Parenzana is a name of a 123-kilometer long narrow gauge railway which used to connect Porec in Croatia with Trieste in Italy. The Parenzana train service ran from 1902 to 1935. The railway was a lifeline for villages in Istria, that were on the Parenzana route. Many of those villages so decline in population partly due to termination of this line, and partly to the WWII. Some never got inhabited again.
The restoration project started back in 2002 and today the Parenzana is a route of friendship, popular cycling and hiking trail through Istrian countryside, and as of 2014, visitors to Istria can also experience this beautiful route on board an electric tourist train.
Parenzana Train: An Overview
Parenzana train runs from a village of Vizinada to Motovun, one of the prettiest hilltop towns in Istria. The trip with scheduled stops lasts 2 hours.
Last year, at the end of the season, the Parenzana train ran a special offer. We've jumped at the opportunity, and experienced this wonderful ride with our 5 and 4 years old niece and nephew.
The journey started in Vizinada, a small village above the Mirna River Valley. After a 20-minute ride, we've arrived at the first stop – a village of Rakotule. Here, the owners of a local inn Tikel, greeted us with a homemade bread, an Istrian soup (it's actually a cooked wine), a glass of wine, and other local delicacies. They also have a small farm with an Istrian ox called Boskarin (he's really huge!), a goat, and a donkey. There is also a small children playground.
A 50-minutes later, we were back on train on our way to Motovun. We enjoyed a beautiful Istrian countryside that we otherwise wouldn't be able to see (unless we were an avid cyclists that we are not but pretend to be). The train took us across interesting old viaducts, bridges, and through an old tunnel.
However, we did find a trip just a tiny bit too long. It's best suited for families with small children. Our niece and nephew loved the train, and also enjoyed a lot animals we've seen at the farm where we stopped. However, for a larger family, the experience can be a bit expensive when paid a full price (luckily we got a discount as we went at the end of the season).
Don't forget this is just one of many things to do in Porec.
Parenzana Train: Prices, Contacts & Timetable
Prices | Adults (12 y and older): 130 kn per person for a round trip, 230 kn per person for a round trip including food tasting and gift | Children 2 to 12 years old: 50% discount | Children up to 2: free
Timetable | April, October: Mon-Thu closed; Fri-Sun: 9.30 am & 12.55 pm from Vizinada and 11.35 am & 4.20 pm from Motovun | May, Sept: Mon-Tue: closed; Wed-Sun: 9.30 am & 12.55 pm from Vizinada and 11.35 am & 4.20 pm from Motovun | Jun-Aug: Mon-Sun: 9.30 am & 12.55 pm from Vizinada and 11.35 am & 4.20 pm from Motovun
Parenzana Train: Route on the map
Below you'll find a route from Vizinada to Motovun, that you'll cover on board Parenzana train. However, don't forget that you can also take a self-guided cycling or hiking tour on the same route.
A ride on an electric train along old Parenzana route is just one of many things you can do in Porec. Check our complete list of things to do in Porec, or a list of things to see in Porec. Other activities we've written here include go-kart, quads, and adrenaline park at the Motodrom in Porec, fun day out at the water park Aquacolors, and a visit to the Baredine Cave. We also have a detailed post about Porec beaches, as well as Porec bars, cafes, and nightlife. If you plan to spend your holidays in Porec, check our complete Porec travel guide, find out what are the best restaurants in Porec, and check recommended accommodation in Porec. Don't forget that we also rent an apartment in Porec.
As always if you have any comment, question, or suggestion, please leave them in the comments below.
Photo credit: Camping Polidor, Funtana