The Slovenian town of Piran sits on the peninsula of the Gulf of Piran, toward the top of the Adriatic. This far south-western corner of Slovenia is squeezed between the borders of Italy to the North and Croatia to the south, a distance as the crow flies of only 20km at the closest point.
It is true that Slovenia has a limited coastline, but the tiny seaside town of Piran has charm by the bucketloads. Lonely Planet suggests falling in love with this gem of Venetian architecture in April or October, but the end of May 2015 was a beautiful time to be there, with minimal crowds and gorgeous weather.
What You Will Find in This Post
Things to do in Piran Slovenia
Self Guided Walking Tour
Everything is within walking distance in the old town of Piran.
An overhead view showing Piran Harbour and Tartini Square.[pinit]
It is easy to do a self guided walk in Piran. See the map at the bottom of this post.
Tartini Square Piran
Start your walk at Tartini Square, where the mini-bus from the Fornače car park drops it’s passengers. Named after a local boy, the famous composer Guiseppe Tartini, this square was the inner harbour before being filled in 1894. The house where he was born is still in use in the square and has a small museum on the 1st floor. That’s his statue in the photo above. Museum closed Mondays.
You know I’m a fan of boats and harbours and I thoroughly enjoyed walking around this one.
Red Port Marker, Piran
Fishing nets on deck.
Hotel Piran. I liked the porthole windows.
From the port it’s a relaxing walk along the waterline, beside bars, restaurants and mermaid to Cape Madona or Punta Headland.
Lady of Health Church Piran and Bell Tower.
On the Cape is the Church of our Lady of Health with it’s interesting looking 19th century gothic revival bell tower. The Church was given this name during the 17th Century when Istria was busy fighting the Plague. On the seaside of the bell tower is a round stone building with light(house) attached while off-shore is an underwater area rich in marine life.
Go Swimming at Piran Slovenia
The promenade takes a turn to the right here, to even more waterfront cafes and an ocean swimming area. (We’ll come back here to watch the sunset later).
St. George’s Church Piran.
When the pavement runs out climb the steps to the road that leads to St. George’s Church. The walk is pleasant and the views on arrival are excellent. The Church is free to enter.
Climb the Cliffs of Piran
St. George’s Bell Tower Piran
The bell tower, shown here from behind, is a faithful replica of St. Mark’s Campanile in Venice and can be seen from most places in Piran.
Ticket on site (1 Euro).
As my head emerged through the trap door into the belfry the bells let loose. Whoah. I was too busy hanging on to cover my ears. It was an intense experience. The ticket seller will let you know the timing of the bells.
You can see the statue of St. George on the left.
The Old Town Walls Piran
Travel Tip – Old Town Walls
A word of warning here.
The entrance charge is 1 Euro. The change machine was broken and there was nowhere nearby to change money. Entry is by turnstile and as we only had 1 euro we squeezed through together. Many people climbed the hill only to find they didn’t have the required coin to enter.
The walls are not extensive but are in good condition, surrounded by pretty gardens and offer excellent views.
The view back to the Church of St. George.
Leaving the wall we visited the intimate Church of Madona della Neve with painting of Mary of the Snows.
Church of Madona della Neve Piran
Address Bolniška ulica 6330 Piran.
The Cloister of Friars Minor
We then stepped into the elegant simplicity of the Friars Minor cloister. Choir song hung delicately in the air giving me cloister goosebumps. Yes! there is such a thing. With those acoustics it is no wonder that these Renaissance porticos host summer concerts.
Address Bolniška 30 6330 Piran.
Explore the back streets and alley ways of Piran
Away from the coastline with it’s spruced up architecture, the churches are located in alleys where buildings take on a more casual appearance.
Watch a Piran Sunset
The setting sun paints the town golden.
Punta Headland is a favourite sunset place.
Looking toward Venice from Piran Slovenia.
Best Restaurants in Piran Slovenia
For a Budget Dinner
Fritolin Pri Cantini, Prvomajski trg 6, Piran, Slovenia
Calamari 8.50 euro. Tuna Salad 4.50 eruo.
And where to find it.
For a Budget Lunch
Pizzeria Petica, Župančičeva ulica 6, 6330 PIRAN – PIRANO, Slovenia
We found this pizzeria when looking for a more expensive seafood restaurant. The casual atmosphere and cheaper prices appealed to us. The clientele was a mix of locals and tourists and the meals were enjoyable.
Hotels in Piran Slovenia
95% of the time in Europe we stay with Airbnb for three days or more, but Piran was different. We could have come on a day trip from our base in Umag, Croatia, but I really wanted to watch the sun go down, stay for dinner, walk through the romantic streets and have a night cap in the cafe on the square before bed.
Vila Piranesi Piran
We arrived one morning and left the next so staying in the town centre – right on the harbour at Vila Piranesi – made sense. Booked last minute on Booking.com the one bedroom apartment cost 76 Euro. The position was fantastic and price reasonable. Our modern one room apartment was small, clean and the kitchen had everything required to self-cater.
Vila Piranesi is the pale pink building below.
Parking in Piran Slovenia
In-town-parking is only for the inhabitants of the town and requires a special permit.
The guests of the Vila Piranesi and other visitors park at the Fornače Car Park which is located just before entering Piran (Piran, Dantejeva ulica 12 ). The Vila gives a discount on parking at Fornače, if the fee is paid at the Vila Reception. This reduces the price to 7.50 Euro/day an excellent discount on the normal fee of 20 euro.
A free mini-bus collects passengers 30 metres from the ground floor of the carpark and delivers to Tartini Square.
History of Slovenia
Since the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991, Slovenia and Croatia have not reached agreement on their respective boundaries in the Gulf of Piran.