Biking in Croatia
digg TOP
  Posted November 28th, 2012 by Zdenko  in Cycling | No comments yet.

Top rides

Source: Bike Radar, by Jered Gruber

Cycling in paradise – Croatian Istria peninsula
Tuscany gets a lot of press and attention as a cycling paradise, and rightly so. It has a special something that makes people go back year after year. But it’s hardly off the beaten track. There’s another cycling haven that you should know about – one that the masses haven’t found yet. It’s the Croatian province of Istria.

Zdenko biking in Istria on steep hills.

The peninsula is shaped like a heart and was once a part of Italy. However, it went to Yugoslavia following World War Two, and to Croatia more recently. It’s located just south of the far-eastern Italian city of Trieste and the sliver of coast Slovenia possesses. While now firmly a part of Croatia, Italian is still the first or second language depending on where you are in Istria.

Istria has good roads… and lots of them!

The coast is like many European beach havens: busy and often unpleasant. But ride inland a kilometer or two and everything changes. The wide, car-laden roads that were clogged with tourists turn into dry stone lanes perfectly suited to cycling. The flat coast quickly rolls into a hilly inland region.

Novigrad, Istria

Hotel haven

The northern part of Istria provides ample opportunities for bike riding. Numerous climbs wind out of the Mirna valley, ascending to beautiful hilltop towns that overlook the river and Adriatic.

Novigrad: Imagine yourself in this place

Narrow roads and small towns in Istria

But the true magic lies just north of the Mirna, in the relentless undulations that spill into Slovenia. Up, down, left and right you see ancient towns, forgotten villages, vacant roads… This is the good stuff.

If you need any more convincing, the world’s largest white truffle (about the size of a football) was unearthed near the Istrian town of Buje in 1999. And each year, people flock from all over Europe to harvest the wild asparagus that grows in the area.

Mild winters are good for cycling in Istria

Cycling haven: Close to Umag, Istria

What’s on offer
– A little bit of everything: moderate mountains (15-30 minute climbs), hills, flat roads and few cars to worry about.
– Incredible food, great people, unique atmosphere.
– Peace and quiet, and a feeling that you’ve left the beaten path, if only by a little bit.
– Truffles! World famous and rightly so.

Why it’s best
Rural Istria is a unique place. It’s a step back in time, and a welcome one at that. It’s quiet, remote without being a pain to get to, and a wonderful place to ride a bike.

Umag, Istria: Group of cyclists getting ready for a ride in front of their hotel.

How to get there
Trieste (Ronchi dei Legionari international airport) is the easiest transportation hub. From there you’re about 40km from Istria.

Riding a bike in Istria

Narrow and hilly roads

There are many possibilities in the area, but we’re big fans of the hilltop village of Momjan, near Buje in the north. Just a kilometer and small climb above the village is the Agroturizam San Mauro.

Typical Istrian houses

Somewhere on the road in Istria

Bike shops
If you need help with your bike, you’ll be crossing the border to get to Piran or Portoroz, in Slovenia. It’s better to make sure your bike is in working order before your trip.

You can follow BikeRadar on Twitter at and on Facebook at

You can also improve your fitness and train with us on

Picking a fruit from the tree

Typical road in Istria

Source: Bikeradar

Follow Zdenko’s Corner on Facebook !




Gotta Comment?
If you've got a comment or opinion you'd like to share, send me an email or fill the comment fields bellow, with only requirements your name and email address. I might just publish you in glorious pixilated black & white! Comments may be edited for grammar, spelling and length, or just to make them better.

Submit your own stories for the Zdenko’s Corner about rides, Gran Fondo’s, having a good time traveling and/or cycling, Croatian cycling history, etc. All stories are very welcome. There are more than 400 stories already in this blog. The search feature at the top right, works best for finding subjects in the blog. There is also translating button at the top of every story so you can translate each page to language of your choice.

Send your comments to:

Leave a Reply