DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN TRIESTE
Independent arrival in Trieste. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore Trieste. Overnight in Trieste.
Accommodation: Hotel Italia 3* or similar in Trieste
Meals: Not included
DAY 2: BIKING TRIESTE OVER PIRAN TO BUJE
At 09am we have a welcome briefing and those who have ordered bike rental will get fitted with our E-bikes and other equipment.
For the cycling adventure that will take you through 3 countries (Italy, Slovenia and Croatia) you will start riding on the legendary route of the Parenzana, the former narrow-gauge railway line which penetrates deeply into the Istrian peninsula connecting 33 istrian cities and towns from Trieste to Poreč (in italian Parenzo from which the railroad got its name) spanning the territory of three states. Although it has been out of function for many decades, a few years ago the Parenzana served as the inspiration for a new tourist attraction. The County of Istria, the Management Board for Tourism and the Association for the Renovation of the Poreč-Kopar-Trieste railway started the important “Parenzana: The trail of health and friendship” project, where they have promoted the former railway as a cycling path. After biking a few miles through the city of Trieste, we will cross over into Slovenia, often cycling along cycle paths through famous holiday resorts such as Koper, first for a long period a venetian and then austrian town, and Piran, another important town which was ruled over for a long time by Venice. Cycling southwards, you will pass through the salt mines of Secovlje, a large Slovenian town with a humid environment, which is a key area in regards to ornithology. Some miles later we will cross the Croatian border down along Istria, the Adriatic sea’s largest peninsula. Overnight in Buje area
Bike distance: shorter option 33 km / 21 miles / elevation gain +575 m / 1897 ft or longer option 57 km / 35 miles / elevation gain +830 m / 2739 ft
Accommodation: Hotel Casa Romantica la Parenzana 3* or Guesthouse Lovac 3* in Buje area.
Highlights: Koper, Piran, Saltwork
DAY 3: BIKING BUJE OVER NOVIGRAD/UMAG TO BUJE
This tour starts with an easy downhill ride to the coast on the northest point of the Istrian peninsula. There is a lighthouse which you can visit which, according to the legend, was built by count Metternich as his love nest. Savudrija is one of the oldest lighthouses in the Adriatic, built in 1818. It is also the northernmost Istrian lighthouse. Its building is 36 meters tall and there is a keeper living inside it. The trail continues south to Umag - a little town with about 45 km of the coastline and an interesting hinterland that integrates special features of the whole region. Umag's history is extremely interesting; it was founded by a Roman nobleman who decided to make it his summer residence. The glamour, magnificence and glare of the times can be seen today in the Venetian houses of the old town. City walls and fortifications are partially preserved as well as some renaissance and baroque buildings and churches. Vineyards and olive groves will create an atmosphere of typical West Istrian landscape. A visit to the wine cellar to taste the Muscat, a local wine. Overnight in Buje area.
Accommodation: Hotel Casa Romantica la Parenzana 3* or Guesthouse Lovac 3* in Buje area.
Bike distance: shorter option 43 km / 27 miles / elevation gain +505m / 1666 ft or longer option 62 km / 38 miles / elevation gain +578m / 1907 ft
Highlights: Savudrija lighthouse, Umag, local wineries and olive oil producers
DAY 4: BIKING BUJE TO MOTOVUN
Apart from enjoying the breathtaking landscape of the terrace - styled vineyards which resemble an image on the front page of a holiday guide to Tuscany, you can indulge in the sensation the area of Buje gives, a real polyphony of fragrances and tastes. We will ride through magnificent rolling landscapes and lively Istrian vineyards, and it will become obvious as to why it was once named as a wine railway. After passing through many tunnels and over old bridges we will stop at many fascinating view-points from the charming medieval town of Grožnjan to Završje until we reach Motovun - an ancient little Istrian town located atop a 277-meter-high hill, 21 km southeast from Buje. Its present appearance, with the city walls surrounding the center of the town, dates back to the Middle Ages.
Bike distance: shorter option 35 km / 22 miles / elevation gain +690 m / 2277 ft or longer option 48 km / 30 miles / elevation gain +893m / 2947 ft
Accommodation: Hotel Kaštel 3* or Villa Borgo 3* in Motovun
Highlights: Momjan, Groznjan, Motovun
DAY 5: BIKING MOTOVUN TO POREČ
After breakfast we will continue riding on the Parenzana trail over Vižinada and Kaštelir to the coast. The ride towards Poreč is particularly pleasant because we will ride along the coastline with beautiful bays where you can enjoy the breathtaking Mediterranean landscape with green vineyards and olive groves and taste home made food, wine, brandy and honey produced in this area.
In the afternoon we will reach Poreč, the town where you can find material and spiritual evidences of great cultures at every step. We will cruise along the old city center and see the old Roman forum, the world famous Euphrasian Basilica with its mosaics and palaces belonging to the city nobles and fortifications. Overnight in Poreč area.
Bike distance: shorter option 39 km / 24 miles / elevation gain +380 m / 1254 ft or longer option 63 km / 39 miles / elevation gain +628m / 2072 ft
Accommodation: Hotel Porec 3* or similar in Poreč
Highlights: Višnjan observatory, wine cellars with local sorts malvasia and teran, Baredine cave, Poreč with Euphrasius basilica (UNESCO)
DAY 6: BIKING POREČ TO ROVINJ
Breakfast. A marsh, rare birds, a cursed city, buried pirate’s treasure, a deep bay, a cave with a primitive man and a hermit, an ancient solar observatory, an abandoned monastery - all of this you can find on our bike trail of Captain Morgan. After riding along the coastline we reach Vrsar, a romantic fishing town situated on a hill where the famous Casanova came back two times. Our bike ride will continue through the magical forest Kontija with a panoramic view of the beautiful landscape of the Lim bay to ruins of the medieval town Dvigrad. Just to stir your imagination - you are now in an area where many legends and mysteries based on historical events still live on: that of Dvigrad devastated by the plague because of an ancient curse, of the buried treasure of Captain Morgan's pirates near the village named after him (Mrgani), of the cave where the remains of the primitive man were found and where, as legend has it, St. Romuald used to live as a hermit in the Middle Ages.
We will then pass Kanfanar and the hill Maklavun, an astral-archaeological site from the Bronze Age where we will finish this day in Rovinj.
Also called “little Venice”, Rovinj is a typical Mediterranean seaside resort which will seduce you with its extraordinary beauty. In the dense tissue of the old city center there are numerous magnificent palaces from different historical periods and today most of them host a gallery or an art studio. If you follow the numerous chimneys of Rovinj and narrow meandering streets you will come in front of the baroque church of St Eufemia, the greatest monument in the city, from which you can admire a magnificent view of the Mediterranean in your hand palm. Overnight in Rovinj area.
Bike distance: shorter option 31 km / 19 miles / elevation gain +159 m / 528 ft or longer option 65 km / 38 miles / elevation gain +602m / 1987
Accommodation: Hotel Villa Lili 3* or similar in Rovinj.
Highlights: Vrsar, Lim Bay ,Dvigrad, Rovinj
DAY 7: BIKING ROVINJ TO PULA
After breakfast we start riding along the coastline towards Pula. After riding through the ornithological reserve Palud with a rich variety of ornitho-fauna, a unique place where you can hear the chirping of 215 different bird species, we reach Fažana. Situated on a low-coast, this area is well protected from the open sea by the enchanting Brioni archipelago (nowadays a national park) and surrounded by vineyards and olive groves in the hinterland. Fažana was also well-known already in ancient Roman times.
Which city is situated on seven hills, has a magnificent amphitheater and is not Rome? The answer is - Pula. No, it is not a mistake – you are, indeed, in front of Pula, the largest city in Istria. Pula is an enchantress with a thousand appearances which has been casting spell on its visitors for centuries. We will finish visiting the old city with the Sergius' Triumphal Arch (from the end of the 1st century B.C. and the beginning of the 1st century A.D.) and the famous Arena, a Roman amphitheater (from the 1st century B.C.). Overnight in Pula area.
Bike distance: shorter option 38 km / 24 miles / elevation gain +185m / 611 ft or longer option 55 km / 34 miles / elevation gain +540m / 1782 ft
Accommodation: Hotel Amfiteatar 3* or similar in Pula.
Highlights: Medieval Bale, ancient Pula, Colloseum Arena, olive groves
DAY 8 – DEPARTURE FROM PULA
After breakfast departure.Biking distance: not included
Accommodation: not included