This elegant and sophisticated hotel is by the sea and is a perfect starting point for discovering the beauties of Umag and Istria. It's a peaceful place and was awarded the city’s best wellness center in Croatia in 2009.
Italy’s neighbor to the East, Croatia offers idyllic cycling through a medieval landscape of castles and vineyards, all with a beautiful view of the Adriatic Sea.
Trieste, located at the head of the Gulf of Trieste, has been influenced by its location at the crossroads of Germanic, Latin and Slavic cultures. In the 19th century it was the most important port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the union to Italy after WWI.
Istria was part of the province of Trieste until WWII. It is the largest Croatian peninsula and is considered the most popular new destination by the Croatian National Tourist Board. It is a magnificent landmass that has been etched away over the years by the Adriatic Sea, which has sprinkled its jagged coastline with a thousand lagoons and islands. The hilly interior, along with mountainous terrain to the northeast, is replete with rich forests.
In addition to the historical landmarks, including medieval villages and fantastic Byzantine cathedrals, the natural beauty of the Northern Adriatic Coast is astounding. Bright blue waters line a coast littered with architectural wonders, against a backdrop of deep green, truffle-filled forests. The terrain on this peninsula’s coast is perfect for the cyclist who wants to combine slightly rolling and hilly terrain with images of Croatia’s history and unspoiled beauty. This bike tour in Croatia is not to be missed.
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Welcome to Trieste! We begin our tour in Trieste, a city that has for centuries been the natural gateway to Eastern Europe. Rich in Italian, Austro-Hungrarian and Slavic cultural influences, Trieste is the biggest city and capitol of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. We meet at 1 pm in the lobby of our hotel for greetings, then we have an intro lunch at Le Botti, a very popular local restaurant. Afterwards, we have a bike fitting and warm-up ride in the area and later on, a walking tour of Trieste to get a better introduction to the city.
Today we leave Italy, cross through a small part of Slovenia—the medieval port of Koper also known for its Venetian architectureand then enter Croatia. Our Croatian experience starts riding not so far from the sea and then reaching the nice coastal summer resort town of Umag, famous for its Roman remnants and the Croatia Open ATP tennis tournament. Other highlight of the day includes the bike path along the beautiful ancient salt pond of Sicciole.
Today is arguably one of the best rides as we cycle to Groznjan, a veritable magnet for Istrian artists and musicians, and a perfect place to buy pieces of art. Many claim this village—atop a large hill—to be the most beautiful medieval town in Istria. The Mirna River flows below the hill, and across the river, we see thick green forests, rich with white truffles. This mysterious forest makes many appearances in Croatian folklore as the home to monsters and giants. The finest Istrian white wines hail from vineyards in this area and today, we also discover and savor the local Malvasia and Moscato in Kozlovic.
Our ride today leaves the quiet and hilly mainland for the flat and warm shores of the “Istrian Riviera”. On our way we’ll visit and have lunch at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Porec. It’s possible to stop at every bend of the road for a glimpse of ocean as we cycle towards Rovinj. This Istrian village is a popular tourist resort due to its exceptional climate and exuberant Mediterranean greenery. The arrival into Rovinj will be quite unique and scenic: we take a boat through the Limsky Kanal, a spectacular way to reach the city.
Today is an optional ride. You can take the shorter route to Dvigrad and be back at the hotel by lunch, or choose to relax and spend the day enjoying the hotel’s facilities, take a dip in the Adriatic, or wander the streets of Rovinj. If you choose to ride, take note of the rich blues and greens of our surroundings, heading east and leaving the Venetian city of Rovinj. This city’s majestic bell tower is reminiscent of the famous San Marco Square in Venice and provides a coastal landmark. We’ll have a guided walking tour of the town before dinner on your own in the evening.
Today we ride inland from Rovinj to Pula. In the morning we visit the well preserved medieval village of Svetvinchenat which features the famous Grimaldi Castle. Pula is situated near the point of the peninsula, this is the largest city in Istria and often considered the capital of the area. Pula is home to a large and elegant Roman amphitheater. Boasting some of the Adriatic’s finest beaches, Pula is replete with breathtaking, colorful views that you will never forget.
Today we ride back up the coast and catch a ferry to the Brijuni Islands, which are known for their Roman and Byzantine archaeological ruins. Two large and twelve small islands comprise the Brijuni National Park and Marshal Tito’s museum. We’ll ride to the harbor and take a short ferry ride across to the national park, filled with lush green forests.
On the island we’ll rent beach cruisers and take a leisurely spin to the zoo and have a guided tour of the Brijuni National Park. Returning to the harbor, we’ll stop at Tito’s photography museum, then return by ferry to the mainland for lunch.
At around 9 am after breakfast, we provide a 2.5-hour transfer back to the train station in Trieste, Italy. Why not stay in Croatia? Spend a bit more time in Pula, take a flight to Dubrovnik, or explore the many gorgeous islands of the Adriatic Sea.