Stretching approximately 47 km along the Adriatic Sea, the Slovenian Coast is home to picturesque seaside towns and villages with charming coffee shops and spectacular panoramic views of the crystal-clear blue waters. Part of the Istrian Peninsula, the coastal ride from Koper to Lucija is sure to please. My first trip to the coast of Slovenia took me to Koper in June 2020, I immediately knew this is an area worth fully immersing into and I had to plan another trip for 2021. This trip took me to Piran where we rented a bike to explore all the way to the border of Croatia, just past the village of Lucija.
Widely known for its fantastic Venetian architecture and the 15th century medieval walls, Piran is the most popular city along the Slovenian Coast. With a population of less than 4,000 citizens and total territory of 0.70 sq. km, Piran might be a fairly small town, however, its history combined with charm and quaint atmosphere are what make it a place worth visiting.
Getting to Piran
Located less than 120 km from Ljubljana, Piran is easily accessible; regardless of where you will be coming from. The bus ride from the Slovenian capital takes between 2 to 3 hours. The seasonal ferry also makes Piran an excellent trip from Venice as long as you can spare slightly over 2 hours each way for travel time. If you’re planning on traveling by car, you need to keep in mind that parking in Piran can be both extremely challenging and expensive. It is best to prepare at least 40 EUR for parking over a weekend.
Getting Around Piran
Getting around Piran can be easy and hassle-free, especially during the peak season, when there are shuttle buses operational every 15 minutes. What we decided to do, though, during our time in Piran was to rent bikes and fully experience the town. The biking and walking trails are excellent and we even manage to ride all the way to Lucija. Along the way we stopped for a coffee break and a bit of swim suit shopping in Portorož. At the end we treated ourselves to a refreshing lemonade at the Exclusive Beach Bar Ribic. Biking is not only a fantastic way to experience Piran because of the beautiful views, but also because it is very cost-effective for traveling to the nearby areas and gives you the activity you might need!
Where to Stay in Piran
From cheap to luxurious accommodations, visitors will be able to find everything they need in Piran. While Hostel Pirano, located right at the heart of Tartini Square is the most popular budget-friendly option, I strongly recommend treating yourself to a boutique stay at the Memento B&B Piran, which will impress you with its fabulous rooftop terrace, as well as its modern and stylish design.
Things to Do
It is best to plan at least an entire weekend in Piran, as you will be surprised by the wide variety of things to do and places to visit!
Relax at Tartini Square
There is nothing better than grabbing a cup of coffee and spending a few hours of people watching at Tartini Square. The spacious square is surrounded by charming colorful buildings and overlooking the small harbor in the distance. As you are strolling down the square, you definitely want to look out for the yellow Tartini House, which as the birthplace of the prominent composer Giuseppe Tartini, is now a small museum with a collection of his violins and scripts.
Stroll Down the Promenade
The best way to fully experience the quaint coastal atmosphere of Piran is to stroll down the promenade. Just take your time and admire the small fishing boats, a little rustic, yet truly charming as they come in to the harbor, while navigated by the skilled arms of the locals. Make sure to also stop by at dusk to indulge in some delicious fresh seafood, while watching the sunset.
Admire the Views from the Piran Bell Tower
Right at the heart of the old town of Piran, visitors will find the 47-meter-tall Piran Bell Tower. If you have been to Venice, you will immediately notice the similarity with the iconic St Mark’s Campanile. Despite being much smaller in size, visitors who are willing to follow the 146 small wooden steps will be rewarded with the truly breathtaking views from the top of tower.
Take a Step Back in Time Exploring the Fortress Walls
While, the medieval fortress walls once served as a defensive mechanism from attacks, they are now one of the best places to explore in Piran. Similar to the Bell Tower, visitors have to be prepared for a little bit of hiking up and more than 100 steps to get to the very top, however, the vistas are so spectacular that it is worth it! If you are into photography, you will also appreciate the fantastic golden hour colors as the sun kisses the waters goodnight!
Get Lost in the Old Town of Piran
With its narrow cobblestone streets lined with small houses, the old town of Piran must be one of my favorite things to do in the area. You really do not need a map, navigation or even a plan. Just allow yourself to get lost in between the charming alleys. You will find pastel colored houses with colorful shutters and doors, which look like they have been taken out of a movie scene. This is also the best place to see how the locals live. You might even try to talk to them, most of them speak English and Italian; Slovenians tend to speak multiple languages.
Keep in mind that the Slovenian Coast has a lot more to offer besides the historic town of Piran. I strongly recommend renting a bike and riding all the way to Lucija. Along the way, you will also pass by the popular city of Portorož, which is a lot more modern and is widely known as a spa and entertainment center, including casinos. If you’re looking for the hustle and bustle of the city, you might also want to visit the largest city along the Slovenian Coast – Koper. The small fishing village of Izola, on the other hand, is the ideal destination for those of you looking for a quiet and peaceful getaway! There is even a national park.
Are you ready to visit Piran and the beautiful Slovenian Coast? Which of the things to do have you already added to your itinerary and which places in the area would you like to stop by? Read about Koper.
Pack clothes and shoes for hiking because there are some lovely walks along that require going uphill. We didn’t get a chance to do them this time, but driving by looked lovely.
If you’re staying overnight which I suggest you do, make sure to find a place with parking. It’s ok to park in the main garage, there is a free shuttle into the town center, but it’s expensive starting at 40 euro for the weekend.
Rent a bike and explore
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