The Trail of Galleries and Sculptures is a tough one in terms of difficulty, but rewarding thanks to its cultural richness you will come across while cycling through it. As mentioned, this trail is aimed more at the experience cyclists thanks to its grade of difficulty. What adds to the difficulty of the trail is the one steep climb and the fact that most of it – over 27 kilometers out of 35.6 total – is located on a rough surface. The trail starts in Groznjan and runs through Triban, Sveti Florijan, Marusici, Dugo Brdo, Donja Gomila, and Sveti Juraj before returning to the starting point in Groznjan.
The lowest point of the Trail of Galleries and Sculptures is at 250 meters above sea level, and the highest is at 468 meters above the sea level, and the elevation the cyclists will be asked to cover during the trail is 480 meters. The steepest climb is located between the 10th and 15th kilometer of the route, where the cyclist will need to gain over 200 meters in altitude. The average time needed to complete the trail is around 3 and a half hours for experienced and well-trained cyclists.
Starting in Groznjan, the “Artist’s City”, the trail is rich in features right from the start. Groznjan is one of the main reasons why this trail is called the Trail of galleries and sculptures, as it is the home to many art galleries and ateliers, most notable one between them being the Fonticus city gallery. The permanent exhibit of the gallery is its heraldic collection, which has been its main attraction since 2000, and in addition to that, the gallery offers various visiting exhibits throughout the year. Fonticus is just the tip of the iceberg, so be sure to visit the rest of the galleries as well in case you are an art lover. In addition to art, Groznjan is well equipped in terms of culinary offerings as well, as it has plenty of restaurants and tasting taverns where you can taste autochthonic delights such as truffles, wines, schnapps’, wild game dishes and more.
Further down the trail, there is the Perenzana part of the trail, which can thank its name to the old Austro-Hungarian railroad which used to pass through Istria. Perenzana leads you through a dense and luscious forest called Kornarija – a true sanctuary and a good place to take a breather in the hot summer months – towards Marusici, where you can find the Sculpture Park, the other landmark the trail is called after. The Sculpture Park is the creation of a colony of sculptors which is located in the vicinity of the park. More than forty renowned sculptors from all corners of the world have left their mark in the Park, making it a must-see attraction in the entire Istria, not just on this one trail.
The Trail of Galleries and Sculptures then continues towards Dugo Brdo, a viewpoint from which you can see for miles in each direction you look at, offering views of the surrounding hilly landscape in all their glory. From there the cyclists will start to slowly descend through Oprtalj and Zavrsje, on the way back to the starting point in the city of Groznjan.
You might also find the following links useful:
Trail of Galleries and Sculptures – route map