Croatia: New Route - The Istrian Peninsula and the Dalmatian Coast

Tour Leader: Alen Augustin, owner, operator Sitnica Tourist Agency, Buje, Croatia. .

CCCTS Tour Coordinator:  Paddy Miller, 250-592-6229, The Tour Coordinator (TC) acts as a liaison between Sitnica Tourist Agency and participants. 

Tour Dates: September 7th to September 28th, 2013.

Tour Numbers: Minimum 12, maximum 16.

Tour Rating: Intermediate with hills. 

Tour Price: €2000.00 (euros) (approx. $2,800.00 Cdn. depends on exchange rate)

Description: Croatia has a population of four million and prides itself on its cultural, artistic, scientific, and athletic accomplishments, as well as its scenery, cuisine and wine. The entire western border is on the Adriatic Sea where there are over a thousand islands. The tour’s first eight days will be on the most scenic Istrian Peninsula (the Croatian Tuscany). The remaining fourteen days will be along the spectacular Dalmatian coast with island hopping between the mainland and certain coastal islands. The tour will take in mountain vistas, coastal views, medieval towns, Roman architectural remains, olive orchards, vineyards and the World’s most beautiful city, and World Heritage Site, Dubrovnik. Four non-cycling days are planned to permit an in-depth savouring of Croatia’s Adriatic culture and history.

Alen Augusten organized and led last year’s most successful CCCTS tour of Croatia and is described by participants as well organized, capable and personable. He also organized a very successful private tour for CCCTS members in 2011.  At the Tour Coordinator’s request, Alen has developed a less arduous tour for 2013, where the daily rides are significantly shorter, but little has been lost in the overall beauty and adventure of the tour. 

Logistics: The tour starts in Pula on the Istrian Peninsula and ends in Dubrovnik on the Dalmatian coast. Pula is accessible by plane, however, several of last year’s participants flew to nearby Trieste and a shuttle was arranged by Sitnica from Trieste to Pula.  A shuttle can be arranged from Dubrovnik back to Pula (Approximately 300 Euros per van, which carries about six passengers. Price per participant will depend on the number of riders using the van).  Some participants may choose to fly home from Dubrovnik in which case arrangements can be made to shuttle the stored bike boxes from Pula to Dubrovnik (approximately 300 Euros per van load).   The shuttles would be at participant’s expense and payable in cash at the time of shuttle.

Cycling conditions: Cycling surfaces are asphalt (one day with ~5 km of gravel).  Sitnica can arrange excellent bike rentals for four to five participants at €250.00/rental. A touring bike (28 mm tires) or a hybrid bike is recommended. Road bikes with 23 mm tires are not advised. A van with a trailer for bikes will transport personal luggage which should be kept at a minimum.

Total cycling distance is approximately 900 kilometers. The average distance per day is 60 km and the longest day is 80 km. Average speeds are 15 to 20 km per hour, but participants can ride at their desired speed.  Hills are unavoidable in coastal Croatia, however, participants should not be intimidated, just be in good cycling condition. The accompanying tour van has little passenger space.

The tour fee includes 21 nights accommodation in hotels based on two persons sharing, all breakfasts and dinners, storage for bike boxes, a luggage carrying van with trailer (when needed for bike transport), English speaking cycling guide and van driver, basic technical assistance, operators insurance, daily maps, cue sheets and route descriptions, and ferry fees.

The tour fee does not include: lunches, tour/city guides on free days, bike rental, arrival and departure transfers, and health insurance.

Itinerary: Following are each day’s destination and approximate cycling distance:

Day 1, Sept 7
Arrival in Pula, assembling bikes, briefing and dinner;

Day 2, Sept 8
Pula to Klostar - 75 km;

Day 3, Sept 9
Klostar to Buje - 55 km;

Day 4, Sept 10
Buje - circular tour to coast and back - 50 km;

Day 5, Sept 11
Buje to Motovun - 55 km;

Day 6, Sept 12
Free day in Motovun - take an excursion, hike, or simply enjoy the pool and a massage;

Day 7, Sept 13
Motovun to Buzet - 65 km;

Day 8, Sept 14
Buzet to Lovan - 65 km;

Day 9, Sept 15
Lovan to Cres - leaving the Istrian Peninsula to ride on the 4th largest Croatian Island - 51 km;

Day 10, Sept 16
Losinj to Cres (- about 50 km) - transfer to the island of Losinj and cycle back to Cres following a ridge with astonishing views of the coastline – 50 km;

Day 11, Sept 17
Free day in Cres - historically a very interesting place, and with beautiful beaches;

Day 12, Sept 18
Cres to the island of Rab - 60 km;

Day 13, Sept 19
Rab to the island of Pag - 60 km;

Day 14, Sept 20
Pag to Zadar - 65 km;

Day 15, Sept 21
Zadar to Skradin - 70 km;

Day 16, Sept 22
Free day in beautiful Skradin, the oldest city in Croatia;

Day 17, Sept 23
Skradin to Split - 80 km;

Day 18, Sept 24
Ferry to the island of Korcula. Vela Luka to Korcula - 45 km;

Day 19, Sept 25
Ferry from Korcula to the Peijesac Peninsula. Cycle peninsula to Ston - 60 km;

Day 20, Sept 26 - last cycling day
Ston to Dubrovnik - 55 km;

Day 21, Sept 27
Free day to spend in beautiful and historic Dubrovnik and have an unforgettable farewell dinner; and,

Day 22, Sept 28 – Breakfast, and Tour’s end.

Registration will begin on February 15, 2013 at 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.  A two dollar non-refundable registration fee is required at sign up, which must be done online at Applicants will be selected first, on the basis of date and time of receipt-of-registration; secondly, on fitness and health in relation to the requirements of the tour; and thirdly, on the availability of suitable roommates for single registrants (double room occupancy assumed). Once registration has been accepted you will be required to make your first deposit of 20 % of the tour cost (Cdn $560.00) within 72 hours to the Tour Coordinator. The next payment of 70% (Cdn $1960.00), also payable to the Tour Coordinator, is due July 1, 2013. The last payment of 10% (200 Euros) is payable directly to Sitnica on Sept 7, 2015. A registrant canceling for any reason will incur all costs made or committed on his/her behalf unless his/her vacancy is filled.

Sitnica Tourist Agency (STA) accepts euros (€) only, thus individual payments will be made by each registrant to the Tour Coordinator, who will pay STA via bank transfers. This payment process worked well for tours in 2011 and 2012. 

Please note: Cross Canada Cycle Tour Society and the Tour Coordinator are merely assisting CCCTS members with registration, and facilitating tour arrangements. All financial commitments and responsibilities are between Tour registrants/participants and the Tour Leader, owner operator of Sitnica Tourist Agency. Participants are strongly advised to obtain both trip cancellation/interruption insurance and out of country medical insurance.