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Coastal Croatia by Bicycle: Sea, Sun, Truffles


New York Times on bike tour in Croatia.

Spring, early summer and early fall are the best times for biking through Istria, when temperatures usually range from the 60s to the 80s; the place heats up in July and August, though that remains the busiest tourist period. Most visitors stick to the coast, where villages teeter on limestone peninsulas, the pastel walls of the outermost buildings dropping straight down to the surf. But there is an overlooked magnetism to Istria\'s uncrowded interior, with its diverse cultural influences and medieval villages perched on fortified hilltops.

FROM THE NORTH TO THE SOUTH, from the eastern to the western Istrian coast, on nearly 2,600 kilometres spread the already plotted sixty bike trails. Istria County Tourist Board has published so far six brochures entitled “Istria Bike” with trails plotted in detail and descriptions of mostly circular tracks stretching on 1,500 marked kilometres. Other bike trails, yet to be plotted, have covered all Istria like a spider web.

About 70% of the trails are mountain ones, i.e. unpaved or forest trails, while others are paved. The most demanding trails are surely in the highest parts of Istria, Æiæarija, and require top fitness and skill.

In the immediate vicinity, in the Labin region are several other demanding trails, from Graèišæe to Rabac and from Rabac to Skitaèa. They require not only good will as they are not recommended for recreation tourists. However, both for your heart and soul we recommend you take the easiest and also the most attractive trails that meander along the Istrian coast - along Cape Kamenjak, from Rovinj to San Pol Cove and around Vrsar and Poreè.

FROM THE EASTERN TO THE WESTERN ISTRIAN COAST there are 430 kilometres of bike trails divided into ten sections - from Rovinjsko Selo over Kanfanar and Bale to Svetvinèenat, Barban, Graèišæe, Raša, Labin and Rabac. Although easy in the beginning, heading east the trails become more demanding requiring of course good physical conditional. Your arrival to the eastern Istrian coast will be rewarded by a splendid view of the magnificent landscape. There you can find small coves and completely isolated beaches that will grant you privacy.