Croatia cycling tour offers ancient sites, island vistas
Published by San Francisco Chronicle | By Margo Pfeiff
Zigzagging my bike around ripe green olives scattered on the pavement, I reach up as I pedal to pluck a juicy black fig dangling from a roadside tree.
The sweet flavor blends with the aroma of wild rosemary, sage and thyme as I cycle along a narrow country road etched into a steep hillside, the aquamarine Adriatic Sea sparkling far below.
North Americans are only now discovering what Europeans have long known — that Croatia is a stunningly beautiful and affordable destination of great food with strong Italian influence, good wine, friendly folks and a long history of rich culture.
A jagged strip of land stretching from the Gulf of Trieste to Dubrovnik, Croatia’s mainland has over 1,000 miles of coastline — the Mediterranean’s most indented — and that’s not counting its 1,246 islands, most uninhabited. That makes for a whole lot of winding, hilly, scenic cycling country.
I have long wanted to pedal the country’s Dalmatian Coast between Dubrovnik and Split to the north, island-hopping my way through European countryside virtually unchanged since the ancient Greeks first planted grapes here, where coastal terra cotta-roofed villages with exquisite architecture reflect centuries of Venetian rule.