Cycling Croatia’s Istrian Coast

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Picture, if you will, quiet rural lanes, bustling coastal towns packed with history, delicious Croatian cuisine at every stop, and always with the shimmering aquamarine Adriatic close by. Pedalling from Novigrad to Fazana at your own pace in nine unforgettable days is the perfect way to see the breathtaking west coast of Istria. And it’s well within the capabilities of any healthy fit leisure cyclist …

Today you’re in stunningly beautiful Vrsar: it’s several days into your two-wheeled adventure as you enjoy another amazing experience of Croatia’s Istrian coast. Within minutes of pedalling into town, you fell in love. Vrsar is consistently rated among Croatia’s prettiest coastal towns. No wonder it’s on your Oro Tours itinerary. Climbing higher through the town, new vistas appear around every whitewashed corner – each more beguiling than the last. You’re en route from Porec to Rovinj and the day is only part way through. Before leaving Vrsar, you’ll find a bakery for another fix of the kremsnita that you’ve quickly become ‘addicted to’. Later, before overnighting in Rovinj, there are both sides of the spectacular Limski Kanal to cycle along…

Were you really still at home a few days ago?

Pausing to reflect on your trip so far, it’s hard to believe you were still at home a few days ago. Then you flew into Croatia and swiftly transferred to your lovely hotel in Novigrad, some 18 miles (30 km) back along the coast. Since then, your tour has delivered a wealth of heritage and culture, encounters with the lovely Croatian people, and delicious Istrian wine and food that you’ve enjoyed at every opportunity.

After breakfast on your first morning, you were carefully matched to your preferred choice of bike. Then, with excitement at fever pitch, you rode north to explore Umag and feast on amazing seafood in one of its marina restaurants.

Meandering south on sleepy coastal lanes

After another comfortable night in Novigrad, you meandered south along the coast on sleepy backroads and lanes. Every so often, you stopped for cold drinks and ice cream at one of many bars and cafes overlooking the Adriatic. Of course, you left room for another mouth-watering dinner at your hotel in Porec – to be enjoyed as you relax and plan a day exploring the area around this attractive town. You chose the short run inland to the spectacular cave complex at Baredine, then returned to Porec for a culture fix in the Euphrasian Basilica. And the reward of stunning views of the coast and nearby St Nicholas isle, from the bell tower.

Croatia is renowned for delicious seafood

Now you are in Vrsar and looking forward to riding to Rovinj. Tomorrow you’ll be spoiled for choice again when it comes to deciding which cycle route to explore. And of course, the reputation of Rovinj’s oysters, mussels and other seafoods precedes them. That’ll be lunch sorted – another treat to look forward to, along with the panoramic view from Rovinj cathedral.

Unspoilt, sleepy Bale lies just inland from the coast

The route has generally stayed close to Istria’s Adriatic coast. Occasionally, the skillfully designed route takes you a few kilometers inland for exceptional sights and immersion in Istria's authentic daily life. So it is between Rovinj and Fazana; time seems to stand still in the medieval hilltop town of Bale. The day will end in Fazana, once a favourite vacation destination for the president of the former Yugoslavian president, Josep Tito. Tito famously holidayed in Yugoslavia rather than venturing abroad; even after a few days, it’s easy to understand why!

Even as your trip’s end approaches, the highlights continue At Pula, just five miles (8 km) from Fazana, two of Croatia’s most memorable sights await you.

Finish with two amazing sights

First, there’s the beautifully preserved Arena Pula amphitheatre, just a stones throw from the town’s modern marina. Then, a short boat ride away, there’s the achingly beautiful national park of the Brisunji Archipelago to visit. In 1905 James Joyce celebrated his twenty-third birthday here. As you walk in his footsteps, you’ll surely marvel at the rich diversity of scenery, the food and wines, and Istria’s welcoming people.

Best of all, we’re sure you’ll reflect on how cycling gently along this gem of a coast immerses you in the culture and heritage like nothing else.

Something says you’ll be back again!

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