Cycle the fabulous Parenzana Bike Trail through three countries on this cycling weekend break!
Beginning in the lovely former Habsburg seaport town of Trieste, this is the perfect tour for lovers of sun, sea and history. Under the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Trieste flourished as a busy and affluent port (4th largest in the empire), the remnants of which are still visible today in the main square and narrow streets. After your stay here, you will cycle southwards out of Italy, through Slovenia and into Croatia. The sunny Istria Peninsula will present you with a multitude of picturesque little fishing villages, small towns atop karst hills, sparkling vineyards and fertile valleys. Indulge yourself in the charms of a landscape rich in contrast and colour. The Parenzana Bike Trail is a cycling trip not to be missed.
Highlights and places of interest along the route:
• Trieste - old town, promenade & castle
• Istrian Hills - hilltop villages & vineyards
• Piran - a Venetian town in Slovenia
• Portorož - the Slovenian Las Vegas
• Poreč - a 6th-century Euphrasia Basilica
Day 1: Arrival in Trieste / Muggia. Hotel 4*
Upon arrival in Muggia / Trieste, you can spend the day cycling along the lovely Trieste promenade and visit the exquisite Miramare Castle then the old town of Trieste, and relax with a cappuccino in the Piazza Unità d'Italia. From Muggia, you can sail to the city centre via city transport boat.
Day 2: Trieste – Piran / Portoroz (Hotel 3*)
(30 km or 60 km, depending on the chosen route).
Today you'll cross the Slovenia border and ride along the coastal cycle path through another lovely port town, Koper, and then onto the seaside towns of Izola and Piran. Stroll through the cool narrow streets of the old town. In Piran, head up to the church on the hill and climb the steps of the bell tower for an outstanding view of the town and harbor, then sip a coffee back down in Tartini Square amid the wonderful Venetian architecture. Visit Portorož, an affluent spa town on the Slovenian Riviera, soak your sore muscles in a spa, or gamble the night away in one of the casinos if you're feeling lucky.
Day 3: Piran – Umag (35 km) (Hotel 3*)
Get up early enough and you can catch the beautiful morning light as you cycle past the vast salt-pans of Sečovlje. From here you head across the border into Croatia. The route takes you across a slightly hilly terrain to the town of Umag. Once a Roman colony, its old walls and gated drawbridge hide a town steeped in history. Take a tour through the medieval center and visit the beautiful city tower.
Day 4: Umag – Porec (45 km) (Hotel 3*)
Today you head to another medieval walled town, Novigrad (Cittanova). As well as its rich history, Novigrad is also renowned for its gastronomy. The town is listed as one of Istria’s top gourmet destinations. Next stop is Poreč, where you can visit the UNESCO listed Euphrasian Basilica, a diverse mix of baroque, Gothic and Romanesque buildings.
Day 5: Departure after breakfast or extension of stay.