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Cycle the Wine Roads of Istria
Istria is the dream location for those who value not just glorious sights, but also gorgeous cuisines and wines. This is a real treat for the senses as you explore this dreamlike Croatian peninsula and revel in the coastal air, fascinating history and abundant nature on two wheels. It is the perfect location for cycling and the ‘hands-on’ approach will be sure to satisfy your eyes, ears and taste buds.
- CategoryFor Food Lovers
- Duration8 days
- Culture LevelAdventurous
- Skill Level2 - Novice
- Activity Level2 - Moderate
- Elevation1 - Easy
- Distance156 miles
- Avg. Daily Distance25.5 miles
- Day 1Touchdown time
Let the excitement begin! Rendezvous will be at a hotel in Buje and it is here where the anticipation will get cranked up. Bikes will be picked up in the afternoon and your guides will be on hand to help and answer any questions about the tour. Enjoy a dinner together with the group in preparation for the exciting adventure that lies ahead.
- Day 2Weaving our way to wine
This day’s title may suggest that this journey is purely about fantastic Istrian wine, but while this is a prominent highlight at the end of the day, there is so much to be valued prior to this. You’ll begin in the beautiful town of Buje before setting the wheels in motion downhill. As the soothing peninsula wind flies past, you will cycle past olive groves and vineyards until you reach the colorful harbor and town of Umag. The influence of the renaissance and baroque period is noticeable in the structures of the old town as impressive efforts have been made to preserve the historical churches and buildings. Cycling further to the north-eastern tip off the peninsula, you will come across the oldest lighthouse in the Adriatic at the town of Savudrija. The lighthouse is still in use and protects the Gulf of Trieste. One final important element is still missing and that is the glorious vineyards and olive groves that contribute to this beautiful lands. Round off the day by visiting a typical Istrian wine cellar to taste a multitude of indigenous wines such as Muscat, Istrian Malvasia and Teran. A transfer will be arranged to the hotel after a jam, or should we say wine packed first day.
- 32.3 miles
- 295.3 ft
- Day 3Glide to Grožnjan’s soothing tones
This tour aims to satisfy every sense and with so many incredible tastes, sights and sounds on offer it is little surprise that this goal is attainable. As you depart the quiet of Buje, the next place to explore is the medieval town of Grožnjan. Known as ‘The City of Artists’ there are art studios and galleries everywhere and from each comes the soothing echoes of a multitude of music genres. These sounds drift down the narrow streets and make for a delightful atmosphere. Continuing towards the east, ride through the rolling countryside by Mirna River until reaching the truffle heaven of Livade. This small village and the nearby Motovun forest is world renowned for its fungi and you can take the chance to visit a local shop and try out the various forms. This is a unique and tasty way to round off the day.
- 18.6 miles
- -459.3 ft
- Day 4Captivating coastline and wonderful wines
Having transferred to Motovun we follow a splendid trail from the inland of Istria to the coastline. Breathing in that superb sea air we pedal past Višnjan’s infamous observatory, while taking in the spectacular views over the western coast and Poreč city – our final destination for the day. Of course, what would be a day on the Istria peninsula without visiting some wonderful wine cellars? We fit these in along the way as we cycle into the cute town of Tar and the village of Nova Vas, which is home to some wondrous caves. Finally, we reach upon the sensational summer resort of Poreč. This beautiful town is a goldmine of sights but we will enjoy our evening here freely before exploring properly by daylight on our bikes the following day.
- 24.2 miles
- -557.7 ft
- Day 5Pedaling perfect Poreč
Poreč is the kind of place you see on a picture perfect postcard and it’s fantastic for exploring by bicycle. Renowned for its 6th-century Euphrasian Basilica complex we take the time to properly marvel at this landmark before leaving behind the tourist crowds and heading for the quiet village of Bačva. This is the highest point we will reach today and it makes for great views, while we enjoy some fantastic traditional cuisine. Today’s ride combines so many beautiful elements and following our food we head down the coast to enjoy the incredible vistas that only the village of Vrsar can offer. There is so much to see around Poreč that we opt for a circular route and on the way back we pass the quiet and exquisite fishing village of Zelena. It makes for a serene way to finish up before we spend the night in Poreč.
- 29.8 miles
- Day 6Obsessing over olive oil on the road ahead to Rovinj
Today marks another beautiful occasion as you will reach the delightful fishing port of Rovinj. Long regarded as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, Rovinj is instantly recognizable for its delightful church and bell tower atop the hill looking down over its sweet, cobbled streets. The town exudes charm and you will immediately be captivated.
But while reaching this gorgeous little town is an undoubted highlight, there is also plenty to look forward to on this day. Today’s pedal power resumes from a small inland town called Kanfanar. You can opt to take a transfer there in the morning or if you’re feeling brave you can tackle the additional 20km (12 mi) on your trusty bicycle with the guide.
The route today for everyone combines all the features that make this such an exquisite ride – history, countryside beauty, and of course, local produce. The first of this dynamic trio is ticked off when you ride through Svetvincenat and stop to admire the towering fortress, Morosini-Grimani. It’s a perfect spot to take a quick break and regain your breath in the pretty Renaissance town square with its lovely cypress trees.
Second on the list is the unparalleled countryside scenery that provides a consistent source of inspiration as you enjoy the fresh Croatian air.
But it’s the third and last of course, that holds the grandest allure. As you’ve already discovered Istria is rich in wines and local produce and today you will stop in the charming village of Bale to visit a famous olive oil producer.
This is a magnificent experience as you discover more about these important trees, how they are harvested and the process of producing the oil. There are tasting sessions held too just so you can ensure the quality is of the highest standards. Unsurprisingly, it is.
Leaving behind Bale for the final stop in Rovinj, you will arrive at the hotel with plenty of time to explore this fantastic coastal town. As is customary on this tour dinner is on your own tonight, however, you can always join your teammates to go somewhere. There are no shortage of restaurants to discover and practically all offer fresh fish. Combined with a crisp glass of Malvasia wine, it’s the perfect way to finish a glorious day.
- 21.7 miles
- -853 ft
- Day 7Party time awaits in pretty Pula
It’s your last full day of riding but boy is it a humdinger. This is an action packed day that ultimately leads you along the coastline to the biggest Istrian town of Pula. But before you can celebrate the completion of this epic trip, there’s still a few more places to visit and to keep those wheels rolling through.
After a delicious breakfast to begin the day, you will take a 20-minute transfer out to the medieval town of Zminj. Suitably prepared, you can then board your bike for one final ride. There may be a tinge of sadness to think the tour is reaching its end, but today’s riding will provide ample distraction.
Heading through rural regions you will be able to marvel at traditional sights such as dry stone tool sheds known as ‘kazuni’ to the locals. The countryside here is second to none and the views will keep you satisfied as you pass gracefully through tiny villages until the lunch stop in the colorful town of Vodnjan.
After admiring the town’s beauty and tucking into another glorious lunch, it is back to the bikes as you hit the final straight for Pula. You will feel the adrenaline pumping as you roll into this beautiful seaside town, the largest on the peninsula with a population of 60,000.
Renowned for its impressive Roman Amphitheatre, protected harbor, and beautiful beach-lined coast, Pula is superb for exploring and it makes for a magnificent final destination on your cycling adventure. You will finish this magical day with a sightseeing tour of the old city where you can visit the amphitheater and the triumphal Arch of the Sergil before retiring to the hotel to freshen up for a celebratory dinner.
Tonight’s dinner is enjoyed together as everyone revels in this fantastic achievement and reflects happily on the best moments of this wonderful tour. A local restaurant will be the venue tonight where more fresh local cuisine awaits and the wine flows easily.
- 29.2 miles
- -1148.3 ft
- Day 8Time for goodbyes
That sad time has come to bid farewell to everybody and the beautiful Istria peninsula. By cycling this sensational land you have seen and enjoyed so much more, while being able to justify all the fantastic Istrian wine you’ve had. Enjoy one final breakfast together before going your own ways.