Piran

Piran is easily the loveliest place along Slovenia’s tiny slither of Istrian Coast, drawing inevitable comparisons with Venice which it echoes in many ways; only here there are no canals, the entire city is built on dry land, rising to a low hill, along which defensive walls are built. Within walking distance of Piran is the modern seaside playground of Portoroz, with its strutting crowds and concrete resort hotels. Popular with pleasure seekers and always crowded during the peak summer months, it may be a worthwhile clubbing spot if you grow weary of Piran’s more restrained nighttime tavern activity. North you’ll find two more Italianate ports, Koper and Izola, neither of which is nearly as nice as Piran.

Piran is the closest neighbour of Portoroz, the luxurious city of flowers, and is only 20 minutes walking distance from Kempinski Palace Portoroz. Take a closer look at Piran’s architecture, influenced by the Venetian Republic, which left its mark on most Istrian towns. Throughout time, Piran maintained the clustered medieval structure narrow winding streets, houses huddled close together, numerous squares and churches. Besides the visit of the Saint George’s Church, there is interesting to see Tartini Square, named after the famous violinist and composer Giuseppe Tartini, who made the town world-famous, galleries, museums, Piran Aquarium and the circular wall, which is surrounding the town. Piran is as well a member of the European Walled Cities Association.

For a full-on view of the town, start at its inland perimeter wall up on Mogoron Hill. These defensive walls are believed to date from as far back as the 7th century, attaining their present form in the 16th century; today you can climb up the Gothic towers and look back at the town and Piran Bay.

One worthy excursion if you have the time and you want to escape the crowds that pack Piran in the summer is a trip to the nearby Secovlje Salina Nature Park, right on the Croatian border. Here, natural salt is harvested from the sea using the same techniques practiced as far back as the 14th century. The protected wetland area, consisting of salt fields and mudflats, is also home to unique salt-loving plants, specially adapted fish, and over 270 bird species.

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