Touring in Croatia

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Strus
Posts: 1
Joined: 21 Nov 2019, 11:09pm

Touring in Croatia

Postby Strus » 21 Nov 2019, 11:12pm

We are thinking about going cycle touring in Croatia. Probably flying to Zadar, then using ferries to travel to the islands and cycle around them for a week. We would be going with our two children (14 and 12 but strong cyclists) and stopping in Airbnb type places.

Anyone had any experience of this? Any recommendations? Any idea what the roads / trails are like?

Cheers

ChrisF
Posts: 347
Joined: 22 Mar 2014, 7:34pm

Re: Touring in Croatia

Postby ChrisF » 22 Nov 2019, 1:17pm

Croatia is beautiful but perhaps one of my least favourite in Europe as far as traffic is concerned. The drivers seem to have a thing about not crossing white lines, so tend to pass too close. The islands should be quieter than the mainland though. Be aware that many of the island ferries don't take bikes, only pedestrians, and many have very short seasons. Trails that I have found can be pretty rough, difficult with standard touring bikes.
Chris F, Cornwall

raybo
Posts: 238
Joined: 13 Nov 2007, 6:40pm

Re: Touring in Croatia

Postby raybo » 22 Nov 2019, 3:26pm

I rode from Trieste into Istria and along the coast there. Then, I rode to the ferry and went to Cres and then rode to the ferry and rode across Krk to the bridge to the mainland. From there, I rode down the coast road (in late April) and then into the hills above Senj and on to Plitvice National Park. From there, I rode north to Karlovac and then into Slovenia and back to Italy.

The road out of Trieste was urban and full of cars. It got better once I crossed into Slovenia which has a lots of bike paths. Back into Croatia, the bike paths disappeared and the roads had a fair amount of traffic.

The road over the top of Cres was empty except for the 2 or 3 minutes when the traffic from the ferry went by.

The road across Krk at first only had traffic when the ferry docked. But, the closer I got to the mainland and the bridge, the more traffic and the roads there are narrow. I didn't like it (I think I was riding on a holiday weekend).

Once on the mainland, I had planned a hard ride to avoid the coast road, which everyone said was dangerous. The hills behind the coast are very steep and my first try at avoidance ended with me walking up a couple inclines. Since I was leaving the coast at Senj anyway, I decided to ride down the coast to there when I saw the traffic was light. The coast road I was on had cars and trucks every 1 or 2 minutes. There was just enough room on the side of the road to pull over and let all the traffic by. It is quite lumpy so sometimes I rode uphill in a low gear beside fast moving traffic. I didn't feel in particular danger but I preferred to pull off when traffic passed. In the middle summer when it is said there is lots of tourist traffic, this road would likely be hellish.

Once inland, the traffic died down and the riding was much more pleasant. However, Croatia is not a flat country and so you must be prepared for lots of up and down.

The islands I rode on, Cres and Krk, were somewhat barren with water and island views and little of note. The towns were full of tourists, their infrastructure, and not all that interesting. As the previous poster said, not all ferries take bikes and can have inconvenient schedules.

That said, for a week of riding around islands, it is a good choice, though planning will be necessary.

If you want to read about my trip and see lots of photos, check out my detailed journal. My ride to Cres starts here.
Visit my on-line bike touring archive at www.biketouringtips.com

MarcusT
Posts: 296
Joined: 31 Jan 2017, 10:33am

Re: Touring in Croatia

Postby MarcusT » 25 Nov 2019, 5:31am

I attempted to plan a similar trip, but when I saw the situation with ferries as mentioned by Raybo, I was discouraged. I followed the coast for Rijeka, the entire Istrian peninsula and Trieste.
I'm sure, missing great places by avoiding the islands, but between tourists and water transport, I chose the path of least resistance.
I wish it were simple as riding a bike

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timmitchell
Posts: 162
Joined: 28 Jul 2008, 5:47pm
Location: Saddleworth, West Riding
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Re: Touring in Croatia

Postby timmitchell » 25 Nov 2019, 6:06pm

It is 10 + years since I did similar.

We flew to Dubrovnik and headed North through the islands of Sipan, Korcula and finally onto Split. We then headed down the coast and back to Dubrovnik.

Very different group, all lads from my Cycling Club.

Observations that would help. It is really hot, this cut our distances down and led to early starts and a mid day beach break before another late afternoon ride.

Pensions were expensive for 1 night stays but reduced once you stayed for 3 nights or more.

It isn't flat. Every bay had a serious up and down. I know hills are relative but we found it harder riding than expected. I live in the the Pennines so don't find hills unusual.

The people were great and we had no problems at all

willswitchengage
Posts: 78
Joined: 23 Oct 2018, 7:37pm

Re: Touring in Croatia

Postby willswitchengage » 26 Nov 2019, 9:04pm

If it helps the road (~100 miles or so of it) that follows the coast south of Rijeka is one of the most stunning places I have ever ridden my pushbike. If I remember correctly it was pretty quiet - not much traffic, didn't feel hazardous at all. Very hot and dry though with long stretches without places to buy water so be careful. The Krka waterfall place is down there too (but I don't think you're allowed to cycle there) which is well worth visiting, as is Bosnia if you get the opportunity - but the traffic is pretty dangerous there I found.