Croatia: Istrian Peninsula Bike
A hilly bicycle tour exploring the Adriatic’s largest peninsula. Highlights of Istria include the amphitheater in Pula, walled medieval cities of Motovun and Groznjan, the Limski fjord, seaside villages, truffles, exceptionally fresh seafood, and local guides with intimate knowledge of this beautiful region.
With its sublime stretch of Adriatic coast, Croatia has long been regarded as one of the most beautiful parts of Europe and is ideal to experience by bike. In recent history, civil war kept Croatia isolated, but since declaring independence and joining the EU it has rapidly become a popular place to visit, and we urge you to do so now before its Riviera, which rivals those of nearby France and Italy for natural beauty, changes for ever. We have chosen the less-traveled heart-shaped northern peninsula of Istria for its quiet roads and hilltop villages that boast incredible views of the azure sea below. This is a surprising corner of Europe, and an amazing place to tour by bike, with attractions that exceed the simple beauty and cleanliness of the landscape. You will eat truffles, discover fine wines, and be nourished by abundant fresh seafood. You will swim in warm Adriatic waters, ride your bike through quiet hills, enjoy photogenic and mind-expanding views, and rest in sumptuous surroundings after dining well on unique regional cuisine. We look forward to sharing it all with you!
Let us know your flight arrival details and we’ll arrange a transfer from the airport to your hotel in Ljubljana where you’ll meet your guide at 15:00. A walking tour of the old city precedes dinner. The quaint, narrow streets along the left bank of the Ljubljanica River, with its medieval bridges are reminiscent of Prague, without the crowds. The 16th century fortifications of the Ljubljana castle dominate the old city. D (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips. Self-guided trips include breakfast only)
Hotel Lev, Ljubljana
Day 2: 43km/27 miles
Begin with an early transfer by van to Buje, a typical Istrian medieval town. You’ll cycle to the border of Slovenia and into Momjan, where deserted castles, archaic churches and scarcely populated villages contribute to stunningly beautiful vistas reminiscent of Tuscany. Continue to Groznjan, a small walled Renaissance town known as a city of artists; practically every door leads to a studio or gallery. Tonight, you’ll stay in Motovun, home of an exclusive international film festival. Truffles, unique and mysterious mushrooms which grow beneath the earth, thrive in the damp forests surrounding Motovun. BLD
Hotel Kastel, Motovun
Day 3: 39km/25miles
Cycle a quiet route through villages in the heart of Istria, experiencing its true essence. In the archaic church of Vrh you will find a hidden treasure of colourful frescoes by medieval masters. One often feels that time has stopped in these parts, but the wine is still flowing. In the evening, you will rub shoulders with the locals, enjoying live jazz at Motovun’s central square. BLD
Day 4: 46km/29 miles
Descend to the seaside town of Rovinj, leaving the green rolling hills and vineyards behind to explore what blue coastal Istria has to offer. The route takes you through prehistoric Illyrian fortified settlements of Beram and Zminj, and along the coast, passing small islands and bays to where the Limski fjord cuts deep into the peninsula. Finish the day in Porec, home of the UNESCO protected pre-Byzantine basilica of the Bishop Euphrasus. BLD
Hotel Mauro, Porec
Day 5: 40km/25 miles
Riding your bike south you’ll first visit Vrsar, the surfing centre of Croatia, and praised by Giacomo Casanova for the lovely women and excellent red wine. You will tour along the coast and amongst the Lim Fjord, enjoying panoramic views from the top of the fjord. The afternoon’s ride is a descent into Rovinj, a medieval coastal city that had a prominent role in the Mediterranean Sea battles of ancient times. The vibrant town offers some of the best nightlife on the Istrian coast. BLD
Villa Tuttorotto; or
Casa Garzotto, Rovinj
Day 6: 62km/38.5miles
Today you will experience the Lim Fjord by both boat and bike. From the sea, you get a completely different perspective from below the majestic cliffs. Beginning in the secluded villages hidden from the trading port of Rovinj, you will ascend by bike to Dvigrad’s ghost castle, and continue to the lively castle at Svetvincenat. The two make a fine contrast. The route then retreats to quiet olive groves where you can see for yourself whether the best olive oil is really discovered in places of the past. The region also hides some of the best Istrian red and white wines. BLD
Day 7: 49km/31 miles
Today’s route meanders between the two, through beautiful hilly villages on one side, and crystal blue sea on the other. A highlight of your adventure will be a visit to the perfectly preserved medieval village of Bale, where you’ll have a scrumptious olive based feast for lunch. The ride ends in the picturesque village of Fazana in a beautiful villa overlooking the Adriatic and the islands of Brioni. BLD
Villetta Phasiana, Fazana
This morning you will have a short visit to the seaside Roman city of Pula, including its most impressive Amphitheatre which dates from 100AD. You’ll then return to Ljubljana (about 2 ½ hours away) by van, arriving before noon. B
|Start:||Ljubljana, 15:00 day one|
|Finish:||Ljubljana, 12:00 day eight|
|Guided Cost:||$3395 (per person, includes 8 days, 7 nights, 7 breakfasts, 6 picnic lunches, 7 dinners, guide and van support, airport transfer to Ljubljana on day one, maps and route notes, luggage handling, taxes)|
|Self-Guided Cost:||$2645 (per person, includes 8 days, 7 nights, 7 breakfasts, maps and route notes, luggage transfers, airport transfer to Ljubljana on day one, taxes)|
|Bicycle Rental:||Hybrid: $225|
|2013 Guided Dates:||May 19-26; Jun 16-23; Sep 15-22; Oct 13-20.
Add your own dates (learn more)
|Self-Guided Dates:||You choose! We confirm within 48 hours.|
|Extend your stay:||Spend some extra time in Ljubljana, a hip city reminiscent of Prague without the crowds. Venice is within 3 hours drive of Istria. Extend your stay further in Croatia by including our multisport adventure near Dubrovnik on the Dalmatian Coast.|
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.