Journey along a former railway line now catering to cyclists and walkers, the Parenza Rail Trail, from Trieste in Italy to Porec in Croatia. From Trieste and the start of the Parenzana (derived from Parenzo, the Italian name for Porec) cycle past olive groves and vineyards on your way to the ancient Roman town of Porec on the stunning Croatian coast. Along the way there is time to appreciate the unique culture and culinary delights in each country.
MODERATE – GRADE 3
This trip is designed for keen cyclists with a few challenges. A good level of fitness is required. The cycle along the Parenzana is mostly on dedicated cycle paths with more gradual inclines and descents. You will need to navigate cycling on medium to high traffic roads entering and leaving towns. Weather conditions may be harsh at times (even in summer), and you will need to be comfortable cycling in such conditions. We suggest up to one hour of exercise 2-3 times a week.
On arrival in Trieste, make your way to the joining hotel. You will receive your bike at the hotel together with your final tour documents. Please pack your trip requirements into the panniers provided. Your remaining luggage will be transferred to Porec and will be waiting for you at the last hotel. Once the only sea port of the Hapsburg Empire, Trieste has a lot to offer in the way of attractions such as Piazza dell'Unità d'Italia which has the widest opening to the seafront of any Italian square. Overnight hotel.
This morning you cycle south along the old Parenzana rail line. By mid morning you will have crossed over into Slovenia. Take the time to visit the Istrian holiday town of Koper with its 15th-century Praetorian Palace located on the city square. Continuing along the coast you pass by Izola on the Istrian Peninsula, whose links to tourism date back to the 1820's when a thermal spring was discovered. You will finally arrive in Portorož, a town renowned for its spa and beach facilities. Take the time to visit nearby Piran (6km return), another important town which was ruled for a long time by the Venetians with an impressive historic centre on the sea. Overnight Portorož.
(+130m / 426ft, -110m / 361ft)
Today's cycle takes you through the salt mines of Secovlje, a large Slovenian town where a unique habitat has formed for halophytic plants and animals and migrating birds. Soon after you will cross the Croatian border and ascend to the hilltop town of Buje. Known as the "sentinel of Istria" the town is situated in a strategic hilltop location about 10km from the Adriatic coast. Take in the views and walk through this medieval town which dates back to prehistoric times. Buje (or Buie in Italian) was ceded to Italy from 1918 to 1945 and has Roman and Venetian legacies. The cycle continues ascending to Grožnjan (Italian: Grisignana) which is the only Croatian settlement to have a majority of ethnic Italians. This is a great place to stop for lunch before a 20km downhill cycle to Livade, the last town before your destination of Motovun. A final 5km ascent takes you up to the medieval hilltop town with its breathtaking position commanding views of the four corners of Istria. It is known as the city of the fictional character Veli Jože, a gentle giant looking out for the people of Istria. After settling in to your hotel we recommend you walk around the fortifications, taking in the exceptional views and absorbing the history of this picturesque town.
(+400m / 1312ft, -280m / 919ft)
The trail today takes you past olive groves and vineyards through towns such as Vižinada and Visnjan and past old railway stations. Your destination is Porec, the tourism capital of Croatia. You should take the time to see its Eufrasian Basilica, which was declared Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO in 1997.
(+175m / 574ft, -270m / 886ft)
Trip concludes after breakfast.
Per Person, Twin Share