This post almost doesn’t need words. The pictures do most of the talking.
Aquamarine water. Blue sky. Red roofs. Buildings the color of Tic Tacs. I mean, what’s not to love about this little town on the Adriatic?!
We spent time in Slovenia visiting friends of my parents’, and they took us all of their favorite places. We paired Piran with some time wandering around Ljubljana in the morning, our sunny Piran lunch, and then an afternoon in the wine region. Slovenia is very easy to get around—the roads are great and it’s only is a little bigger than the Atlanta metropolitan area, land-wise. Its 2 million residents are about one-third of Atlanta’s 6 million or more. It just feels small and charming, but also very modern.
After spending Saturday morning wandering around Ljubljana’s completely amazing farmer’s market, we piled into the car and headed for the coast. It was a gloriously beautiful day, and the hour-and-a-half drive went quickly with scenery like this to keep us occupied. This was the first glimpse we got of Piran.
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Once we arrived and parked, we took the little bus from our parking lot into the main square, Tartini Square (or Tartinijev trg). If it looks like a charming pastel Italian town, there’s good reason for that.
Slovenia’s history involves being under the control of the Venetians (for 500 years!) and then the Austro-Hungarian empire, so they are quite the melting pot. It came back under Italian control as recently as the early 1900s until World War II, and that Italian DNA is still very apparent. I found Italian to be fairly widely understood by people in Piran, and in Slovenia and northern Croatia in general (particularly among older people).
The main part of Piran is super easy to get around, easily walkable. Our first order or business was to take a stroll along the sea, around the little peninsulas that comprise Piran.
When the former Yugoslavia broke up, somehow Slovenia ended up with 47 kilometers of coastline, while neighbor Croatia got…well, the rest. The history of why that is is super complicated and I wouldn’t dream of trying to tackle it here (but this Reddit thread will take you down a rabbit hole if you’re so inclined…fascinating!). Regardless of the quantity of coastline, though, it is top-notch. Seriously, have you seen a prettier day?!
After getting our fill of the turquoise waters, we headed inland, into the warren of little streets and alleys that comprise the old town. There was quite a bit of art, the expected souvenirs and pottery, and my favorite store–sea salt.
Piran salt is reclaimed from the sea using a traditional method over 700 years old. It enjoys the same stringent requirements and cultural designation reserved for Parma ham, true Parmesan cheese, and champagne. It tastes AMAZING and in my opinion is the #1 souvenir you should get if you visit Piran. I’ve been hoarding my last little bit, saving it for the best summer tomatoes and mozzarella 🙂
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The sea called our name in a different way at this point, beckoning with the promise of ocean views, cold beer, and the freshest fish you can imagine. Our waiter brought us the fish for approval, and then we kicked back with our local Laško (lash-ko) beer while it was being prepared.
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Piran was an easy Ljuljana day trip for us. We really only spent 2-3 hours here, before heading up into the hills to visit the Rojac winery and learn about Slovenian winemaking. Unless you’re trying to just lay out by the ocean or go sailing, there aren’t tons of things to do. One thing I would recommend but we didn’t have time for is going up to the Church of St. George and climbing the bell tower for an awesome view.
Tips for Visiting Piran, Slovenia
- While you can stay overnight (and it would be super relaxing to do so), Piran is an easy daytrip from Ljubljana, about a 90-minute drive on a very well-kept highway (the roads in Slovenia are awesome in general)
- Use the little shuttle/bus to get from your parking lot to the main town
- Make sure to buy some of Piran’s famous sea salt, it’s hands-down the coolest souvenir or gift
- While you’re sure to pay a little more, eating lunch or dinner right on the ocean is still the best idea. You can’t beat that view!
- Go up to the Church of St. George and climb the bell tower (I think it’s 1 euro) for an awesome view of the town and the ocean
What must-see things have I missed in Piran that you want everyone to know?? Let me know in the comments!
Croatia is the perfect pairing for a trip to Slovenia, so try these next!
- Fairytale Waterfalls in Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes National Park
- Exploring the Hill Towns of Northern Croatia
- Motovun: Croatia’s Quintessential Hill Town