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  • From €1080

  • 8 days
  • May, July, August, October
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Motovun medieval fort town

Family cycling holiday in Istria

Overview

Immersed in the sparkling blue of the Adriatic Sea and known for its wonderful food and warm,
sunny days, there is something magical about the Croatian peninsula of Istria. Home to
meandering country lanes, hidden coves, hill top villages, old railway lines and plenty of places
serving delicious ice cream, Istria is the perfect place for a family cycling holiday. We've mixed
cycling routes with cave visits, a spot of snorkelling, plenty of time for swimming in the warm sea,
tasty picnics and some family friendly sea kayaking in the beautiful fjord of Lim. We'll cycle on
undulating roads and tracks which take us through vineyards and olive groves, plus peddle along
the old railway track of the Paranzana. With it's pretty views, hill top town and picturesque rivers,
the Parenzana also hides secret tunnels which we'll discover. A holiday highlight is a day sea
kayaking in the calm waters of Lim fjord where we'll stop at wild beaches to swim and snorkel
before exploring a bat cave. Based in the seaside resort of Porec and the beautiful Venetian town
of Rovinj, we really get to experience the very best of Istria including its excellent food. Evening
meals will be spent in local restaurants or outside on piazzas, and with plenty of family friendly
menus on offer, you'll find everything from pizzas and pasta to local Istrian specialities alongside
excellent wines that the region is famous for. Basing ourselves in only two places means less
packing and unpacking and more time for activities and relaxing. If you're looking to cycle with
your family and make new friends, plus have all the peddling routes and activities taken care of,
then this wonderful Croatian family adventure holiday won't disappoint.

Facilities

DAY 1 - Meet group at hotel in Vrsar

Independent arrival to our hotel in Vrsar on the coast. This old fishing town is a delight with its
seafront promenade, stunning sunsets, winding streets, pavement cafés and old stone houses.
Most buildings are painted white giving it a very summer Mediterranean feel against a beautiful
deep blue sky backdrop. The warm glistening sea and boats bobbing in the harbour all exude the
atmosphere that gives charm and holiday feel. This afternoon we pick up our hire bikes at the
shop and then go to the hotel and settle in. Our guide then gives us a briefing about the week
ahead. If time allows are can pop down to the nearby beach for our first swim. We have a
welcome dinner and a good nights sleep.

ACCOMMODATION: Hotel/Guesthouse 3* in Vrsar
MEALS: dinner


DAY 2 - Cycle along the old railway line of Parenzana.

Today is an ideal start to our family holiday with some cycling on flat trails away from any traffic.
Known as the wine railway (parents will be pleased to know!), the Parenzana Railway was built to
link Porec, here on the Croatian coast with Trieste in Italy, and was operational between 1905 and
1935. It is now a super cycle way and is made all the more interesting by peddling through tunnels
and over old bridges till we arrive at the old train station! There is no rush today as we cycle. We
start at the pretty, medieval hill-top village of Groznjan, around 50mins transfer, which overlooks
the valley of the Mirna River. Dating from around the year 1100, Groznjan is today known as a
centre for artists and artisans. We will explore its timeless streets on foot, where it seems every
doorway leads to an artist's studio. We have our picnic lunch with us and will eat this at a suitable
spot along the route with some nice views and shade. Our ride is eastwards through rolling
countryside above the Mirna River, to the truffle centre of Livade, where we will visit a truffleshop and have the chance to taste this much sought-after delicacy. We have time to stop at one of
the pavement cafés for an ice-cream or coffee. We cycle a little further to the village of Motovun
and here we meet our vehicle and transfer back to our hotel in Vsrar.

ACCOMMODATION: Hotel/Guesthouse 3* in Vrsar
MEALS: breakfast, picnic lunch
ACTIVITY DISTANCE: biking 27 km, time: 3 hours.


DAY 3 - Circular cycle route along the coast to the Baredine Caves.

Starting out in Porec (20mins drive) we bike on single track rural roads on a mix of tarmac and
gravel, along coast and bays with beautiful views out across the sparkling sea. If we have time we
can stop for a cool drink in one of the seaside cafés. Leaving the sea we go through olive groves to
the village of Tar. It is incredibly peaceful and relaxing riding. After Tar we cycle south-westerly
and head down another rural road to the Baredine caves where we stop to explore this interesting
site. Our tour of the caves explores several chambers and tunnels down to 132m underground.
They are well lit and maintained paths. In the caves we might be able to see the rare 'cave olm', a
small salamander which is endemic to this Dinaric Karst region. Leaving the caves we hop on our
bikes again and cycle along rural paths back to Porec and then our hotel. We will have time to
enjoy a swim in the sea on our return before our guide suggests somewhere for dinner.

ACCOMMODATION: Hotel/Guesthouse 3* in Vrsar
MEALS: breakfast, picnic lunch
ACTIVITY DISTANCE: biking 30 km, time: 3-4 hours, visit cave 45 minutes


DAY 4 - Sea Kayaking, snorkelling and swimming at Lim 'Fjord'.

Today we take a break from the bikes and enjoying another activity in this beautiful region. We
have a day sea kayaking along Lim 'Fjord'. Not geographically a fjord, but locally called this,
because it is not carved from glacial ice, and it does not have steep sides, just gentle green
undulating ones, and warm turquoise waters - this channel is 35km long connecting the sea and
the Pazincica River. It is a government protected area, so no motorised boats are allowed on the
waters, making it an ideal place for us to kayak along. There are lots of places to stop on our
journey today down the fjord. We might have lunch at a remote beach, only accessible from the
channel, where we can enjoy a snorkel and a swim. At the end of the fjord we walk into Romuald's
cave. This 105 m long cave has several impressive chambers, with evidence from prehistoric times
and animals such as bears, lions and even hyena. Now it is protected because of the large number
of bats who dwell here. The legend is that a hermit St. Romuald lived here in the 11th Century.
This is a beautiful day on the water in these warm climes, the children and adults will enjoy it
alike. In the afternoon we transfer to our new hotel base in Rovinj. Here we can enjoy an icecream or a glass of wine as we unwind. Fresh fish (combined with a glass of Malvasia) is a popular
choice at dinner this evening.

ACCOMMODATION: Hotel/Guesthouse 3* in Rovinj
MEALS: breakfast, picnic lunch
ACTIVITY DISTANCE: sea kayaking 8 km, time: 2 hours kayaking.


DAY 5 - Free day in Rovinj.

Swimming or boat trip.There are no planned activities today, so we can relax a bit and do our own thing. Rovinj is said to
be one of the most picturesque towns in the Mediterranean - the 'Pearl of Adriatic' - it has
colourful houses on the water front, a distinctive church and bell-tower. It is full of cobbled streets
and piazzas, with ice-cream parlours and cafés serving good coffee and wine! There are several
beautiful beaches in walking distance, or a short taxi ride away, which we can spend some time at.
There is also an option to go on a full or half day boat trip out to the Brijuni Islands National Park.
These were the summer residence of Tito which was beneficial for the park with the renewed
forests and land. We can walk here or swim on the beaches. The nearby Punta Corrente Forest
Park is also delightful for a walk and its beaches. The choice is yours. In the evening we have the
option of all meeting up and enjoying one of the many restaurants serving food on the terraces
outside in the warm night air.

ACCOMMODATION: Hotel/Guesthouse 3* in Rovinj
MEALS: breakfast
ACTIVITY DISTANCE: none


DAY 6 - Cycle along the coastal lanes from Rovinj to Palud Cove reserve.

We set off this morning on the bikes again and cycle south-westerly along the coast, and through
pretty little villages. Again, today the route is almost all flat. The area of Palud Cove, which is just
8km away, is the first and only ornithological reserve in Istria, providing habitat for over 200 bird
species. Motor vehicles are not allowed into the reserve, but we can explore the trails on our
bikes. It is a very peaceful area and there is a small rocky beach were we can have a swim and
enjoy our picnic. We then return along the coast to the medieval town of Bale. From here we
transfer back to Rovinj. Back in Rovinj we might have some time to visit another beach before we
find another restaurant for tonight's dinner.

ACCOMMODATION: Hotel/Guesthouse 3* in Rovinj
MEALS: breakfast, picnic lunch
ACTIVITY DISTANCE: biking 20 km, time: 2-3 hours.


DAY 7 - Cycle around Cape Kamenjak to Medulin.

We have a short transfer this morning to the most southern peninsula of Istria, the Cape
Kamenjack. This isthmus is surrounded by a coastline of 30km, including bays, white beaches and
crystal clear blue waters. It's stunningly beautiful. We cycle from here to the village of Medulin.
Along the way we will stop for some swimming, and can guarantee an ice-cream stop as well. For
those interested there are 22 orchid species in this area. We also see the fossilised dinosaur
footprints and an ammonite preserved on the flat rock here. To enhance the experience there is a
model dinosaur lurking in the bushes along the trail! After our bike ride we transfer to Pula, the
largest city in Istria. It has an incredible Roman amphitheatre, and a long history of wine-making.
We have some free time to explore this city, or have an optional visit to the Pula Aquarium which
is located in an old fort of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. We return to Rovinj at the end of the
day. Tonight our guide will suggest a nice restaurant for a celebratory final dinner in this glorious
and peaceful part of Mediterranean Europe.

ACCOMMODATION: Hotel/Guesthouse 3* in Rovinj
MEALS: breakfast, picnic lunch
ACTIVITY DISTANCE: biking 15 km, time: 1-2 hours.


DAY 8 - Departure Day.

Trip in Croatia ends after breakfast
MEALS: breakfast

Map

Essentials

Included

English-speaking local guide
Single timed return airport transfer
All accommodations as described in the trip dossier
Meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
All land transport required by the itinerary
National park entrance fees

Excluded

Travel insurance
Visas
Airport taxes
Airport transfers other than group transfers
Some meals as detailed in the meal plan
Extra activities and excursions not part of the itinerary
Tips for local staff
Miscellaneous personal expenditure

Essentials

MEAL PLAN

All breakfasts, 5 picnic lunches and 1 dinner are included in the holiday price. Vrsar and Rovinj
have an excellent range of restaurants to suit all budgets, therefore not including dinner in these
towns ensures you are free to eat as much or as little as you wish. The leader will arrange a time
to meet up in the evening whilst in towns, and part of the holiday experience will be choosing
which restaurant to sample.


JOINING ARRANGEMENTS & TRANSFERS

On day 1, a single timed group transfer from Pula airport to the group hotel in Vrsar is provided
and will depart early in the afternoon. If you are arriving earlier, you are welcome to use this
transfer. If you are arriving later, we can provide a private transfer (EUR 70 per car up to 4
persons) .


ACCOMMODATION

Accommodation on this holiday is in a variety of comfortable hotels and guesthouses. All
accommodation is based on twin sharing. If you are travelling by yourself, you will be paired with
another solo traveller of the same sex. Single rooms can be arranged for a supplementary charge
and are dependent on availability at the time of booking


GROUP LEADER & SUPPORT STAFF

The group will be accompanied throughout by a professional English-speaking local tour leader.
Spending Money € 250 should be sufficient to cover all non included meals and reasonable
personal expenses. ATM’s are readily available in all towns plus on arrival at Pula Airport. The local
currency in Croatia is the kuna, which can be obtained from exchange offices, banks and ATMs.
The leader on arrival will offer advice on obtaining local currency

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