Piran is the jewel of the 50km stretch of Slovenian coast, nestled in the Gulf of Trieste on the northern edge of the diamond-shaped Istrian peninsula. It may seem surprising that Slovenia even has a coast, and that’s one reason why its emerald waters, plunging cliffs and Venetian outcrops built on narrow headlands have been able to hide in plain sight in the middle of Europe.
One need not stray far to find surprises in Piran. Even in the port, the waters are so crystal-clear you will spot sea bream and needlefish darting among the fishing boats; divers plunge right off Piran’s Cape Madona tip to explore a reef squirming with seahorses and exotic fish. On a clear day — after Bora winds have lashed the coast — you will be treated to the unforgettable sight of the Dolomites and Julian Alps rising above the Gulf of Trieste. But the charms of the Slovenian coast truly open up on treks along nature trails that fan out through pine and cypress woodlands hugging the craggy seafront from the Piran headland.
The richness of Piran’s outdoor activities is bound to make one hungry, and that’s a good thing, because its waters are alive with some of the tastiest fish in the Mediterranean. Slovenia has a salutary obsession with the environment — the Legatum Institute, a London think-tank, last year ranked it world number one in environmental protection — and that means its seas are the friendliest of habitats for aquatic life, especially since Slovenes are also scrupulous to avoid over-fishing.
This is also a community of culture, and on summer evenings the whole town comes together to enjoy open-air classical music concerts on the elegant Piazza Tartini. (by Joji Sakurai for Financial Times)
Tartinijev trg 15
6330 Piran, Slovenia
+386 5 671 10 00