With stunning landscapes, thousands-of-year-old sights, a magnificent coastline and delicious cuisine at every stop, exploring Croatia’s Adriatic Istria region on two wheels is a veritable gem among Croatia cycling tours.
You’ll cycle at your own pace through beautiful countryside and along spectacular coastal paths on a carefully fitted bicycle. Imagine a tour where, around every corner and headland there’s another delightful seaside village. Touring Istria by bike is perfect for getting to know the region’s landscape, people and culture. And a wonderful way to explore the Adriatic coast’s historic cities and quietest rural locales.
Imagine immersing yourself in Croatian life as you experience the heritage and culture of this beautiful Balkan destination on your two-wheeled Istria road trip. And of course, there’s the delicious Istrian wine and food that you’ll enjoy at breakfast, during lazy picnic stops and after each breathtaking day’s adventure…
Your nine-day adventure cycling the Croatia coast begins the minute you land at Pula or Zagreb airport, followed by transfer to your base hotel in Novigrad on Istria’s sublime west coast.
After a mouth-watering Croatian breakfast, we personally match you to your preferred choice of bicycle and get you ready for the road. The excitement mounts before you head off for our highly recommended ride up the coast to Umag. Picture, if you will, a pretty bay on the azure Adriatic Sea and an old-quarter filled with narrow, cobbled streets and red-roofed Venetian villas. It’s all yours to explore at leisure.
When you’re ready for lunch, wander over to the town’s marina where the restaurants and bars will delight your palette with seafood treats. Try lobster pasta, tasty local sardines, mouth-watering gnocchi and a glass of Degrassi Malvazija Bomarchese or another of Istria's many delicious wines. Cheers! Or as you’ll be saying in Istria, zivjeli!
Croatia cycling routes don’t come much more relaxed than today’s! We head south, pedalling happily along as we discover sleepy coastal cycleways and lanes en route to historic Porec, a much-loved gem on the Istrian peninsula. The shimmering Adriatic is always close by as you head south. There’s ample opportunity to indulge newfound passions for Croatian ice cream or refreshing ice-cold drinks at one of the many coastal bars or cafes. This is relaxed, rejuvenating cycling at its best…
After another delicious breakfast (an occupational hazard of bike tours in Istria), we eagerly anticipate a day exploring this attractive town. It’s been part of Adriatic marine commerce for millennia. We suggest an excursion to the world-famous Baredine cave, the Grotta Baredine, located an easy 4-mile (6 km) ride along quiet backroads to the northeast.
Later, head back into Porec. Imagine how relaxing it will be to spend a couple of hours enjoying the delights of the sixth-century Euphrasian Basilica. That these early Christian buildings are now a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site speaks volumes for their magnificence and historical significance. While there, be sure to view the gem-studded Byzantine mosaics and climb the bell tower for unforgettable panoramic views over Porec. Survey tiny St Nicholas isle too. You can’t miss it siting just off the coast, like a traditional Bracera cargo boat at anchor. It’s another sublime place to while away a sunny afternoon and contemplate the adventures ahead…
After exploring Porec, the restlessness of exploration carries you further south on a day’s ride punctuated, after 6-miles (10 km), in the hilltop coastal town of Vrsar. Imagine clear, deep-blue waters, scattered islets, a seafront promenade and winding streets. And numerous viewpoints, each tempting you to stop with a different, even more delightful, vista…
You won’t be the only participant in one of our Croatia cycling holidays who rates this former fishing village among the prettiest stops on Istria’s stunning coast. Wander the winding, cobbled streets, enjoy the cool shade of centuries-old churches, and admire the town’s traditional inn-signs – frasco. Feeling hungry after exploring? Stop for a drink and a savoury Borek pastry in one of the tree-shaded squares. Or if you’re sweet-toothed, make that kremsnita or mrki muffins.
Later, the rhythm of well-maintained bicycle gears and wheels accompanies us inland to cross the Limski Kanal. It’s a spectacular drowned river valley flanked by dense forest, which cuts deep into the coastline. After returning along the Kanal’s southern shore, we continue our coastal journey to Rovinj. And the opportunity to relax while savouring the day’s new experiences over dinner.
After yesterday’s packed day on the road, today we explore Rovinj and its immediate surrounds. Choose from the many easy cycle routes up and down the coast; each will reward in its own unique way. The common denominator is the frequency of welcoming seaside bars and restaurants for drink breaks and relaxed lunches featuring local cuisine. Try the tasty smoked ham called prsut, or delicious risotto made with local truffles. And of course, as you’ve noticed over the last few days, Istria does seafood exceptionally well. If you love shellfish, Rovinj oysters and musselsfrom the Limski Kanal, are truly amazing!
It isn’t only the cuisine that delights in Rovinj. For a start, the town is set around a lovely harbour. But its undoubted centrepiece is the romantic, character-packed, old town where every wall, alleyway and cobble exudes the richness of history. Picture, if you can, ancient buildings crafted from local stone and timber-shuttered town houses on the approach to the stunning cathedral. The climb up the hill is worth the effort for the views. Then a few steps more rewards with the most impressive views over town and coast. Do visit the heritage museum too, in its well preserved baroque palace. The art collections are fascinating and the assembled archaeological finds give unprecedented insight into local history.
After breakfast, we continue exploring as we pedal south along the coast with a brief detour to the medieval hilltop town of Bale. It’s a wonderfully tranquil place, relaxing and perfect for a snapshot of Istrian life at its most authentic. Don’t be surprised if time seems to stand still during your hilltop sojourn. Then enjoy the descent to the coast and lovely Fazana, where we stay tonight. It's a quintessentially Istrian fishing village – and was a favourite place of Yugoslavia’s former president Tito.
Five miles from Fazana, we reach the bustling port city of Pula. Your west Croatia bike trip wouldn’t be complete without visiting here. One of the best parts of Pula’s ‘history bit’ is the old quarter where some remarkably well preserved Roman temples, city gates and archways await us. But Pula keeps the best for last – in the form of the truly magnificent first-century amphitheatre. Step inside the Pula Arena, shut your eyes and imagine yourself back to the heyday of Roman culture before Ostrogoths, Venetians and others took their turn at Pula’s administration.
Alternatively, how about stretching those sea legs for the short boat ride across the Fazana Strait to the spectacular Brijuni archipelago. This paradise of fourteen islands has now been designated as a national park. That’s no surprise given its stunning natural beauty and cultural heritage – not least as the place where James Joyce celebrated his twenty-third birthday in 1905!
Like all good things, even the most enjoyable Croatia cycling holidays must eventually end. Now, as we happily savour the last few days’ adventures, we say an affectionate Zbogom to lovely Istria and its people.
We’re sure you will relive your many rich impressions and wonderful experiences during the transfer from Fazana to your departure airport. May this cycling tour be just one of many that you enjoy here in Croatia or elsewhere in Europe. We look forward to welcoming you back again next year – our Croatia cycling tours, your personalised bicycle and Croatia’s warm welcome await.
After a long journey to Novigrad, imagine making yourself at home in the comfortable family hotel Villa Cittar. It’s located in the historic centre of Novigrad, probably the most popular part of this Adriatic coastal town.
Look forward to enjoying the comfort of a well-appointed air-conditioned room with balcony, minibar, safe, internet connection and LCD satellite TV during your stay. On-site facilities include a bar with sun terrace, wellness centre, rooftop whirlpool (summer) and relaxing sun loungers.
Now add the Lungomare pizzeria and bar, Lido Bar Karpinjan, four-court tennis centre, ice cream parlour and private beach with more inviting sun loungers and shade-giving parasols...
When you're ready to explore, Novigrad’s marina, myriad cafes and restaurants, and attractions such as the KuK Marine Museum are easily accessible.
Mind you, those sun loungers do sound like a great idea…
It was back in 1910 that the imposing terracotta-roofed ‘Hotel Riviera’ was built for the aristocratic Austrian-Hungarian society. Over a century later, this idyllic grand hotel on the Porec Peninsula has recently been refurbished and renamed Grand Hotel Palazzo.
Your elegantly furnished, air-conditioned en suite room with flat-screen TV awaits you. For your relaxation, the hotel also boasts a Wellness & Spa centre with Finnish and Turkish saunas. And an indulgent whirlpool hot tub where you can enjoy wonderful sea views while sipping your favourite drink.
Depending on your room’s location, enjoy delightful views of the Old Town’s historic monuments or romantic Sveti Nikola island lying close offshore. Imagine reclining your lounger, shutting your eyes and enjoying the combined scents of the Adriatic and the pines from the nearby park... It’s a quintessentially Istrian experience.
Come evening, the Grand Hotel Palazzo serves refined local and international cuisine in its Restaurant Parenzo 1910. Afterwards, you may be tempted to have a flutter in the hotel’s Grand Casino Palazzo – or simply relax in the hotel’s café or bar.
The boutique hotel Villa Tuttorotto is just 4 minutes’ walk from the beach (possibly quicker on your Oro Tours bike). Located in Rovinj Old Town, the hotel is in a historic building with air-conditioned rooms overlooking Rovinj harbour and the aquamarine Adriatic.
Your tastefully decorated en suite room feature’s pleasing antiques, details a minibar, safe and a flat-screen satellite TV. Private bathrooms come with a shower, a hairdryer and toiletries.
In the morning, set yourself up for the day with a gourmet breakfast in the dining room or the bar’s sunny balcony. There’s also an on-site antique shop, as well as various restaurants and shops located near the property.
From exploring historical relics on your bike, to indulging in the latest fashion on foot, you’ll have everything covered from your base at the lovely Villa Tuttoroto.
Beautifully situated in the heart of Fazana’s historic fishing village, and close to Brioni Islands National Park, the exquisite Villetta Phasiana has been refurbished to a high standard with rustic yet luxurious Italian furnishing.
You can be sure of a warm welcome when you pedal up to the charming Villetta. This striking pastel yellow hotel is located in a quiet area and offers richly decorated accommodation with marble bathrooms and wonderful sea views.
During the day, the hotel’s nautically inspired La Barchetta bar – with its traditional Dalmatian boat-shape – is a great place to enjoy an aperitif or delicious Istrian wines. In the evening, the picturesque bar is a quiet, romantic spot offering wonderful cocktails along with breathtaking Adriatic sunsets. If you prefer to enjoy the stunning views from your room, room service is of course available.
You’ll notice the hotel’s secluded Istrian garden with its charming stone well. It's where you can enjoy a delicious al fresco gourmet breakfast in privacy. Alternatively, eat on the terrace near the main piazza, overlooking Fazana’s port, or indoors, in La Barchetta.
Whatever you choose, after breakfast you’ll be set up for an enchanting day’s cycling, swimming or snorkelling – or simply relaxing and watching Fazana go about its business…
|June 25, 27||£1,345|
|July 11, 13, 27, 29||£1,345|
|August 12, 14, 28, 30||£1,345|
|September 5, 7||£1,345|
|July 13, 29||£945|
|August 14, 30||£945|
Prices are per person based on two people sharing a double or twin room without flights and transfers.
Triple room: £10 per third person per night.
Infants under 2 years: Sharing bed with parents FREE. Additional expenses e.g. food or cots, to be paid direct to the hotelier.
Children under 12 years: £15 off per night.
Single room: £26 per night.
E-Bike: £20 per day (number of days charged will be one less than the number of nights of your tour).
Tandem: £15 per day (number of days charged will be one less than the number of nights of your tour).
£250 per person
Our experts shall be only too pleased to research the most convenient and best value flights for you and, to arrange your airport transfers. Please call on 01584 877596 for an individual quotation, which will be sent to you by email. On acceptance of our quotation, we shall be pleased to book all arrangements for you.
Holidays booked together with a flight are protected by The Travel Trust Association’s ATOL (number: 10300).
Flights and transfers are charged at cost, plus a £20 per person booking fee to cover service and ATOL fees.
If you wish to extend your holiday, with perhaps a short stay in a nearby city of interest, please call our experts on 01584 877596 for help and guidance.
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