St. Michael cycling trail is a light trail aimed towards those who like to combine agro-tourism, fine architecture, natural wonders, and cycling. The trail is 18.1 kilometers long, with 4 kilometers of it running on asphalt and 14 kilometers on the macadam surface. The trail starts in Kastelir and goes through Labinci and Baredine before returning to Kastelir.
As mentioned before, St. Michael cycling trail is rather light and does not require that you are an experienced cyclist in order to finish it in a reasonable time. The lowest point on the trail is located at 101 meters above sea level, and the highest is located at 247 meters above sea level. The elevation cyclist will be asked to cover on the trail is around 180 meters. The average time required to complete the trail is between an hour and an hour and a half.
The route starts out in Kastelir, a picturesque little town which has been inhabited since a long time ago. The three-nave church of Saint Kuzma and Damjan from the 19th century is the most notable landmark in Kastelir. After you pass through Kastelir and enjoy it in all its glory along with its beautiful gardens, vineyards and olive groves you will end up in the village of Labinci, a place which harbors a friendly rivalry with Kastelir. Labinci is the home of two beautiful churches, first one being the church of the Saint Trinity and the other being the church of Saint John the Baptist. The church of the Holy Trinity is a gothic church, which dates back all the way to the 13th century. The church is well known for its frescoes which date back to the 15th century. The church of Saint John the Baptist is an 18th century church, whose sanctuary is the home of the remains of Benedictine abbey of Saint Michael underground from the 9th century. The name of Saint Michael underground sounds odd, but paints a perfect picture of the abbey, as its remains are dug into the ground. This makes for a sight you cannot find in a lot places in the world and makes for a worthwhile visit.
For a truly underground experience, you will need to wait a bit though. A little bit down the road, you will find yourself in front of the Baredine pit, a speleological sight which will reveal the wonders of the Istrian underground to those who want to explore it. The pit is 132 meters deep, lighted with reflectors, and visitors can walk down a path to explore the world of stalactites, stalagmites, columns and last but not least, the pool that hides the biggest treasure of the pit, an olm. Olm is an endemic species of aquatic salamander which lives only in the Dinaric Alps.
Continuing down St. Michael cycling trail you can find refreshments in one of the many agro-tourist establishments which can be found on and near the trail. The goods you can find on the trail are various delicious vines, honey, and olive oils, and they are the perfect thing to round up an enjoyable trip down the trail of Saint Michael underground.
You might also find the following links useful:
St. Michael cycling trail – route map