Guide to Piran, the prettiest town of Slovenia’s coastline

Piran in Slovenia is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque towns in Istria and holds a long history on the short Slovenian Adriatic coast. With its charming old town, captivating history, and breathtaking views, Piran offers a unique blend of Mediterranean allure and Slovenian charm that’s sure to leave a lasting impression.

Updated January 2024.

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Several years ago, in 2013, we decided to vacation in Slovenia due to its proximity to Hungary. Our destination was Piran, a small town in Slovenia. Gathering information about Piran was a bit challenging as it was scattered across various sources. Therefore, I have compiled the most important details, which might be useful for those planning to visit Piran.

How to travel to Piran

If you are arriving by car from Hungary, Austria or the capital Ljubljana, you will need a highway ticket. Vignette for 7 days – 16 € in 2024.
If you arrive by plane, in addition to the international airport in the capital, Ljubljana, there is also an airport near Trieste. In this case, you should continue your journey by car. It takes an hour and a half to get to Piran from the Slovenian capital. From Trieste it takes only 40 minutes.

For the best car rental deals, visit DiscoverCars. DC has a great interface to find the best car rental price, they also offer 24/7 support and free cancellation.

To read about current fuel prices, check out the official website of Fuelo.

About Piran

Piran is a small, hilly city with narrow streets, making parking difficult. The city center (the old town) is accessible by car only if you pay the fee or have a special license (marked with a red border). We chose to stay in the garden suburb, there was no parking fee. Keep in mind that every part of the city can be reached on foot within a maximum of 20 minutes. You can opt for a large parking lot, such as Fornace, located 800 meters from Tartini Square, or a parking garage for approximately €15 per day. Another garage, the Arze garage, is situated on the hill next to the cemetery, and it takes about 15 minutes to reach the main square from here. The fee is €1.20 per hour.

Buses to the old town run every 15 minutes, making it convenient to access the center,Tartini Square, from the parking lot. Read about the price on the official website of Portoroz.

Piran

Piran itself reminded me of Rovinj, with its narrow streets, colorful buildings, and cozy, romantic atmosphere. However, it exudes a quieter and more family-friendly vibe with its restaurants and bars. The crowd has likely changed since our visit. For those seeking a vibrant nightlife, I recommend visiting Portoroz.

Being a coastal town, Piran is a seafood lover’s paradise. You can savor fresh catch-of-the-day dishes at local restaurants overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Be sure to try the local specialty, “piranski brancin” (Piran sea bass), for a taste of the Adriatic’s bounty.

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Let’s explore Piran’s attractions

Tartini square

The heart of Piran is its beautifully preserved old town, which dates back to the Middle Ages. As you wander through its narrow cobblestone streets, you’ll be transported back in time, surrounded by medieval architecture, historic churches, and charming squares. Don’t miss the stunning Tartini Square, named after the famous composer and violinist Giuseppe Tartini, who was born in Piran.

This square was originally a port and was later filled in during the 19th century to create the large square we see today. The main attraction here is the Town Hall, a neo-Renaissance building constructed in 1877.

Piran - Tartini square
Piran, Tartini square

1 May square

The 1 May Square is a significant public space located in the heart of Piran. The square is situated near the waterfront and the main entrance to Piran’s Old Town. It is a focal point for both locals and tourists and serves as a central gathering place in the town. At the center of the square, there is a statue of Giuseppe Tartini, one of Piran’s most celebrated historical figures.

1 May square, Piran

Church of St. George

The Church of St. George (Cerkev sv. Jurija) in Piran is one of the most iconic and historically significant landmarks in the town. Located on the northern edge of Piran, this church dates back to 1272. The church was heavily damaged in the 16th century and underwent two major reconstructions, the last of which was completed in 1818. While the church itself is located on a hill, it is accessible by foot from the town center.

Piran - Church of St. George

Walls of Piran

One of Piran’s main attractions is the fortified wall atop the hill. Since the 7th century, Piran has been surrounded by a strong castle wall. The wall underwent significant expansions in the 15th and 16th centuries due to conflicts between the Republic of Venice and the Turkish Empire in the Adriatic Sea. One of the main attractions of visiting the Walls of Piran is the panoramic view they offer of the town, the Adriatic Sea, and the surrounding area.

I highly recommend ascending the church tower and the Walls of Piran (Adults €3, Children up to 12 years of age: free), as it offer breathtaking panoramas of the city and the sea. More information can be found on the official website of Walls of Piran.

Piran

Beach in Piran

Regarding the beach, Piran may not have the fabulous beaches of your dreams. Instead, you can find spots around the old town where you can access the sea via concrete steps. There is a gravel section to the south, near the bus stop, and a more swim-friendly area in Fiesa Beach to the north, where you can find shade (around 4pm), a boardwalk, and amenities like a buffet and public toilets.

Beach of Piran

Portoroz

Portoroz, filled with hotels, casinos, bars, and comes to life at night with concerts and bustling nightlife. The bus fare to Portoroz from Piran is approximately €1.5, and buses run every 15 minutes until midnight. Alternatively, you can take the “city sightseeing little train” along the coast. Unfortunately, we were unable to try it due to its irregular schedule. The beach in Portoroz may not be everyone’s ideal as it offers sandy shores with rental sunbeds and large crowds. However, it provides ample opportunities for water sports and fun activities. More information can be found about city transport on the official website.

In conclusion, Piran, Slovenia, is a hidden gem that offers a perfect blend of history, culture, natural beauty, and gastronomy. Whether you’re strolling through its charming streets, indulging in fresh seafood, or simply basking in its breathtaking sunsets, Piran is sure to captivate your heart and leave you with unforgettable memories of this Adriatic coastal paradise.

I hope you find all the essential information here, and if you have any further questions, feel free to ask. But for now, let the photos speak for themselves…

Summary

Piran is a picturesque town in Istria, Slovenia, with a charming old town, captivating history, and breathtaking views of the sea. It is a small, hilly city with narrow streets, making parking difficult, but the old town is accessible by car only if you pay a fee or have a special license. The town has medieval architecture, historic churches, and charming squares, including the stunning Tartini Square, which was originally a port and was later filled in during the 19th century. The main attraction is the Town Hall, a neo-Renaissance building constructed in 1877. Piran has a quieter and more family-friendly vibe with its restaurants and bars, and is a seafood lover’s paradise with fresh catch-of-the-day dishes at local restaurants overlooking the Adriatic Sea. For those seeking a vibrant nightlife, visit Portoroz.

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