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Welcome to Piran, an enchanting city on Slovenia’s Adriatic coast.
Venetian style palazzos line its streets, fresh sea breezes tickle your nose and seagulls preside over its pretty harbour. In Tartini square restaurants prepare the catch of the day.
It’s the kind of place you could relax in for a long while. Sadly we only had a few sweet hours.
Piran – Slovenia
Slovenia, a small country wedged between Italy, Croatia and Austria is famous for magical Lake Bled, fairytale castles and pretty capital Lubljana.
But the relatively unknown Slovenian coast holds many treasures, among them Piran and nearby Portoroz beach.
While the Slovenian coastal resorts hold their own among the best European beach destinations, head to Piran for its picturesque town squares and colourful harbour flanked by elegant palazzos.
A Venetian stronghold
Venetians were here. You know that by their signature winged lions adorning buildings and the particular style of palazzo you find in Piran.
In fact, the Venetian republic ruled Piran for over 500 years and their legacy is felt in the architecture and cuisine of this part of Slovenia.
But they weren’t the only rulers to leave their mark. Several baroque buildings show evidence of the Austro-Hungarian and Napoleonic occupations during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Things to do in Piran Slovenia
Wander the narrow cobbled streets of Piran. These streets are what remains of the medieval old town.
Eventually you will stumble upon Maj trg – First of May Square. In the oldest part of the city, founded by Romans, this small square is home to several ornate statues and fountains fed by drain pipes.
Named for Piran’s famous violinist Giuseppe Tartini (1692 – 1770) this elegant square is the centrepiece of life in Piran. Lined with cafes, restaurants and official buildings, children run free in the huge open space under the gaze of Tartini himself.
Above the piazza the tower of the church St George looms over the city. From here there are incredible views of the Bay of Trieste and you can see all the way to Italy on clear day.
Fun fact – Tartini was the first known owner of one of the famous Stradivarius violins
A Slovenian seafood lunch
Fresh seafood is my favourite and it is so easy for seafood lovers to get their fix in Piran.
Grab a table at one of the many restaurants in Tartini Square and relax with a glass of wine over lunch.
We ate at La Bottega dei Sapori and everything was catch of the day fresh and delicious. On the day we visited, my son, aged 3, ate all of his fried squid lunch. Tentacles included.
To learn more about Slovenian cuisine click here.
Stroll along the seafront
Leave Tartini square and wander along the harbour and out along the Piran peninsular. You will notice the grand Hotel Piran but the main attraction is the sea shore. Locals lounge on park benches gazing out to sea.
We missed the sunset but I have no doubt it is a beauty.
Swim in the sea at Piran beach
Apart from a few sandy beaches – including nearby Portorož Beach – there are rocky shores along the Slovene Riviera. But it doesn’t matter.
Here you can clamber into the Adriatic Sea from these man made ladders. On a late summer afternoon the water was warm and tempting.
Along the limestone coast, artists have left their mark with beautiful sculptures like this siren of Piran.
The city walls
We were not able to visit the city walls that join seven gates of the city. Dating from the 7th century, it is from here that you will find Piran’s best sunset views.
How to get to Piran
We drove to Piran from Rovinj in Croatia on our way to Italy’s Veneto region.
It is a 2.5 – 3 hour bus ride from the capital Lubljana if you are using public transport and only 2 hours by car from Venice airport.
Note – Croatia is not part of the Schengen visa zone so you should expect longer waiting times than in the rest of western Europe when traveling by car into Slovenia via the Croatian border.
Parking in Piran
One of the best things about Piran is that it is mainly a car free zone. But the city is popular with day trippers from Slovenia and Italy and there is limited parking.
The best place to park is on the outskirts of town at Fornače parking garage. It’s an easy downhill walk to the main attractions or there is a shuttle bus for those who need it.
We only spent a few short hours in Piran, but I wish we had lingered a little longer. Many people claim that Piran is one of the most beautiful cities in Slovenia and I have to agree.
Thanks to Ellie from Soul Travel Blog for sharing this Slovenian secret with me.