Completed in 1902 but only operational until 1935, the Parenzana (derived from Parenzo, the Italian name for Poreč) was a 130km-long narrow-gauge railway line that linked the port of Trieste with the growing tourist destination of Poreč. It followed a meandering course across the Istrian countryside, with embankments and viaducts negotiating the peninsula’s notoriously up-and-down terrain. The process of converting the former track into a foot- and cycle-path was begun in 2006, with a highly scenic 60km section of the railway (“Parenzana I”) in central Istria receiving most of the initial attention. A second phase (“Parenzana II”), revitalizing the stretch from Vižinada, 10km southwest of Motovun, to Poreč, was completed in 2012.

The most breathtaking sections of the Parenzana are those connecting Buje, Grožnjan, Livade, Motovun and Vižinada. Gradients are reasonably smooth, and seasoned cyclists will be able to cover a lot of ground in the space of a day’s riding; walkers should limit themselves to one stage at a time.

Free maps of the Parenzana are available from tourist offices in inland Istria; for more information see w parenzana.net.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Croatia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

10 great winter destinations in Central and Eastern Europe

10 great winter destinations in Central and Eastern Europe

If you can look past the plummeting temperatures and long dark nights, winter is a hugely rewarding season in which to visit Central and Eastern Europe. Frozen…

13 Nov 2017 • Jonathan Bousfield insert_drive_file Article
The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
The 10 best beaches in Croatia

The 10 best beaches in Croatia

When it comes to beaches in Croatia, the best advice is to head south: it’s on the Dalmatian coast where the most seductive sandy shores, pebbly coves and sun…

25 Aug 2017 • Jonathan Bousfield insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook