If you wish to experience the Paranzana on bike?!
The Parenzana: route description
Buje was one of the most important stations on the Parenzana. The first trains to Trieste and Poreč departed from precisely to this station. As such, we shall begin our route description here. This description is adapted for hikers and cyclists and must be used in combination with the field map and elevation image. The route is described in two directions:
- From Buje towards Savudrija and the Slovenian border
- From Buje through Grožnjan and Motovun towards Vižinada.
The Route from Buje to the Slovenian State Border
The Buje Railway Station is located in Stanica Street in the lower part of town, with the stop being located behind the station building. The railway to Trieste goes behind the homes and comes to the paved road which leads to Kaštel. It follows the quite indiscernible and at times impassable street on the right side. After the last fence you will recognise it as the clearly defined macadam path which crosses the main road near the hamlet of Frfuja.
The railway traces the road on its left, winding side and quickly arrives at the village of Volpija. Crossing the village at its northern edge, it joins with the road to Kaldanija near the road intersection for the village of Fratrija. On the right hand edge of the paved road the route arrives in the village of Kaldanija. There used to be a railway station here (a small one with only a sign with the name of the station and a lamp post) which stood where the “Lovac” (Hunter) tavern is today. The railway route continues behind the tavern and crosses the main rod at the tavern “Tri palme” (Three Palm Trees) and the tire repair shop, going around the estate belonging to house number 27. Cutting across the narrow road leading to the village of Simoneti it goes through a quaint little forest and quickly crosses the same narrow road again.
Across fields the route reaches the village of Specijarija and along the paved road, through a ravine, comes to the busy road running between Savudrija and Plovanija. Its right arch goes around the busy road intersection (here it is possible to get on the Istrian Y motorway) and arrives at the village of Markovac from the north side, below a prominent grouping of cypress trees. There are no ruins of the old station overhang which once stood here. In the direction of Savudrija, the route traces the paved road on its right hand side. Following the village of Kolumbanija it continues largely in ravines. There is a railway station in the village of Valica, the only one which still has a sign denoting the name of the station – Salvore (i.e. Savudrija). Filled with elevations, the route arrives in front of the village of Zupelija and with a sharp right bend turns 180 degrees and begins its long descent towards the sea. When it crosses the road leading to the tourist town of Kanegra, it turns into a clearly defined macadam road which offers a breathtaking view of the Gulf of Piran, dotted with numerous Sečovlje salt farms. Near the village of Kanedo this route takes a sharp left, while the main route maintains its direction and arrives at the Dragonja River, the location of the Slovenian State Border.
The Route from Buje to Vižinada
From the railway station in Buje the route went behind the railway station, but in the meantime various fenced-in buildings have sprung up, so it's best to take Stanica Street to the road for Triban. Cross the paved road and continue in the same direction along to the fence of a private firm which prevents further movement along the route. Detour: it is possible to go along the paved road to Triban and the first unpaved road on the right lowers towards the extension of the route in the direction of the old Triban railway station. Here a widened plateau is visible, where the foundations and loading gauge as well as the station canopy and goods warehouse stood. The village of Triban is located about half a kilometre north, on a slight elevation. Next is a slight slope leading to the St. Vid Tunnel (length: 74.8 m) which passes below the village of Vrh Romana (Roman Peak). The tunnel has been walled-up for the cultivation of mushrooms, but there is a detour: about 100 m before the tunnel there is a clearly defined uphill path on the right which crosses the road to Peroj and lowers onto the Parenzana route again near the locality Stanica (Station), where there is a large, recognisable old railway station building. It offers a good view of the 'town of artists' which the station is named after – Grožnjan.
From the railway station near Grožnjan the route is parallel to the paved road to Grožnjan for a short time, crosses it in a bend and quickly enters the Kalcini Tunnel (length: 178.7 m), which is also the Parenzana's highest point above sea level (293 m). This tunnel is also closed for mushroom cultivation. Detour: it is possible to go through Grožnjan, beside the church of Sts. Kuzma and Damjan where the unpaved road to Ponte Porton begins to drop. About 300 m away the first left macadam road towards the village of Kalcini, below the recognisable Parenzana overpass leads further down the route.
On the south side over a plateau on a clearly defined and sometimes rough macadam path, the route arrives in the hamlet of Biloslava, the location of the old station porch which carried the name Kostanjica, named for the larger village located 600 m below it. Biloslava offers a breathtaking 360 degree view: to the Mirna River valley, Motovun, Vižinada...
Soon the route will pass through the Kostanjica Tunnel (length: 69.9 m) which continues as a clearly defined curvy macadam path leading to Završje. Once the road is crossed, we arrive at the ruins of a large building which has many stone blocks built into it with the characteristic inscription TPC (Trieste-Parenzo-Canfanaro) which used to denote the area owned by the railroad. In the place of this lumpy building there once stood a covered station house. The town of Završje, located on the elevation towards the north, dominates this area with its medieval fort. If you continue along the route you will quickly come to Završje Tunnel I (length: 35 m) and Završje Tunnel II (length: 28 m). Immediately after the second tunnel a large gorge is conquered by the Završje Viaduct (length: 61.8 m, height: 20 m). Further along the route goes through very crumbly and porous soil. Traces of erosion and landslides are visible, especially in places where water ducts have been purposely built. At the peak of the hill, the route arrives at the next crossroads with the local country path linking Vižintini, located immediately below the route, with Zabrdo above the route.
In the next ravine there is a small stone overpass one of whose trails leads to Zabrdo. Immediately behind this is the Antonci Viaduct (length: 61.8 m, height: 20 m). Soon the trail comes round above the villages of Antonci and Krti, where a clearly defined path connects to the old railway. This place offers a striking view of the opposite hill, along whose rim the Parenzana lowers into the valley.
Along rough macadam, through a little coniferous wood, the route arrives at a challenging structural combination: a viaduct (length: 68.5 m, height: 30 m) and the Freski Tunnel (length: 146 m, lighting necessary!). A slow descent brings us to a location below the village Grimaldi where the Oprtalj station once stood, named after the town which can be reached by going up the clearly defined, 3 kilometre path. On the left side of the road expansion is the place where the porch and small goods warehouse once stood. The Parenzana continues through the diminutive coniferous wood and quickly arrives at the Oprtalj Viaduct (length: 75.2 m, height: 25 m) which bridges the Mirna Valley. Here the route takes a sharp right and the ground becomes softer, and in the places where the macadam stone sunk into the ground the railway takes the form of a wide field path. After a rainfall this part of the route is covered in water in places, and near the viaduct a potable water spring is visible. Further along the railway lowers along the right descent of the Osoje hill, through an ancient forest interweaved with lilies. Here the route is rather narrow because many of the smaller water drains have been plugged, with the subsequent flooding bringing soil, leaves and branches to it.
At the furthest point of the hill, below the village of Buri at the large left bend, the forest ends and meadows appear, opening the belvedere on the hills across the Mirna River. Here the ground is especially wet and sludgy. The route winds on, crosses the road leading to the village Pirelići and comes to Livade. On the right hand side in the direction of Motovun, immediately behind the busiest crossroads in the village there are a large station building and goods warehouse. Further an unrecognisable route follows the paved road to the bridge across the Mirna River. On the right hand side there used to be a large railway bridge which is no longer part of the landscape.
Crossing the road for Motovun and St. Bartol the route climbs up the left edge of the Motovun Hill. The Motovun railway station is located south of the town, a bit before the village of Kanal. The railway stations remain today, from which the paved road leads left uphill to Kanal, while the route goes on through the large Motovun Tunnel (length: 222 m, lighting necessary!). Behind the tunnel the clearly defined macadam leads to the crossing with the paved road leading from Motovun to Brkač and transforms into a narrow paved road 1.5 kilometres long, until the turning for the village of Rušnjak. Circumventing the Šublenta hill, the route later turns into a clearly defined unpaved road, used intensively by local inhabitants. Just before the extension where the Karojba Station was once located, an unpaved road goes left to the main road between Motovun and Karojba, and with its usual width the route arrives at the Krvar Viaduct (length: 39.9 m, height: 15 m) which bridges the stream of the same name. Sports climbers have turned it into a small climbing rock.
A slight winding incline takes you through many gorges until the final widening where the Rakotule railway station once stood. Immediately behind it on the left hand side there is a potable water spring. A little further the route crosses the paved road running between Pahovići and Špinovci. A light macadam uphill road continues as well as the gorge by the Sabadin Creek which bridges Veli most (large bridge), that is the Sabadin Viaduct or St. Vital (length: 64 m, height: 20 m). Here you will find an gorgeous vista of the opposite side of the Mirna River Valley.
The route continues uphill to the plateau at the crossroads with the main road running between Vižinada and Pula. After crossing this street there is a sharp left curve and between the houses, parallel to the road for Poreč you will quickly arrive at the Vižinada railway station. Behind the station, which is now a privately owned home, the wide space where the train used to stop is clearly visible.
If you wish to walk - automobile Access
For those who do not have the time and / or desire to explore the whole Parenzana railway but would like to see and experience some of the magic of the space where a railway composition once chugged, we have set out some of the places which are easily accessible by car. These places are located near the most interesting parts of the railway, its shadowy tunnels and impressive viaducts.
It is easy to find them by using the field map and route description:
- In the village of Valica there is a house which was once the Savudrija (Salvore) railway station, named for the fishing village located 6 kilometres away. If we set off towards the tourist resort of Kanegra we will arrive at a macadam road which the railway once travelled on and which offers a beautiful view of the Gulf of Piran and the saltfarms of Sečovlje.
- The village of Stanica was once home to the railway station near Grožnjan:
a. It is possible to walk by the inhabited station building as well as towards the village of Peroj along the route, arriving at the walled entrance to the tunnel below Roman Peak (Vrh Romana). On the left hand side it is possible to climb the ablaut and lower yourself to the route on the other side of the walled tunnel, which you can peek into from this side, by going along the marked hiker's trail.
b. From the station you can also go towards Grožnjan and in the nearby large, right curve turn onto the little macadam road on the left side which will lead you to the closed entrance to the Kalcini Tunnel. This tunnel goes through the Parenzana's greatest height above sea level (293 m). Today mushrooms are cultivated here as well.
- The village of St. Stefan beside the village of Kostanjica. Here you can take a walk along the path beside the cemetery church (10-15 minutes) to the village of Biloslava, where the Kostanjica station was once located. Biloslava offers a beautiful view on the whole area. If you turn right towards Završje you can visit the 69 metre long Kostanjica Tunnel.
- Immediately below the village of Završje is an old, crumbling building which stands in the place of the old station. It is possible to walk past it and visit two short tunnels and the large Završje Viaduct.
- The village of Vižintini is located very close to the route. From there you can climb up the Parenzana: on the left side we arrive at the Završje Viaduct, and on the right at the Antonci Viaduct.
- The village of Antonci, that is the hamlet of Krti: on the left we arrive at the Antonci Viaduct. Continue on the right through the stunning landscape, at times passing through little coniferous forests and we will arrive at a fantastic combination of viaducts and the Freski Tunnel.
- The village of Kanal beside Motovun. Beside the petrol station it is possible to arrive at the railway station. Not far from here, towards Vižinada, is the Motovun Tunnel (torches are recommended when passing through the tunnel).
- Immediately beside the village of Karojba, from the direction of Motovun, by way of a macadam road it is possible to arrive at a widening in the road where the railway station once stood. On foot going towards Vižinada it is possible to arrive at the bridge over the Krvar creek in less than five minutes.
- Viaduct Sv. Vital or Veli Most over the Sabadin stream is situated about halfway from Vižinada to Rakotule, and it can be reached from both sides.
a) You can leave your car at the point where the road Rakotule – Špinovci crosses the route and go to the left in the direction of Vižinada (about 2,5km).
b( On the road from Vižinada to Pula, about 200 meters after the junction to Poreč there is a widening on the left side of the road and the route can be taken from the direction of Motovun (about 2,5km).