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Cycling tour Adventure travel Historic town of Korcula archipelago panoramic view, island in Croatia

Croatia

Istrian Wines & Dalmatian Islands

Ride the Adriatic Coast from Brtonigla to Dubrovnik 12D/11N

Dates

21 Sep - 02 Oct 2024

From

USD 4,950

Ride Rating

Moderate

Group Size

8 - 16

Trip Highlights

  • Nestled on the Adriatic coast opposite Italy, Croatia's shoreline stretches from the culinary and wine regions of Istria in the North to the Dalmatian coast in the South, a natural work of art perfected by some of history's greatest architects.  
     

  • Our 12 Day journey takes in the best of Croatia, with the first section covering the wine regions cultural gemstones, the rich medieval towns and Venetian architecture of Istria.

  • In the South we take to the islands, via a series of public and private boat crossings, to explore the Dalmatian coast from Split to Dubrovnik.     

  • We ride in September, avoiding the hottest time of year, and offering the best chance of perfect cycling weather. 

Ride Overview

Average Daily Distance: 40 mil/ 64 km​

Average Daily Climb: 3068 ft / 935 m​

  • This ride is rated ‘Moderate’. In total, the ride covers approximately 320miles/ 510 km, and climbs +7,500m/ +24,500ft, over 8 riding days and 2 light hiking days

  • Easier ride options are available on day 8 & 9, hence the ride is rated moderate.

  • Distances are achievable for an active cyclist with a good level of fitness.  The terrain is all on quiet tarmac or white top roads in good condition. 

  • We will have riding guides and full vehicle support vehicles throughout, in case riders want to take a rest or enjoy the view from the van. 

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Brtonigla, in the heart of Istrian Wine country

Fly into Pula in Croatia, or Trieste across the border in Italy, or depending on flights travel further from Venice or Zagreb, before transferring by land to Brtonigla, in Istria.

 

Tonight we will have our first Happy hour, briefing and introductions over a welcome dinner.  If you arrive early enough, a bike fitting with the team will be available in the lobby. 

Ride: Test ride only

Meals: Dinner, Happy Hour

Accommodation: Hotel San Servolo 4*

Day 2: Brtonigla to the coast shakedown loop

To ease us into our ride, today we enjoy an easy downhill ride to the coast and town of Novigrad, then trace the coastline via Umag and Savudrija, to meet the northern lighthouse keeper who inhabits the oldest such structure in the Adriatic, built circa 1800. After a picnic by the sea, we will explore the medieval town of Momjan and ride through the region of Buje ending our loop back in Brtonigla with a visit at one of the best Istrian wine cellars to get acquainted with local wine production and tradition. 

 

Our Happy Hour will entail tasting typical Istrian wines such as Muscat, Malvasia and Teran. A perfect accompaniment to our Dinner tonight

Ride: 65 km / 41 miles, +694 m/2276 ft 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Happy Hour

Accommodation: Hotel San Servolo 4*

Day 3: The City of Artists, Venetian Palaces & Loggia 

Today's ride takes us through vineyards and medieval villages to Grožnjan.  This Istrian town sprouts high on top of the hill along the coast of the river Mirna, with a renaissance loggia dating from 1585 and the beautiful St. Vid and Modesto’s baroque church visible from far away. Riding along the unchanged streets, almost every door leads to art studios or galleries, and the sounds of music, from classical to jazz is always in the air, hence Grožnjan is known as The city of artists.

 

After lunch we visit Oprtalj, where urban medieval buildings flank the narrow streets and frame beautiful Venetian palaces, portals and covered passages.  The view across the Istrian peninsula from the town loggia, is the most beautiful in Istria. We dine in a local winery, and overnight at the Wine Hotel in Motovun.

Ride: 55km / 34 miles, +927 m / 3060 ft 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Happy Hour

Accommodation: Wine Hotel Roxanich 4*

Day 4: Motovun to the coast & Malvasia wine of Poreč 

Today we ride to the coastal town of Poreč. Our route travels via the town of Višnjan where we will pass by an observatory. It’s one of the most famous observatories in the world and works closely with their opposites in Hawaii to confirm near earth objects.

 

The road continues to the town of Višnjan at 246m altitude and from where we'll stop to admire views of the west Istrian coast and the coastal town of Poreč. This region abounds with wine cellars with wines of the Poreč area, especially Malvasia. Tonight we will have time to wander the streets before enjoying dinner at our Leisure.

Ride: 74km / 46 miles, +796m / 2611ft 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, -, -

Accommodation: BO Hotel Palazzo 4*

Day 5: Rovinj - The Pearl of the Adriatic

Today we are in for a real treat. Our route to Rovinj passes many small villages and medieval towns, such as St. Lovreč and Tinjan before we arrive to our first stop in Kanfanar, a small town above the Lim valley. From Kanfanar we begin the flattest section of our 2 week ride. Traditional Istrian tool-houses (kažun) flank our route. Our next stop is Bale where we visit the Bembo palace, city square and museum before we continue to our destination, Rovinj the "Pearl of Adriatic".

 

Also called the Istrian Venice, the old town which was once an island has been connected with land, and its church and bell tower stand out against the sea. Tonight we dine on fresh fish, a specialty, together with the charm and magic of Rovinj and combined with Malvasia wine tasting we will complete our Istrian experience. 

Ride: 74 km / 46 miles, +831m / 2726 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Happy Hour

Day 6: Journey South Pt 1 - Overland transfer to Plitvice Lakes

Today we begin our transition drive south.  Staying at the national park of Plitvice lakes. En route we will stop in Rastoke, a watermill village situated where the green water of the Slunjčica river rushes steeply into the Korana river over a number of travertine barriers and waterfalls.

 

Sixteen lakes cascade from one to another in a series of waterfalls surrounded by dense forest, the region is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. We will walk the paths and wooden boardwalks following the succession of lakes and waterfalls quite unlike anywhere else in the world.  Take a dip or relax by the pool before dinner. 

Walk: 3-5 hours in NP - Plitvice lakes

Meals: Breakfast, -, Dinner, - (Lunch stop at leisure en route)

Accommodation: Hotel 16 Lakes 4*

Transfer: 4 hours driving in private van from Rovinj to Plitvice

Day 7: Journey South Pt 2 - Welcome to Split & The Dalmatian Coast

After breakfast we descend by van transfer from the mountains to the stunning Dalmatian Coast.

 

We will arrive in Split time with plenty of time to take lunch at leisure, and explore the old town and the famous Diocletian palace, made of the white stone which the area is famed for.  Over Happy hour this evening, we will hear about our Island hopping experience to come.

Walk: 1h walking tour of Split 

Meals: Breakfast, -, Dinner, Happy Hour (Lunch at Leisure in Split)

Accommodation: Jupiter 4*

Transfer: 3 hours driving in private van/bus from Plitvice to Split

Day 8: The Island of Brač Loop ride 

From Diocletian town today, we will take the morning ferry to the island of Brač.  Beautiful landscapes belie hilly roads to challenge our legs. Stone from the island of Brač is the true soul of the island and a UNESCO protected heritage.  The Diocletian palace, the White House in Washington and the Pope's alter in the Vatican are some of the monuments made of this stone.

 

In the afternoon we will take in a tour and tasting at the Olive Oil Museum of Škrip, the island's oldest settlement before our return via ferry to Split. This evening we will have dinner at our leisure from the many choices around our hotel.

Ride67 km / 42 miles, +1309/ +4293ft (or shorter option 38 km / 24 miles, +635 m/+2100 ft)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, -, -

Accommodation: Jupiter 4*

Transfer: 9am ferry arrives in Supetar (Brac) at 9:50am - 6pm return ferry arrives in Split at 6:50pm

Day 9: Stari Grad to Jelsa -The Island of Hvar

Today is one of the highlights of our trip, as after breakfast we take a ferry from Split to Stari Grad on the Island Hvar, (Hvar is derived from the Greek  - Pharos). 

 

Hvar is recognized as one of the most beautiful islands in the world, and was developed under Venetian influence, as seen in the picturesque architecture of Hvar town.  It is known locally as the Queen of the Dalmatian Coast. Today we will bike to the town of Jelsa and finish our ride in the town of Hvar. On our route we will pass through lavender farms and olive plantations, the idyllic scenery of Mediterranean islands.

Ride: 61 km / 38 miles, +1051/ +3447ft (or shorter option 43 km / 26 miles, +685 m/ +2250)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Happy Hour

AccommodationHotel Dea 4*

Transfer: Ferry departs from Split at 8:30am and arrives in Stari Grad (Hvar) at 10:30am

Day 10: Vela Luka - The Island of Korčula

From Hvar we will take a private speed boat to the town of Vela Luka on the island of Korčula, our home for the next two days. For our first ride on Korčula we bike from east to west, passing through the lush forests of Holm Oak and Mediterranean Pines.

 

In the afternoon we will have time to walk at leisure around the town of Korčula.

Ride: 52 km / 32 miles, +850/ +2790ft

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, -

Transfer: Private speed boat from Hvar to Vela luka (Korčula) lasts 50 minutes

Day 11: Pelješac peninsula & Dubrovnik

After breakfast, we bid farewell to Korčula, taking a short ferry to the town of Orebić from where we’ll begin biking the Pelješac peninsula surrounded by azure waters of the coastline. After the initial section we will walk part of the magnificent city walls 5.5 km long. The area is surrounded by oyster farms and for lunch we visit a popular local restaurant to sample the shellfish specialties.

 

During the next section our ride takes us to Ston and the vineyards of Pelješac where we will have the chance to taste typical Dalmatian wines such as Pošip and Dingač. From Ston, we say goodbye to our bikes, and transfer a short way to Dubrovnik before a well deserved and special farewell dinner tonight. 

Ride: 59 km / 36 miles, +1074/ +3525ft

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Happy Hour

Accommodation: Hotel Lero 4*

Transfer: Ferry from Korčula to Orebić lasts 15 minutes - Van transfer from Ston to Dubrovnik lasts 50 minutes

Day 12: Farewell Croatia, depart Dubrovnik

Our bike tour through the south of Croatia is finished. Memories of a beautiful landscape, rich history and culture combined with biking will make you come back again. A single time transfer from hotel to Dubrovnik airport.

Ride: -

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: -

Bikes

Bring Your Own

The ideal machine for this ride is a Hybrid or Touring Bike with at least 28mm tyres, capable of carrying 2 water bottles.  A road or gravel bike would also be acceptable, Tandems and Bike Fridays can be accommodated on this ride.

Bike Rental

Hybrid/ Road and Ebike rentals are available on request. Saddles, clips and accessories can be fitted to rental bikes at the start of the tour.  (Please mention these when booking a bike rental.) If bringing your own bike, please make sure that you bring sufficient parts to maintain the bike in good order throughout the ride.

Local Bike Hire: ​

  • Hybrid Bike - USD 250 

  • E-Bike - USD 380 (limited availability)

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Inclusions

What's Included
  • Arrival and departure drop off. (Pula and Trieste collection only)

  • 11 nights accomodation with 11 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 9 dinners

  • 7 Happy Hours & Wine tastings where mentioned

  • Guiding and support services

  • Boat & Van transfers where mentioned

  • Entry fees when mentioned including Olive Oil Museum

  • Snacks & drinks whilst riding

What's Not Included
  • National and international airfares

  • Bike rental

  • Single room supplement *

  • Guide team gratuities

  • Travel insurance

* Single rooms are available on request at a surcharge of 1,250USD per room.

See our FAQ for more information about our cancellation policy and answers to common questions.

Essential Info

Visa and Entry Conditions

At the time of writing, Europe is opening up fast, travel entry conditions are likely to ease as regulations are updated in the coming months, but most countries require proof of a vaccination and booster, or recent recovery. check the embassy website for the latest details. As usual, all nationalities require a valid passport, valid for at least 6 months from date of entry.

  • Passport (valid for at least 6 months from date of  entry)

  • Vaccination record 

  • COVID-19 test result (if unvaccinated)

Consult the State Dept website website for the latest entry requirements.

Health and Vaccines

No additional vaccinations are required to visit Croatia. 

Weather

September is the best month for cycling in Croatia, with temperatures ranging between 80 and 65°F. For riding, layers to start rides in the morning, and peel off quickly in the warmth of the day is the best strategy. Carry a light windproof or showerproof jacket.  Support vehicles are always on hand to carry day bags which can be accessed easily.

Money and Expenses

On 1 January 2023 Croatia adopted the euro and became the 20th member of the euro area. Ideally keep some cash in the local currency Euro (Eur) or if using foreign currency the USD is can be exchanged at hotels and banks. ATMs are the easiest ways to get local currency. Almost all ATMs will accept foreign cards. Having some USD in cash will enable you to change some money incase of card issues. Cards are accepted almost everywhere, as are Euros in cash.