Postcard from Piran on the Slovenian Riviera

Piran Slovenia

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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

things to do in 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

Tartini Square Piran Slovenia

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

statues in Maj trg Piran

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.

 Tartini square

Tartini Square Tartinijev trg

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

Seafood salad Piran Slovenia

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

Cerkev Marije Zdravja Piran

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

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

PIran harbour Slovenia

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.

Seagull Piran Slovenia

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.


51 thoughts on “Postcard from Piran on the Slovenian Riviera

  1. Lolo says:

    I have been waiting all week to read your post! Maybe we will go in early Spring next year! I love that its still kind of a hidden treasure that most people don’t think about when they think beaches. #FarawayFiles

  2. Lisa says:

    Slovenia’s been long on my list. It’s only a few hours by car to get to Slovenia from my house, I don’t know why I never made it there. I’ll defenitely add Piran to my must-see places in Slovenia tho! It looks super beautiful there. #FarawayFiles

    • Katy says:

      I’m not sure if you have spent time in Istria Tracy but we spent 10 days in the region and loved it – includes Piran, Rovinj and Pula

  3. Wendy Maes says:

    I was in this region when I was 12 (over 30 years ago) and I still remember the great food and the clear waters. THanks for reminding me that is’t time to return. #FarawayFiles

  4. Allison says:

    Slovenia is slowly moving up on my wishlist. I will definitely put Piran on my list of cities to visit when we eventually get there. #FarawayFiles

    • Katy says:

      Slovenia is a lovely combination of all the best bits of Italy and Austria without the prices and with its own unique culture. Worthy of any list!

    • Katy says:

      I was thinking of you as I snapped the boats on the harbour. There’s a great article in the Independent by a writer who moved to Piran to write a book. Sounds perfect to me

  5. Jacki says:

    What a charming hidden gem! Thanks for the shout out from last week’s link up. Good luck with your family’s move back to Australia, I look forward to reading about your adventures in Rome, Spain and back in Australia! #farawayfiles

  6. Hilary says:

    This is wonderful! The photos are fabulous, I love the one with the little red lighthouse. I’ve never thought about a visit to Slovenia, but it’s clear I’ll need to consider it! #farawayfiles

  7. Corey with fifi + hop says:

    I’ve loved seeing your photos of Piran on Insta and now here because I really didn’t know much about this town – it’s beautiful though! Slovenia is defiantly a place I need to consider more! #farawayfiles

    • Katy says:

      Thanks Corey! Mountains, lakes, pretty cities and coastal towns – it’s the complete package! Plus it shares a border with Italy which is bonus points

  8. Ashley says:

    We loved Piran and in fact, Slovenia is actually my favorite European country! It is a gem, for sure. Thanks for reminding me of this lovely place!

    • Katy says:

      Thanks Ashley, we had not been to Slovenia before but I can see why it’s your favourite. Such a beautiful place with a fascinating history

  9. Katherine says:

    What a gorgeous place! I’d never heard of Piran before, and to be honest I don’t know much about Slovenia. I love the look of the Palazzo – it’s definitely my kind of attraction to visit! And I haven’t had seafood in so long my mouth was watering looking at your lunch! #FarawayFiles

    • Katy says:

      I think you’ll see a lot of Slovenia in the coming years. It’s got so much beautiful scenery and a real commitment to responsible travel. We had a great time

  10. Angie Vincent says:

    I have never heard of Piran and have to confess knowing little if anything of Slovenia. It looks stunning, the Venetian connections are so clear from your stunning photos. I love this link up, I’m discovering so many new and fascinating places! #FarawayFiles

  11. Amanda says:

    Beautiful! I’m disappointed that we didn’t make it to Piran while in Slovenia, it looks like a beautiful place to explore. #FarawayFiles

  12. Amy says:

    Oh I just loved little Piran! You make me want to go back 🙂 We too only spent a few hours there, we barely even got to eat and the weather wasn’t very good, so we definitely need a return trip.

  13. Chiera says:

    Beautiful pictures Katy, Piran looks lovely. I don’t know much about Slovenia if I@m honest but this is not what I expected! Will need to check it out some day!

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