Draw a straight line across the Adriatic Sea from Venice and you hit the Istrian Peninsula in northern Croatia. The two share a similar climate, but the peninsula's medieval villages along hillsides and the coast are less traveled than their Italian counterparts.
Pure Adventures based in Scottsdale, Ariz., organizes a self-guided tour for bicyclists that covers about 180 miles from north to south. The trip begins with an orientation and briefing before the first ride from Buje to the walled town of Groznjan and on to a hilltop village (yes, it's uphill) called Motovun for the first night's stay. "This interior area produces olive oil, truffles and some wines, and is often compared to Tuscany, though far less developed," writes company founder Loren Siekman.
Over the next seven days, the route dips down to Vrsar, Croatia's surf city, the Lim fjord, Fazana at the tip of the peninsula, and the coastal resort town Rovinj. The itinerary is rated moderate; maps on the company's website show daily mileage and elevation gain. This is a go-at-your-own pace cycling tour where hotels and luggage transfers are taken care of.
When: The tour is available on customized dates from March through October.
Price: $1,969 per person for two, $1,849 per person for group of four. It includes hotel stays, breakfast, transfers, route book with cycling maps and orientation. Bike rental costs an extra $160 per person. International airfare to and from Venice or Ljubjana, Slovenia, also is not included.