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Cycling by the sea in Istria – in Croatia

When we visited Istria in Croatia this summer, the joys of lying by the pool were wearing a bit thin after the first day (for me anyway) so we decided to hire some bikes.

Cycling by the sea in Istria

Cycling by the sea in Istria

I’d picked up a map showing all the marked cycle trails that would be ideal for a day out – I imagined myself cycling through the olive groves and vineyards and perhaps stopping at the odd winery for a tasting of the local Croatian wine. The children, however, imagined themselves enjoying the pool and the shade of the sun-umbrella at our hotel for a just a little longer.

In the event we were short of time and our proposed day out turned into an afternoon bike ride. We picked up the bikes after lunch and decided to follow the path that ran beside the sea, past the many different rocky coves and swimming places. We could have gone towards the town of Poreč in where many of the trails begin, but decided to go in the opposite direction, hoping to find some interesting places to swim in the sea.

Family swimming in Istria, Croatia

Family swimming in Istria, Croatia

The path is as much for people walking to the sea, as it is for cyclists, so we had to dodge quite a few people en route, but it was interesting to notice all the different swimming locations. Some were bays with waterbound inflatables to slide down and pedalos, ideal for families, then there were quieter spots where you could indulge in a private bit of naturist sunbathing. Then we passed the equivalent of a beach club (although no beach, only rocks) with smart daybeds and a DJ playing , for the hip young crowd. Then past a campsite we decided we’d cycled far enough to deserve a cooling dip and a beer or ice cream (that’s ice cream for me, beer for the kids – only joking).

We were able to go down the ladder from a jetty but we saw a few people wincing as they walked into the sea on the pebbly bottom – it’s definitely worth investing in those water shoes when you swim in Croatia. The sea was emerald and refreshing, and every so often a boat would pass by, creating an unexpected gulp of salty sea water.

There’s loads of fun to be had cycling in Istria in Croatia – there’s a big mountain bike thing going on and I thought the cycle routes looked interesting, especially if you were there in the spring or autumn when it would be cooler. Take a look at www.istria-bike.com for more information on trails to follow, accomodation along the way and specialist cycling holidays. Or pick up a map of the marked trails from your hotel, tourist office or cycle shop when you get there. Next time, I’m definitely doing that trail through the vineyards and olive groves.

Cycling by the sea in Istria

Cycling by the sea in Istria

Just to let you know that I travelled to Istria in Croatia as a guest of the Istria Tourist Board, who asked me to blog about the things I enjoyed (which wasn’t hard).

See my collection of photos of Istria on Flickr

Check for the best hotel prices in Porec and book here.

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30 Comments

  • Reply
    Mark H
    September 16, 2009 at 1:03 am

    I went to Istria from Slovenia a few years ago and thought it a beautiful part of the world. Great swimming in warm water (though I prefer sandy beaches), superb history, enchanting small hillside villages, excellent food and stunning vistas. It never crossed my mind to rent a bike but that makes good sense. Pula, Porec and Matuvun were particular favourites.

  • Reply
    Barbara @ Hole In The Donut Travels
    September 16, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    I have wanted to go to Croatia for SO long. Loved reading about your bike adventure. And that there are naturist beaches – definitely something I’m into. But I’m always amazed by Europeans penchant for lying on rocks rather than seeking out a bit of sand.

  • Reply
    Heather Cowper
    September 16, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    @ Barbara
    If you’re into Naturism, Croatia is definitely the place – one of the campsites in the Plava Laguna resort was entirely naturist – check out Naturist centre Ulika – you can even see the video on the website (very tastefully filmed I might add!)

    http://www.plavalaguna.hr/Home.aspx?PageID=208

    The whole of the Croatian coastline is pretty rocky so I guess they have to make the most of it.

  • Reply
    Fly Girl
    September 17, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    I love biking and the landscape looks lovely. I recognonize that “teenager” expression on your daughter’s face, doesn’t seem like she was as excited about biking as lazing by the pool!

  • Reply
    Heather Cowper
    September 17, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    @Flygirl

    I can’t think what you mean! we were all loving EVERY moment. Seriously, that look on my daughter’s face was probably more about ‘Why does Mum have to take pictures of EVERYTHING for her blog’ rather than not enjoying our bike ride, although the pool was also a big hit.

  • Reply
    Gourmantic
    September 18, 2009 at 3:06 am

    Seems like Croatia is turning into a popular holiday destination, at least from where I come from.

    The water in these photos looks so fresh and inviting!

  • Reply
    Anil
    September 19, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Lots of beaches in the area have pebbly surfaces. Not my favorite but the beaches are excellent.

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  • Reply
    iva
    October 9, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Porec is my favorite destinations for summer holiday. I’ve spent all my summers here since I was 6 years old. I can’t even describe how much I love it there. It’s my number 1 holiday destination in Croatia. Now I’m in my late 20s and planning to buy a house there. I’m glad you loved it there. Greetings from Zagreb!

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  • Reply
    Ross
    September 4, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    I have just been looking around at some cycling holidays and Istria is going straight up to the top of the list! That sea looks georgous – I could probably ride 100 miles a day knowing that I had that sea waiting for me at the end of the day!
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  • Reply
    Heather Cowper
    September 11, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    @ Ross Yes – but although we only did a short cycle along the coast path there were plenty of gorgeous rides awaiting us inland.

  • Reply
    Marcus
    October 7, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    I took my wife and kids to Croatia a few years ago. We loved it. I’d love to go back but not on a ‘beach’ holiday, I’d rather do something a little different and now that we’re all into cycling Istria looks perfect. Pebbly beaches arent my favorite for sunbathing on but if were only cycling past them I can live with that 🙂
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  • Reply
    Heather Cowper
    October 7, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    @ Marcus
    Yes, not a beachy place but the sea is that perfect inviting greeny-turquoise and very refreshing for jumping in when you’re hot after a cycle.

  • Reply
    denia spain
    November 15, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    AMAZING place! definitly a place for all age groups and family holidays, very beautiful!

  • Reply
    Helio
    November 26, 2010 at 12:00 am

    You should also check Dalmatia, the sea is even more beautiful here…!

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  • Reply
    Paul @ GPS Watch Reviews
    May 22, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    What a beautiful part of the world. I would love to do this in the summer. It’s convincing my girlfriend to partake in activities whilst on holiday is the stumbling block. She would rather sun herself all day at the beach! Great photos too.

  • Reply
    LagunaIstria
    December 24, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Hi, this is a really great post, I really liked the way you described my hometown! Porec and Croatia are the most beautifull parts of the Mediterranean! Regards and all the best! Want to discover more information about Porec histoy and accomodation visit us! 🙂 Thanks Heather! Warmest regards from Porec Istria, Croatia! Hope to see you again!

  • Reply
    Hotels in Zagreb
    October 28, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Hi, great post! Next time I recommend travel to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. It has many sights, great nature and roads to cycle, delicious gastronomy and many other interesting offers. We’ll gladly welcome you! 🙂 Kind regards!

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      October 28, 2013 at 8:14 pm

      @Hotels in Zagreb – thanks, I’d love to see some more of Croatia

  • Reply
    istria-apartments.co.uk
    August 29, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    If you are an avid biker, Porec (in Istria) is the destination for you. Those who love nature will surely equally enjoy the bike paths which stretch along the seashore as well as those which go through the rural hinterland. During your stay in Porec you can try one of numerous races, from recreational to professional as rated on the World Cycling Federation calendar.

  • Reply
    Dennis L. Ward
    February 28, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Hey,
    What about their visa system? Are they provide on arrival visa for Americans?

    Thanks for your post.

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