Istria mountain cycling trail is an epic journey across Istria’s most famous mountain tops and as such, it is not for the faint of heart. It is as challenging as it is breathtaking, and those who complete it will surely have the bragging rights in their company. Istria mountain cycling trailis 48.7 kilometers long, with 22.3 kilometers of it being located on an asphalt surface, and the remaining 26.4 kilometers being located on a macadam surface. The trail starts off in Lupoglav and passes through Brest, Ucka, Cicarija, and Lanisce before coming full circle in Lupoglav.
It is tough and suitable mostly for highly experienced cyclists. Istria mountain cycling trail starts out with a bang right away, as cyclists need to gain almost 500 meters in altitude between the 10th kilometer of the trail as they are climbing towards Vela Ucka. After that, there is a descent towards the 14th kilometer of the trail, before the cyclists need to climb again and ascend for 400 meters in altitude between the 14th and 20th kilometer of the trail. After that, the cyclists will gradually descend before ending back at the starting point in Lupoglav. The lowest point in the trail is located at 358 meters above sea level, and the highest one is located at 1040 meters above sea level. The total elevation the cyclists will be asked to cover during the course of the trail is well above a kilometer – arounf 1200 meters. The average time for completion for experienced cyclists ranges from three and a half hours to four and a half hours. Also, given the rough terrain, it is advised you undertake this adventure on the Istria mountain trail riding a mountain bike.
Starting off in Lupoglav, the road will quickly bring you to Brest, a small village, which looks like the time froze and never moved forward, as the houses still echo the days long gone. Once a village of coal workers, now it just lives through its old population. Further up the trail, there is the Nature Park Ucka, which is completely rural, with an occasional small village scattered in its area, all isolated locations with natural defenses like Brest or Vela Ucka. The highest peak on Ucka is Kozjak. It is, however, a bit outside of the beaten path of the trail. Ucka has always been a draw for people from all walks of life, but especially botanists as it is filled with a vast variety of plant life.
Continuing on the Istria mountain cycling trail, you will reach Cicarija, a mountain range which was once filled with sheepherders, but nowadays the villages from which they and their herds once originated from are mostly abandoned, making for a green untouched scenery along the way. Going through Cicarija you can see the smallest church bell-tower in all of Istria in Brest, various picturesque villages, an “ancient” linden tree and many other impressive sights.
So if you are in for a challenging ride across untouched nature, and impressive mountain sights be sure to check out Istria’s mountain trail, as it will surely tick off most if not all of the boxes in your checklist.
You might also find the following links useful:
Istria mountain cycling trail – route map