Istria by bike: from Trieste to Pula
Istria by bike has many surprises in store for you. Departing from Trieste in Italy, you set off to visit towns and villages with remarkable heritage with beautifully preserved Roman and medieval heritage. We want as proof:
Trieste, former port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867-1918) is a surprising mix between Baroque, Empire, Neoclassical and Art Nouveau styles.
Poreč and Rovinj were important trading centers of the Roman Empire and retain traces of them today
Grožnjan and Motovun are two medieval villages perched in the hinterland and are worth a visit
Pula is also a former port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and an influential former city of the Roman Empire, which shaped its face
When it comes to gastronomy and local specialties, Croatia by bike is not to be outdone: truffles are the great specialty of the peninsula. But you can also taste olive oils or local wines. There are numerous olive groves and vineyards and you will have the chance to cycle through the middle of these farms. It is a balanced circuit, between coast and hinterland. If the stages are on average 50 km, you have to plan for some climbs. The VAE is a great solution to keep the pleasure of pedaling in all circumstances!
Day 1: Arrival in Trieste
Settle into your hotel and enjoy the city which is full of things to see.
Day 2: from Trieste to Buje via Piran - 58 km
At 9 a.m., welcome and short presentation with our local correspondent. Equipment and testing for those who have reserved a bike. To avoid cycling in heavy traffic, we advise you to take a ferry which takes you directly to Muggia (departures at 10:10 a.m. and 11:20 a.m. - price of around €6 per person with bike).
3 different countries on the program today: start in Italy, quick passage to Slovenia before finishing in Buje, Croatia. The route takes the “Parenzana”, an old railway line transformed into a greenway for our greatest pleasure. It connects Trieste to Poreč passing through 33 towns and villages in Istria and 3 different countries!
After a few kilometers in Italy, we quickly arrive in Slovenia where you can stop in the magnificent towns of Koper and Piran. For a long time, these two cities were under the governance of Venice and they still bear witness to its legacy. Returning to the road, you pass through Secovlje and its salt marshes. It is also an ornithological reserve. Croatia and Buje are only a few kilometers away.
Day 3: Loop tour to Novigrad/Umag - 48 km
You reach the coast at the northern tip of the Istrian peninsula. Possible visit to the oldest active lighthouse in the Adriatic, Savudrija (1818). Its construction is surrounded by a legend about an unhappy love story between a Count and a Croatian woman... Follow the coastal path to Umag. It is an authentic and picturesque village, representative of the region. Its history dates back to Roman times. A nobleman decided to set up his summer residence there and he brought along a whole section of the Venetian nobility. Today we can admire the magnificent villas as well as the old town with its ramparts, churches and Baroque and Renaissance style buildings. Return to Buje via vineyards and olive groves. Wine cellar visit and tasting of Muscat, local wine.
Day 4: from Buje to Motovun - 37 km
Today's route strongly resembles Tuscany: slightly hilly, dotted with vineyards and olive groves. As a bonus, the medieval village of Grožnjan is on the route. Motovun, the last stop of the day, is also a magnificent Medieval village perched on a hill. Its city center surrounded by ramparts is charming.
Day 5: from Motovun to Poreč - 40 km
Today's goal is to reach the coast and Poreč. Today's journey is particularly pleasant with a Mediterranean landscape, green vineyards, olive groves and a coastline with pretty bays. Possibility of tasting many local dishes and delicacies such as honey or Brandy (liqueur resembling Cognac) among others. You will arrive in Poreč in the afternoon. Take the time to stroll through the old town, visit the ancient Roman forum, the Euphrasian basilica with its incredible mosaics, the palaces and the city fortifications.
Day 6: from Poreč to Rovinj - 66 km
The day begins on the Captain Morgan cycle path which has some great surprises in store for you: a marsh, rare birds, a cursed city, buried pirate treasure, a cave where a primitive man and a hermit hide, an old solar observatory and an abandoned monastery... just that!
After following the coast, the route arrives at Vrsar, a romantic fishing village that the famous Casanova visited twice! The route then takes place in the Kontija forest. We move away from the coast, which offers a panoramic view over Lim Bay to the ruins of the medieval town of Dvigrad. It is a region cradled by many mysterious legends based on historical facts: the devastation of Dvigrad due to a curse, the buried treasure of Captain Morgan's pirates and the village of the same name (Mrgani).
Then head towards Kanfanar and Maklavun hill, an archaeological site from the Bronze Age before arriving in Rovinj.
This seaside resort is nicknamed Little Venice. Its heritage and the view of the Mediterranean will surely seduce you.
Day 7: from Rovinj to Pula - 40 km
Hop on your bike to cross the Palud bird sanctuary to reach Fažana. A unique place with preserved fauna and flora where you can hear the song of 215 different species of birds.
Fažana, well protected from the coast by the pretty Brioni archipelago (now a national park) was a rich city of the Roman Empire, surrounded by vineyards and olive trees. You end your cycling holiday in the city founded on seven hills and which has a majestic amphitheater. No, we are not talking about Rome but about Pula. The largest city in Istria has a thousand faces and enchants its visitors. The day ends with a visit to the old town with its Arch of the Sergii (Ancient Triumphal Arch) and the Roman amphitheater.
Day 8: Pula
End of the Istria cycling tour after breakfast.