There are places in the world that I still struggle to believe I laid foot on, where grains of virginal white sands delicately settled in the webs of my toes, where an elephant and her vulnerable offspring showed a visceral solidarity as they drank together from a shallow azure lake, tinted by the needles of the early morning sun and where glacial boulders dropped into benign waters with a fierce magnificence. I hope immeasurably that these moments remain rare for the day they cease to fill me with butterflies is the day I will cease to travel. Increasingly though, I have discovered contrasting destinations, neglected by bucket lists and aspirational glossy travel magazines. Often petite in size, many such destinations are over-shadowed by their better known competitors but come with an understated, cosy charm. These are not places that stop you in your tracks, they may not even be places you have heard of but they have a way of making you feel at home with their mellow vibes and laughing locals. These are the kind of places you could see yourself retiring to one day, glass of wine in hand as time clutches on tightly to the sleepy days. The pretty town of Piran on the coast Slovenia, near Croatia’s border is one such town.
Visiting Piran, Slovenia
It is easy to visit Piran with just a day or half day trip from Ljubljana or Lake Bled, two stunning Slovenian locations, where most first time visitors to Slovenia are likely to be headed. Piran can be easily accessed from either as part of a tour group (you can read more about the one we used here) or independently by car or public transport. If you are planning to go by car, however, do check regarding vignette charges and be aware that the old town has restricted access to vehicles so you may need to park outside of the main town area.
What to see in Piran
Pastel-stroked buildings and al fresco cafes delineate the main square (adorably named Tartini square) and the palpable sea breeze sways the sails of the colourful boats dotted all around the harbour. A rocky border lines the waterside, not suitable for the liberation of feet from their covers, but it pays to keep your sensible shoes on in any case if you want to ascend towards the monastery viewpoint, where you will be awarded with an aerial view of the town, cluttered with the cute orange rooves that hallmark Piran, juxtaposed like an artist’s pallete with the blue reaches of the Adriatic Sea.The labyrinth of cobblestone, cocooned lanes that lead you to the viewpoint deserve credit in their own right and it is worthwhile allowing time to envelope yourself into these small streets. Rather like the souks in Morocco, a chance to get lost in this town may just come as a pleasant surprise. One of Piran’s most prized products is the local Piran sea salt, which you’ll find without difficulty in shops all around Ljubljana and Piran. I took home a few jars for the keen chefs in my life and was so excited when I found the same product on the shelves of London’s famous Fortnum and Mason store in London.
A host of inviting restaurants line up along the shore with smiling waiting staff welcoming you with open arms. Perhaps they are a little touristy but when the sun was massaging its way onto my bare shoulders and I paused to photograph the picture perfect conical boats, I felt an air of optimism and contentedness, celebrating this blissful summer day with a refreshing ice cream sundae bursting with strawberry flair. In some ways, it was reminiscent of Monaco without the elitism and Nice without the crowds and costs. As the sea breeze grappled with my unruly hair, I think it’s safe to say I got a little swept up in the ambience of this little coastal town in Slovenia.
Have you ever visited a place that you dreamed of retiring to?
35 thoughts on “Visiting Piran – A Pretty Town on the Coast of Slovenia”
I liked Piran, it was a little sleepy and not full of things to do, but also I had a very cheap hostel room of my own and it was a nice place to hide out in for a few days. Thanks or sharing!
I agree Andrew that it was kind of sleepy and I think that’s what I loved about it. It’s not somewhere where you need to spend too long I think but it’s perfect for hiding away as you say and for recharging the batteries!
Ooh, looks lovely! I visited Ljubljana and Lake Bled on a work trip a few years back, and would love to see more of Slovenia. I love discovering places like this!
Thank you Keri! So do I! It’s an even nicer feeling when it’s somewhere you’ve never even heard of like Piran was for me! I’m so glad you liked Slovenia on your last visit. I found it such a charming country and if you do return, definitely try and make a pit stop in Piran ☺
Looks very pretty indeed! I need to explore more of this part of Europe, lovely post!
Thanks so much Becky! It’s quickly becoming more ‘discovered’ but still retains a real charm compared to many more touristy destinations in this part of Europe! I loved it and highly recommend it ☺
Great place to be!
It’s such a beautiful place!
I love the multicoloured buildings – have you used the sea salt yet, how does it taste?
Suze | LuxuryColumnist
They add so much colour and character to the place Suze! I tried little samples whilst I was there but as for the jars I bought, they were all gifts but my friends and family reported back great things about it!
I always adore your writing Shikha, you paint such beautiful pictures with your words 🙂 Piran looks like just the kind of place I love, quaint and authentic. Isn’t it nice that places like this haven’t been discovered by hoards of tourists yet?!
Follow Your Sunshine
What a lovely comment Polly, thank you so much ☺ Quaint is just the word for it and whilst I’d love for people to see it, I also think part of its magic is that it isn’t in the mainstream much! But it was a lovely discovery nonetheless! x
I love exploring and checking out places where I don’t have to deal with the crowds. Plus, I enjoy uncovering secrets gems because they have a more authentic feel.
Piran looks [and sounds] absolutely breathtaking. The food, the architecture, and the coast makes you want to kick up your heals and stay for awhile. And that pic of the ice cream sundae is visually stunning!
Thank you Constance! I don’t often get fruity sundaes but the blue water and bright sunshine was calling for something refreshing! Piran did have such an authentic feel and like you say, no troublesome crowds to deal with – in fact, when we walked up to the viewpoint in the afternoon, there were only about two other people up there!
I really rate Piran as well, it was a great contrast to the mountains part of our Slovenia trip. Simply charming 🙂
For such a little country, Slovenia really has such variety in that respect doesn’t it Natasha? So glad to hear you enjoyed Piran too. I only saw Bled and Ljubljana and did a couple of trips but I’d love to go back and see more of the country or to go for longer ☺
My goodness that strawberry ice cream sundae looks impressive!!! I’d love to visit Slovenia one day it looks so dreamy! 2 places I could retire in – Montana and Bora-Bora! (haha) 😉
Haha, yes Ok – you’ve got me! I certainly wouldn’t say no to retiring in Bora Bora (or going pre retirement for that matter!!) I’d definitely recommend a visit to Slovenia and sooner rather than later before everybody realises how special it is! ☺
So pretty! I love the pastel coloured houses (and that ice cream sundae!). It’s always nice to discover somewhere that’s not on many people’s radars.
Absolutely, Laura! I love finding places like that, especially when you discover them just by chance or without much prior knowledge. It was such a pretty city and yes, that ice cream sundae was a delicious icing on the cake ☺
Och, I visited Slovenia once but I didn’t make it to Piran, such a shame! Looks like a really fantastic place to enjoy summer. Thanks for reminding me, putting it on top of my ‘must visit’-list. 🙂
My pleasure Nina and thank you for reading! It’s such an easy country to travel around so I’m sure you can make it to Piran next time and as it’s not a very big place, you don’t need too long to be able to enjoy it ☺
I have never been to Slovenia but your post makes Piran sound very nice indeed. Laurence’s parents love Slovenia and go there about once a year and have been encouraging us to visit. I am hoping we can go some time next year!
Oh I hope you do get a chance to go in that case Jessica as Slovenia is such a stunning country and Piran is just one part of it but I really found all the different areas we saw to be so beautiful! I’d love to return and explore the countryside a bit more too ☺
It looks like a beautiful place Shikha. Like you said it’s sometimes the lesser known places that you end up falling in love with the most. Like Cinque Terre for me. Slovenia is a part of the world that I haven’t had the chance to visit yet but all of your posts on the country are making me want to go more and more!
I agree Ayla! And can now fully see why you fell for Cinque Terre as I too felt heavy hearted leaving it! Slovenia is really pretty and still relatively quiet compared to many nearby more touristy destinations so if you do ever fancy going, go soon before more people realise! ☺
OMG, what a coincidence, the other day I was checking hotel prices in Piran!!
Next time I’m in the area I certainly will stop by this city. Do you think it’s worth staying one night there?
Such pretty pictures!! 😀
Haha, that is such a strange coincidence Allane! It’s a gorgeous town to visit and yes either a day or a night is more than enough time there. We were only there for an afternoon so you don’t need too long as there aren’t loads of sights to see but it’s more of a nice place to just chill out and relax ☺
Ohhh that’s nice to know for when I go there!
Yes, funny coincidence haha 😀
Beautiful Shikla! Glad you enjoyed Piran as much as we did 🙂
Thanks so much for stopping by! It’s great finding other people who found and loved Piran as it’s still a bit of a hidden diamond I feel ☺
We visited Piran a few years ago and it is for sure a really nice town with an amazing sunset from the old fortress. 🙂
Oh Jasper, I’d have loved to have watched the sun setting from the fortress! Sounds beautiful and if I return one day, I will remember that! I’m so glad you liked Piran too. I never knew much about it till arriving in Slovenia so it came as a lovely surprise when we visited it ☺
I hope to revisit Piran as well some day. But if you go, make sure to enjoy the sunset. 🙂