Cycling by the sea in Istria – in Croatia

September 15, 2009 by  

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.

You may also enjoy
Staying at Plava Laguna Resort in Istria
A seafood feast at Limski Kanal in Istria
On the hunt for the Istrian truffle in Istria

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Comments

30 Comments on "Cycling by the sea in Istria – in Croatia"

  1. Mark H on Wed, 16th Sep 2009 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.

  2. Barbara @ Hole In The Donut Travels on Wed, 16th Sep 2009 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.

  3. Heather Cowper on Wed, 16th Sep 2009 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.

  4. Fly Girl on Thu, 17th Sep 2009 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!

  5. Heather Cowper on Thu, 17th Sep 2009 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.

  6. Gourmantic on Fri, 18th Sep 2009 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!

  7. Anil on Sat, 19th Sep 2009 6:42 pm 

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

  8. Family seaside cycling in Istria, Croatia on Wed, 30th Sep 2009 2:10 am 

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  9. iva on Fri, 9th Oct 2009 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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  16. Ross on Sat, 4th Sep 2010 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!
    Ross´s last blog post ..Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Running and Cycling Watch Review

  17. Heather Cowper on Sat, 11th Sep 2010 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.

  18. Marcus on Thu, 7th Oct 2010 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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  19. Heather Cowper on Thu, 7th Oct 2010 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.

  20. denia spain on Mon, 15th Nov 2010 1:22 pm 

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

  21. Helio on Fri, 26th Nov 2010 12:00 am 

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

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  25. Paul @ GPS Watch Reviews on Sun, 22nd May 2011 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.

  26. LagunaIstria on Sat, 24th Dec 2011 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!

  27. Hotels in Zagreb on Mon, 28th Oct 2013 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!

  28. Heather Cowper on Mon, 28th Oct 2013 8:14 pm 

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

  29. istria-apartments.co.uk on Fri, 29th Aug 2014 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.

  30. Dennis L. Ward on Tue, 28th Feb 2017 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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