City guide: Piran, Slovenia

City guide: Piran, Slovenia

By Joji Sakurai

The port of Piran is a slice of unspoilt Venetian charm, with its superb bell tower, its maze of medieval streets and the elegant Piazza Tartini. It has many of the attractions of its more famous cousin, but fewer selfie sticks. The town, built on a headland in the Gulf of Trieste, is the jewel of a 50km stretch of Slovenian coast, on the northern edge of the Adriatic’s diamond-shaped Istrian peninsula. 

It may seem surprising to many that tiny, Alpine Slovenia even has beaches, and this general lack of awareness is one reason why its emerald waters, plunging cliffs and architectural outcrops of the Venetian empire have been able to hide in plain sight in the middle of Europe. 

At the same time, Piran’s waters are so clean you will find sea bream happily swimming in the port, while its Istrian hinterlands, with medieval villages clinging to cliffs, are known for succulent tomatoes, wild asparagus and white truffles that rival those of Italy. 

For an unforgettable treat, order an aperitif on the marina on a clear evening, and enjoy clear views of the Dolomites soaring up as a backdrop to its stunning Adriatic waters. 

Getting there
The Slovenian Riviera is a morning’s drive from Milan or Vienna, and half an hour from Trieste, which has regular flights departing from London. In the summer, there are direct two-hour ferries from Venice.

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