The nifty and the thrifty are planning their 2020 winter travel right now – when special deals are flooding in, and no one is panic-paying for a last-minute seat. If you’re wondering where to head when the weather turns chilly, look no further than Piran, a quaint town full of history in less-often visited Slovenia. And yes, we said ‘Slovenia’, not ‘Slovakia’! The two are often confused but are in quite different parts of Europe. Landlocked Slovakia hugs five borders, nestling between Hungary, Austria, Czechia, Poland, and Ukraine. Slovenia, on the other hand, borders the Adriatic Sea and offers a little slice of paradise in the form of the Istrian Coast.
Piran is the jewel in the crown of this 43-kilometre long coast dotted with peninsulas, little bays and nature reserves. Best of all, it’s a town that solo travellers will feel comfortable visiting. The cobbled streets are enticing, and there are numerous self-guided trails running through them. Stay 4-5 days in Piran and each afternoon will present you with new delights, most reachable on foot.
Visit Punta Lighthouse where you can sit back and sip a coffee in one of the adjacent cafes, or enjoy one of the creamy ice-cream cones the town is known for. And all the while, you’ll be entertained by a host of water enthusiasts skimming by on their kiteboards, paddling surf kayaks, or pulling back hard on the oars with a team of others ion a competitive rowboat.
Piran is an energetic town, and you have only to hire a bicycle to join others out for a joy ride along its wide, paved sea frontage. A magnet for the active, it stretches well beyond the town and along to pleasant beaches, indoor pools, and wharves alive with fisherfolk. Slovenians love outdoor activities and embrace them all, from skateboarding to scooter riding, and rollerblading to jogging. When you’re out and about, you’re never far from company.
A bicycle is handy for taking you a little further along the coast to Piran’s famous, historic salt pans. Established in 804, the entire salt harvesting area is now a public park where you can spend 2-3 hours looking at the industry’s early buildings and visiting its museum and gift shop.
When your legs are tired from biking, spend a day in the town centre. Visit the early morning market just behind Tartini Square to pick up one of the Danish-style pastries enjoyed in this part of the world, or a loaf of crusty bread to go with local cheese. Then head to the marina and watch the little boats bobbing while you have your breakfast picnic.
White marbled Tartini Square itself is worth spending time in. Essentially the heart of a walled Venetian town, each building in it will capture your attention and have its own story to tell. One, in particular, is significant as being the home of Slovenia’s famous violinist and composer, Giuseppe Tartini.
Finish off a day in Piran by taking one of the trails that lead to the picturesque park towering over the town’s tile clad rooves, and look out on what must surely be one of the Mediterranean’s most picturesque coastlines.