Exquisite. That’s the word that would probably come to my mind first if someone mentioned this tiny Slovenian town to me now.
At first glance it seemed overrated. I’ve read so many good reviews about this place and the second I arrived and needed to look for the park place for more than half an hour first at the city centre and then in a parking building…well, I was kinda frustrated. But already a few minutes after getting on a free shuttle bus I knew I’m gonna like it. The view from from the road to the town square with all those colourful majestic buildings, marina with expensive yachts in front and the tower bell on the top caused, that I lost my breath.
The only thing I didn’t like was the amount of people everywhere. One would never say, that such a tiny, and quite private, town in Slovenia would get such a recognition, but I guess it did. Well, it was not as bad as in for example Paris, but still…too much. Most of them were bathing in the sea. They didn’t know what I knew, and what you’ll know too now…the most beautiful and cleanest beaches are just 7km away, in the lovely Isola. Which is 70% more quiet and vacant than Piran. But pssst…otherwise it’ll be as full as Piran in the next couple of years, too. 😉
The capital thing in Piran is the main square, known as Tartini square as well. In the middle is situated a monument of the appreciated violinist and composer Guiseppe Tartini who was born here. The square used to be only a tiny dock for small fishing boats; it was located outside the first city walls. Later it was renovated, the dock was buried and it became a real square, surrounded by important buildings and palaces. One of the most interesting buildings there, the so-called Benečanka (Venetian house) is a typical Gothic Venetian-like house with cornices above the windows and over-embellished exterior. It used to be bright red and visible from the distance, however, it was repainted cream and you can’t identify it with the first glance. Otherwise are there located many restaurants, cafés and bars. It’s nice to sit in all of them, because of a romantic atmosphere which the square radiates.
A few steps away right by the marina is in old, also Venetian-like building, located the Aquarium, also known as Akvarij Piran between the locals. I’ve read some bad reviews about it, so I want to make it clear. The price may seem too high (5€ for an adult if I remember right) considering the fact that it’s quite small, but if you like the underwater world, and you really know something about those species, it’s a great way to spend an hour or so in bad weather for example for you. I like fish and I’ve got some knowledge about them, so I really really enjoyed it there. But if you think of it only in the “must-see attraction” way…well, then you might be disappointed.
I thoroughly recommend you to not to stay only by the beach, but also take some steps and head to the upper part of the town. You’ll not only get to see nice colourful architecture and many artists offering their work, but you’ll also get a chance to try the local seafood way cheaper than on the main square. For example this restaurant right here:
I honestly can’t tell you where exactly it is located because I have no idea, I randomly wandered to it and liked the design so I stayed, but I’m sure that if you’ll take some time and not only run to the dominant of the hill and back, you’ll find it. And the food was amazing there!! Even the small fish in the kids menu were from the real fish, not all that stuff and Es you get to buy in supermarkets.
If you guessed the dominant of the town is the church like in every old Gothic town, you guessed it right. The Saint George’s Parish Church is a Roman Catholic church built in the Venetian Renaissance era. On the top of its bell tower is an overview that offers you amazing panoramic view around the whole town (those terracota roofs are just magical!!) and the Adriatic sea. It’s got very steep and narrow stairs and it’s a bit hard to get up and then back down, so I’d recommend you to choose a reasonable time for your visit – either in the morning or later in the afternoon.
From the tower you can also see another “touristic spot” in the distance. The limestons City walls, or their ruins to be more exact, are probably the most eye-catching thing there. Their still well-preserved and open to public all the time, but I’m not sure if they’re worth walking around in such hot sunny weather we’re facing nowadays. As for me, it was better to only take a look at them from the bell tower, but it’s only up on you 🙂
Another thing you may see from the tower is a decreasing promenade down to the beach. It looks great from the top (the combination of blue-green-yellow), but if I were you, I’d stay only on the upper part of the road. Beneath is namely the FKK beach and when descending too much, you’ll see the naked people sunbathing, bathing or running. I was curious and walked down and well, it was interesting 😀 mostly the gazes of some people when I was later walking back up laughing.
And that’s still not all…at the tip of the peninsula is situated another panoramic overview, that can be seen from the bell tower, too. The Piran lighthouse (Piranski svetilnik) offers you a view over the nearest houses and the beaches.
When getting there, be sure to walk by the streets between the houses rather than the beach promenade. Not only because of the strong sun, but also because you may find many hidden gems in the streets. Arches, fountains, marbled statues, blind aisles, extremely narrow buildings and of course, many amazing local restaurants and bistros.
Don’t forget to try vongole spaghetti along the way! They’re waaay too good. And when you’d get a lust for bathing in the sea…wait! On the local beaches aren’t any trees under which you can hide at all and they are all rocky anyways, rather take a bus or go back to your car and drive it to Isola, the beaches in Simon’s Bay are beyond compare.
Have a great day!