Sports & adventure trip

Cycling through the hills and towns of Istria

The Istrian peninsula is a premier cycling destination in Croatia with more than 500 kilometres of bike trails and a dream scenery. Curvy roads take you along the bright blue Adriatic coastline and into the lush green interior peppered with small historical towns and villages, some predating the Roman times.

Trip highlights

  • Cycle through the breathtaking Italian and Istrian landscapes
  • Explore the former Parenzana railway
  • Taste the wines and culinary specialties of Istria
  • Visit the medieval towns of Motovun, Grožnjan, and Poreč
  • Walk the narrow cobblestone streets of Rovinj and admire the Roman amphitheater in Pula

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Istria, the largest Croatian peninsula located in the northern part of the Adriatic, was once part of the Roman empire, a civilization particularly fond of both hills and fortification.

It is a perfect cycling destination all year round. Besides challenging trails and picturesque landscapes, you will find well-marked routes are at the disposal of all cyclists. Often, you can choose easier or more challenging courses based on your ability and fitness.

No matter which trails you choose to explore this 2200 square kilometre peninsula - the charms of Istria will, without a doubt, leave you speechless.

Its green forests, historic hilltop towns, vineyards, olive groves, and gentle rivers are a perfect combination of the beauty of nature, history, and culture. When you add this to the seductive tastes of excellent Istrian wines, you just know that this is an area that offers everything you need.

Take a break at the winemakers and taste indigenous wines such as Malvasia and Teran, treat yourself to tasty delicacies and experience all the charms of Istria, this exciting Croatian wine region.

Springtime in Istria offers wild asparagus that can be plucked along the way, or if you are on two-wheels in autumn, you’ll be able to try your hand at finding the elusive white truffle in the Motovun Forest.

The greatest feature of Istria is the concentration of preserved mediaeval small towns located on hilltops which provided them natural protection. Even today they would not be easily conquered and to modern tourists on bikes they present a new challenge. Some of these towns are: Buje, Momjan, Grožnjan – “the town of artists”, Završje, Oprtalj, Motovun and Vižinada, and adding to the authentic ambience are the very picturesque villages of the upper Buje area.

Day-by-day itinerary


Arrival in Trieste

Independent arrival in Trieste. The rest of the day is at your leisure to explore the city and its surroundings. Overnight.


Biking Trieste-Buje

At 9 a.m. you’ll have a welcome briefing and you will have your bike fitted. After breakfast at the hotel, the Parenzana will take you all along the Piran Bay through the towns of Portorož and Lucija toward the saltworks of Sečovlje. The Sečovlje salts flats are the northernmost salt flats in the Mediterranean. 

The salt is produced traditionally based on a 700-year-old method that harmonizes man and nature. You can visit its museum. After you cross the Slovenian - Croatian border, the Parenzana will start uphill along the trail where you can enjoy the view on the whole bay with the saltworks and the Alps in the background. After that, you will be passing by Savudrija - Salvore train station. 

Following the Parenzana train along the road and passing through once important villages of the Buje region you will be getting to your hotel where you can enjoy in Istrian specialities such as truffles and prosciutto. Overnight in a hotel in the Buje region.

  • Bike distance: shorter option 41 km / 25 miles / elevation gain +575 m / 1897 f
  • Bike distance: longer option 56 km / 35 miles / elevation gain +620 m / 2035 ft


Biking Buje-Motovun

After breakfast, you will start biking (on macadam) on the legendary route of the Parenzana, the former narrow-gauge railway line which penetrates deeply into the Istrian peninsula connecting 33 Istrian towns between Porec and Trieste, located today on the territory of even three states. 

Passing through magnificent rolling landscapes and lively Istrian vineyards, it will become obvious why it was also known as the wine railway. After passing through several tunnels, over old bridges, you will find many fascinating viewpoints between the medieval town of Buje, Grožnjan and Motovun before reaching Motovun. 

Make sure to stop in Grožnjan, the city of artists, and visit its galleries. Another several tunnels and old bridges later, you will reach the village of Livade, the truffle centre of the world where you can taste and buy some products with truffles. In front of Livade, on a hill is the town of Motovun where your hotel is. Overnight.

  • Bike distance: 39 km / 24 miles / elevation gain +740 m / 2430 ft



Overlooking the Mirna River valley lies surely the most famous and attractive Istrian medieval town of Motovun-Montona. This captivating hilltop town is one of the characteristic symbols of the Istrian interior. The Romanesque-Gothic bell tower with a crenulated crown from the 13th century, standing next to the Parish Church of St. Stephen from the 17th century, dominates the town's historic core. 

In the central square is the Romanesque Municipal Palace, the largest secular building in Istria of that period surrounded by many other historic buildings. Passing the tunnel under the city of Motovun, the Parenzana will take you towards Poreč through the Vižinada village. You will pass by Nova Vas village where you can visit the Baredine Cave, but it’s optional as you have the visit planned for tomorrow. 

Following the trail along the vineyards, you will reach Poreč. This is a town where you can find material and spiritual evidence of great cultures at every step. Ride along the old city centre where you will find the Roman Forum, magnificent palaces from different historical periods, and to top it all, the famous Euphrasian Basilica (Euphrasiana). Overnight in a hotel in Poreč.

  • Bike distance: 36 km / 22 miles / elevation gain +380 m / 1254 ft


From the Adriatic Sea to the Baredine cave

Today, after breakfast, it’s time to visit the famous Baredine Cave. This route will partially take you through the same part you passed yesterday but do not worry, it won’t be for long. This is a tour which runs circularly through the peaceful landscape of Poreč countryside. The tour starts towards the hinterland and returns to Poreč along the coast. You will start on the famous Parenzana trail, shortly after you will turn on to single trails and country roads that take you to the Baredine cave. Here you can visit the cave or have a drink. You will continue on single trails, through wooded areas towards the sea and arrive at the coast close to Červar Porat; the trail passes by the archaeological site of Roman Villa Rustica which in ancient times produced the amphorae for the transport of wine and olive oil. From Červar, the coastal path leads through the area of authentic wild beaches. This part of the coast has kept its original state from times before the tourist boom; today it is a popular spot for all the beachgoers, which like wild and pristine beaches. Overnight in Poreč.

  • Bike distance: 30 km / 19 miles / elevation gain +361 m / 1184 ft


Poreč countryside

Today, you’re taking it easy! At your own pace, once you have finished breakfast or even later in the afternoon, you’ll embark on a short ride through the Poreč countryside. This easy tour is a great choice for a short family bike trip to nature and exploration of Poreč hinterland and the local way of life. 

You will pass through peaceful villages, olive groves and vineyards far away from the lively tourist areas as well as through areas of authentic north Mediterranean vegetation. 

The tour starts from Poreč and passes through villages Varvari and Veleniki where it partially follows the route of the old Roman road, Decumanus Maximus Agri, which in Antiquity served as a connection between Poreč and Istrian hinterland. In Veleniki you will pass by Konoba Danijela, which is famous for authentic Istrian specialities and is a great spot for a light lunch. 

After Velenik you will reach the village Kosinožići, from here you will continue on a shady forest trail towards Poreč. Last part of the tour follows the famous Parenzana bike path, which you have already gotten to know well over the last couple of days. In the evening, you'll meet with our representative and return your bikes. Overnight Poreč.

  • Bike distance: 16 km / 10 miles / elevation gain +211 m / 700 ft


Colours of Rovinj and antique Pula

Today is the day when you will take a break from cycling and enjoy someone else driving you for a change. You will be guided on the road to the past, take on many cultures, people and civilizations that in the old past created this heartbreak of red soil – Istria. Your first stop will be Rovinj, otherwise known as Little Venice.

From above, this tiny seaside town is crowned with 18th century Church of St. Euphemia and Venetian terracotta roofs. Step inside and you will discover narrow cobbled streets, a stunning line of colourful buildings, and camera-worthy spots every way you look.

After walking around this picturesque little town, we continue towards Pula. Travel back in time to the days when togas were all the rage. Pula is to Croatia what Rome is to Italy. There is no hiding the city’s main attraction – an enormous Roman Amphitheatre. Wandering around the remnants of ancient history, you'll be able to picture gladiators fighting in the blood-soaked dust.

After enjoying a full day trip, you will return to Poreč for your last overnight in Croatia.


Departure from Poreč

Depending on your departure time, take one last walk around Poreč, enjoy one last cup of coffee on one of its sunny terraces or one last cone of ice-cream that makes Poreč very famous. Also depending on your point of departure, a private transfer to the airport, harbour or bus station, can be organized upon request. 

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