Cycling the Adriatic Coast: Istria and the mountains

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8 days
from
$2,199 NZD
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Suitable for:
Age 16+
Activity level:
Moderate / Challenging
Activity Rating - Moderate/Challenging
Trip code: 
MVG
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailor Made Adventures
Activity:
Cycling
Group size:
5–16
Min age:
16

Discover rural Northern Croatia, The Kupa Valley and Slovenia on two wheels 

Starting in the enchanting 900 year old capital city of Zagreb, this tour takes us on a pedal powered journey through vast canyons and deep river valleys, over country borders and onto the largest island in Croatia. Starting with one day cycling through Slovenia we follow the beautiful Kupa River Valley discovering hilltop castles and the impressive karst scenery of the Gorski Kotar Mountains. Once back in Croatia we traverse Krk Island and head north to the stunning Istria Peninsula. Here the scenery changes as we cycle through rolling green hills, vineyards and olive groves to the stunning UNESCO town of Poreč and Pula home to one of the best-preserved amphitheatres in Europe.

Highlights

  • Explore the 900 year old capital city of Zagreb 
  • Cycle through the Kupa River Valley into Slovenia 
  • Visit the historic UNESCO town of Porec

Key information

  • 6 days cycling with full vehicle support
  • 100% tarmac roads 
  • Group normally 5 to 16 plus leader. Min age 16
  • 7 nights hotels 
  • E-bikes available on request
  • Countries visited: Croatia, Slovenia

What's included

  • All breakfasts 
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities 
  • Tour leader throughout 
  • Flights from London (if booking flight inclusive)
  • Local bike hire (e-bike can be requested, subject to availability, please enquire for prices)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance 
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailor made trips:
0800 643 997
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

6

Days of Cycling
Pace:

Moderate/Challenging: 13 - 16kph /8-10mph 

Terrain:

100% tarmac roads with some undulating rides 

Day by day breakdown
Day 272.0km/45.0miles
Day 359.0km/37.0miles
Day 450.0km/31.0miles
Day 556.0km/35.0miles
Day 655.0km/34.0miles
Day 740.0km/25.0miles

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Zagreb.

    Before dinner, we will embark on a guided tour of the capital with a local guide. Tonight we will head out for the first group meal, tasting the traditional cuisine of north-west Croatia which is influenced by the country's Austrian and Hungarian neighbours that ruled Croatia from the 12th-20th Century (with a brief period of Napoleonic rule). After dinner, enjoy a stroll through the 900 year old streets of the Old Town of Zagreb.

    Hotel Central, Zagreb 

  • Day 2

    Transfer out of Zagreb; cycle through the Kupa River Valley.

    In the morning we transfer to Vinica, a small town in Slovenia, to start the first day cycling along the Kupa River.  We enjoy an amazing ride through the rural areas of Slovenian Kupa regional park passing lively and colourful villages and enjoying the peaceful road that winds along the banks of the river. We cycle deep into the canyon that Kupa has carved through the Gorski Kotar mountain region and end this meditative cycling day in Osilnica, a small Slovenian town on the border, near the Croatian National Park Risnjak. Optional dinner, tasting traditional meals of the area (we recommend tasting their exquisite mushroom soup! If available…). Overnight in Osilnica.

    Hotel Kovac or similar, Osilnica

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    Cycle from Fuzine to the Adriatic Sea.

    After breakfast, there is a short morning transfer to the town of Fuzine, in the Gorski Kotar region of Croatia. Getting on the bikes we have an exciting descent from the mountainous Fuzine area all the way to the Adriatic Sea with amazing views of the coastline, the islands of the North Adriatic and Kvarner Bay. Our cycling finishes in front of the impressive Krk Bridge where we stop for a photo opportunity. We then board our minibus for a short transfer to Malinska, a small town on the coast of Krk Island.

    Hotel Bor or similar, Krk

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Explore Krk Island discovering local traditions and pastimes.

    Today we explore Krk Island with a short visit to the small town of Vrbik. We will be cycling through the numerous vineyards famous for the local white wine called Vrbnička Žlahtina. There is the possibility for a short wine tasting just after visiting Vrbnik. We will then continue our ride back towards the town of Krk via Punat. During the day we learn about the island’s history and geography, as well as its agricultural riches. There will be plenty of time to explore the small streets of Krk, and enjoy a coffee, light lunch, ice-cream or a swim.

    Hotel Bor or similar, Krk 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Cycle on the Istrian Peninsula to the mediaeval city of Motovun.

    After enjoying the lush scenery and traditional life of the Kupa River Valley and having traversed Krk Island, today we embark on a new adventure, a three-day road cycle through Istria. Istria is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea and is an enchanting region that spreads across the western tip of Croatia, southern Slovenia and also shares a maritime border with Italy. Starting with a transfer to Ucka Mountain we enjoy an amazing descent from Poklon pass (922m), amazing views of rural Istria open up before us while we cycle down towards Mirna river valley. From there, we continue through green eastern Istria towards Pazin town. From here there is an optional transfer or cycle ride to the romantic, medieval city, Motovun. It sits on top of a hill, overlooking the Mirna River Valley and offers excellent views from the ramparts. Here we will have a chance to taste some of the truffle and olive oil products from the region. Late afternoon, we transfer to Vrsar, a small pleasant town on the eastern banks of the Istrian peninsula where we spend the next three nights.

    Hotel Vista or similar, Vrsar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Circular ride starting in Porec.

    We start our circular cycling tour this morning connecting the beautiful Visnjan and the historic town of Porec. On our return to Porec there is the option of a guided tour around the Old Town of Porec including a visit to the Euphrasian Basilica – a UNESCO world heritage site dating from 6th Century. After the tour the rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore Porec before cycling back to Vrsar. 

    Hotel Vista or similar, Vrsar

     

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Cycle from Zminj to Rovinj; Afternoon visit to Pula, home to one the best-preserved Roman Amphitheatre in the world.

    This morning we transfer to one of the old towns of central south Istria. The ride today leads us to Rovinj, a romantic art town boasting hidden stone cobbled streets and squares, beautiful old churches and medieval architecture of the Adriatic area. Free visit to the Old Town. After Rovinj we take a transfer to Pula, home of one of the biggest and best-preserved Roman Amphitheatres in Europe. Visit of the arena and the Old Town. Afternoon transfer back to Vrsar and optional farewell dinner in a local restaurant. 

    Hotel Vista or similar, Vrsar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Tour ends in Vrsar.

    After breakfast, the tour ends in Vrsar.

    For those on the group flight, we have an early start. Following breakfast, we have a long transfer back to Zagreb (3.5hr).

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Combine this trip with

Essential Info

Visas

UK passport holders do not need visas for this trip. Other nationalities should check with the relevant embassies.

Vaccinations

No vaccinations are obligatory.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts are included throughout.

Croatian Cuisine is influenced by Central Europe and Italy. On the mainland, there will be a variety of grilled meats. As we make our way to the Adriatic Sea and Istria, various risottos, octopus and other salads will appear on the menu.

Weather

Croatia boasts one of the sunniest climates in Europe, and some regions are notoriously free from rain. We generally travel off-season, so you should expect some variation in temperature and possibly some rainfall. Temperatures can be high, particularly on the July departures and can reach the mid to high 30s.

MVG chart

MVG chart

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 4 (Moderate/Challenging)

Av. daily distance 60km (37 miles).

6 days cycling with full vehicle support

The rides mainly follow tarmac roads and where possible we use the quieter older roads, though the condition of these is not as good in places and more care needs to be taken. The route is generally undulating but there are a few challenging hills that can be tough in the warm weather. Of course if you don’t want to cycle up any of the hills you can use the support vehicle to take you to the top.
At times the route will follow roads or tracks with a steep down slope to one side. Certain sections will not have a barrier so we advise that you take care for these sections (please note that these will be highlighted by the leader). You should be confident on a bike and have a reasonable level of fitness for this trip.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailor made trips:
0800 643 997
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Cycle Northern Croatia & Slovenia

The hotels used throughout the trip are of a good standard. We use family-run hotels which are clean and comfortable, most have air conditioning and some have swimming pools. 

All hotels have wifi in the lobby and most have wifi in the rooms too (excluding Hotel Bor). 

All hotels are well located: In Zagreb, we are close to the main square and within walking distance of the Old Town where we will enjoy our first dinner. In Osilnica village we are next to Kupa river. Our hotels in Krk and Vrsar are both close to the sea. 

 

Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailor made trips:
0800 643 997
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailor made trips:
0800 643 997
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed May 2019
    Tom Wilkinson

    Varied landscape, interesting cycling, great food.

    This trip shows the lesser known parts of Croatia - Zagreb, the Istrian and plenty of pretty small towns and villages. Dipping in to Slovenia is a great addition too, broadening the experience and contrasting mountains with the sea. Some challenging sections of cycling make it all the better, adding a sense of achievement to the whole experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing everyone make the climb up one of the longer sections in Slovenia, celebrating with a silly picture by a statue of a local storybook figure. Everyone achieved more than they thought they were capable of when looking at the bare statistics and were rightly proud of themselves.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Allen was great, personable and efficient and keen to engage with the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ensure you do dust off your cycling legs before you go. The range of gears on the bikes means you can tackle everything, just pick a gear you're comfortable with and take it at your own pace. Water, breaks and words of encouragement are always on hand!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There is always much more to these trips than it would appear. The cultural element, e.g the visit of Fuzine, the cuisine, the changing landscapes make it a great trip even for those who have been to Croatia before. Zagreb is well worth a visit too.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    David Stallabrass

    Another great cycling trip

    The trip loved up to expectations rated up to a 4. Plenty of hills, some of which were suitably challenging. Weather was great and cycling conditions very good. Guide, Alan Skulic was very informative and took good care of everyone's needs. Great group of cyclists so the dynamic worked very well.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I enjoyed Krk Island where the cycling was surprisingly good with some very pretty towns and beaches.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good, friendly, informative and remained calm, although his clear instructions eliminated most of the scope for things to go wrong.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No snacks or energy drinks are provided during the ride so for those who use Zero tablets, energy bars ,fruit gels and similar, take them with you because the local shops don't provide these sort of items. Don't forget the sunscreen.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thanks for another great cycling holiday; looking forward to the next one now.

Dates & Prices

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