The Slovenian coast may only be 22km in length but what it lacks in distance is made up with raw beauty, amazing views, the Adriatic Sea and great seafood! It’s the Top 10 Series back on deck to take a look around the stunning Roman town of Piran!
Piran is located around 100km from the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana and juts out on a small point so from either sides both Italy and Croatia are visible. Access is limited but easy, we got a bus down from Ljubljana or the nearest international airport is Trieste in Italy which is only 25km away. The purpose of the visit was to down tools for a week from the grind of London as well as meet up with a great travel friend of mine, Debbie, who also writes about her adventures in Austria. You can see what she’s up to here: https://anaussieinaustria.com
Despite it’s small size there is quite a bit to do in Piran, so let’s commence!
- Soak in the Slovenian atmosphere in Tartini Square. When we arrived into Piran the square is the first thing you see. It’s the focal point of the town despite being right on the coast and was once underwater as part of the Marina! Cafes, restaurants, the Tourist Office, the only ATM in Piran and a few souvenir shops are all located in the square. Take an Aperol Spritz and enjoy the surroundings!
2. Take a stroll around the point and the harbour. Everywhere you walk is so jaw droppingly beautiful here and by the water is no different! Small boats, yachts and larger fishing boats all share space in the small but packed harbour area and you can even get ferries from Piran to Venice and Croatia if you’d like to explore further afar. Grabbing a Burek from one of the local bakeries went nicely on one of the many walks we took.
3. Get lost in the maze! Piran is predominantly a pedestrianised town. Cars can only get as far as the Hotel Piran. The inner “streets” are more like lanes and are quite narrow. To make things interesting there aren’t any street signs so while we got lost finding our accommodation upon arrival, after a few days we knew the maze of lanes fairly well and it gave us an excuse to explore!
4. Try the local seafood. You’ll be glad you did and if you’re a vegetarian, stop reading here! All of the restaurants in Piran do seafood of some type, and you can’t come to Piran without trying it. The calamari here was amazing, either grilled or fried in a light dusting of batter. You can really taste the freshness and a great meal like this went perfectly with the gorgeous sunsets you can experience here!
5. Climb the Bell tower. Situated up on the old City Walls, the Bell tower overlooks the town quite magnificently. To climb the 150 odd steps will set you back €1, but the views you’ll get once you reach the top are worth far more than that, as you can see below as we gazed down in awe to Tartini Square.
6. Take a hike…up to the City Walls! We stumbled across the route up to the ancient City walls almost by mistake, and with views like below, who could complain? The walls were first built in the 7th century and weren’t finished until nearly 1540. Originally built for protection due to ongoing construction and then later, from the Ottoman invaders, the walls give a great overview of the town, the Adriatic Sea and out to neighbouring Croatia and Italy. It’s also free to do.
7. Stroll the lanes by night. Every night in Piran we ate out – in a location like this, why not? Prices were incredibly cheap with mains averaging €10-15 even for the amazing seafood! After dinner and a bit of bar hopping we would inevitably wander back to our accommodation in the dark of night which made it feel like we were somewhere else. Quiet, sporadically lit, hardly anyone about. Almost eerie!
8. This one isn’t quite a Piran activity but the nearby town of Portoroz is a 20 minute bus ride away and offers more of a resort feel than Piran. Here you’ll find a big beachfront, multiple casinos, public pool, cafes, restaurants, bars, shops and even a concrete surfaced mini golf park which let me say was incredibly frustrating!
9. Take a dip in the sea! We visited in early May which is shoulder season here so think small crowds, lower temps (low 20s) and freezing cold water! It was our friends Debbie and Thomas’s idea and not wanting to feel left out, we said yes. The Adriatic Sea is famous for a really high salt content which actually helped me feel better as I was feeling a bit under the weather at the time. There is a concrete jetty just out front of the Hotel Piran so we had a crowd and all!
10. Make your Piran drink of choice an Aperol Spritz! The summer drink of Europeans, Aperol Spritz went hand in hand with the Piran scenery. The drink includes Aperol, Prosecco, soda water, ice and garnished with an orange slice it is the perfect way to while away a lazy afternoon in the sun!
Piran – an incredibly beautiful and unique Slovenian gem unlike anywhere else I’ve visited before. If you get the chance to visit take it, you’ll love it!