Piran Travel Guide
"LASA PUR DIR" Let Them Talk! This Venetian phrase captures the romance, elegance and shrug-of-the-shoulders nonchalance of the town of Piran which has some of the charms of original Venice (without the crowds) along with great beaches! During our 2018 Europe Campervan Trip, we were more than happy to detour from Croatia to Italy via the short Slovenian coastline, making a short stop in Piran to get a feel for the old town sights and charm. Just a little further east of Piran, along a short coastline of craggy beaches, we also had to explore another old Venetian Town, Izola, with its own charm, albeit with a slightly scruffier feel.
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PIRAN - WHAT TO SEE AND DO
Piran formed part of Italy all the way until the end of WWII, and in fact, it even remains almost entirely bi-lingual today. Although Piran does get busy over the peak summer months, it is a fantastic place to relax and enjoy the small-town atmosphere along the short Slovenian coast.
St George Church Bell Tower
The absolute highlight of Piran is the view from the top of the St. George Church Bell Tower! It’s entirely worth climbing up the 146 winding stairs to the top of the bell tower (for only1€) to admire the spectacular 360° view of the town and coastline below. From here you will be able to catch a glimpse not only of Slovenia but of Croatia and Italy as well, weather permitting of course! Be aware of the bell chiming times as the intensity of these loud bells may catch you by surprise. We were there for the full midday bell chime and, although spectacular, it almost deafened us! Located just behind Tatini Square, the church itself and the small museum are also worth visiting.
Piran Fortress Walls
Portions of Piran’s old city walls run through the hill behind the Church of St. George. These walls date all the way back to the 15th century when Piran was still part of the Republic of Venice. After slogging your way up the hill, it's a lovely stroll along the remaining section of wall with stunning views out over the coast. This is a great place to watch the sunset from.
Just behind the wall is the local cemetery, which you will most likely find filled with beautiful and colourful flower arrangements.
Tartini Central Square (Tartinijev Trg)
Named after the Italian violinist and composer, Guiseppe Tartini, Tartini Square is a place for locals and tourists alike. You can while away hours having a drink or bite to eat hear while watching the locals go about their daily activities. We were here on a Sunday and the Square was filled with children having fun while their parents mingled. There are even benches where you can sit and enjoy a homemade sandwich or snack if you so prefer.
Wandering around the old town of Piran is an enjoyable experience on its own. The narrow cobblestoned alleys form a maze between the colourful houses. Take your time to meander through the area from Tartini Square and St. George's Church all the way to the tip of the peninsula.
Harbour Promenade & Rock Art
Don't expect a fancy promenade, the harbourfront is humble as suits a small fishing village and is very pleasant to stroll along. You will find quaint little fishing boats bobbing around the semi-circular harbour. Keep making your way around towards the Point of Piran, along with the harbour keys and 'beach' area. Here you will see some unique stone art which Piran invited artists to chisel into the limestone rocks along the coast.
The Point Of Piran (Piranski Svetilnik)
This scenic point is not only the point of Piran, it is also home to both a church and a lighthouse. It's a great place to watch the waves crashing over the rocks right at the point of Piran! If you have lots of time and energy, you may want to consider walking all the way from here to Strunjan, or perhaps just the nearby Fiest.
Swim or Sunbathe
Although Piran doesn't have a sandy beach, this doesn't stop the locals from enjoying the crystal clear waters. You will find people scattered and sunbathing all over the breakwater rocks and there is also a small pebble 'beach' area a little further towards the point. Just follow the locals and enjoy the sun and sea!
Walk From Piran To Strunjan
If you're looking for some exercise in the outdoors, you can walk all the way from the Point of Piran to the Penisular of Strunjan. You should cover about 5-6 km in one direction, depending on the route that you take. From Piran to Fiest is pretty straightforward and along the coast. From here you want to follow the 'bicycle trail' which is a dirt trail through shady trees and greenery, eventually leading you down some switchbacks towards Strunjan Bay and the Strunjan Saltworks. Here you can cut across the bridges making your way to Strunjan Beach.
Make your way up to the top of the cliffs of the Strunjan Nature Park, all along the coast and to the Strunjan Cross (Strunjanski Križ) Lookout point. On a clear day, you should easily be able to see Italy's Bay of Trieste. You can also make your way to the little beach at Moon Bay or on to a further lookout point to see the town of Izola.
If you've had enough walking, head to the Strunjan bus stop and hop on a bus to get back to Piran in time for sunset.
Dine On Fresh Local Seafood
There's no shortage of choice for restaurants along the Piran harbour promenade or around Tartini Square. There's also no shortage of freshly caught seafood in this small fishing village. Ask what the catch of the day is and enjoy!
Enjoy A Refreshing Ice-Cream or Beer
If you're not in the mood for seafood, why not enjoy a refreshing ice-cream or Slovenian beer along the harbour promenade. We deem mid-morning perfect for ice-cream and mid-afternoon perfect for beer! Because let's be honest, Piran has a distinctly holiday vibe to it!
Appreciate The Sunset
There's something special about watching the sunset over the Adriatic. Our favourite places to appreciate the sunset in Piran are from the harbour area or from the elevated Fortress Walls. Just be sure to make your way back down before it gets too dark.
HOW TO GET TO PIRAN, SLOVENIA
Ferries run from Venice, Italy to Piran, and from Piran to Rovinj, Croatia. Piran is also regularly served by bus from Trieste, Italy, and Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana. Buses run further south through the Istrian peninsula, but the area is quite rural and it might be better to rent a car.
We made use of the camper parking stop in the nearby Izola and took a local bus to Piran.