by Tina Kovačiček
We found a couple of reasons to spend the rest of your September in beautiful Istria…and while there do a road trip…
The westernmost county of Croatia and the largest peninsula of the Adriatic, Istria is a real natural gem. For this old lady, we like to say it’s a feast for the eyes. Often compared to the charm of Italian Toscana, Istria has its own ways to seduce her travelers. Yes, traveler is the key word, cause if you decide to stay in one place when here, you will be missing out a lot of things. Rolling hills overlook the fields and valleys while peaks carry charming little towns and villages.
Also, Istria is the largest green oasis of the North Adriatic.The coast and the islands are covered with pinewoods and easily recognizable green macchia while the inside will tell you a lot of interesting myths about giants.
The good thing is: in Istria, everything is easily reachable, either you choose a bike, rent-a-car or try yourself with regatta style. With numerous roads and mountain bike trails accompanied by foot trails that wind through beautiful landscapes, Istria is the right choice for active vacation and September is the perfect time of the year to make it on one of these sports festivals.
Maritime zone of Rabac, known for its sailing regattas, with widely stretched sails of the sailing boats invites you to visit the unavoidable Rabac regatta that will take place 16th and 17th. of September. The tradition of the first Rabac Regatta began in 1973 when it was one of the widest and most popular regattas for class Optimist on the Adriatic. Returning to the former glory of exciting races of white sails, the local sailing club Kvarner Rabac organizes Rabac Regatta for classes Optimist, Laser 4.7 and 420, which will count for the Istrian county Championship.
If you like cycling, professionally or just recreationally, then you have to try Valamar Terra Magica that will take place the same weekend in Rabac and Labin. On Saturday, September 16th 2017, you’ll be able to enjoy in MTB Trial competition show, while on Sunday, September 17th, a real adventure awaits you – MTB XC marathon that is also Croatian national championship and UCI C3 category, offering you three different itineraries: 30, 50 and 70 kilometers long.
Both itineraries will make you enjoy charming landscapes of Istrian offroad paths offering you beautiful panoramic views of Rabac and Kvarner.
If you prefer a more easy and careless ride, join the cycling fans on the attractive trails of Barban area and South on two wheels on 16th of September! The tours are suitable for participants of all ages. Entire families are invited to join this event. Individual routes are between 20 and 25 km long and are not technically demanding.
For dedicated sport souls, 17th of September is the day to be in Pula where International triathlon race Ironman will take place. The triathlon consists of three segments – swimming, cycling and running – which participants must try to complete in the shortest time possible. The largest-scale race of its kind in the world, Ironman brings together more than 100 thousand participants and is held in 58 countries around the world. First held in Hawaii in 1978, it is considered to be the most difficult race in the world today.
On the last weekend of September, traditionally Parenzana Cube race, the largest International cycling meeting in Istria, is being held. It is popular among all road and MTB cycling fans. The cycle path runs along the places through which the Parenzana railway once passed about a hundred years ago, connecting the cities of Trieste and Poreč. This international recreation marathon also received its name from this.
Also, the last Saturday of the month is reserved for Valamar Trail in Rabac, a trail running race taking place in the middle of the countryside along marked trails and made up of five different races. Classified by different difficulties, the races are suitable for everyone, from the top trail runners to trail amateurs.
In Istria, you have to be an explorer. Either you are exploring your own boundaries or landscapes. If you decide to visit one these sports events, try to extend your stay, for a day or two and definitely do a road trip. In that case, have in mind these worthy tips.
• Take a walk around Grožnjan, a small town on the top of the hill. It will be hard to choose a souvenir since Grožnjan is full of charming galleries and art shops of local artists.
• Visit the Town Museum in the old city of Labin, in a very well preserved medieval palace Batialla – Lazzarini. One part of the museum’s underground once was a mine and today is reminder of the 2 century long coal mining industry in this area.
• Try zipline over Pazinska jama – adrenaline experience to remember.
• Charming little medieval town of San Vincenat has a beautiful castle in the middle – worth visiting.
• The small city of Višnjan has an astronomical observatory if you feel like looking at the stars or minor planets.
• Thanks to street art festival Boombarstick the whole city of Vodnjan is covered in murals and artwork by artists from around the world.
• Visit the town of Motovun on the top of the hill and buy truffles with overlooking the most famous truffle valley in Istria.