Cycling Croatia's Istrian Peninsula on the Explorer Tour
  • Length 8 days
  • From USD$3195
  • Style/Level Explorer 3.0
  • Countries Croatia
  • Begin/End This itinerary will be reversed in 2024 – details coming soon.

Cycle on a mixture of paved and gravel surfaces to cross three borders as you travel through Istria, the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea. Begin in Trieste Italy, once the most important port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until it became a part of Italy after WWI. Then cycle along Slovenia’s stunning Adriatic coastline and explore well-preserved medieval cities along the way. Get a surprising taste of a verdant landscape reminiscent of Tuscany as you cycle the rolling hills of Istria’s interior. Return to the coast and the crystal blue water of the Adriatic Sea but instead of Slovenia you are now in Croatia! Your cycling journey ends with a transfer to Pula, the largest city in Istria and a former Roman outpost featuring cobblestone streets and an incredible Roman Amphitheater.

Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Explorer tour at the Explorer Tour Style page.


  • Bike through three countries, Mediterranean cuisine, Coastal riding, Porec, Parenzana Trail (Rail to Trail network), Motovun, UNESCO World Heritage Site in Poreč, medieval hilltop towns


  • 8 days, 7 night’s accommodation

  • meals as noted in itinerary

  • GPS with pre-loaded tracks

  • support vehicle

  • 2 bilingual tour leaders.

  • All Explorer tour inclusions

Keep in mind

We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

Learn more about what is included and what to expect on your Explorer tour at the Explorer Tour Style page.

Highlights:  Test ride and welcome dinner

Welcome to Trieste! The capital of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region has rich Austro-Hungarian and Slovenian influences, and was an important location in the struggle between the Eastern and Western blocs after WWII. This port-town, sits on the coast of the enchanting Adriatic Sea and is a tiny slice of Italy almost entirely surrounded by Slovenia. We will meet in the afternoon for a bike fitting and test ride before enjoying dinner together in this beautiful and multi-cultural city.

Meals : Dinner
Lodging : Hotel NH Trieste

Highlights: Cycle through three countries! Coastal bike path

Begin the morning warming up your legs in Italy and soon you’ll make your first border crossing of the day into Slovenia. We’ll follow a cycling path along a stunning section of the coast as we make our way through the charming seaside towns of Koper, Izola, Piran and Sečovlje Saltpans Natural Park, the largest wetland on the coast and famous for its salt production. We’ll then cross into our third country of the day, Croatia. Tonight we sleep in a small agriturismo (farm stay) located near the Slovenian- Croatian border. Road Surface: Mostly paved.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging : La Parenzana

Highlights: The Adriatic coast, the Parenzana trail

Today’s loop ride takes us to the Croatian coast, with views overlooking Slovenia and Italy to the west before heading inland to the Istrian Peninsula. We will follow part of the Parenzana trail, once a narrow gauge railway which connected Trieste with Porec. In its short operating period (1902-1935) the railway contributed greatly to the economic progress of Istria, transporting local products including wine, olive oil, salt, stone, lime, coal, wood, and passengers. This area is famous for its culinary specialties; in coastal areas you’ll find a plethora of traditional seafood specialties and as you move inland the focus turns to wine and olive oil. Make sure Teran wine and extra virgin olive oil are on your list of things to try. Road Surface: 24% gravel, 76% paved.

Meals : Breakfast
Lodging : La Parenzana

Highlights: Cycling through vineyards, olive groves and medieval villages

Today’s ride features rolling hills, medieval villages and olive groves and it’s easy to imagine you’ve been transported to Tuscany, but with far fewer visitors. First you’ll cycle to the medieval village of Momjan – famous for its Muscat. The next stop is Groznjan, a small renaissance town also known as the “City of Artists”, where almost every house entrance has a small gallery or art studio. We finish the day in Motovun, a medieval hilltop town and the region’s truffle capital. Today’s ride is a perfect sampling of the cultural richness of Istria’s interior. Road Surface: 35% gravel, 65% paved.

Meals : Breakfast
Lodging : Villa Borgo

Highlights: UNESCO Poreč

This morning, we leave the verdant interior of Istria behind as we cycle back to the coast. We will finish the day in the town of Vrsar and pedal through Poreč along the way. Poreč is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its 6th century Euphrasian Basilica featuring gem-studded mosaics. There are also excellent examples of Romanesque and Baroque architecture, and plenty of great cafés and bars to relax and enjoy a beverage or meal. Tonight we’ll sleep on the coast in Vrsar. Road Surface: 64% gravel, 36% paved.

Meals : Breakfast
Lodging : Vista Poreč

Highlights: Inland istria, two-night stay in Rovinj

Enjoy another ride along the Istrian coast – as we cycle to the Venetian city of Rovinj. Explore the charming old center, beautiful fishing port and the majestic bell tower of the Euphemia Church built on the highest point in Rovinj. Certainly the city’s most distinctive feature, and a coastal landmark, the bell tower commands your attention no matter which direction you approach the city. Along the way you’ll find quaint villages, beautiful architecture, cycle through the vineyards of Malvasija, farms and medieval hill towns like Dvigrad, which is dominated by the remains of a Roman basilica. Road Surface: 45% gravel, 55% paved.

Meals : Breakfast
Lodging : Villa Lili

Highlights: Bale, the coast

Enjoy our final ride along the Istrian coast and loop back into the interior. We’ll pedal through Bale, a charming medieval town you’ll want to explore. Take your time as you explore the old town, wander around the narrow, cobbled streets within the fortified city walls. Tonight we’ll celebrate our cycling adventure with a special dinner together. Road Surface: 60% gravel, 40% paved.

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner
Lodging : Villa Lili

Highlights: Pula

Our tour ends today with a group transfer to the Pula airport. Pula is Istria’s largest city. We recommend you plan at least one night here to explore the charming cobblestone streets of this well-preserved Roman outpost. Don’t miss the Roman amphitheater in the heart of the city and the nearby pristine beaches!

Meals : Breakfast

Visit our Tour Level page to learn more about terrain levels and how we dermine day and tour levels.

Date Price Private room fee Note
May 18-25, 2024 USD$3195 USD$450 Itinerary Changes Coming for 2024. Book by November 1 and save $200 per person.
Aug 31-Sep 7, 2024 USD$3195 USD$450 Itinerary Changes Coming for 2024. Book by November 1 and save $200 per person.
DateMay 18-25, 2024
Private room feeUSD$450
NoteItinerary Changes Coming for 2024. Book by November 1 and save $200 per person.
DateAug 31-Sep 7, 2024
Private room feeUSD$450
NoteItinerary Changes Coming for 2024. Book by November 1 and save $200 per person.

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Pre-trip planning checklist

  • This tour was amazing! I LOVED the routes. The trails were so great and the views were wonderful. I just really loved everything about it.

    Julie K., Anchorage, AK – September 2022