Cycling the Adriatic Coast: Istria and the mountains

8 days
from
£1,249
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Suitable for:
Age 16+
Activity level:
Moderate / Challenging
Activity Rating - Moderate/Challenging
Trip code: 
MVG
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailor Made Adventures
Activity:
Cycling
Group size:
4–16
Min age:
16

Discover rural Northern Croatia, The Kupa Valley and Slovenia on two wheels 

Starting in the enchanting 900 year old capital city of Zagreb, this tour takes us on a pedal powered journey through vast canyons and deep river valleys, over country borders and onto the largest island in Croatia. Starting with one day cycling through Slovenia we follow the beautiful Kupa River Valley discovering hilltop castles and the impressive karst scenery of the Gorski Kotar Mountains. Once back in Croatia we traverse Krk Island and head north to the stunning Istria Peninsula. Here the scenery changes as we cycle through rolling green hills, vineyards and olive groves to the stunning UNESCO town of Poreč and Pula home to one of the best-preserved amphitheatres in Europe.

Highlights

  • Explore the 900 year old capital city of Zagreb 
  • Cycle through the Kupa River Valley into Slovenia 
  • Visit the historic UNESCO town of Porec

Key information

  • 6 days cycling with full vehicle support
  • 100% tarmac roads 
  • Group normally 4 to 16 plus leader. Min age 16
  • 7 nights hotels 
  • E-bikes available on request
  • Countries visited: Croatia, Slovenia

What's included

  • All breakfasts 
  • All accommodation 
  • All transport and listed activities 
  • Tour leader throughout 
  • Flights from London (if booking flight inclusive)
  • Local bike hire (e-bike can be requested, subject to availability, please enquire for prices)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance 
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3944
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

6

Days of Cycling
Pace:

Moderate/Challenging: 13 - 16kph /8-10mph 

Terrain:

100% tarmac roads with some undulating rides 

Day by day breakdown
Day 272.0km/45.0miles
Day 359.0km/37.0miles
Day 450.0km/31.0miles
Day 556.0km/35.0miles
Day 655.0km/34.0miles
Day 740.0km/25.0miles

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive Zagreb; transfer to hotel in the city centre.

    Upon arrival in Zagreb we will be met by our guide and transferred to the hotel in the city centre. Before dinner, we will go on a guided tour of the capital with a local guide. Tonight we will head out for the first group meal, tasting the traditional cuisine of north-west Croatia which is influenced by the country's Austrian and Hungarian neighbours, who ruled Croatia from the 12th-20th Century (though with a brief period of Napoleonic rule). After dinner, enjoy a stroll through the 900 year old streets of the Old Town of Zagreb.

    Hotel Central, Zagreb 

  • Day 2

    Transfer out of Zagreb; cycle through the Kupa River Valley.

    In the morning we transfer to Vinica, a small town in Slovenia, to start the first day cycling along the Kupa River.  We enjoy an amazing ride through the rural areas of Slovenian Kupa regional park passing lively and colourful villages and enjoying the peaceful road that winds along the banks of the river. We cycle deep into the canyon that Kupa has carved through the Gorski Kotar mountain region and end this meditative cycling day in Osilnica, a small Slovenian town on the border, near the Croatian National Park Risnjak. Optional dinner, tasting traditional meals of the area (we recommend tasting their exquisite mushroom soup! If available…). Overnight in Osilnica.

    Hotel Kovac or similar, Osilnica

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    Cycle from Fuzine to the Adriatic Sea.

    After breakfast, there is a short morning transfer to the town of Fuzine, in the Gorski Kotar region of Croatia. Getting on the bikes we have an exciting descent from the mountainous Fuzine area all the way to the Adriatic Sea with amazing views of the coastline, the islands of the North Adriatic and Kvarner Bay. Our cycling finishes in front of the impressive Krk Bridge where we stop for a photo opportunity. We then board our minibus for a short transfer to Malinska, a small town on the coast of Krk Island.

    Hotel Bor or similar, Krk

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Explore Krk Island discovering local traditions and pastimes.

    Today we explore Krk Island with a short visit to the small town of Vrbik. We will be cycling through the numerous vineyards famous for the local white wine called Vrbnička Žlahtina. There is the possibility for a short wine tasting just after visiting Vrbnik. We will then continue our ride back towards the town of Krk via Punat. During the day we learn about the island’s history and geography, as well as its agricultural riches. There will be plenty of time to explore the small streets of Krk, and enjoy a coffee, light lunch, ice-cream or a swim.

    Hotel Bor or similar, Krk 

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Cycle on the Istrian Peninsula to the mediaeval city of Motovun.

    After enjoying the lush scenery and traditional life of the Kupa River Valley and having traversed Krk Island, today we embark on a new adventure, a three-day road cycle through Istria. Istria is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic Sea and is an enchanting region that spreads across the western tip of Croatia, southern Slovenia and also shares a maritime border with Italy. Starting with a transfer to Ucka Mountain we enjoy an amazing descent from Poklon pass (922m), amazing views of rural Istria open up before us while we cycle down towards Mirna river valley. From there, we continue through green eastern Istria towards Pazin town. From here there is an optional transfer or cycle ride to the romantic, medieval city, Motovun. It sits on top of a hill, overlooking the Mirna River Valley and offers excellent views from the ramparts. Here we will have a chance to taste some of the truffle and olive oil products from the region. Late afternoon, we transfer to Vrsar, a small pleasant town on the eastern banks of the Istrian peninsula where we spend the next three nights.

    Hotel Vista or similar, Vrsar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Circular ride starting in Porec.

    We start our circular cycling tour this morning connecting the beautiful Visnjan and the historic town of Porec. On our return to Porec there is the option of a guided tour around the Old Town of Porec including a visit to the Euphrasian Basilica – a UNESCO world heritage site dating from 6th Century. After the tour the rest of the afternoon is free for you to explore Porec before cycling back to Vrsar. 

    Hotel Vista or similar, Vrsar

     

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Cycle from Zminj to Rovinj; Afternoon ride to Pula, home to one the best-preserved Roman Amphitheatre in the world.

    This morning we transfer to Zminj, a small town in central south Istria. The first stage of the ride today leads us to Rovinj, a romantic art town boasting hidden stone cobbled streets and squares, beautiful old churches and medieval architecture of the Adriatic area. Free short visit to the Old Town. From here we take a short transfer to another interesting town of inner Istria to complete the second stage of the cycling tour; we drive from Fazana village to Pula, home of one of the biggest and best-preserved Roman Amphitheatres in Europe. Visit of the arena and the Old Town. Afternoon transfer back to Vrsar and optional farewell dinner in a local restaurant. 

    Hotel Vista or similar, Vrsar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Transfer to Zagreb airport; fly home.

    After breakfast we have a long (roughly 4hr) transfer to Zagreb. Once in Zagreb we will be dropped at the airport to catch the return flight home.   

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Essential Info

Visas

UK passport holders do not need visas for this trip. Other nationalities should check with the relevant embassies.

Vaccinations

No vaccinations are obligatory.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts are included throughout.

Croatian Cuisine is influenced by Central Europe and Italy. On the mainland, there will be a variety of grilled meats. As we make our way to the Adriatic Sea and Istria, various risottos, octopus and other salads will appear on the menu.

Weather

Croatia boasts one of the sunniest climates in Europe, and some regions are notoriously free from rain. We generally travel off-season, so you should expect some variation in temperature and possibly some rainfall. Temperatures can be high, particularly on the July departures and can reach the mid to high 30s.

MVG chart

MVG chart

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 4 (Moderate/Challenging)

Av. daily distance 60km (37 miles).

6 days cycling with full vehicle support

The rides mainly follow tarmac roads and where possible we use the quieter older roads, though the condition of these is not as good in places and more care needs to be taken. The route is generally undulating but there are a few challenging hills that can be tough in the warm weather. Of course if you don’t want to cycle up any of the hills you can use the support vehicle to take you to the top.
At times the route will follow roads or tracks with a steep down slope to one side. Certain sections will not have a barrier so we advise that you take care for these sections (please note that these will be highlighted by the leader). You should be confident on a bike and have a reasonable level of fitness for this trip.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3944
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Cycle Northern Croatia & Slovenia

The hotels used throughout the trip are of a good standard. We use family-run hotels which are clean and comfortable, most have air conditioning and some have swimming pools. 

All hotels have wifi in the lobby and most have wifi in the rooms too (excluding Hotel Bor). 

All hotels are well located: In Zagreb, we are close to the main square and within walking distance of the Old Town where we will enjoy our first dinner. In Osilnica village we are next to Kupa river. Our hotels in Krk and Vrsar are both close to the sea. 

 

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3944
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3944
Call for tailor made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed May 2019
    Tom Wilkinson

    Varied landscape, interesting cycling, great food.

    This trip shows the lesser known parts of Croatia - Zagreb, the Istrian and plenty of pretty small towns and villages. Dipping in to Slovenia is a great addition too, broadening the experience and contrasting mountains with the sea. Some challenging sections of cycling make it all the better, adding a sense of achievement to the whole experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing everyone make the climb up one of the longer sections in Slovenia, celebrating with a silly picture by a statue of a local storybook figure. Everyone achieved more than they thought they were capable of when looking at the bare statistics and were rightly proud of themselves.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Allen was great, personable and efficient and keen to engage with the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Ensure you do dust off your cycling legs before you go. The range of gears on the bikes means you can tackle everything, just pick a gear you're comfortable with and take it at your own pace. Water, breaks and words of encouragement are always on hand!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There is always much more to these trips than it would appear. The cultural element, e.g the visit of Fuzine, the cuisine, the changing landscapes make it a great trip even for those who have been to Croatia before. Zagreb is well worth a visit too.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    David Stallabrass

    Another great cycling trip

    The trip loved up to expectations rated up to a 4. Plenty of hills, some of which were suitably challenging. Weather was great and cycling conditions very good. Guide, Alan Skulic was very informative and took good care of everyone's needs. Great group of cyclists so the dynamic worked very well.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I enjoyed Krk Island where the cycling was surprisingly good with some very pretty towns and beaches.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very good, friendly, informative and remained calm, although his clear instructions eliminated most of the scope for things to go wrong.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    No snacks or energy drinks are provided during the ride so for those who use Zero tablets, energy bars ,fruit gels and similar, take them with you because the local shops don't provide these sort of items. Don't forget the sunscreen.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Thanks for another great cycling holiday; looking forward to the next one now.

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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