Piran, Slovenia – the little gem of the Adriatic

Piran is one of the most beautiful Mediterranean towns I’ve ever seen. Narrow streets, colorful houses, amazing atmosphere. Highly recommended!

Piran is situated on a peninsula of the same name. It’s quite easy to find it on a map of Europe, although probably it won’t be marked on it. But it is enough to find a part of Slovenia between Croatia and Italy, which touches the Adriatic. Slovenian coast has only 50 kilometers, so Piran is somewhere there, near the Italian Triest.

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source: fotolia.com

A bit of history

Before the period of the Roman Empire these lands were inhabited by fishermen and shepherds, as well as pirates, who enjoyed attacking commercial ships of the Romans. Piran and Istria peninsula became part of the Roman Empire about 175 BC (from this moment Romanization of the region started), and after the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD the area passed from hand to hand of successive leaders of various Illyrian  tribes. In 8th century the Byzantine Empire took over the Adriatic coast and fortified the town.

In those days evolved its name, which comes from the Greek ‘pyrranos’, or ‘fire’, and probably refers to the rock flysch, which is common in Piran’s area and has such a reddish color.

After a period of Byzantium in the 10th century Piran found itself inside the borders of the Holy Roman Empire, and in the 12th century came under the rule of the Venetian Republic, under which remained until the fall of the republic in 1797. During these several centuries most of the buildings in town were built, what helped the town gaining the nickname “the little Venice”.

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After the fall of the Venetian Republic, Istria and Piran became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and after its collapse in 1918 they passed under the rule of Italy. After World War II Piran was part of the Free Territory of Triest, and later was incorporated into Yugoslavia due to the plebiscite. Since 1991 it is a part of independent Slovenia.

Thanks to centuries of influences from Italy, Austria, Croatia and Slovenia Piran today is ethnically and architecturally colourful town worth visiting during Summer, Spring and early Autumn.

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What I liked in Piran?

I fell in love, I will not deny it. Piran is one of the most beautiful towns in the Mediterranean I’ve ever visited, even though we have been here during the high season, when it’s flooded by crowds of tourists. And who reads our blog for some time knows that I feel uncomfortable in the crowd and try to avoid peak seasons.

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After all Piran won my heart. First of all, I like here charming, picturesque buildings. Colourful houses rise above the narrow streets and it’s fun to get lost here, especially late in the evening. Piran captivated me too by it’s cleanness and aesthetic. Nota bene, Slovenia in general is very clean and kempt country, you can have the impression that they pattern themselves on Austria and it’s good for them!

I also fell in love in the panorama of the town from the walls and I recommend it on a clear, sunny day, when the colours become more intensive and triangular peninsula densely covered with red roofs contrasts with the sapphire sea crossed with white lines left by yachts and motorboats. Memorable view!

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What is more, in Piran we’ve eaten the best grilled calamari with butter and garlic so far! They were juicy and tender, literally melted in my mouth! We liked them so much that we’ve visited this place twice (they’re actually two restaurants in one place). I strongly encourage you to try calamari there (the place is called Cantina and Fritolin pri Cantini), because the price was not not that bad! In the tourist seaside town in high season for a seafood dish I would have expected more than 10 euros and we paid 8.20€ per portion. And because I just love seafood, we had to eat these delicious calamari again, just before we left.

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When to go, prices and costs, practical information

If it’s possible for us to go in shoulder or low season, it’s good time to choose. In high season (July and August), prices are a little bit higher, and you have to think about accommodation much, much earlier.

There is only one campsite in Piran, which is more like camping. It is quite small and cramped, with fenced ‘backyards’ with caravans, which have to be booked in advance. We managed to spontaneously find a place to pitch our tent, but only because the tent is quite small. There are only two plots for tents and they are so narrow and small. With big tent you have to be really lucky to spontaneously find a place there.

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Other accommodation options within the town are hostels and hotels. Prices in hostels dormitory start from about 20€. When planning a trip during the peak season, always book in advance. Well in advance.

The above-mentioned options are good for people who don’t use their own car (there are a lot of buses to Piran from Ljubljana buses, the journey lasts approx. 2.5 hours, but public transport is not super cheap), and for those with their own car, there is still an optional camping outside of Piran. It is larger, but requires to get to the town by car.

And here another information – because the streets in Piran are very narrow, and it’s not so many of them (besides crossing the entire city on foot takes about half an hour, so you can imagine how little the town is), visitors should leave the car in the paid parking at the entrance Piran. Price per day is 8-12€ and 60€ per week. You can enter the city by car, but daily parking fee is 24€.

The tourist information Tartini Square (Tartinijev trg) gives info about organized trips to caves or to Venice, etc.

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If you earn money in euros, dollars or pounds you will not be very surprised of the prices of food. I don’t think it would be expensive for you. However, remember that this blog is written by a Polish girl, and I don’t have any experience in earning money in other currency than zloty, so feel free to write in the comments below if you find prices in Piran and Slovenia high comparing to your country of origin. 🙂

Ah, I almost forgot! Beaches! Well, there is one (just near the campsite) and rocky (pebbled beach, not sharp rocks like in Croatia), but around the peninsula are platforms with ladders, where people normally swim in the sea. So you’re sitting in a restaurant, enjoying your seafood, and after a while you dive into the Adriatic. Isn’t it amazing? 🙂

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To sum up: Slovenia shouldn’t be very expensive to citizens of Western Europe or USA, Canada or Australia. Piran is cozy and lovely, but very crowded during the high season. Still, it is worth visiting. It’s a lovely town, just perfect for romantic strolls. 😉

Have you already been to Piran? What are your impressions? Would you recommend this town to others? Share your opinion in a comments box below!

piran

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11 comments

  1. Hi, this is a great post about Piran! Found it on Pinterest. I am from Slovenia, but been currently living in Germany, this post made me a bit homesick now – but in a good way 🙂
    About the prices: they are reasonable for western visitors (as you said), but are very high for local people (if you consider the average wages in Slovenia). And yes, I also go there for seafood whenever we get the chance to visit the coast in the summer 😉

    • Hi! Thanks for your comment! 🙂 Well, I’m from Poland so for me the prices are also bit high 😉 But I fell in love with Slovenia and would like to go back there soon! 🙂

      • Great! If you need any first hand advice about Slovenia, you can contact me through email or my website, I´m happy to help anyone who likes to visit my home country with some travel tips 🙂 I´ve been to many places, but never Poland – will be following your blog for some ideas!
        KAT ostatnio opublikował…Monday´s specials coming up soonMy Profile

        • sorry, i don´t know how that link ended up in my previous comment. You can remove it, since I can´t edit the comment 😉

  2. We are headed to Austria and Slovenia this year and will spend three nights in Piran. So looking forward to it. Your blog post makes me just that much more excited to go there. Thank you

  3. I’ve been there last summer with my girls and we are going again in two weeks! Can’t wait to finally return! I planned to do a blogpost about Piran too, so I was doing some research and discovered your blog. Your photos of Piran are amazing!
    We’ve also been to Fritolin pri Cantini and it was the best food we had during our weekend-trip. I can also absolutely recommend it!
    We prefer to sleep a little bit outside of town, near Fiesa (now I googled the campsite and it’s just around the corner ;-)). There are lots of apartments on the hill with a breathtaking view over the sea. If you come as a group, it’s definitely worth it. We even had a little garden with a terrace where we loved to spend the late evenings with a class of wine. It was a short walk to the beach and it was not that crowded like in the centre. From there you can reach the centre after a walk of 10-15 minutes on the Promenade. Also perfect: Most of the apartments near Fiesa have a private parking, so you don’t have to spend lots of money for parking.
    I am so looking forward to our next trip! 🙂

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