The westernmost corner of Croatia, where Istria Region lies, displays astonishing landscapes and incredible cultural heritage. Rich in asphalted roads for families and just as many dirt roads and macadam trails for mountain bike riders, it’s a peninsula made for cyclists.
The best infrastructure for cyclotourism in Croatia
There are thousands of kilometers available – from the technically demanding to the family-friendly trails and roads everywhere. Up the hill, along the coastline, through a city, mountain, forest, or even a railway – there’s something for all cyclists.
The synergy of licensed bike hotels, training camps for road cyclists and mountain bikers, many cycling events all-year-round and professional races make Istria the most developed Croatian region for cycling and cyclotourism.
It’s all thanks to having dedicated authority, budget and interest from various stakeholders. The brand Istra Outdoor unites Istra Bike, Istra Trails, Istra Climbing and Istra Kayaking under its umbrella. As stated on the official website, Istra Outdoor serves for the development of different forms of active tourism to reposition and restructure Istria into a high-quality tourism region with a year-round tourism offer.
The starting point for many cyclists is Istra Bike website. It goes into detail about trails, from the difficulty and duration to sightseeing recommendations. There’s a list of specialized accommodations that provide safe storage for the bikes, just as the tools and equipment needed for cleaning and servicing bikes.
Such comprehensive approach ensures the further development of infrastructure and increased interest from cyclists.
For beginners and professionals
Istria, as the largest Croatian peninsula, has a diversity of landscapes and the diversity of trails. According to Martin Cotar, usually used trails are those of the circular type. Guests located in one place ride on different circular trails for several days.
Southern Istria offers many easy trails for beginners and families with children. Having little over 13 kilometers, the Orchid trail at the Cape Kamenjak is excellent for family and recreation. Kids especially enjoy seeing dinosaur path with life-size sculptures at the beginning of this trail.
Central Istria has plenty of medium to hard trails for the experienced ones. For example, The Wild Beauty of Eastern Coast trail connects central parts of the peninsula with the eastern coast. With 102 kilometers and an altitude difference of 1,490 meters, it serves professional cyclists in the initial stages of their preparation. Ucka Nature park, besides incredible nature, has challenging trails for adrenaline lovers.
The northwestern part of Istria offers interesting trails that combine gastronomy, culture and nature. Medium-hard trail Medieval Towns and Wine Roads of Momjan is an excellent example. In less than 40 kilometers, the cyclists can enjoy the countryside and explore several towns, e.g. Buje, Groznjan and Momjan. This area offers wild asparagus, truffles and excellent wines to try along the way.
Parenzana – unique trail of nature and history
The incredible, must-cycle trail is 80-kilometers long Parenzana. Mostly in macadam, it’s an easy 4-hour pedaling trail.
In the 20th century, Parenzana was a narrow-gauge railway that connected the ports of Trieste and Porec. Now it stands as the beauty of nature and history. Surrounding greenery, stone arches of viaducts, dark tunnel entrances are a small part of Parenzana’s magic.
The former railway is fully adjusted to cyclists and hikers. Also known as the Route of Health and Friendship, it’s marked by characteristic signposts, secured by guard rails on bridges and viaducts, the tunnels are lit and auxiliary facilities set up to tell the story of Parenzana, states on Parenzana’s official site.
Cycle Parenzana, meet beautiful, unique Istrian towns like medieval Motovun, and indulge in rich enogastronomic offer.
Training at its finest
Training camps welcomed many teams throughout the years. Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team trained while staying in Porec, and Rabac is known for MTB camps.
Besides training, for advanced teams camps like these are a way for the whole team to meet with the partners, sponsors and staff. It’s a way to test the procedures and to improve the functioning of the team.
Top-quality amenities, excellent accommodation location and cycling infrastructure are necessary for the training camps because of the complexity of the whole operation.
Therefore, it can be a compliment to host the training camps.
Bikademy in Istria
Bikademy has its place in Istria for a while now with the two Studies available: Istria I and Istria II.
Istria I is in the southern half of the peninsula and has seven Exams. They include city of Porec, Rovinj, Pula, Cape Kamenjak, Labin, Plomin and Svetvincenat. This Study is excellent if you prefer coastal areas with incredible cultural heritage.
If you prefer the countryside crowned by the medieval towns on the hill then Istria II might be for you. This Study has seven Exams, as well: Pazin, Roc, Buzet, Motovun, Buje, Novigrad and Savudrija.
Planning to cycle in Istria? Download Bikademy and win rewards.
With this blog we’ve only scratched the surface of the topic of cycling and cyclotourism in Istria, but there’s so much more to expand on.