Touring

ISTRIA TO THE ADRIATIC • cycling tour

Duration

8 days

Category

TOURING, E-BIKE

Fitness level

Moderate

Tour type

GUIDED, SELF-GUIDED, TAILOR-MADE

Technical difficulty

Low

Length & elevation

217 KM 1525 M

Beautiful nature, small medieval towns, the scent of pine trees, excellent local food and wine, welcoming locals and the warm sea – Istria is truly a feast for the senses. And the best way of exploring Istria is, of course, on a bike.  

 

Istria is shared by three countries – Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy. On the western side of the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea one can find colorful towns with their cobbled piazzas, shuttered houses and back alleys laden with laundry. Meanwhile, the inland Istria is an area of rare, disarming beauty characterized by stone-built villages. Small towns perched on rolling hills overlooking fields and valleys remind of vintage paintings. 

Istria to the Adriatic cycling tour mostly follows the abandoned Parenzana railway track, which was in operation in the early 1900s, transporting passengers, salt, olive oil, Istrian stone, wine and other goods between Poreč and Trieste. Starting in Italian town of Muggia, the cycling road runs along the coast to the picturesque coastal town of Piran, a slice of Venice in Slovenia. The world-famous inland towns of Grožnjan and Motovun in Croatia are next on the list. Before returning to Piran, the tour turns back to the coast, stopping at the romantic towns of Poreč and Umag.

This easy cycling tour is suitable for everybody, including families. For the more eager cyclists, there is always enough time to explore other local routes throughout the day.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Cycling in 3 countries in only 8 days 
  • Excellent Istrian cuisine and wine 
  • Historic hilltop towns
  • Easy cycling along the old Parenzana railway track
  • Swimming in the Adriatic Sea

Gallery

Itinerary

DAY 01

ARRIVAL: MEETING AND BRIEFING IN MUGGIA

Istria to the Adriatic cycling tour begins in the coastal town of Muggia near Trieste, the only Italian port town in Istria. The town’s architecture is marked by Venetian and Austrian history, while its harbour hosts a modern 500-berth marina. Muggia shows many traces of its Venetian tradition and origin, as demonstrated by the dialect, gastronomic tradition, architecture, and mostly by the main square, which is a true Venetian “campiello”. 

Tour briefing takes place upon arrival to this lovely town or the next morning.

 

 


DAY 02

MUGGIA – PIRAN: COASTAL RIDE FROM ITALY TO SLOVENIA

DistanceDistance: 35 km
DistanceElevation: 253 m

After the overnight in Muggia, it is time to hop on a bike. A scenic ride along the Adriatic coast is characterized by rich Istrian vegetation. Soon after leaving Muggia, the road starts following the old Parenzana railway track and eventually enters Slovenia. After passing through the coastal towns of Koper, Izola and Portorož, the road leads towards the charming town of Piran – the final destination of the day. 

Sitting pretty at the tip of a narrow peninsula, Piran is the most popular site on the Slovenian coast. Its old town, which is one of the best-preserved historical towns in the Adriatic, is a real gem of the Venetian Gothic architecture. It is hard not to fall in love with the town’s atmospheric winding alleyways, sunsets and seafood restaurants.

 

 


DAY 03

PIRAN - GROŽNJAN: SALINA NATURE PARK AND THE TOWN OF ARTISTS

DistanceDistance: 31 km
DistanceElevation: 323 m

While cycling to the Slovenian border with Croatia, the tour passes the Sečovlje Salina Nature Park, the largest Slovenian salt evaporation pond and one of the few facilities where salt is still produced in a traditional way. The park is also a wetland of international importance and a breeding place for various water birds. If short on time, there is another opportunity of visiting the salt flats when returning to Piran on the last cycling day. 

After crossing the border with Croatia, a slight ascent towards Savudrija is awarded by some stunning views of the surroundings. The highlight of the day is a tiny inland town of Grožnjan. Much like its neighbouring villages, Grožnjan has kept a faithful watch over the Mirna valley for centuries. When Grožnjan was formally declared as the Town of Artists in 1965, many artists and gallerists moved in and began transforming it into an art hub. With some 30 galleries the town has retained this status to this day. But before reaching Grožnjan, there is yet another place that is well worth a visit – the town of Buje. Located atop a hill offering a 360° panorama, the mediaeval town of Buje seems as if it’s guarding the surrounding vineyards and olive groves the region is known for.


DAY 04

GROŽNJAN - MOTOVUN: IN THE LAND OF TRUFFLES

DistanceDistance: 32 km
DistanceElevation: 239 m

The next day starts with a winding panoramic descent towards the Mirna Valley. Cycling over picturesque old railway viaducts, the road eventually crosses the wide valley before ending with a short, but steep ascent in the direction of Motovun, the most famous Istrian medieval town. 

The captivating hilltop settlement is often used as a typical Istrian interior decoration motif. This idyllic town, and the final destination of the day, serves as a venue to many events, the most significant being the International Motovun Film Festival that takes place every year in July. The area is also known for its protected forest, where precious black and white truffles grow in abundance.  


DAY 05

MOTOVUN - POREČ: BACK TO THE BEACH

DistanceDistance: 36 km
DistanceElevation: 315 m

The next day is full of easy cycling across fields rich in fertile red soil, ultimately returning to the beautiful Adriatic coast. After descending from Motovun, the road yet again follows the former Parencana railway. Plenty of easy descents with wonderful views assure for a relaxing, but still very exciting cycling day, the highlight of which is cycling through the vineyards.

The final destination of the day is the town of Poreč, located in the heart of the western coast of Istria. Its major landmark is the 6th century Euphrasian Basilica, which is famous for its gem-studded Byzantine mosaics and has been proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The almost 2000 years old Poreč is a town of culture, tourism, sport and entertainment. It has been recognized and awarded for the beauty of its public spaces and its cleanliness many times over.


DAY 06

POREČ - UMAG: THE WEST COAST

DistanceDistance: 42 km
DistanceElevation: 230 m

The longest cycling day is full of comfortable touring along the coast. The urban tourist areas are mixed with secluded gravel paths, all running along the picturesque Adriatic coast. There are plenty of opportunities for swimming or beach picnics. 

After passing the pretty town of Novigrad, the road leads to another ancient town – Umag, which presents the westernmost point of Croatia. The history of Umag is particularly interesting. A favourite of the Roman aristocracy, who used it as their summer residence, Umag has preserved parts of the historic walls and defense towers. Here, one can also admire Renaissance and Baroque buildings, the most famous among them being the churches of Saint Peregrine and the Assumption of Virgin Mary.


DAY 07

UMAG - PIRAN: BACK TO SLOVENIA

DistanceDistance: 32 km
DistanceElevation: 310 m

On the last cycling day of the Istria to the Adriatic tour, the route continues along the Croatian coastline. Fragrant pine forests at Cape Savudrija offer pleasant shade and it is highly recommended to make a few stops on the coast to enjoy the wonderful views and the sea breeze before crossing the border to Slovenia. The last leg of the cycling holiday leads back to Portorož and then Piran, where cycling comes to an end. 

Unlike the first visit to Piran, there is now enough time left to enjoy the impressive atmosphere of the old town. The time is perfect to sip a cup of coffee at the Tartini Square featuring a monument dedicated to the great violinist and composer Giuseppe Tartini, born in Piran in 1692. The best views can be enjoyed from the Walls of Piran or the St. George’s Parish Church. Taking a dip in the sea before dinner is also a great idea.


DAY 08

DEPARTURE DAY

The Istria to the Adriatic cycling tour ends with breakfast in Piran. After breakfast, a transfer is organized to the tour starting point in Muggia or to Trieste. 

 


Dates

  • June 6 – 13, 2020 GUIDED
  • September 12 – 19, 2020 GUIDED
  • September 26 – October 3, 2020 GUIDED
  • May - October *TAILOR MADE, SELF-GUIDED

*In season, tour can be organised on any date. Please contact us for individual offer.

We recommend guided cycling tours to everybody who seeks complete relaxation and wants to have only one thing on their mind – great cycling. Our guides will take care of everything else – navigation, interesting local insights and technical support. Guided tours are also perfect for meeting other enthusiastic cyclers from around the globe and creating life-long friendships.


Price for the guided ISTRIA TO THE ADRIATIC tour includes:

  • 7-night accommodation in 3–4 star hotels/guest houses
  • 7 breakfasts and 6 dinners, all meals include typical/local food
  • Fully qualified and experienced cycling guide for the entire trip
  • Extensive Tour Booklet
  • Maps
  • Baggage transfer between the tour stages
  • Meeting and briefing at the tour start
  • Final transfer back to Muggia/Trieste
  • 24/7 hotline number (support)

Rates are valid per person, based on double occupancy on pre-scheduled departures. For individual departures feel free to contact us for the offer.

Optional:

Price excludes:

  • Travel and activity insurance
  • Personal safety and cycling equipment
  • Lunches
  • Any beverages consumed with meals that are included in the package
  • Any other items not mentioned as included.

We recommend self-guided cycling tours to everybody who knows how to navigate a map or a GPS device and has previous experience in self-guided cycling. If you think you don’t fit this description, maybe a guided cycling tour would be a more enjoyable option for you.

The price of a self-guided tour depends on the number of people in the group. See prices per person based on double occupancy below.

Pax 2 4 6 8
Price 1.210 € 1.040 € 990 € 960 €


Price for the self- guided ISTRIA TO THE ADRIATIC tour includes: 

  • 7-night accommodation in 3–4 star hotels/guest houses
  • 7 breakfasts
  • Baggage transfer between the tour stages
  • Navigation pack: GPS with uploaded routes (one device per group), map and tour booklet.
  • Meeting and briefing at the tour start
  • Final transfer back to Muggia/Trieste
  • 24/7 hotline number (support)

Optional:

Price excludes:

  • Travel and activity insurance
  • Personal safety and cycling equipment
  • Lunches and dinners
  • Any beverages consumed with meals that are included in the package
  • Any other items not mentioned as included

Would you like to customize this tour? Are you worried you are not prepared enough physically? Would you like to select a different starting or ending point, or perhaps have a day off before, after or during the tour? Send an e-mail to info@visit-goodplace.com.

Logistics

LOGISTICS

The adventure starts in Muggia, Italy, and ends in Piran, Slovenia.

AIRPORT SHUTTLE

Muggia is surrounded by several international airports, those of Trieste (the closest), Ljubljana, Venice, Treviso and Klagenfurt, each of them located within a 2-3-hour driving distance. We are happy to arrange airport shuttles from any of these airports.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • One guided group can include a maximum of 8 people.
  • On guided tours a briefing session is organized every evening. During briefing, the guide(s) reveal details about the next day’s cycling stage, including the altitude, length, difficulty etc.
  • On most cycling stages alternative trail variations can be chosen according to the specific requirements of the group.
  • The meeting instructions and final trip arrangements are sent to participants two weeks before the tour start date.

The tour is suitable for e-bikers.

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