Biking from Trieste to Porec in three stages
This route is very popular as it retraces the old narrow gauge railway trail from Trieste to Porec. This route is now open from Rio Ospo (Ospo stream), about 2 km from Muggia, until the train station, a few hundred meters from the old town center of Porec, in Slovenia. Across the borders between Italy, Slovenia and Croatia, you will cross a unique region in the midst of hills, woods and ancient villages in Istria until you get to Porec and the sea.
The route can be divided in three stages, 132 km in all. Locals will welcome you along the way and recount memories of a troubled history and the unique culinary experiences of these lands: a mixture of Mediterranean and oriental traditions
First Stage: Muggia – Sicciole
The bike trail leads up to rio Opso and continues between the houses of Rabuiese, climbing up a short distance to the old railway ground. Beyond the Slovenian border continue slightly up until you get to Scoffie. The trail continues into the town and then along a route into the woods going slightly down towards Decani where you will see the small station maintained in the best of conditions.
The cycling path continues among Country sides and vineyards in the midst of the relaxing perfumes and colors of nature in Istria, on a mixed traffic road. From here you will cross the stunning Val Stagnon National Reserve, a brackish-marsh biotope leading to Capodistria along the coast until you get to the Istrian town Isola Go through the Istrian countryside towards Saleto to the valley of Strugnano, a very green and lush territory, slightly biking up and down. Beyond the crossroads leading into the village, go into the Valeta tunnel leading straight over Portorose after crossing Mount Luzzan.
Once again at sea level, leaving the marina behind, cycle along the promenade leading to the salt pans of Sicciole, first destination of the tour.
Second Stage: Sicciole – Levade
Beyond the entrance of the salt pans, the track runs along the brackish waters to the houses of the town and then plunges into the countryside before the Slovenian-Croatian border. Beyond the border, continue on the dirt road running along the Dragogna canal and then progressively climb up to the small Salvore station, currently abandoned but still well preserved. The view extends over the salt fields and the Gulf of Piran amidst the Mediterranean scrub, the sky and the Adriatic Sea.
The Parenzana stage starts changing and the lines become undulating and the bottom rather rough. You will reach the intersection with the motorway by following the road leading to Savudrija and Umag. Walk along a section of the roadway until you find the original railway route, leading to the district of Caldania. The track runs in the woods and in the countryside on a rocky ground not far from Buje named the “sentinel of Istria”, overlooking us from the top of the hill. Continue towards Grisignana down towards the Quieto valley, beyond Biloslavo and the Castagna tunnel up towards Piedmont to the woods where the Portole station once stood.
From Portole to Levade the path continues to descend along the natural orography, with wide curves between the woods and clearings, amidst a variegated landscape. The small town of Levade once had its own station, which is now, perfectly preserved, at the end of the dirt track emerging between the houses marking the arrival of the second stage.
Third stage: Motovun – Porec
The third stage continues on the bridge over the Mirna river, beyond the Livade village, the Istrian truffle capital once navigable and artery of the entire valley, to reach the foot of the Motovun hill. Continue along the dirt road climbing gently to the old sandstone homonym station.
Enjoy the diversified panorama along the way offering splendid landscapes on the green of the Mirna valley and the Buje plateau on the opposite side. The first is on the Krvar viaduct, then near the clearing where the Raccotole station was located, now dismantled, and onto the Sabadin viaduct. Continue a few more kilometers to reach Visinada, full of olive trees and cultivated fields. Then proceed in the red earth country side on a slightly tilted plain towards the sea. After passing the hamlet of Baldassi, return to the locust-tree woods and countryside until you reach one of the last historical stations of Visnjan.
Cycle towards Villanova and the clearing hiding the Baredine caves, a must see. After a few more kilometers between the woods and the road, go down for a short distance until you reach your destination: the train terminus lies a few hundred meters from the historical center of Porec overlooking the welcoming sea at the end of this long tour. Obviously, this path is full of details and variations, between roads, countries and nature. For this reason the three stages indicated can be further subdivided to better enjoy the Istrian towns and culture along the way. The route can be cycled in both directions and you can travel by train with your bike to get back to the departure point.
For more information on the Parenzana the official website is www.parenzana.it