Croatia:

Istrian Peninsula Bike Tour


Six nights; five days of cycling, and two partial days of walking. A hilly bicycle tour exploring the Adriatic’s largest peninsula.









Itinerary


Start: Ljubljana, Hotel Vander, 15:00, day one. Transfers from the airport available; please contact us for arrangements.


Finish: Pula, 10:00 day seven. Complimentary transfers to Ljubljana arrive at about noon, or you may opt to add independent time in Pula rather than transferring back to Ljubljana.


Day 1:

Introductions

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 Vander, Ljubljana

Day 2:

Buje to Motovun 43km

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

Cycle a quiet route through villages in the heart of Istria, experiencing its true essence along the road of Truffles! 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
Same lodging

Day 4:

Rovinj to Porec 43km paved + 3km unpaved

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:

Vrsar to Rovinj 40km

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:

Adriatic Coast to Fazana 34km paved + 6km unpaved

Today’s route meanders 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

Day 7:

Farewell

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. If you prefer to linger in Pula and explore more of the Dalmatian coast you can coordinate international flights to destinations throughout Europe or ferries to ports along the Adriatic. B





Description


Note about the route:

Hilly riding on paved roads, with some short gravel sections. Istria is like Tuscany, but less developed, with simpler infrastructure. We recommend hybrids to take advantage of the unpaved sections that lead you to spectacular settings not accessible by paved roads.


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!




Maps & Elevations






Learn more

Spend some extra time in Ljubljana, a hip city reminiscent of Prague without the crowds. The best restaurant might be Strelec restaurant at Ljubljana castle, for seafood go for Restavracija As.

Venice is within 3 hours drive of Istria. Ask about starting and/or finsihing your adventure at Venice, only 2 hours drive from Ljubljana.

Extend your stay further in Croatia by including our cycling adventure near Dubrovnik on the Dalmatian Coast.

Zagreb is the best hub for getting to Dubrovnik. From there, Croatian Air to Dubrovnik is cheap. Near Dubrovnik, stay in Cavtat, 3km from the airport - a nice small port, like Dubrovnik, but without the crowds and cruise ships.





Costs

Guided

US 2865 C 3195

(per person, includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, 6 picnic lunches, 7 dinners, guide and van support, maps and route notes, airport transfer to Ljubljana on day one, taxes)

Self-Guided

US 2295 C 2595

(per person, includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, luggage transfers, maps and route notes, airport transfer to Ljubljana on day one, taxes)

Single Occupancy

US 535 C 595

Bicycle Rental

Hybrid: US 235 C 265

All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.

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Custom or Private Tours

Want to go but on different dates?
Want to make a change to the itinerary?
We can adapt for you!



Here are some terms:

Bring your friends. We will run most of these trips for you whenever you want, at the advertised price for a group of four or more on a guided trip, or two if it's self-guided! We reserve the right to make changes if the original inns, etc. are already booked. If you cannot find others, let us advertise the trip for you! Give us a commitment as far in advance as you can. As long as we have the minimum number of guests at the start, the price will be as advertised. The catch is that if it is just two of you and you want a guided trip, you must be willing to pay a 20% premium in the event that others do not join you. The bright side is that, once reserved, you can count on the trip, whether it remains private or becomes a larger group. Ask for changes to the itinerary.

We are very flexible, and given enough time, can create a new itinerary to match your desires.