Croatia – Cycling Istria Itinerary

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Day 1, Trieste, Italy

Meet at our hotel at 2 p.m. for a brief meeting and to assemble our bikes. We’ll take a short warm-up ride to Lipica, Slovenia, to visit a world-famous Lipizzaner stud farm, where more than 300 resident horses graze on green hillsides.

Trieste is considered one of Italy’s most beautiful cities, surrounded by green hills, white cliffs and the aqua-blue sea. It’s a lively, cosmopolitan city with many things to see and do. You can relax on one of the lovely beaches, stroll through one of many grand squares, or explore churches, museums and ruins. Trieste is also the Mediterranean’s leading coffee port and home to coffee giant Illy caffè, so finding that pre- or post-ride caffeine fix won’t be a problem! Welcome dinner together.


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Day 2, Motovun – “The New Tuscany”

Ride: 50 miles
Have your passport handy! We’ll ride through three countries on our way to Motovun, a captivating little town perched on a hill in the Mirna River Valley. Our route climbs over rolling hills and along scenic roads so small you might think you’re on a bike path! Dinner together.


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Day 3, Motovun Loop Rides/Spa

Ride: 34-43 miles
Today you can either relax by the pool and have a massage, or join us for a loop ride. We’ll ride through hill towns and vineyards to the artist colony of Grojnjan, a 14th century Venetian town with a fortress and several picturesque churches. Dinner on your own.

Ride Option: Finish the ride at the Toplice Spa, where you can enjoy a massage, mud treatment, facial or relaxing swim in the outdoor pool with a poolside bar.


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Day 4, Motovun Loop Rides/Spa

Ride: 39, 47 or 60 miles
We’ll climb up to the plateau on the Slovenian border and enjoy dramatic views of Buzet and the valley below, and descend into Roc (a tiny village surrounded by 15th century walls). We’ll continue to Hum, which claims to be “the world’s smallest village,” and along the Glagolitic Lane, with its series of 11 sculptures. The ride finishes with a glorious descent to Buzet, through the Mirna River Valley and back to Motovun. Dinner together.

Ride Option: Finish the ride at the Toplice Spa, where you can enjoy a massage, mud treatment, facial or relaxing swim in the outdoor pool with a poolside bar.


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Day 5, Rabac

Ride: 49 miles
We’ll leave Motovun on tiny, country roads bordered by vineyards to the coastal resort of Rabac, located on the beautiful bay of Kavner. Along the way, we’ll visit a traditional konoba (a small inn or restaurant) and sample locally made biska (brandy) and homemade strudel, and stop to see the 15th century frescoes in Draguc. Dinner together.

Rabac, known as “The Pearl of Kvarner Bay,” is dotted with tiny coves, small bays, beaches and lush Mediterranean vegetation.


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Day 6, Brijuni Islands

Ride: 48 miles
Our ride begins with a climb from Rabac to the hilltop town of Labin, and along the coast for dramatic views of the Adriatic Sea. We’ll continue across the Istrian Peninsula and visit the beautiful village of Vodnjan. The village’s 19th century, 197-foot bell tower is the tallest in Istria, and the same height as St. Marks in Venice. We’ll stop for lunch in one of the best regional restaurants for a private wine and biska tasting. Afterwards, we’ll take a ferry to the island of Veli Brijun, in the Brijuni National Park, where we’ll stay for the next two nights. Dinner on your own.

The Brijuni Islands consist of two main pine-covered islands and 12 islets off the coast of Istria. After World War II, Brijuni became part of Yugoslavia and communist state leader Josip Broz Tito made the islands his personal summer residence. He’d spend six months each year on the islands and entertain numerous movie stars and heads of state. The islands boast 680 species of plants and a safari park that was once Tito’s private hunting ground.


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Day 7, Brijuni Islands Loop Rides/Swim

Relax and swim, or take a tour of this car-free island on a single-speed cruiser bike. You can ride alongside elephants, zebras and water buffalo in Tito’s Safari Park, or observe the island’s wild deer on as you take in the stunning scenery of the Adriatic. You can also play golf, tennis or explore the Tito Museum or one of the island’s Roman ruins. Dinner together.


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Day 8, Rovinj

Ride: 40 miles
We’ll take a short, easy ride from Fazana to the beautiful town of Rovinj via Svetivincenat, with its castle built in 1485. Our route follows a coastal bike/walking path with spectacular views of 13 lush islands. There’s plenty of time to explore the numerous shops and galleries in historic Rovinj. Dinner on your own.

Rovinj is an active fishing port with steep, cobbled streets in the old town leading up to the massive cathedral of St. Euphemia from 1736. The cathedral is the largest Baroque building in Istria and is a dominant feature of the town and scenic coast.


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Day 9, Piran, Slovenia

Ride: 57 miles
Spend the morning relaxing in Rovinj or join us for a final ride up the coast before tomorrow’s transfer back to Trieste. Our ride begins along the coast of Istria, detouring inland around the Limske Fjord before crossing into Slovenia. We’ll ride through Portoroz, Slovenia’s most popular beach resort and spa, on our way to the medieval harbor town of Piran. Final celebration dinner together!

Piran’s old town is a gem of Venetian Gothic architecture and is one of the best-preserved historical towns on the Adriatic, now protected as a cultural monument. Our hotel is located in the old town’s main plaza, near the marina and waterfront.


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Day 10, Trieste, Italy

Our tour ends after breakfast. Transfer for your morning train or plane departure home, or extend your stay and visit Slovenia or Venice. We’re happy to offer suggestions for extending your trip.