Cycling from the sea to vineyards and olive groves in Istrian peninsula
We had a long weekend with one day of public holidays and since the weather forecast was quite good, we've decided for a short cycling break on the Istrian peninsula. It is the largest peninsula on the Adriatic Sea, a very picturesque part of Croatia, that offers numerous activities for a short or long vacation. Beside rich history and culture (the most famous landmark is for sure the Roman amphitheatre in Pula) it is a true paradise for cyclists of all ages and fitness levels. On top of all, it is the land of great wines and gastronomy.
We were cycling on the northern part of the peninsula. There are many cycling tracks that are well available on online sites and well-marked with road signboards. It was a great combination of roads that drove us along the coast (and the Adriatic Sea), but we’ve also turned inland, to discover the heart of the peninsula, with olive groves, vineyards and fascinating red soil, called Terra Rossa.
The coastal line has its charms, but the inland of Istria is also beautiful. The extensive olive groves and vineyards on the red soil immediately catch the eye of the visitor. “Terra rossa” is a very intense red soil, which is also extremely fertile and packed with iron. Ideal for excellent olive oil and wines.
Cycling along the olive groves and vineyards was really relaxing and we were filled up with energy. Since we were a little bit off the beaten paths, it was calm and relaxing as well.
Along our route we came across several hunting observation posts. The locals told us that the hunters here mainly hunt quails, woodcock, pheasants, rabbits, ducks, deer and wild boar.
We also came across a ruined old Istrian house, and the entrance to a estate that reminded me of Tuscany. Judge for yourself if it holds.
Since we were located not far from the Novigrad town, of course we took the opportunity for a few visits and wondered around the cozy settlement. The town that was once a small fishing village, today has become a popular tourist destination, but still retains the intimate atmosphere of a seaside town.
The old port is also now full of fishing boats, and it is a very vivid area, especially in the mornings, when fishermen are returning to the port with their daily catch.
There are many nice spots around the town, nice old buildings, and charming small shops. Of course, there are plenty of restaurants and bars, where you can just relax and have a great meal or drink.
We stopped in a small shop offering local goodies: olive oils, wines, brandy’s, truffle products, biscuits, jams etc… there were so many good things that we couldn’t resist, and we’ve bought some souvenirs.
The most imposing landmark of the city is the freestanding bell tower of the parish church of St Pelagius and St Maximus, dating back to 1883. The basilica is also the home of the oldest Pre-Romanic crypt on the Croatian Adriatic.
We stopped by the Austro-Hungarian Naval Museum Gallerion on Mlinska Street and admire some street art as well.
The main tourist season starts in June with peaks in July and August. There was a very frenetic atmosphere in the local marina (port), where workers were preparing the boats for the upcoming summer.
A small electric train is driving between the campsite and Novigrad town.
We ended our cycling weekend on the very north of the Istrian peninsula, around Savudrija town (very close to Slovenian – Croatian border). We were discovering very nice locations, with pebbled beaches and crystal clean waters. We made “a coffee beak” with a great view of the Adriatic Sea.
Of course, we stopped at the big lighthouse, which is the oldest lighthouse on the Adriatic shore. It is more than 200 years old. The light signal is 36 meters above sea-level and it can be seen 30 kilometers away.
Not far from the lighthouse, we saw an old device that was used to put boats into the sea.
The whole Istrian peninsula has many charming accommodation facilities, from boutique hotels, luxury resorts, traditional but elegant tourist farms, villas for rent, but is also one of the most popular campsite areas, offering a very great selection of excellent campsites.
We’ve also decided to spend our holidays in a mobile home at the campsite. Very spacious and comfortable accommodation, with nice terrace.
The great terrace and the nice warm weather gave us also the opportunity to have breakfast outside 😊.
As part of our tradition, we had a small BBQ for the “Labour Day dinner” 😊. And when talking about “our traditions” or our memories of childhood… it was just the right time to have a fun family competition in “mini-golf”. I don't know if my wife secretly takes golf lessons or if she just got lucky, but she was the winner of the day.
To really make our visit to Istria complete we had a great lunch at a local restaurant (“konoba” in Croatia), that offers delicious local cuisine and great wines. A great end to the day!
Carpaccio from Boskarin beef
Tagliata and Stracottofrom (Pot Roast) from Boskarin beef
"Dismantled" Millefoglie with strawberries
There is only one part of “travel” that our family doesn’t like – this is unpacking 😞. We always try to travel light, but we are not very successful at this (in general we always pack to many clothes that in the end we don’t need). The only bright side of the unpacking are the “souvenirs”. Wherever we go we always bring something home. This time we brought olive oil, wine, brandy and gin and truffle sauce.
And are we ready for the next adventure! Where will the next journey take us?
Thanks for reading,
feel free to leave a comment, I will be glad to reply to.
Best regards, @miljo76