Discover the Istrian Coast in this relaxed weeklong tour. Cycle easy country roads through vineyards and endless olive groves, enjoy afternoon coffee in medieval town squares and soak in the casual coastal atmosphere. Warm sunshine and cool ocean breezes, fresh local food, and historic coastal villages—it's hard to imagine a better way to spend your holiday.

Highlights

  • Explore the medieval towns of Muggia, Piran, Grožnjan, Motovun, and Umag
  • Enjoy fresh Istrian cuisine and spectacular coastal views
  • Cycle through stunning coastal landscapes and serene countrysides
  • Discover local culture in 3 countries: Slovenia, Croatia, and Italy 
  • Cycle 30 - 40 km per day

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Meeting and Briefing in Muggia Muggia
Day 2 Coastal Ride from Italy to the Slovenian Town of Piran Piran
Day 3 Cycle from Piran to Grožnjan via the Salina Landscape Park Grožnjan
Day 4 In the Land of Truffles: Grožnjan to Motovun Motovun
Day 5 Back to the Coast: Motovun to Poreč Poreč
Day 6 The West Coast of Istria: Poreč to Umag Umag
Day 7 Return to Slovenia: Umag to Piran Piran

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Meeting and Briefing in Muggia

The adventure starts in Italy
The adventure starts in Italy

Welcome to Italy! Your cycling tour starts in the coastal town of Muggia not far from Trieste, Istria's only Italian port. The town's architecture shows its Venetian and Austrian history, and its large harbor hosts a modern 500-berth marina. Muggia has a distinct old Venetian vibe, which is found everywhere from the dialect to the cuisine. The town's main square, a true Venetian campiello, is a popular gathering place for locals. 

Join your group briefing before enjoying an evening in town. 

Day 2: Coastal Ride from Italy to the Slovenian Town of Piran

Tartini square in Piran
Tartini Square in Piran

Your first day of cycling begins with a scenic ride along the Adriatic coast, a route that follows the historic Parenzana Track, a now-defunct railway line, with gorgeous views that open up to the sea and fragrant vegetation typical of Istria. Leading into Slovenia, you'll pass through the coastal towns of Koper, Izola, and Portorož, ending the day's ride in charming Piran.

Sitting pretty at the tip of a narrow peninsula, Piran is the most popular coastal destination on the Slovenian coast. Its Old Town, one of the best-preserved historical towns in the Adriatic, is a real gem of Venetian-Gothic architecture. Fall in love with the Piran's atmospheric winding alleyways, Romantic sunsets, and fresh-caught seafood restaurants.

Cycling distance: 22 miles (35 km)
Elevation: 830 feet (253 m)

Day 3: Cycle from Piran to Grožnjan via the Salina Landscape Park

Colorful houses on a stone street in Groznjan
Colorful houses on a stone street in Grožnjan

Today's destination is the tiny inland town of Grožnjan in the Croatian part of Istria. For a while, the town's strategic location on a hilltop made it a key military fortification, and its rich history is reflected in its ancient city walls. Following World War II many of Grožnjan's residents emigrated to Italy, depleting the population to a critical level. In an attempt to save the dying town, Grožnjan was formally declared the Town of Artists, a title still retained by the town. 

Today Grožnjan is home to more than 30 galleries and a thriving community of artists and young creatives, as well as the seat of the International Cultural Center of Young Musicians. The ride to Grožnjan passes through several incredible natural areas. Pedal through the 13th-century Sečovlje Salina Landscape Park, the largest Slovenian salt evaporation pond where salt is still harvested using centuries-old methods. The park is also an internationally crucial wetland and breeding place for water birds. 

Stop in the town of Buje for a quick rest (and stunning panoramic vistas) before cycling the last few miles into Grožnjan. 

Cycling distance: 19 miles (31 km)
Elevation: 1,060 feet (323 m)

Day 4: In the Land of Truffles: Grožnjan to Motovun

Croatia - Istria - Istria's charming hill town, Motovun
Istria's charming hill town, Motovun

Spend the day cycling east toward the medieval Istrian town of Motovun. You'll follow a winding panoramic descent through the Mirna River Valley as well as over picturesque old railway viaducts before crossing the wide valley and ending the days ride with a short, but steep ascent into Motovun. The hilltop town is famous for its 13th-century Romanesque-Gothic Bell Tower and 17th-century Parish Church of Saint Stephen, which dominates the town's historic center. Motovun serves as a venue for several international events, most notably the International Motovun Film Festival in July. 

Across the Mirna river from the town lies the famous Forest of Motovun, which enjoys special protection thanks to its regionally unique ecosystem and rich moist soil. This environment creates prime growing conditions for the prized white and black truffles, which grow here in abundance. Sample local wines and enjoy a dinner with truffles sourced from the nearby truffle-rich forests.

Cycling distance: 20 miles (32 km)
Elevation: 784 feet (239 m)

Day 5: Back to the Coast: Motovun to Poreč

Istrian vegetation and sprawling villas
Istrian vegetation and sprawling villas

Today is all about comfortable cycling along fertile red-soiled agricultural fields on your way back to the coast. You'll once again pick up the familiar Parenzana Track after descending Motovun's hill to pedal your way west to Poreč, a popular resort town, home to labyrinthine streets and a historic stone-housed core. Its main draw is the Romanesque Basilica of Euphrasius, Istria's must-see ecclesiastical attraction. The 6th-century Byzantine basilica is the central component of a complex that includes the bishop's palace, an atrium, baptistry, and campanile, all of which are UNESCO-protected.

Venture inside through the arcaded atrium to discover the centuries of history and marvel at the intricate golden mosaics that adorn the apse and the triumphal arch. Ascend the campanile for views over Poreč's red roof tiles before making your way to Dekumanska, a pedestrian-only thoroughfare that runs across the center of the Old Town. From one end to the next, you can visit the 15th-century Venetian tower and the 13th-century Romanesque House with its unusual projecting wooden balcony.

The nearly 2,000-year-old town is situated by a harbor and protected from the sea by the small island of Saint Nicholas. The warm climate and calm waters in Poreč and neighboring Rovinj have made these quiet towns some of the most frequented tourist destinations in Croatia. 

Cycling distance: 22 miles (36 km)
Elevation: 1,033 feet (315 m)

Day 6: The West Coast of Istria: Poreč to Umag

Old  alleyways in Istrian towns
Old  alleyways in Istrian towns

Small historic towns are the highlights of today's tour. You'll follow easy cycling routes that hug the coastline, leading north from one charming medieval town to the next, like Novigrad, where you can stop as you like to relish a dip in the inviting Adriatic. You'll make your way to another medieval town, Umag, an ancient Roman aristocratic summer getaway. Umag's harbor is the gate to Europe and is a popular tourist destination. The ancient town walls and defense towers are particularly well preserved, as are the Renaissance and Baroque houses and churches contained within.

You'll want to stroll beside the 19th-century sea wall and visit the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church, to admire its (unfinished) baroque façade. There's also the small, though equally captivating St. Peregrine on the Rosazzo promontory.

Cycling distance: 26 miles (42 km)
Elevation: 755 feet (230 m)

Day 7: Return to Slovenia: Umag to Piran

Time for a dip in the warm sea
Time for a dip in the warm sea

Your last day of cycling follows the Croatian coastline as far as the terrain allows. It's worth it to take advantage of the many picturesque stops along the road to enjoy vistas and the cool ocean breeze before crossing the border into Slovenia. Consider making a pit stop at Cape Savudrija to enjoy the shade of the fragrant pine forests as you look out over the Adriatic before completing the last leg of the trip through Portorož to Piran.

You will have a chance to experience the old town atmosphere of Piran. Enjoy a cup of coffee in Tartini Square, wander around the historic cobblestone streets, relish the views from atop the town's walls, and take a relaxing dip in the sea before dinner. 

The following morning you’ll be transferred back to the tour starting point in Muggia or Trieste after breakfast, bidding farewell to a memorable week of discovery.

Cycling distance: 20 miles (32 km)
Elevation: 1,017 feet (310 m)

Map

Map of Istria & Adriatic Cycling Tour - 7 Days
Map of Istria & Adriatic Cycling Tour - 7 Days