The best bike routes tours you can do in Istria
Cycling is one of the best ways of exploring a new place. It’s a quiet mode of transport, so you can enjoy the sounds of nature and look out for wildlife that often won’t hear you coming. You can chatter away with your cycling companion and stop for picnics en route. And, if you’re on holiday in Croatia, you’ll have the wonderful Istria bike trails to pedal along. Let’s look at three of our favourite Istria bike routes…
1. Parenzana Route
Once a narrow gauge railway line connecting Porec with Trieste, the Parenzana went out of use in 1935 and now makes the perfect long and winding cycling trail, taking in characterful villages and charming landscapes dotted with vineyards, woodland and karst hills. There are two routes, each starting at the once-important station of Buje; one goes towards Savudrija and the Slovenian border, while the other passes through Grožnjan and Motovun towards Vižinada. You’ll want a mountain bike for this trail, which can be rough in places. Find out more at parenzana.net and Istria Bike.
2. Istria Bike Route 202
Known as the Rubinum Trail, Route 202 is 27.5km long on a mostly tarmac and asphalt surface, making it an easy trail with the exception of a more demanding uphill stretch around 4km in. Highlights along the way include stunning views of Rovinj and the Adriatic, along with some delightful churches, such as the church of St Eufemia, which commemorates a saint whose remains are preserved in a Roman sarcophagus. Another point of interest on this route is the Monkodonja prehistoric fortress, a dramatic hillfort occupied between around 1800 and 1200 BC.
3. Istria Bike Route 201
The 39km-long Limes Trail, Route 201, is a circular loop that starts and ends in the resort of Amarin in Rovinj and takes you through Saline, Valalta, Rovinjsko Selo and Porton Biondi. The trail takes you past numerous interesting churches, as well as other points of interest including the Bronze Age archaeological site of Maklavun, Saline Bay and the fortress of Turnina. Along the way, look out for dry stone wall shelters known as kažuni. It’s an easy trail with the exception of two major uphill sections, but mountain bikes are recommended due to the stony surface on much of the route.