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Tour Description

Istria & Adriatic Islands Explorer Cycling Tour

please inquire for other tour dates, as we're flexible and happy to offer different dates for your group 

What connects Provence in France and Tuscany in Italy, besides amazing wine, unforgettable cuisine and captivating landscape? Their geographical vicinity to 45th parallel, the sweet spot for growing wine. But there are other parts of Europe, equally charming and mouthwatering, but less known.

Meet Istria, a fairytale triangular peninsula and the westernmost county of Croatia. Surrounded by the Adriatic Sea on the west and east, and mountains in the north, Istria offers an abundant diversity in landscape and mouthwatering cuisine. Critically acclaimed olive oil and of course splendid wines, are the culprit for picturesque sights of numerous olive orchards and vineyards that dot the countryside. The only coat of arms in the world with a white goat on it, is uniquely Istrian, symbolizes among other, a long history of dairy farming, making Istrian hard cheese a delicacy.

We’ll cycle most of Istria, getting to know its gorgeous seaside, hilly central region with tiny villages and, experience the best of sights, smells and tastes. Istria might sneak up on you, win you over with distinctive Mediterranean charm and by the end of the trip make you wish to get a tiny house in a tiny village and move there.

East side of the peninsula of Istria is emerged into the Bay of Kvarner, which is dotted with numerous gorgeous and diverse islands. The icing on the cake of this sweet trip will be cycling hilly Cres and relaxing Lošinj islands, north to south. Cres’s private secret are its secluded and spectacular beaches which we’ll see from above the cliffs, but is also the habitat of the endangered and majestic griffon vulture. Its specifically mild climate and clean air made Lošinj island the host of Austrian royalty since the late 19th century. Ever since it’s been a destination for peace and quiet in the pine woods type of tourists.

 With an e-bike, it’s no sweat, or is it? Depending on your preferences, electric assistance can be turned off, or you could easily cruise the tour without breaking a sweat.

*while booking, please let us know your bike type and size preference (subject to availability)

**if your arrival/departure airport is different from specified in the tour description, we will be happy to arrange your shuttle transfer (surcharge to be applied)

Countries
Croatia
Duration
12 days / 9 cycling days
Route length
520 km / 320 miles
Group size
min. 4 participants / max. 7 participants
Price
5 250 €
Activity level
7 / 10
Average mileage
55 km / 35 mi
Average riding time
6 h
Tour Map

Tour Characteristics

Tour Overview

Activity level:
Avg. riding time:
Avg. mileage:
Highlights
  • quaint hilltop village of Motovun
  • ancient Roman amphitheater in Pula
  • charming Adriatic seaside towns
  • Parenzana railroad turned to bicycle route
  • premium wine & olive oil tastings
  • truffle tasting
  • Cres & Lošinj islands
Tour starts / ends
Pula Airport (PUY) / Rijeka Airport (RJK)
Dates in 2021
25 Jul 2021 - 05 Aug 2021
07 Aug 2021 - 18 Aug 2021
Route

Mostly paved and some good gravel roads

Total length: 520 km / 320 miles 

Total ascent: 7 200 m / 23 500 ft

Tour transport
Electric motor assisted bicycle
Accommodation
4* boutique hotels where available and highest-rated accommodation in the area

Tour Overview

Day By Day

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Day 8
Day 9
Day 10
Day 11
Day 12

Pula airport – Umag area

arrival 

After arrival to Pula, Adventure Roads team will transfer you to our base for the next two days at the northwest tip of Istria. After welcome drinks, tour overview and briefing await, where our fearless tour leaders will fill you in with all the details. Welcome dinner of local cuisine will get your taste buds on high alert for the following week.

Umag area – Umag area

distance 55 km (35 mi) / elevation 500 m (1700 ft)

The Northwest part of Istria is most famous for its wines, so a visit to a couple of winemakers is appropriate. Wine tastings of local sorts teran (red) and malvazija (white) will get you acquainted with some of Istrian gastronomic gems. We’ll cycle on Parenzana cycle route, which was an Italian nickname for a pre-WW2 narrow-gauge railway connecting Trieste in Italy and Poreč in Istria (then Austro-Hungarian Empire). Today’s route takes us to hilltop Grožnjan village, with one of the most stunning views in Istria.

Umag area – Hum – Motovun

distance 60 km (37 mi) / elevation 1400 m (4600 ft)

Another Istrian gastronomic gem is in line today, the famous Istrian truffle. Micro location for mythical white truffle hunt, Valley of Mirna River, is conveniently situated in the middle of today’s route. View of the most famous Istrian hilltop town Motovun. Perched on the hilltops, these medieval settlements offer authentic scenery and unforgettable vistas. Long day of cycling winding roads and rolling hills finishes off in the cutest and smallest town in the world, Hum. Return to the hotel by shuttle.

Motovun – Rovinj

distance 80 km (50 mi) / elev. 1100 m (3600 ft) or 55 km (35 mi) / elev. 1000 m (3200 ft)

Another glorious day ahead, full of roads to explore and numerous little green hills to overcome. Official and unofficial bike trails will take you past Istria’s castles, hidden ruins, picturesque villages and of course, more vineyards. Green, lush and hilly, Central Istria will be left behind as todays route finishes in Rovinj, a pearl of Istrian seaside towns. Magnificent sunset view of Rovinj Old Town, protruding into Adriatic Sea, is truly unforgettable.

Rovinj

rest day

Today you should allow yourself to take it easy. Soak up the sun on a beach, have a solo bike ride, or stroll around ancient and quaint Rovinj Old Town.

Rovinj – Pula – Rovinj

distance 50 km (30 mi) / elevation 350 m (1200 ft)

Continuing to the very south of Istria, the destination of the day is Premantura. Rocky peninsula known for numerous and popular beaches, and dinosaur footprints. Although the road to today’s destination is mostly flat and easy, the scenery, quite different from the hilly north, is still captivating. South’s red soil and Mediterranean climate are perfect for olive growing, especially in the town of Vodnjan, which is home to several world renowned premium olive oil growers and producers. A tasting of premium olive oil is not to be missed. Just before reaching Premantura, a brief ride through the largest city in Istria, Pula. Beside a Venetian fortress, an extensive system of subterranean tunnels, and an ancient Roman temple, Pula’s highlight is a 2 000 year old Roman oval amphitheater, one of just the world’s six largest surviving ones. Return to the hotel by shuttle.

Rovinj – Rabac

distance 63 km (40 mi) / elevation 800 m (2600 ft)

Traversing Istria peninsula west to east, arriving at Bay of Kvarner. The exact middle of today’s route is the town of Žminj, which is the exact geographical center of Istria. Central and eastern Istria is a sparsely populated area, with numerous forgotten quaint villages consisting of only a few houses. Scenic views of the hilly part of Istria won’t be the only reward for today’s long day. Rabac town has been blessed with maybe the nicest location on Istria’s east coast. Premium accommodation, with a very accessible beach, is exactly what sore behinds and legs ask for.

Rabac – Lovran

distance 40 km (25 mi) / elevation 800 m (2600 ft)

Today we're taking the easy seaside route to Lovran town. The area of Lovran is known as Kvarner Riviera, a touristic hotspot of Austrian nobility dating from the late 19th century is filled with colorful historic century-old hotels, villas, and meticulous gardens. Cycling along the twisty coastal road can get crowded with motorists and cyclists, as it's the most scenic and popular road for local two-wheeled enthusiasts.

Lovran – Učka Mountain – Lovran

distance 35 km (22 mi) / elevation 1500 m (5000 ft) or rest day

Today could be the most challenging or the most relaxing day yet, we’ll let you decide. Tackling Učka mountain, or having another day off at the beach? The challenging route follows the old Učka mountain road, which is a considerable climb before reaching Vojak peak. On a clear day, the view from Vojak is the greatest reward you could ask for, as you might be able to see the whole of the Istria peninsula. From Umag in the northwest where we started, all the way to the southern tip of Premantura. And of course to the east, the whole Bay of Kvarner with its diverse islands of Krk, Cres, and Lošinj. The area of Lovran is known as Kvarner Riviera, a touristic hotspot of Austrian nobility dating from the late 19th century is filled with colorful historic century-old hotels, villas, and meticulous gardens. Going steeply downhill from there to Lovran town will only take moments, with nothing assisting you besides gravity and beautiful views.

Lovran – Cres

distance 60 km (37 mi) / elevation 1000 m (3400 ft)

After the demanding ride to the summit of Mount Učka, today's ride will start off with a relaxing seaside view of Cres island, the destination of the day. A short 20-minute ferry ride will offer a welcome break before a long uphill from sea level to the hilltop village of Beli, the home of the endangered griffon vulture sanctuary. Situated at a spectacular location on the cliff, overlooking Kvarner Bay, Beli village has perhaps the most memorable view of all Cres island lookouts. As Cres island is still not overrun by big touristic investments, we’ll find tonight’s refuge in a modest hotel in the only city on Cres, a town with an obvious name – Cres.

Cres – Mali Lošinj

distance 68 km (42 mi) / elevation 1000 m (3300 ft) or distance 53 km (33 mi) / elevation 650 m (2100 ft)

The last riding day is almost all descent, to the very south of the most relaxing island of Kvarner Bay, Lošinj. If there is still strength left in your legs there is an optional visit to the overlook on the most beautiful secluded beach on Cres, Lubenice Beach. Lošinj Island was separated from Cres in ancient Roman times, by a man-made canal that shortened the ship voyage. That canal is bridged by a small drawbridge which will cross today. As there are no more distractions today, the remaining of your voyage to the town of Mali Lošinj (Small Lošinj) will consist of the view of the Adriatic Sea over both of your shoulders and the buzz of pinewood crickets.

Mali Lošinj – Rijeka Airport

departure 

Departure day from Mali Lošinj to Rijeka Airport, by our trusty shuttle van. We suggest extending your visit to Mali Lošinj. After tough days of cycling, a few days of well-earned rest to explore Lošinj Island and soak up the sun at your own pace is a perfect way to end your journey.

Tour Notes

Important Notes

Included in the price:

  • Airport transfers upon your arrival and departure (only on official arrival / departure dates)  
  • Experienced guide on a bicycle
  • High-quality bicycle with electric motor assistance
  • Support vehicle for your luggage and support necessities, it can accommodate seven (7) passengers and two guides  
  • Complete accommodation for the tour (11 nights) in 4* boutique hotels where available or highest-rated accommodation in the area   
  • All breakfasts during the tour  
  • All lunches during the tour except on free/rest days; water and soft drinks included     
  • All dinners except on free/rest days; always aimed to be in authentic local restaurants; water and soft drinks included  
  • Refreshment water and snacks during the entire course of the tour 
  • Entrance fees to National and Nature Parks   
  • Transfers and ferry rides   
  • Tour description booklet with maps and highlighted routes
  • Premium Welcome package

Not included in the price:

  • cycling helmet (if needed, please let us know in advance)
  • airline tickets
  • additional alcoholic drinks
  • personal spending
  • traffic violation penalty tickets
  • tips in restaurants, staff tips
  • anything else not listed under "Included in the price".

Tour Cancellation Insurance: more informantion HERE.

*if you're using your own clip-on pedals, we'll be happy to install them on your bike 

Expand your horizons

Croatia bike tours

Croatia with its green hilly inlands and incredibly scenic Adriatic sea coast with numerous islands is indeed a jewel and a must visit for your active holidays. Adriatic and Croatia bike tours are definately one of the most popular bike tours in Europe. Whether you tour north Adriatic, islands, south or inlands, there is plenty to see and experience. Our Croatia bike tours are particularly carefully prepared in order to reveal you the best of Croatia in all its beauty. We cover northern Adriatic with particularly charming and beautiful Istria with the focus to its authenticity, delicious cuisine and wine regions, passing to nothern Adriatic islands of Cres, Krk and Lošinj. Croatia bike tours truly include the best of the best in order to make sure you experience the ultimate of your bike tours holidays. Northern Adriatic and Istria in our Croatia bike tours are particularly exciting as they include numerous scenic trails, easy to ride on our high end electric bikes (a bit of pleasent off road of scenic Perenzana trail in Istria, will add a bit of good spice to the tour). Islands are beautiful and offer a lot of great rides, the roads are excellent, the scenery is breath-taking, the sheer blue sea around us and the views are astonishing. We are sure our Croatia bike tours will become your ultimate bike tours vacation. Join us.   

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