Since Istria is a popular cyclist destination, there is no shortage of cyclist-aimed accommodation. Once such place is the Sol Garden Istria Bike Hotel where you will find a cycling expert responsible for everything they have on offer: bike guides, day trips, renting a GPS with a logged-in itinerary, food for cyclists, sports clothes washing facilities, an outside bike parking and really, everything you might need. Accommodation can be found all over Northwest Istria – close to the sea as well as inland – e.g. at the beautiful Casa La Parenzana, named after the exciting cycling trail or at the small San Rocco Hotel in Brtonigla.
Northwest Istria has more than 500 kilometers of cycling trails divided into easy, medium and challenging. Easy trails are marked in green, medium in yellow and challenging in red. Ride times extend from a pleasant one hour to six hours, but most rides take around three. This of course includes stops and rests which can extend the ride into a nice day-long trip. All the trails are very well marked. Trails can be ridden from finish to start in which case it is necessary to keep in mind that all the markings will be facing away from you and you will have a harder time spotting them. Considering this is a cycling region, motorcar drivers are used to cyclists but it’s always the best to pay attention while on traffic-heavy roads.
All year long Istria is a location of many cycling events enjoyed by both participants and spectators. Events of note are certainly the Tour of Croatia and Istria Granfondo. The Tour of Croatia takes place from April 19th to 24th, in six stages, one of which is Northwest Istria. The event is broadcast on the popular Eurosport channel. Istria Granfondo takes place in October and it’s a cycling marathon with a rich offer of side events for the whole family – including competitions, music events and similar. Umag Bike, Bicklijada Marušići, Fešta Gospe Lurdske and Biciklijada Radini are just some of the many cycling events in Istria.
Asparagus, calamari, shellfish, fish, truffles, ox meat, olive oil… These are just some of the dishes Istria is known for. During your cycling trips don’t forget to try some of them, be it šurlice pasta with truffles or a freshly picked asparagus fritaja. Many trails will lead you directly to the door of famous olive oil sellers or small family inns offering delicious homemade food.
A bike ride is an ideal opportunity for visiting many sites of natural beauty and attractions of Northwest Istria. First of all, we should mention the Mirna river and the lagoons in the estuary of Mirna into the Tarska Cove, an important bird habitat. If you like peace and relaxation, be sure to visit the Škarline Nature Park, a green oasis near Brtonigla offering a sight unique to Istria. If you wish to combine nature, cuisine and a pleasant bike ride into one, try the wine roads near Buje, and if you prefer cycling by the sea, head for Savudrija, a place you’ll recognize by its hanging boats and lighthouse. However, Savudrija is more than that and it will spellbind you with its natural beauty, long fishing tradition and romantic air felt in every step through the place.
In the end, once you start planning your cycling tour of Northwest Istria, be sure to use the information offering rich insight into all a cyclist will need during his visit to this region of Istria. Read the Guide containing all the pamphlets, interesting web pages and blogs offering advice and ideas on how to make your cycling visit to Istria an unforgettable experience you will always remember.