Istria - the largest Croatian peninsula - is truly magical. Its historic hilltop towns, vineyards, and olive groves make an ideal setting for cycling adventures. Add views of the Adriatic Sea and the seductive tastes of excellent Istrian wines and you're all set for an active and indulgent week in this beautiful region of Croatia.

Highlights

  • Sample the delicious Istrian wines, straight from the vineyard
  • Visit medieval hilltop towns, a typical feature of Istria
  • Cycle flat and uphill paths, suitable for varying abilities
  • Enjoy beautiful views of forests, coastline, and historic towns as you ride

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Poreč Rural house in Buje
Day 2 Buje - Umag - Buje Buje area
Day 3 Buje - Brtonigla - Novigrad - Buje Buje area
Day 4 Buje - Motovun Motovun
Day 5 Motovun - Poreč Poreč
Day 6 Poreč - Vrsar - Poreč Poreč
Day 7 Poreč - Kanfanar - Rovinj Rovinj
Day 8 Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Poreč

Welcome to Poreč! You'll be met and driven to Buje, where you will start cycling the next day. Overnight in a rural house in the heart of Istria, a peaceful oasis for relaxation and an ideal starting point for daily exploration of this beautiful area.

Day 2: Buje - Umag - Buje

This tour starts with an easy downhill ride to the coast on the northeast point of the Istrian Peninsula. There is a lighthouse that you can visit. According to the legend, it was built by Count Metternich as his love nest. Savudrija is one of the oldest lighthouses in the Adriatic, built in 1818. 

The trail continues south to Umag, a little town that is a great introduction to this part of the Mediterranean. Umag was founded by a Roman nobleman who decided to make it his summer residence. The glamour and magnificence of those times can be seen today in the Venetian houses of the old town. The city walls and fortification are partially preserved, as well as some Renaissance and Baroque buildings and churches.

The vineyards and olive groves of this area are typical of the west Istrian landscape. Visit a wine cellar to taste the Muscat, a local wine.

Distance: 27 miles (43 km)
Elevation gain: 1656 feet (505 m)

Day 3: Buje - Brtonigla - Novigrad - Buje

From Buje, cycle through the picturesque village of Kršete and arrive at the small town of Brtonigla. Here, there are churches and monasteries from the 15th century.

Further, the trail leads through the vineyards and olive groves of Brtonigla area. The wine from this area is very popular. Reach Novigrad, where you can see olive oil production and taste some of the best oils. Continue through Dajla, Karigador, and Lovrečica villages on the coast. Follow the road through Škrinjari, Babići and Buroli villages, where you'll see traditional Istrian houses.

Following a road by the vineyard, you'll return to your hotel.

Distance: 24 miles (39 km)
Elevation gain: 1279 feet (390 m)

Day 4: Buje - Motovun

From Buje, continue towards Grožnjan. This is a typical Istrian medieval town on top of a hill, and along the banks of the river Mirna. Here you can see the beautiful St. Vitus and Modesto’s Baroque church. In the old town, many doorways lead to art studios and galleries, and you can often hear classical and jazz music in the air. You'll soon understand why Grožnjan is known as the town of artists. 

Go downhill and enjoy the view of the Mirna River, eventually arriving in Livade. This is the truffle center of Istria! Here you can visit the local truffle shop and taste it in its various forms. On the hill in front of Livade is Motovun, surely the most famous and attractive Istrian medieval hill town. Around Livade is the Motovun forest, which stretches along the Mirna River Valley, and is especially rich with truffles.

Distance: 22 miles (35 km)
Elevation gain: 2263 feet (690 m)

Day 5: Motovun - Poreč

This part of the trail goes from the interior to the coast. It follows the road to Višnjan, where you will pass an observatory. This is one of the five most famous observatories in the world.

The town of Višnjan is at 807 feet (246 m) altitude. From there you'll be able to see all the way to the west Istrian coast, and the coastal town of Poreč, where you're heading today.

Surrounding Višnjan are many wine cellars with wine from Poreč area, especially Malvasia. Continue to Tar, a little town on a hill above the sea, and to Nova Vas village by a famous cave, which you can visit. After passing through a few more villages, the trail reaches Poreč.

Distance: 24 miles (39 km)
Elevation gain: 1246 ft. (380 m)

Day 6: Poreč - Vrsar - Poreč

Vrsar town

Start the day by visiting the Euphrasiana a 6th-century church. Then, follow the road until you reach Bačva village. Here, try traditional dishes at a local restaurant.

Continue to southern villages, and stop at Vrsar. With a commanding view of the coast, Vrsar once had an impressive defended fortress. Only parts of the 12th-century fortification system have been preserved, but the fortress castle was used as a summer residence of the Poreč bishops and is well worth a look.

After Vrsar, the trail passes Funtana fishing village, and Zelena and Plava Laguna tourist villages.

Distance: 27 miles (43 km)
Elevation gain: 1673 feet (510 m)

Day 7: Poreč - Kanfanar - Rovinj

After breakfast, you can choose to be transferred to Kanfanar, or reach it on your own, by bike.

Kanfanar is a small town above the Lim Valley. From Kanfanar starts the flattest ride of the whole tour. After reaching Bale you can visit the Bebmbo Palace, city square, and museum. Continue to Rovinj, and on the way, you'll see Palud, an ornithological reserve that you can cycle around. After Kokuletovica, turn off to Monkodonja, a prehistoric hill town inhabited during the Bronze Age, in approximately 1800-1200 BCE.

After Monkodonja you will reach Rovinj, the "Pearl of Adriatic". With its church and belltower on a hill by the sea, it is very recognizable from all sides. This town is also called the Istrian Venice, as the old town was once an island, and it's famous for its traditional boat, the batana.

Cap off the week with a delicious dinner of fresh fish and local wine.

Distance: 19 miles (31 km) 
Elevation gain: 521 feet (159 m)

Day 8: Departure

Rovinj

After breakfast, the tour ends. Head to the airport for your flight home.