Please don’t go to Piran, Slovenia. In all my travels, this Venetian gem on Slovenia’s tiny coast is the one destination I’d like to keep for myself.
Here’s how to plan your perfect holiday:
- View from the town walls in Piran, Slovenia.
- Historic holograms in the Piran Mediadom
- Charming streets and St. George Cathedral
- Festivals in Tartini Square
- Beaches near Piran, Slovenia
- Food in Piran, Slovenia
- How to get to Piran, Slovenia
- Where to Stay in Piran, Slovenia
But let’s start with the view. Imagine waking up to this:
Piran Town Walls: A Million-Dollar View
This is the million dollar vista from a surprisingly affordable vacation rental home, which I found on Trip Advisor only by planning more than six months in advance. But any visitor can enjoy a similar view for a only few euros by visiting the town walls. A parking structure is nearby, where you can leave your car and venture on foot into the steep, narrow streets of the town.
Historic Holograms in Piran Mediadom
Stop into the Mediadom, where high tech holograms in ancient tunnels welcome you to a film about the local history that is offered in English, Italian and Russian. Bring an ID to get the student or senior discount.
Charming Streets and St. George Cathedral
And then soak up the centuries as you wander, looking into the elegant, tiny churches on the backstreets or seaside. The crowning glory is Saint George’s Cathedral, dating back to 1641 when Piran’s nobles grew rich from the locally produced salt, under the protection of Venice. I wasn’t a big fan of visiting the actual salt pans a short distance away, but took home some of the gourmet fleur de sel from the Piranske Soline shops in town. Makes a great gift to take home for your foodie friends.
Tartini Square: A Miniature Venice
The Venetian vibe is obvious in the splendid buildings on Tartini Square. Piran’s outdoor living room was created when a smelly part of the harbor was filled in. A statue of the town’s native composer and noted violinist Giuseppe Tartini presides over the lively cafes and free cultural performances during summer festivals.
Piran Beaches: Clothing Optional?
Of course, the main attraction for holiday makers is the Adriatic Sea. Part of the rocky beach nearest our rental was clothing optional, but if that’s not your thing just keep strolling until you find another place to put down your beach towel and swim or soak up the sun.
Food in Piran, Slovenia
You’ll be hungry after all the walking and swimming. The waterfront is lined with fish-oriented eateries, but most days we shopped in the small grocery store, farmers’ market and bakery that stays open for summer visitors. The fresh ingredients made for some memorable meals, accompanied by local wine or Slovenia’s incomparable mineral water, Radenska. My traveling companions don’t enjoy fresh seafood as much as I do, so we headed for the Balkan comfort food at Sarajevo 84.
Day Trips from Piran
From Piran you can walk along the sea to the more lively resort town of Portorož. There’s also a public shuttle bus. You’ll hear lots of Russian spoken, as well as the two official languages of Slovene and Italian.
If you have a car, Piran is a good launching point for day trips to Koper and Izola. The UNESCO world heritage Škocjan Cave and and the Postojna Cave Park are an easy drive. You can even go to Italy for lunch in Trieste without stopping for a border check.
Crossing into the Croatian side of the Istrian peninsula is no longer a hassle, since Croatia joined the EU’s Schengen transit zone. However, be prepared for lots of cross-border traffic during the peak summer season.
Recommended Reading for your Piran Vacation
Most days we were happy doing nothing, although even menial tasks like laundry or dishwashing were memorable with our million dollar view. It’s a great place to catch up on reading, so don’t forget to download some of the books written by Slovenian-American author Andrew Anzur Clement. Part of his “Voyages of Fortune” trilogy was written here in Piran!
Now the only question is, “How soon can I go back?” And, of course, finding some way to keep this secret gem all to myself.
Terry’s Travel Tips
How to Get to Piran: Driving is the best option if you are coming from anywhere in Slovenia, neighboring Italy or Croatia. To save money, reserve your rental car from AutoEurope before leaving the US. In normal traffic, it’s about a 90 minute drive from Ljubljana. It is possible to arrive on a three-hour bus ride from Ljubljana or by booking a transfer on GoOpti. Save on your first GoOpti booking with this discount code.
Parking in Piran: Cars are not allowed in Piran, except by special permit for residents. Our vacation rental had a parking spot, but this is rare. There is a pay parking garage near the entrance to the town walls. Other options are to park in the adjoining towns of Potorož or Fiesa and walk into Piran. I’m told these lots fill up, so get there early to find a spot.
When to Visit Piran: Book far in advance if you plan to visit during the high vacation season in July and August. During the rest of the year, I’m told it can be a pretty sleepy but peaceful place, except when the fierce bura winds are blowing in the winter.
Staying in Piran: The Hotel Piran is surprisingly affordable for a high-end choice on the waterfront in the old town. You won’t find the big hotel chains here, but there’s a variety of small hotels and other options for staying in Piran or nearby Potorož. Thanks for clicking on the links in this post to book your stay, which supports this blog at no cost to you.
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