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Cycling the Countryside and Islands of Dubrovnik

Istria on Wheels: Cycling from Trieste to Pula

Overview

Imagine cycling through a green countryside full of vineyards, olive trees, rivers and forests, beautiful villages, and medieval hilltop towns. This trip offers the most comprehensive experience of the Istrian Peninsula in Croatia. It will reveal you the coastline’s natural beauty, idyllic countryside, and rich cultural heritage. After each cycling day, you will have the chance to reward yourself with some local culinary specialities and a glass of Istrian wine. On this bike trip from Trieste to Pula you will be able to enjoy Istria to the fullest, at your own pace and away from the crowds.

Highlights

  • Cycling through the beautiful landscapes of Istria
  • Explore the historic towns of Motovun, Grožnjan, Pula, Rovinj and Poreč
  • Learning about the local cultural heritage dating back to the ancient times
  • Enjoying local delicacies

Click to view map

Itinerary

Day 1: Trieste

You arrive in Trieste on your own. Depending on the time of your arrival you have the rest of the day for exploring the city.

Day 2: Trieste – Piran – Buje | 42-54 km

The day starts with a welcome briefing and bike fitting (in case you have rented a bike from us). You start your cycling tour following the famous Parenzana route – a former railway track system connecting 33 Istrian towns and villages, turned into a tourist area for hikers and cyclists. Entering Slovenia the route takes you through the historic seaside cities of Piran and Koper as well as the salt mines of Secovlje. Once you cross the Croatian border you head to the Buje area where you stay for the overnight.

Day 3: Buje – Novigrad/Umag – Buje | 42 km

You start cycling downhill to the Istrian peninsula’s most northern point where you can visit Savudrija, one of the oldest lighthouses in the Adriatic, built-in 1818. The trail continues south to Umag, a historical city founded by a Roman nobleman who established it as a summer residence. The glamour, magnificence and glare of the past times are still evident today when you pass by the old town’s Venetian houses. On the way back to your accommodation you will enjoy the typical Istrian landscapes of fields covered with vineyards and olive groves.

Day 4: Buje – Motovun | 37 km

Today as you cycle through the local rolling landscapes and lively vineyards, you will truly understand why this route is popular as a wine trail. The route takes you through many tunnels, old bridges and the charming medieval towns of Grožnjan to Završje, revealing fascinating views of the Istrian countryside. The endpoint of the day is Motovun, an ancient little Istrian town located atop a 277 meter-high hill.

Day 5: Motovun to Poreč | 38 km

After breakfast, you continue riding along the Parenzana trail over Vižinada and Kaštelir to the coast. The route to Poreč takes you along the coastline so you will enjoy great views of the beautiful bays, green vineyards and olive groves and have the chance to taste home-made food, wine, brandy and honey produced in this area. In the afternoon you arrive at the historic town of Porec. Depending on the time of your arrival, you will have the rest of the day for exploring the cultural riches of the city: the old city centre, the old Roman forum, the world-famous Euphrasian Basilica with its mosaics as well as the palaces belonging to the city nobles.

Day 6: Poreč to Rovinj | 31-65 km

The route today takes you along the coastline to the fishing town of Vrsar from where you continue through the magical forest Kontija which will reveal you a panoramic view of the beautiful Lim bay and lead you to the ruins of the medieval town of Dvigrad. Passing Kanfanar and the Maklavun hill, an archaeological site dating to the Bronze Age, you finish the day in Rovinj. Also called The Little Venice, Rovinj is a traditional Mediterranean seaside resort.

  • Cycling for the day (short option): 31 km, elevation gain: 160 m 
  • Cycling for the day (long option): 65 km,  elevation gain: 602 m
  • Accommodation: Villa Lili

Day 7: Rovinj to Pula | 38 km

Today, the route starts along the coastline towards Pula and takes you through the ornithological reserve Palud, inhabited by 215 different bird species. Continuing through Fažana the trip today takes you to your final destination – the city of Pula, known for its ancient history and magnificent Amphitheatre. You have the rest of the day for enjoying the cultural riches and pleasant atmosphere of the city.

Day 8: Departure

Departure or extension upon request.

What to Expect

Accommodation

The accommodation of this trip is in 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

Hotel Italia, Casa Romantica la Parenzana, Hotel Kaštel, Hotel Porec, Villa Lili, Hotel Amfiteatar

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 65 km (read more about difficulty grades). However, the itinerary is relatively flexible, and you can take shorter routes on some of the days. 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 are governed by 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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