Slovenia's coastline on the Adriatic may be short, but it includes one unquestionable highlight: the delightful town of Piran. The old town occupies a tapering headland jutting out to sea, and ending at the historic lighthouse at Punta.
The old town's focal point is the breathtaking architectural ensemble of Tartini Square: the square was created by filling in part of the town's marina and contains a statue of the Baroque composer Giuseppe Tartini (we listened to his "Devil's Trill Sonata" over coffee in the square), who was a native of Piran. The square is ringed by beautiful Venetian-style buildings of all centuries, many of which of course host cafés.
The town's Venetian past is further evident in the architecture of the main parish church of Sveti Jurij, which occupies a high ridge above Tartini square. The church tower can be climbed up a rather wobbly staircase, and offers an amazing view over the town and out across the sea to the Croatian and Italian coastlines: you will have the noisy company of the church's rather over-active bells.
Piran has rocky beaches (including concrete piers for swimming) on both sides of its headland: though the Southern beach with its row of restaurants is more photogenic, we found the water on the town's Northern side cleaner and less wild.
Piran's cuisine has most in common with the rest of the Northern Adriatic: we think you will like the countless variations on fish and seafood, risotto and fresh vegetables.
Some recommended places to eat:
- Stara Gostilna: excellent array of local seafood dishes, served in a simple but tasteful manner. Your meal will include free digestives.
- Pri Mari: leafy Italian-style restaurant by the town's exit, especially known for its pasta and risotto dishes.
- (a bit out of town, but well worth the trip) Gostilna Korte: the best fish soup in the world (so far), as well as other amazing regional meat and fish dishes. Located in Korte, a small hilltop village above Piran's neighbouring town of Izola.
More than any specific sights, Piran's townscape itself will enchant you: simply wandering through its narrow streets by day or by night is delightful.
Do you recommend any other towns for seaside holidays?