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  • From €1315

  • 8 days
  • May, September, October
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Cycle the Wine roads of Istria - 8 days

Overview

Immersed in the blue of the Adriatic Sea, there is something magical about Istria, the largest (3600 square kilometres) and most northerly of the Croatian peninsulas. The coastal strip, known locally as Blue Istria, is popular with sun-seekers during the summer months, while the interior, or Green Istria, is another story entirely. Here, we will find a world of shading forest, historic hilltop towns, vineyards, olive groves and picturesque rivers. It’s the perfect place for a leisurely cycling holiday.
We start our exploration at Buje, close to Croatia’s northern border with Slovenia, then head south slowly, picking out all of the highlights of this delightful corner of Europe. From the lighthouse at Savudrija to medieval settlements such as Groznjan, we will ride on country roads and then for 2 days on the delightful dismantled railway track of the Parenzana through the rolling hills of the 'Croatian Tuscany'. We will visit wine cellars to sample some of the local favourites, such as Malvasia and Teran. We will also take every opportunity to chill out in pavement cafes overlooking the rolling Istrian countryside and to enjoy local Istrian culinary specialities. Spending time in the coastal towns of Porec and Rovinj and Pula, we will be able to appreciate their beauty, whilst learning a little of their rich histories. If you are looking for a leisurely cycling holiday, with a stunning mix of landscape, culture, delicious food and excellent wines, this is one to consider.

Highlights:
● Cycling through the breathtaking Istrian landscape
● Visit to Istrian winemakers
● Tasting the wines and culinary specialties of Istria
● Visiting the medieval towns of Motovun, Grožnjan, Poreč, Rovinj

Facilities

DAY 1 Meet at the group hotel in Buje
Rendezvous at the group hotel in Buje. Depending on your arrival time, you may have time to explore. The town of Buje is a 3 to 4 kilometres walk away along the old rail track of the Parenzana. In the afternoon you will pick up your bikes and the guide will be on hand to help with this and to answer any questions you might have about the week ahead. Your guide will also join the group for a welcome dinner at the hotel.
Accommodation: Guesthouse Lovac 3*, Buje area or similar
Meals: welcome dinner at the hotel
Transfer: One group transfer from Pula airport to hotel in Buje
Biking: set up of bikes

DAY 2 Day-ride from Buje to the coastal town of Umag and the Savudrija Lighthouse, including wine tasting.
We start our first day's ride on a quiet backroad which takes us down to the coast through olive groves and vineyards. Arriving at the sea at Lovrecica, we head north, passing a couple of small bays en route to the colourful harbour and town at Umag, which we reach after 23 kilometres of cycling. Umag provides us with a great introduction to Croatia's Mediterranean aspect and is a place where we can explore amongst renaissance and baroque buildings and churches and take the opportunity for a cafe stop and a spot of people watching. Heading north again, we pass a number of low-key resorts and after a further 8 kilometres reach the north-eastern tip of the Istrian Peninsula. Here, there is the oldest lighthouse in the Adriatic, the 36-metre tall Savudrija, still in use and still manned. Protecting the southern approaches to the Gulf of Trieste, the lighthouse was Italian-financed, its construction beginning in 1817. From here, we cycle back inland and alongside Croatia's northern border with Slovenia. This part of our ride is very gradually uphill - during the final 20 kilometres of cycling we gain around 200 metres of elevation. We end our ride at a vineyard and wine cellar close to Momjan. Muscat, Malvasia and Teran are just 3 of the local wines worth sampling. After our wine tasting, we have a short transfer back to our hotel outside Buje.
Accommodation: Guesthouse Lovac 3*, Buje area or similar
Meals: breakfast, picnic lunch and refreshment during biking, wine tasting
Transfer: support van during biking
Distance : 52 km / 32 miles, total ascent 490, descent -400m

DAY 3 Cycle on the old railway track of the 'Parenzana' to Groznjan and the truffle centre of Livade.
For the next 2 days we will be cycling on the old railway track of the Parenzana and we will change over to using mountain bikes which will provide us with a more comfortable ride. We head inland on this easy gravel cycle path, through tunnels and over old bridges, into the heart of rural Istria (known as the Croatian Tuscany). Known as the wine railway, the Parenzana was and was built to link Porec with Trieste and was operational between 1905 and 1935. The first stop on our route is the pretty, medieval hill-top settlement of Groznjan which overlooks the valley of the Mirna River. Dating from around the year 1100, Grojnan 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. Once again, we are in no hurry and it will be hard to resist the attraction of one of the town's pavement cafes. This part of the peninsula is known as Istria County and we continue our ride eastwards through rolling countryside above the Mirna River, to the truffle centre of Livade, where we will visit a truffle shop and have the chance to taste this much sought-after fungal growth. Our overnight hotel is now just a couple of kilometres ride away, in the beautiful hill-top village of Motovun on the opposite (south) bank of the river.
Accommodation: Hotel Villa Borgo or Kaštel 3*, Motovun or similar
Meals: breakfast, picnic lunch and refreshment during biking
Transfer: support van during biking
Distance : 30 km / 19 miles, total ascent 460, descent -600m

DAY 4 Still on the Parenzana, cycle out to the coast via Visnjan to Porec.
From Motovun, we cycle back towards the coast, again following the old track of the Parenzana. We drop down out of the village and follow the track through a 200 metre tunnel, emerging to find views across the Mirna Valley as we leave Motovun behind us. We stop for a coffee in Vizinada after an hour or so and then continue towards the coast. At times, although we are still following the route of the Parenzana, we find ourselves cycling on the bare, red Istrian soil, as we pass on farm tracks amongst pretty vineyards and olive groves. We stop for lunch in Visnjan, a hilltop village notable for its architecture and for its astronomical observatory. From the village square, at an elevation of around 250 metres, we can actually see the sea. After lunch we have an enjoyable 15 kilometre ride out to the coast, passing the last of the old Parenzana railway stations just before we reach Porec, a town famous for its UNESCO listed basilica and charming old quarter. We will finish our day cycling around the wall that surrounds the old town of Porec to reach our hotel.
Accommodation: Hotel Poreč 3*, Poreč or similar
Meals: breakfast, picnic lunch and refreshment during biking
Transfer: support van during biking
Distance : 39 km / 25 miles, total ascent 400, descent -570m

DAY 5 Day-ride from Porec and free time for sightseeing in this town which dates back to Roman times.
No need to pack our bags this morning, as we will be staying another night at our Porec hotel. So, after breakfast, we start our scenic ride with a visit to the 6th century cathedral of the Euphrasiana, the most important monument in Porec. The interior of the cathedral is very impressive and well worth the admission charge. Leaving Porec, we then head inland on quiet roads to the village of Bacva, the highest point of the day's ride and a good place for a cafe stop. After our break at Bacva, we head southwards and back down to the coastal village of Vrsar. Strategically located, with a commanding view of the coast, Vrsar was fortified in the 12th century as a part of the Istrian Peninsula's coastal defence system. We will take the opportunity to visit the remains of the castle and enjoy the sea views, before cycling northwards to the fishing village of Funtana. Now heading back to our hotel in Porec, we will cycle through the resort areas of Zelena and Plava Laguna.
Accommodation: Hotel Poreč 3*, Poreč or similar
Meals: breakfast, picnic lunch and refreshment during biking
Transfer: support van during biking
Distance : 48 km / 30 miles, total ascent 470, descent -470m

DAY 6 Cycle from Kanfanar to Rovinj, with sightseeing and olive oil tasting at Bale.
This morning's leisurely ride starts from Kanfanar after a short transfer. However, anyone feeling energetic can choose to make an early start and cycle an additional 20 kilometres, accompanied by the cycling guide. Kanfanar is a small inland town above the Lim Valley and our ride today is the flattest of the tour. Our route will take us back through the Bale region. At Svetvincenat, we will be able to explore the imposing Morosini-Grimani fortress and relax in its renaissance town square surrounded by cypress trees. This is another very attractive Istrian settlement, although one with a chequered history - including a 17th century witchcraft trial. At the pretty village of Bale we can make a stop to visit the Soardo-Bembo Palace, a very distinctive 15th century Venetian Gothic building. Here, too, we can visit a famous olive oil producer, where we can learn about the trees, the harvest and the processing of the oil. Arriving at our hotel in Rovinj, we have time to look around this 'Pearl of Adriatic', with its colourful houses, distinctive church and bell-tower. Fresh fish (combined with a glass of Malvasia) is a popular choice at dinner this evening. Everybody can enjoy Rovinj, its charm and magic.
Accommodation: Guesthouse Baron Gautsch 3* or Hotel Villa Lili 3*, Rovinj or similar
Meals: breakfast, picnic lunch and refreshment during biking, olive oil tasting tasting
Transfer: support van during biking
Distance : 35 km / 22 miles, total ascent 160, descent -420m

DAY 7 Transfer inland to Zminj and cycle south through pretty countryside to Pula.
After breakfast, we will have a 20-minute transfer to the medieval town of Zminj, before setting off on the last ride of the trip, southwards to Pula. Cycling through a distinctly rural region, we will see lots of traditional drystone toolsheds, known locally as 'kazuni'. These are similar to the 'trulli' found in Puglia and the 'bories' in Provence. We pass through pretty countryside with several small villages and an obvious lunch stop is in the colourful town of Vodnjan. Finally, we will cycle into Pula, the largest town on the peninsula with a population of almost 60,000. Located on a superb natural harbour, Pula has been occupied, destroyed and rebuilt on numerous occasions since Roman times. We will finish the day with a sightseeing tour of the old part of the city, where the triumphal Arch of the Sergil and the great amphitheatre of the Pula Arena are the standout attractions. Overnight at our Pula hotel and a final celebratory dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodation: Hotel Amfiteatar 3*, Pula or similar
Meals: breakfast, picnic lunch and refreshment during biking, farewell dinner
Transfer: support van during biking
Distance : 47 km / 30 miles, total ascent 210, descent -560m

DAY 8 Departure day
After breakfast departure.
Accommodation: none
Meals: breakfast
Transfer: one group transfer from hotel to Pula airport
Distance : none

Map


Prikaži Self Guided Istrian wine road tour 8 days na većoj karti

Essentials

Included

  • Info meeting
  • 2 x overnight in a 3* hotel in Buje area
  • 1 x overnight in a 3* hotel in Motovun
  • 2 x overnight in a 3* hotel in Poreč
  • 1 x overnight in a 3* hotel in Rovinj
  • 1 x overnight in a 3* hotel in Pula
  • 7 x breakfast
  • Transfer from/to Pula airport
  • Support minivan
  • Luggage transport between accommodations
  • English speaking tour guide
  • 6 x snacks and refreshment during biking
  • 2 x dinner ( welcome and farewell dinner)
  • Visit wine cellar with tasting
  • Bike rental hybrid/treking/MTB

  • Excluded

  • Travel and bike insurance
  • Arrival and departure from Istria
  • E-Bike rental with supplement EUR 110 per bike/week
  • Lunches, dinners and drinks if not mentioned
  • Restrictions

    You should be in a moderate physical condition to do this trip.

    Essentials

    Hotels are 3* with very excellent service.

    Bring:
    ● sunscreen and hat if its summer
    ● suitable clothes for cycling

    Who carries my luggage?
    On all tours, whether guided or self-guided, your luggage is transferred to your following night's accommodation. Luggage transfer is mostly carried out by Fiore Tours, by  sometimes we use also the accommodation provider or a local taxi service. Bags should be ready for collection by 09:30am and will be at your next overnight stop by 3pm.

    What type of bikes do you use?
    Our adult bicycles are quality hybrids, made by FELT. The model is the QX80 and we have a range of sizes to ensure there is a good match between you and your hire bike. These are very comfortable bikes, with quality components, ideally suited for roads and gravel tracks. The bikes have 27 gears, operated by easy-to-use gear shifters.
     
    What equipment/clothing do I need to bring with me?
    We supply helmets, hand pump, puncture repair kits, cycle computers (measuring speed, distance etc.).rear rack and bottle holder. We recommend that you bring a lightweight waterproof in case of showers. On longer tours, you might like to, wear cycling shorts or padded under-shorts, cycling gloves and cycling shoes (or stiff-soled trainers) as these will make your ride more comfortable. Sunglasses protect your eyes from bright light, and also from airborne insects – a particular hazard if you are speeding downhill on a bike.
     
    Can I organize a trip with just my friends or family?
    Yes, just let us know your chosen trip and we can organize a private departure. Prices may vary from those given on the website, depending on the size of the group and date of departure.
     
    What is the accommodation going to be like
    Accommodation is clean and simple. You'll mainly stay in small, locally-run, 2-3 star hotels and guesthouses, which reflect the character of the area.
     
    What is the food like?
    Breakfasts are generally buffets that take your active program into consideration with a variety of low-fat and high-nutrition choices. Lunch is generally on your own, although some groups tours decide to pool funds on some days and enjoy picnics en route. Dinners are usually included with guided tours, and dinner packages ("half pension") are a frequent option with self-guided tours. Expect either a fixed menu or a few choices. If you have any allergies, restrictions or strong preferences, please let us know as far in advance as possible.
     
    How busy are the roads?
    The beauty of cycling in Istria is that the roads are generally very quiet. Our tours are planned on local roads with some short connections on main roads but generally the cycling is relaxed and traffic light.
     
    How far in advance do I need to book?
    We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as Istria is extremely popular over the summer months.
     
    When is the best time of year?
    Traditionally April/May/June and September/October  have always been the most popular time of year because the weather is better and on the road is less traffic. In July and August air temperature and humidity are higher and more traffic on the roads.

    What happens if I can’t cycle a stage?
    We use local taxis to transfer your baggage and they can normally move you, your bike and baggage to the next stop in case of emergency. Local buses can also sometimes take bikes.
     
    When do I get my tour documents?
    You receive tour documents, including your hotel list and information on how to get to your starting town and hotel, tour operator contacts, packing tips, and other helpful information, about 2-3 weeks before your tour. You get packets with maps, route instructions, and sightseeing information at your start hotel.


     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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