The Wine Roads of Istria Bike Tour
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.
Buje | 13:00 hrs
easy to moderate
45km / 27mi
|casual Inns or similar
|Casa Romantica La Parenzana
|Casa Romantica La Parenzana
|52 km / 32 mi
|30 km / 19 mi
|BO Hotel Palazzo
|39 km / 25 mi
|BO Hotel Palazzo
|48 km / 30 mi
|Hotel Angelo d’Oro
|35 km / 22 mi
|47 km / 30 mi
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Day 8: Pula
Depart as per your onward travel plans.
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Dates and Prices
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All hotels as mentioned in the tour details or similar (subject to availability).
Expert Trip Leader(s) who look after your every need and add meaning to your vacation.
Immaculately maintained bike with helmet, suited to a terrain.
A Van support follows the group of riders and carries all belongings.
Meals as per itinerary. Guests are given the opportunity to dine on their own so that they discover a location independently.
Refreshments and mineral water while cycling.
Entrance fees to most of the monuments and temples.
E-bikes are available (subject to availability) on this trip at a surcharge.
Airport pickup and drop
We recommend to book direclty from airport or hotel.
Some meals may not be included. Please check your itinerary.
Beverages such as alcohol, tea, coffee, juice at a hotel or restaurant.
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