The Wine Roads of Istria Bike Tour

istria 1

Overview

Nestled along the Adriatic Sea, Istria, the largest Croatian peninsula, enchants with its magical allure. The coastal strip, known as Blue Istria, attracts summer sunseekers, while the inland region, Green Istria, unveils a world of lush forests, historic hilltop towns, vineyards, olive groves, and picturesque rivers—a perfect setting for a leisurely cycling holiday.

Starting our exploration in Buje, near Croatia's northern border with Slovenia, we leisurely head south, discovering highlights along the way. From the Savudrija lighthouse to medieval gems like Groznjan, our route spans country roads and the charming Parenzana dismantled railway track through the rolling hills of the 'Croatian Tuscany.' Wine cellars beckon for tastings of local favorites like Malvasia and Teran, while pavement cafes offer moments to unwind amid the scenic Istrian countryside. Highlights include Groznjan's artistic allure, truffle tasting in Livade, and Vodnjan's rich history.

Exploring coastal towns like Porec, Rovinj, and Pula allows us to appreciate their beauty and delve into their rich histories. For those seeking a leisurely cycling holiday with a delightful mix of landscapes, culture, delicious cuisine, and excellent wines, this journey through Istria is one to consider.

Start

Buje | 13:00 hrs

Finish

Pula

Lodging

casual

Level

easy to moderate

Avg. dist. cycled

45km / 27mi

Suitable for

Age: 13+

Highlights

Itinerary

Brief Itinerary

DayPlacecasual Inns or similarMealsDistanceActivity
DAY 1BujeCasa Romantica La ParenzanaD
DAY 2BujeCasa Romantica La ParenzanaB,L,D52 km / 32 micycling
DAY 3LivadeHotel KastelB,L,D30 km / 19 micycling
DAY 4PorecBO Hotel PalazzoB,L,D39 km / 25 micycling
DAY 5PorecBO Hotel PalazzoB,L48 km / 30 micycling
DAY 6RovinjHotel Angelo d’OroB,L35 km / 22 micycling
DAY 7PulaHotel AmfiteatarB,L,D47 km / 30 micycling
DAY 8PulaB

Detailed Itinerary

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Day 1: Buje

Meet up at the group hotel in Buje. Depending on your arrival time, you may have time to explore. The town of Buje is a 3 to 4 kilometers walk away along the old rail track of the Parenzana. In the afternoon, our guides meets you at the hotel for bike fitting and briefing over dinner.

Meals: D
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Day 2: Buje

On our first day, we cycle along a tranquil backroad through olive groves and vineyards, reaching the coast at Lovrecica. From there, we head north to Umag, a vibrant town 23 kilometers away. Umag offers a taste of Croatia's Mediterranean charm, with its Renaissance and Baroque architecture. Continuing north, we pass resorts and reach the northeastern tip of the Istrian Peninsula with the oldest Adriatic lighthouse, Savudrija. After cycling inland along Croatia's northern border with Slovenia, we conclude the ride at a vineyard for local wine tasting. A short transfer takes us back to our hotel outside Buje.

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 52 km / 32 mi
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Day 3: Livade

For the next two days, we cycle on the old Parenzana railway track, switching to mountain bikes for a more comfortable ride. Following an easy gravel path inland through tunnels and over old bridges, we explore rural Istria, often referred to as the Croatian Tuscany. The Parenzana, also known as the wine railway, operated from 1905 to 1935, connecting Porec with Trieste. Our first stop is Groznjan, a medieval hill-top settlement with a rich history dating back to around 1100. Groznjan is now a hub for artists and artisans, and we leisurely explore its streets on foot. Continuing east through Istria County, we pass through picturesque countryside above the Mirna River, reaching the truffle center of Livade. Here, we visit a truffle shop and have the opportunity to taste this highly sought-after delicacy. Our overnight stay is just a short ride away in the scenic hill-top village of Motovun on the south bank of the river.

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 30 km / 19 mi
Accommodation: Hotel Kastel
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Day 4: Porec

From Motovun, we cycle back to the coast along the Parenzana track. Descending from the village, we pass through a 200-meter tunnel, enjoying views of the Mirna Valley. After a coffee break in Vizinada, we continue through farm tracks, occasionally cycling on red Istrian soil amid vineyards and olive groves. Lunch is in Visnjan, a hilltop village known for its architecture and an astronomical observatory. Post-lunch, we ride 15 kilometers to the coast, passing the last Parenzana railway station before reaching Porec, famed for its UNESCO-listed basilica and charming old quarter. The day concludes with a cycle around the wall encircling Porec's old town to reach our hotel.

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 39 km / 25 mi
Accommodation: BO Hotel Palazzo
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Day 5: Porec

No need to pack this morning; we're staying an extra night at our Porec hotel. After breakfast, we set out on a scenic ride, starting with a visit to the 6th-century Euphrasiana Cathedral, a key monument in Porec. The cathedral's impressive interior justifies the admission fee. Leaving Porec, we travel inland on quiet roads to Bacva village, the day's highest point and a perfect spot for a cafe break. After Bacva, we head south to the coastal village of Vrsar, known for its 12th-century fortified structures and stunning sea views. We explore the castle remains before cycling north to the fishing village of Funtana. Returning to our Porec hotel, we pass through the resort areas of Zelena and Plava Laguna.

Meals: B,L
Cycling Distance: 48 km / 30 mi
Accommodation: BO Hotel Palazzo
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Day 6: Rovinj

Today's relaxed ride begins from Kanfanar after a short transfer. For those with extra energy, an optional early start allows for an additional 20-kilometer ride accompanied by the cycling guide. Kanfanar, a small inland town above the Lim Valley, serves as our starting point for the tour's flattest route, passing through the Bale region. In Svetvincenat, explore the Morosini-Grimani fortress and relax in its Renaissance town square. The village of Bale offers a visit to the distinctive 15th-century Soardo-Bembo Palace and an opportunity to explore a renowned olive oil producer. Upon reaching our hotel in Rovinj, take time to explore the 'Pearl of the Adriatic' with its colorful houses, distinctive church, and bell tower, soaking in the charm and magic of Rovinj.

Meals: B,L
Cycling Distance: 35 km / 22 mi
Accommodation: Hotel Angelo d’Oro
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Day 7: Pula

After breakfast, we have a quick 20-minute transfer to the medieval town of Zminj before setting off on the last ride of the trip, heading south to Pula. Cycling through a distinctly rural region, we encounter traditional drystone toolsheds known as 'kazuni,' similar to 'trulli' in Puglia and 'bories' in Provence. Passing through picturesque countryside and small villages, we make a lunch stop in the colorful town of Vodnjan. Finally, we cycle into Pula, the largest town on the peninsula with a population of almost 60,000. Situated on a superb natural harbor, Pula has a history of occupation, destruction, and rebuilding since Roman times. The day concludes with a sightseeing tour of the old part of the city, where the triumphal Arch of the Sergil and the great amphitheater of the Pula Arena are standout attractions. Overnight at our Pula hotel and a final celebratory dinner at a local restaurant.

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 47 km / 30 mi
Accommodation: Hotel Amfiteatar
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Day 8: Pula

Depart as per your onward travel plans.

Meals: B
Accommodation:

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Map

Dates and Prices

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Essential Info

Inclusions

LODGING

All hotels as mentioned in the tour details or similar (subject to availability).

trip leader

Expert Trip Leader(s) who look after your every need and add meaning to your vacation.

bike

Immaculately maintained bike with helmet, suited to a terrain.

shuttle

A Van support follows the group of riders and carries all belongings.

meals

Meals as per itinerary. Guests are given the opportunity to dine on their own so that they discover a location independently.

refreshments

Refreshments and mineral water while cycling.

entrance

Entrance fees to most of the monuments and temples.

E-bikes

E-bikes are available (subject to availability) on this trip at a surcharge.

Exclusions

Airport pickup and drop

We recommend to book direclty from airport or hotel.

meals

Some meals may not be included. Please check your itinerary.

Beverages

Beverages such as alcohol, tea, coffee, juice at a hotel or restaurant.

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Each day is crafted with utmost care so that you are well-rested; get a drift of local culture and enjoy the curated routes at your own pace.

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