You cannot be sad while riding.- Anonymous
Stages 5 and 6 of our cycling journey from Venice, Italy to Porec, Croatia took us to dreamy Piran, Slovenia and the Istrian gem of Porec, Croatia. The beginning of Stage 5 was mostly uphill from Trieste, Italy across the border to Slovenia. None of the hills we encountered on this ride were terribly high or long. Our heavy hybird bikes slowed us down, but generally, the route is relatively easy.
The bike path from Italy into Slovenia continued. This is thanks to the EUs investment in cycling paths. The path, today, was yet another stunning bike route which took us out of Trieste along a plateau with views of the Adriatic Sea. A large portion of it was dirt and snaked along an old rail line through an ancient forest.
Before exiting Italy, yet another stunning fishing village awaited. Muggia, Italy is a small village southeast of Trieste lying on the border of Slovenia and is the last and only piece of Istria still in Italian territory.
Our first town in Slovenia was the coastal town of Koper along the Adriatic Sea. The town is officially bilingual with both Slovene and Italian as the official languages.
From Koper, we cycled to Portoroz, Slovenia, literally Port of Roses. After Portoroz, the village of Piran, Slovenia was our destination. Here we experienced one of the steepest hills on one of the hottest days of the trip. But it was only a couple kilometers and Piran awaited us.
Piran is located in southwestern Slovenia on the Gulf of Piran on the Adriatic Sea and resembles a large-open air museum with medieval architecture. Narrow streets and compact houses and a small harbor gives the seaside village a special charm. Stage 5 wrapped up with about 45 miles of biking.
On our last day of cycling, we peddled from Piran, Slovenia to Porec, Croatia kicking off with a cycle through the salt gardens of Secovije. Once past the salt gardens, we crossed the border of Croatia to the Istrian peninsula. The Secovije international border crossing is one of the main crossings from Slovenia into Croatia. It is mostly designed for cars and trucks, but we jumped into the line with our bikes and no one seemed to be bothered. The crossing guard in both countries were very friendly.
The Isrian peninsula is the largest on the Adriatic Sea with some modest hills along an old railroad bed. Cycling with our passports was a requirement for all on our trip even those of our fellow German and French biking buddies. All passports were checked at the Croatian border as Croatia is slowly phasing into the EU and is not yet part of the Schengen unlike other EU countries.
The last day mileage was about 55 miles and the destination was Porec, Croatia. Biking through the Istria region gave us our first glimpses of the famous Croatian coast and started to get us excited about the few days we would be staying there. Along the way, we stopped in the beautiful city of Novigrad for lunch.
Porec is a village on the western coast of the Istrian peninsula and has been a UNESCO site since 1997. It is almost 2,000 years old and is set around a harbor protected by the sea. The village population is about 12,000 people. Originally part of Italy, Porec and much of the Istrian peninsula became part of Croatia in 1947.
All in all, this bike ride was in the top tier of cycle trips that we have completed. The cycling routes were mostly (97%) either on country roads with little to no traffic or on bike paths. The architecture and history along the route was beautiful as well as fascinating. And the food, weather and sea coast exceeded expectations. Check out our other days cycling here.