to 47 km (read more about difficulty grades). There is also an option for renting an E-bike which makes the trip practically accessible to anyone. Upon arrival, you will receive detailed travel information with route maps or overview maps, route description, tourist attractions and important telephone numbers.

When to go

This trip is available from March to end of November, with a possible departure on each day of the active period. Croatia’s coast and islands, from Istria and Kvarner in the north through to Dalmatia in the south have a Mediterranean climate, 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

Click to view travel options

By plane

The most convenient airports are Pula and Trieste, the latter of which is the closest airport serviced by direct flights from the UK with Ryan Air and Alitalia offering frequent services.

By train or bus

Inclusions

Included

  • Seven overnights in 3-star hotels and guesthouses
  • Seven breakfasts
  • Arrival info meeting with our local representative
  • Information package including detailed route description (map and road instructions) and vouchers
  • Luggage transport from hotel to hotel on all cycling days
  • 24/7 phone support 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 available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
  • Private airport transfers
  • Extra nights along the trail are bookable upon request

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