Croatia, a Country Great for Cycling
Cycling cruises are emerging as an island hopping option for cycling holidays. Another highlight is Istria300, taking place from October 6 through October 9, which provides road cycling along 300 kilometres of bike routes on some of Istria’s most scenic roads. All participants start and finish together in the beautiful town of Poreč and decide on the course of their preferred riding distance; there will be two opportunities to switch to the 235- and the 155-kilometre loop. With no car traffic allowed, cyclists will be able to take in Istria’s spectacular landscapes, making for a cycling experience of a lifetime.
Another excellent way to tap into Croatia’s cycling opportunities is to visit Bike Centre Rabac, located on the eastern coast of Istria in Croatia’s popular bike destination, the seaside town of Rabac.The centre is aimed at both professional and recreational cyclists, as well as active families. It has all the services and facilities that cyclists might need on their holidays.
Among those is Bike Park Rabac, where you will find a pump track for training and various specialised single and flow tracks of different levels of difficulty, as well as a bike transfer service and guided tours. The centre’s comprehensive services are suitable for all types of cyclists and families with children and its infrastructure guarantees a stellar cycling experience. And while all this may just be a bit of holiday fun for you and your family, such outings have resulted in professional cycling careers.
Take the case of Alban Lakata, the Austrian cyclist currently riding for the squad Team Bulls. Specialised in marathon mountain biking, Alban has a ton of trophies. Add to this his being an eight times national XCM champion (most recently in 2021) and you get a sense of what an accomplished cyclist he is. We wondered how Lakata cought the cycling bug. “It all started on a vacation trip,” he told us when we caught up with him recently, “when I found out that experiencing a region is best on a bicycle. It is an easy and fast way to get to new places.” We asked Lakata what, after all these championships, provides motivation for a professional cyclist. “My greatest motivation is exploring the world on two wheels. It never gets boring.”
He has stayed in Valamar’s destinations on many occasions, and so we asked him to describe his experience from the perspective of a world-class biker. “The main reason why I choose Valamar destinations is because they provide me with an opportunity to perfectly combine my training with family activities,” adds Lakata. “Poreč is a great starting point for road riding. There are many small roads with little to no traffic heading towards the backcountry of Istria. Rabac is perfect for off-road riding. The trail centre offers a nice variation of single tracks for beginners and experts alike.” In 2021, Lakata participated in the 4 Islands MTB event. “I liked it a lot because it has a touch of an adventure race. I had a few very unique experiences, such as racing every day on a different island or starting off a ferry boat. It’s a top race with many A-list riders at the start line. I’ll be doing it again this year.”
Any other plans for races in Croatia this year? “Istria300 is already on my list. I really like the challenge of long tough races, and it seems to me I’m not the only one. People just love the satisfaction of being a finisher of an ultra-hard race.” Lakata will be training at our hotels and destinations, and we asked him to share his summer plans with us. “This year my plan is to do a couple of training camps in Istria. I will stay in a mobile home at Istra Premium Camping for the first course and at the Marea Suites Hotel for the second stretch. I look forward to finishing the day at the swimming pool.”