Slovenia’s coastline may be so teeny tiny that many people don’t even know it exists, but on this little stretch of the Adriatic between Croatia and Italy sits quaint and charming Piran.
With a thriving alfresco dining scene beneath a sea of vibrant red roofs and a labyrinth of cobblestone laneways through the historic old town, this seaside fishing village is the perfect place to kick back and spend a day in the slow lane.
These are our picks of the very best things to do in Piran, the laidback town on Slovenia’s coast.
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On a warm but foggy Sunday afternoon this place was definitely the place to be. Locals were out in full force filling up every cafe and bench in the plaza, chatting animatedly over coffee or a crisp glass of wine.
Pull up a chair, settle in and see what the fuss is all about.
With their forever creaky stairs these bell tower climbs always give Freya a case of the jelly legs, then there’s the added enjoyment of smearing your hand through a fresh pile of pigeon poop that has kindly been left on the flimsy banister for you to discover in the darkness on your upward journey. But, when you finally reach the top and catch sight of the view, all is forgotten (until it’s time to go back down again).
Way up above the jigsaw of rust-coloured roofs where chimney sweeps work silently and cats parade along the eaves, it’s easy to forget the throng of activity going on in the square below. But beware the jarring bells. They chime startlingly loud every fifteen minutes, so hold onto your cameras because it is a long way down!
COST: €1 entrance fee.
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Originally built to defend the city against attack, the remnants of the protective city walls are one of Piran’s most popular sights for visitors. It is a steep walk out of town from the church and the view is best enjoyed at sunset.
COST: €2 entrance fee.
With a strong fishing tradition, you know the seafood in Piran is going to be fresh and delicious. In fact, when we stopped for lunch in a hidden plaza draped in fig trees, a fisherman came to deliver the fish fresh off his boat. Fish, mussels, octopus and stuffed calamari – the combinations are endless so choose your fill.
Be sure to make it your last stop though because once you’ve gorged on the fruits of the sea and washed it down with a chilled glass of white, there is no way you’ll want to be walking anywhere else.
Fitting with the laid-back vibes of this seaside town, watching the languid comings and goings of tiny fishing boats in the harbour transports you back to a simpler time. Leathery faced men untangle ropes and handle their catch as their boats bob two and fro beneath them.
Around the bend well-dressed ladies returning from church and settle into their favourite restaurants for lunch. Walk the length of the promenade beside the sea and see what you find.
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Piran is a small town and easily navigated on foot.
Buses run regularly between Piran and Ljubliana making it a long but easy day trip. International services also run to coastal towns in Italy and Croatia. Services are reduced on Sunday.
Though we visited Piran on a day trip, there are plenty of lovely accommodation options in this little seaside town.
Hostel Pirano is a great budget-friendly choice in Piran located just a few hundred metres from the town’s main square. Staff are particularly friendly here with a number of private rooms and a guest kitchen on offer. Check here for rates and availability.
Second life in Piran-B&B Vila Zala is a wonderful guesthouse boasting modern rooms, a welcoming host and exquisite breakfasts. Though it’s a short walk from Piran’s centre, this property is perfectly located by the waterfront. It’s no surprise guests never want to leave! Check here for rates and availability.