Croatia is nevertheless some thing of an uncut gem when it comes to biking.

What it lacks in biking record and custom, it additional than compensates with epic untouched routes and, similarly important for the discerning bicycle owner, unbeatable coffee.

I attempt to carve out some time during excursions to my household in Croatia to get on my bicycle and see what the state has to offer.

In this post, I will share some of my favourite routes and regions to cycle to give you a flavor of cycling in the Balkans.

A phrase of warning although Croatia does not (yet) have the cycling lifestyle of some of the additional popular cycling havens in Europe, creating superior-top quality rentals difficult. So, if you want to journey a good highway bicycle, then you will most likely have to pack your possess (along with your spare parts).

Sights from Motovun, Croatia. © David Lavery/BikeTips

Top rated Recommendations For Cycling In Croatia

It would be reasonable to say that cycling, particularly highway biking, is nonetheless a thing of a novelty in Croatia.

You will see a great deal of persons on bikes in the cities, primarily in summer months, and in additional rural areas it is even now the utilitarian automobile of preference – but you will cycle for miles without having looking at deep-portion wheels, shaved legs, and lycra.

This also indicates that drivers are a lot less conscious of cyclists on the highway and are not as primed to glance out for them. I have by no means had any important problems, certainly nothing even worse than I have skilled in the United Kingdom, but it’s value staying additional cautious.

An additional situation I have found when biking in Croatia is pet dogs, stray and if not. If you adhere to the main roads then this will not be an concern, but I have uncovered myself remaining chased on a couple events when I have taken the route less traveled.

If my sprint didn’t operate then normally a properly-aimed squirt from my bidon did the trick.

When To Cycle In Croatia

Compared with my house in Scotland, Croatia has suitable seasons.

The best time to cycle in Croatia is late spring and early autumn. Winters are much much too chilly in the north, and the coastal cities that are complete to bursting stage with vacationers in summer time are eerily deserted.

Summer months is also warm to sit in the saddle for any length of time, and the roadways are significantly busier with hordes of travelers coming from continental Europe. So, the spring and autumn are the fantastic center floor in amongst.

My 3 Favourite Biking Routes In Croatia

This is undoubtedly not an exhaustive listing of cycling in Croatia but represents my favourite routes when I get a possibility to escape for a number of hrs on the bicycle. I hope to acquire in a lot more of the rugged Dalmatian coast on my subsequent visits but it can be challenging to drag myself absent from the ice cream and food stuff.

Croatia is pretty much personalized-created for an epic bikepacking adventure untouched routes, terrific campsites, and cheap food stuff. And considering the fact that the regular biking infrastructure has not matured, bikepacking may possibly just be the finest way to get in all of this wonderful region.

The Finest Of Istria

Istria is undoubtedly the jewel in the crown of the highway biking scene in Croatia. This could be down to its distinctly Italian influences.

It is also the only aspect of Croatia the place you may see other lycra-clad road cyclists and the roadways surely feel extra welcoming and safer as a consequence.

The total area is crammed with charming towns perched on best of rolling hills, so you will have to have your climbing legs if you want to take a look at it in all its Truffle-infused glory. There is even a bit of gravel thrown in to push home those people Tuscan vibes.

The harbour at Rovinj.
The harbor of Rovinj. © David Lavery/BikeTips

My favored route begins and finishes in Rovinj, an utterly charming town that juts out into the bay on a smaller peninsula crammed with pastel facades, cobbled streets, and wonderful food stuff and wine to revive the lethargic bike owner.

From Rovijn the route heads inland and north toward Porec. You could also choose the coastal street but it is ordinarily a large amount busier and less pleasant to cycle. The route does not acquire you into the center of Porec but it is truly worth a detour to check it out.

Like all towns in this part of the earth, it is completely charming and complete of destinations to get a espresso and view the environment go by.

A coffee stop in Motovun.
A espresso cease in Motovun. © David Lavery/BikeTips

The higher point of the route, literally and metaphorically, is the village of Motovun. The climb to get to this fortified town is a lung buster but, following catching your breath, you will be rewarded with gorgeous views that seem to be to acquire in the total of Istria.

Zagreb And Outside of

Zagreb is criminally overlooked by the vacationer hordes that arrive to Croatia and head straight down to the Dalmatian coast.

It has every thing you would want in a smaller European funds and its historical past of overlapping empires and monarchs presents the architecture a patchwork experience.

If you imagine street cyclists like their caffeine repair just head down to the cafes off the main sq. on a Saturday early morning when the wonderful and fantastic of Zagreb arrive to display off around a compact espresso.

Close-up of a coffee cup in Zagreb's main square.
Starting off the trip with coffee in Zagreb. © David Lavery/BikeTips

In excess of the decades there has been a obvious enhancement in the biking infrastructure in and close to Zagreb but the actual gem is the mountains that stand proudly around the metropolis. Grab a espresso in advance of having in the saddle for this one as you will require that caffeine increase straight away.

Without significantly of a warmup, the highway starts to head straight up the facet of Sljeme, 1035 m earlier mentioned the town. The climb is 9.8 km with a great deal of hairpins to give you that alpine experience.

Sljeme, photographed from the air with Zagreb in the background.
Sljeme, just exterior Zagreb.

A lovely, rapidly 18 km descent is the reward for the slog up Sljeme and the relaxation of this anti-clockwise route back to Zagreb is quite flat punctuated with some shorter climbs that most cyclists will consume up.

At the leading of one particular sits Dvorac Januševec, a castle supposedly designed for the next spouse of Napoleon.

Climbs and all of that are excellent but what sets this route apart from the relaxation is the truth that you have to jump on a small boat to cross the Sava river. When I say boat, I signify a pair of planks of wooden pulled by an enterprising farmer. I am informed it can carry vehicles, despite the fact that I have never ever examined this with a seek the services of car or truck myself.

The main square of Samobor.
The principal sq. of Samobor. © David Lavery/BikeTips

Immediately after crossing the river it is a different 10 km to the town of Samobor. The most important square is a terrific position for a coffee (noticing a concept below) and the city itself is renowned for its arts and crafts scene.

This route will take you by some of the town sights and into the hills and surrounding countryside. 

Concealed Croatia

This route is my tribute to my most loved Croatian lager Karlovačko.

This route starts in the city of Karlovac, famous for its brewery and four gorgeous rivers. It might be nicely off the tourist route but it has a sluggish appeal at odds with its imposing Ottoman architecture.

I am also continuously astonished by how great the cycling infrastructure is close to the city and how thoughtful the drivers are to their two-wheeled companions.

The centerpiece of this route is the climb up Petrova Gora exactly where you will come upon the most unanticipated monument you’re at any time probable to stumble throughout.

Monument to the Uprising of the People of Kordun and Banija.
Monument to the Uprising of the People of Kordun and Banija.

The climb by itself will take spot typically in the shade of the forest and it is only when you are proper at the leading of the climb that you come confront-to-face with the crumbling Monument to the Uprising of the Folks of Kordun and Banija.

The monument was lastly completed in 1981 as a way to commemorate the rebellion of the regional persons in the course of Globe War Two.

Immediately after Croatia obtained independence in the ’90s the monument was neglected. This was a new, younger state that wanted a thoroughly clean split from any reminders of its past association with Yugoslavia.

My bike in front of the Monument at Petrova Gora.
© David Lavery/BikeTips

Nowadays the monument simply exists, little by little pillaged for elements and rarely visited. It is an completely eerie expertise, while a single time I heard a rave likely on at the extremely best of the monument. I didn’t fee my chances of finding up to test it out in biking footwear.

If you have the time, and really don’t thoughts a little bit of gentle off-street cycling, you can also test out the remnants of the partisan clinic deep in the woods. It is not notably well signposted but if you do stumble throughout it you will experience like you have stepped again to 1942.

The remains of a partisan hospital in the forest in Croatia.
The partisan clinic in close proximity to Petrova Gora. © David Lavery/BikeTips.

The route covers generally farm roadways with some small sections of tree-lined gravel to continue to keep you absent from the primary roadways that snake via this portion of Croatia to Bosnia.

There is also a small detour to check out the Croatian War of Independence Museum that might assist to reveal why so lots of of the structures are still scarred by mortar harm.

With any luck ,, you have stored adequate vitality back for the shorter but steep climb up to Dubovac Castle on the outskirts of Karlovac. Grab some excellent foods and a Karlovačko beer to toast the finish of the route and surviving the farm dogs searching to chase anything that moves.

Summary

With any luck ,, these routes have specified you a flavor of biking in Croatia. As the Tour of Croatia slowly but surely builds some momentum among entire world tour teams, with any luck , cycling as a sport and hobby carries on to grow and with it the infrastructure.

I would appreciate to know if you have expert biking in this aspect of the globe and if you have any tips for me on my following trip across to take a look at household.