Slovenia shares only 29 miles of the Istria Peninsula coast before it crosses over into Croatia. Within this stretch of the Adriatic coastline are the three major towns of Koper, Izola and Piran. The quaint Old Town of Piran, Slovenia is my favorite and is also an extremely popular destination for local Slovenians and vacationing Italians during the warm summer months.
Piran is a vibrant town with colorful Venetian architecture, a bustling harbor, delicious seafood and panoramic viewpoints.
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Piran, Slovenia Map: Where is Piran Located?
Piran is located in the southwest corner of Slovenia along a small stretch of Slovenian Istria on the Adriatic Sea.
Due to Piran’s location close to the border of Italy, you can see strong influences in the architecture and food. In fact, for 500 years Piran was actually part of Italy and Italian was the official language.
The main area to visit in Piran is the compact section of the Old Town. Within this small area you’ll find all of the best things to do within walking distance from the bustling harbor.
WHAT TO DO IN PIRAN, SLOVENIA
Explore Tartini Square in the Heart of Piran
Tartini Square, named after Slovenia’s famous violinist and composer Giuseppe Tartini, complete with a statue of Giuseppe himself, is situated in the heart of Old Town facing the horseshoe shaped harbor.
This will most likely be your first stop in Piran since it is the first square you’ll enter from the harbor. Within in Tartini square you’ll find many of Piran’s iconic buildings. The most distinctive being the vibrant red Venetian house which is reminiscent of the Italian style architecture.
Visit the Church of St. George
Situated at the top of the hill, overlooking Tartini Square and the narrow streets of Piran is the Church of St. George. To reach the Roman Catholic Church you will follow the winding, cobblestone streets until you reach the large grassy area on top of the hill. The entire area offers stunning views of Piran, the Adriatic sea and the nearby coastlines of Italy and Croatia.
Climb Up the Bell Tower for Views of Piran, Slovenia
Overlooking all of Piran is the campanile of the Church of St. George. The large bell tower is located at the end of the cobbled street that twists behind Tartini Squares distinctive red Venetian style home.
Dating back to the 12th Century, the Church of St. George and its’ bell tower (campanile) allow visitors to climb up 146 old, wooden steps for stunning panoramic views over all of Piran.
Modeled after the iconic Campanile located in St. Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy. The cost to enter and climb the campanile is only €1 which is well worth the cost for the spectacular views!
Stroll Along the Seaside and Swim in the Adriatic Sea
Make your way back down from Church of St. George and explore more of the town by the waters edge. But not before peeking over the walls to watch vacationers frolic around Piran’s tucked away pebbled beaches. But be warned, the Europeans sometimes like to bear all when at the beach and Piran was no exception.
Being there in July, we were able to bask in the towns summer-night ambiance as the narrow, winding streets were bursting with life. In the summer, this tiny coastal town is buzzing with vacationers all there to do nothing more than sit back and relax.
Groups of sunbathers lounge on the large, piled sea break rocks that encircle the peninsula or find shade in the shadows created by the colorful, well-worn houses that crowd the towns center.
As we walked along the waterfront we wished we had had our swimsuits because the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic Sea looked ever so inviting. Along the walking path you’ll find many built in steps that lead directly into the sea. This makes is super easy to get right in and enjoy the refreshing water on a hot summer day.
Lining the concrete promenade that borders the sea are numerous outdoor restaurants, delicious gelato stands, and cute shops stocked full of Slovenian crafts and clothing.
Wander the Cobblestone Streets and Visit the May 1 Square
After walking along the seaside head back towards the peninsulas point, marked by the lighthouse at the tip and stop at May 1 Square. Here is where multiple cobbled streets converge and numerous fresh seafood restaurants can be found.
Where to Stay in Piran, Slovenia
There are many options for accommodations in Piran, Slovenia which cater to all budgets. During one of my trips to Piran I stayed at Art Hotel Tartini which is located in the heart of the main square. Many of the rooms offer stunning views of Piran’s Old Town and the adjoining harbor. Art Hotel Tartini was fully renovated in 2018 with updates to all the rooms, restaurant and lobby.
I stayed in their largest room which comes with a spacious terrace and panoramic view of Tartini Square.
If you stay at Hotel Tartini you should definitely opt for a seaside room with a balcony. While you’re there make sure to check out the rooftop garden, especially if your room doesn’t come with a view. A large continental breakfast is included as well as free wi-fi and air conditioning. They are also pet-friendly.
Best Place to Eat in Piran, Slovenia
If you’re looking for a cozy, family run restaurant that serves some of the best seafood in Piran then you should visit Restaurant Neptun. Their fresh seafood comes straight out of the Adriatic and I can highly recommend the grilled squid!
Restaurant Neptun is tucked in one of the narrow side streets of Piran, Slovenia. Luckily there is a sign near the harbor directing you to their restaurant. But just in case it’s hard to find, their address is: Župančičeva ulica 7, 6330 Piran, Slovenia and you can enter Restavracija Neptun on your GPS.
How to Get to Piran, Slovenia
The small port town of Piran can reached by car, bus or ferry.
Driving to Piran
Driving to Piran is the easiest option of the three and the one I would recommend. You can rent a car at your arrival location whether in Italy, Croatia or Slovenia. The roads are easy to navigate and very well maintained. They drive on the right side of the road in Slovenia.
If you are driving on the autostrada you need to know that the left lane is the fast lane. Therefore, if a car comes up behind you then you need to move out of the way to allow that car to pass.
Just remember that the town of Piran is a car-free zone and you will need to park at one of the designated parking garages just outside of town. I’ve included all the information about the parking garages below.
Taking a Ferry to Piran from Italy
Another option is to take a scheduled ferry from the port in Venezia (Venice) or Trieste to Piran.
There is currently only one company that runs the route from Venice to Piran called Venezia Lines and they only have seasonal departures. The ferry only runs one time per week during the high season and takes 2 hours and 45 minutes to arrive in Piran.
» You can find the ferry information for Venezia Lines HERE.
Additionally there is another ferry that runs from Trieste to Piran and takes around 40 minutes. The company is called Liberty Lines and only runs seasonally as well from June through September. The ferry departs on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
» You can find all the ferry information for Liberty Lines HERE.
Getting to Piran by Bus
You can also arrive to Piran, Slovenia by taking a bus from some of the larger nearby towns. The two most common are Trieste in Italy and Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.
The public bus from Trieste to Piran takes just over 1 hour and runs Monday through Friday.
» Arriva is the bus company and you can find the schedule and rates HERE.
The public bus from Ljubljana to Piran runs frequently with buses leaving every day. The journey takes anywhere from 2 hours 20 minutes to 3 hours depending on how many stops the bus will make along the way. To reach the bus station type in Avtobusna postaja Ljubljana on your GPS or maps.
» The bus schedule and tickets for Ljubljana to Piran can be found HERE.
Where to Park in Piran Slovenia
The Old Town of Piran is actually a pedestrian only zone which means no vehicles are allowed to enter or park within the Old Town or near the harbor. However, you are allowed to drive alongside the harbor for a short period of time to unload or load luggage.
Due to the pedestrian only zone, there are multiple parking lots located directly outside of the city. These parking lots or garages offer free shuttle bus services that charter visitors to the Old Town every 10 minutes. You can also walk around 10-15 minutes from the parking garages into town.
We parked at Garage Arze, another option is Garage Fornače. As you approach the town the road will curve and you will see a parking garage structure on your left. Just take a ticket and squeeze your vehicle into one of the many “compact” spots. Inside the multi-floored parking complex you’ll take the elevator to the lowest floor and exit the building to catch the shuttle bus.
The free shuttle buses drop you off and pick you up right at the entrance to Tartini Square across from the marina in the center of town.
Driving Tips for Visiting Slovenia
- You will need to purchase a Slovenian vignette (road tax) prior to driving through the country. The cost for a 7 day vignette is €15 euro but you can also purchase vignette’s for longer lengths of time.
- A Slovenian vignette can be purchased at any designated gas station or rest stop before reaching the border. There are large signs out front advertising the sale of vignette’s so you’ll know where to stop.
- The vignette must be displayed on your car’s windshield in the upper left hand corner.