Slovenia is definitely a country less traveled. When I was invited by the Slovenian Tourist Board to spend a handful of days in the country, I wanted to grasp that chance to get an impression of the variety that Slovenia has to offer.
Many people know about the beauty of the Alps, but fewer people know that the Alps stretch into Slovenia as well—they don’t just stop at the Austrian-Slovenian border, after all. Another something that most people don’t know is that Slovenia has a gorgeous stretch of coastline as well.
Coastal Slovenia, also known as Slovenian Istria, used to be part of Italy and the Austrian Empire, among a few other nations, and their influence is still visible. Slovenian Istria, just like Croatian Istria, is definitely still the most Italian part of both countries—some time ago it was, in fact, the most Slovenian and Croatian region in Italy. As is the case in many parts of Europe, regions don’t conform to present-day borders. Borders change over time while regions and cultures stay put.
Anyway… Home to beaches, resorts and pretty coastal towns, Slovenian Istria is where Slovenia goes on holiday.
Piran, A Beach Destination in Slovenia
A particularly visit-worthy seaside town in Slovenian Istria is Piran. Perched on a long and narrow peninsula that juts out into the Adriatic Sea, the town of Piran is as pretty as they come. It is an incredibly picturesque town—I would almost say one of the most photogenic little towns in the Adriatic—and has managed to keep its relaxed historic charm.
Piran can be visited in just one day or you can use it as a base to explore the rest of Istria or inland Slovenia. There are several fine hotels in town; restaurants and bars line both sides of the narrow peninsula; and it is possible to go for a swim right in the town center.
Further reading: 8 Highlights of Bohinj, Slovenia
We stayed at excellent Hotel Piran, located in the heart of the old town, right next to the pretty harbor.
Piran isn’t home to monumental buildings or overwhelming museums, although there are a couple of nice ones if you have more time to spend. Instead, the town’s main characteristics are its inviting atmosphere, laidback vibe and colorful squares and streets. This is the place to simply stroll around aimlessly—it doesn’t take more than a couple of hours to wander through the entire old town. When you’re done, sit down with a cup of coffee or glass of wine and enjoy some people-watching.
The whole old town center is pedestrianized. In case you’re traveling by car, you can park it at the parking lot that you will pass when driving toward the town and catch the free shuttle bus to Tartini Square.
Further reading: Ljubljana in 20 Photos
A quiet seaside fishing town, Piran makes for a wonderful, definitely recommended stop on any itinerary along the Adriatic Sea coast.