Piran- one small medieval town with a big heart

Piran air view

Piran is charm­ing  medieval town in the Gulf of Piran, south­west­ern of Slove­nia, you do not want to miss.  With 18.000 inhab­i­tants, some would say its tiny and so it feels like.

Kissed by the Adri­atic Sea, just like its sis­ters: Koper, Por­toz and Izola, it is one of the three major towns of Slove­nian Istria. More of Slovenia’s trea­sures here.

You will find Piran in the Golf of Tri­este, 22 km from the actual town of Tri­este.

Facts about the past of Piran:

In the pre-Roman era, Piran was inhab­ited by pirates who have dis­rupted Roman trade in the north­ern Adri­atic.

It is one the old­est towns in Slove­nia and is full of impor­tant Gothic archi­tec­ture, which reminds of Venice. Not sur­pris­ing, as the Vene­tians were home here for sev­eral cen­turies. Later it was an Aus­trian Hun­gar­ian city and between both world wars, this ter­ri­tory belonged to Italy and later to Yugoslavia and Slove­nia.

The bilin­gual signs in Slove­nian and Ital­ian are her­itage of the fact that here Ital­ian was the dom­i­nant lan­guage, until the mid-20th cen­tury, so both munic­i­pal­ity and locals speak Ital­ian. Mer­av­iglioso!

Piran is not a seaside resort as sand beaches don’t exist

But swim­ming is still at hand…

If you feel like wan­der­ing around in Piran, take a swim in the Adri­atic, and do not won­der where, as there are built stairs that help you get into the sea, every 50 meters or so. The long prom­e­nade by the sea is paved in con­crete and lying on it is not a com­fort­able feel­ing but swim­ming in the Adri­atic will make it worth it. Locals just lay a towel on the pave­ment or on the stones and bathe in the sun, in the sea or med­i­tate.

I have found a spot where there where many locals with dogs and took a swim in the sea, next to  bull ter­rier which gladly shared his water space with me.

The Harbor and the local people

Walk­ing trough the port of Piran you will spot the old fish­ing boats con­trast­ing with the big shiny yachts. There are two worlds there: one of fish­er­men that go off­shore fish­ing every­day at 4.00 am and return around 11.00 am to sell their catch to the local restau­rants and Piranesi. The other one is the world of the yacht tourist  that have noth­ing to do with the daily has­sle.

The best time to see it

Piran will be fled with tourist from June to Sep­tem­ber, but if you visit it in May, Sep­tem­ber or Octo­ber, you will have the chance to engage with the local fish­er­men, maybe try to join them on their fish­ing routes. If that’s your thing, why not?

The specials of the town

YS3A3111The magic of this medieval town comes with the small nar­row streets. The houses are so close to one another, that you can pass a cup of cof­fee to your neigh­bor on the win­dow.

Leave the Cen­ter with its Tar­tini Square and wan­der on the small streets. One of the charm­ing squares of Piran is The 1st of May Square or the Old Square (Piazza Vec­chia). It is the cen­tre of the old Punta and the  main streets of Piran meet here. Locals and tourists  come here for a glass of tra­di­tional red wine, or, in the sum­mer months,  for the musi­cal, dance and the­atre per­for­mances .

The Old Square was the admin­is­tra­tive cen­tre of the town until the 13th cen­tury. In the old munic­i­pal build­ing, which still stands today, you will find the restau­rant Fritolin Pri Can­tini. Here you can enjoy local cuisine in a famil­iar atmos­phere.

Piran eat

The place, which looks like a cabin on the seaside, with lil­liputian chairs and tables, is run by two merry women and they cook right before your eyes.

Just try their cala­mari with polenta dish, gar­lic sauce and local beer.

In the same 1st of May Square, you will see the St. Donat Church, built-in the first half of the 14th cen­tury (1325). It is still well-pre­served and its inte­rior is used as a gallery. The cen­tre of the square, has a stone rain­wa­ter cis­tern, which was built after a sev­ere draught in 1775.

Promenade walking

If you feel like prom­e­nade walk­ing, you can take the 3 km sea-shore trail from Piran to Por­toroz. Here rest in a cof­fee shop and then visit the 700-year-old Sečovlje Salina – a cul­tural mon­u­ment of national impor­tance.

The Sečovlje Salina is 650 hectares of salt pans and home to 272 bird species, mak­ing it the largest coastal marsh wet­lands and at the same time the most impor­tant Slove­nian local­ity from the ornitho­log­i­cal point of view.

Access by car

The cen­ter of Piran is a fortress where access by car is not allowed. The park­ing places, small and dis­persed, are to be accessed only by the locals based on a yearly fee. As a tourist, you have two store park­ing houses  with a 1.7 euro  hourly rate.

What to see in Piran in one day
  • Tar­tini Square, named by the town’s most famous res­i­dent, the vio­lin­ist Giuseppe Tar­tini who ran a music school in Piran, which was known through­out Europe.YS3A3075
  • Bell Tower (46.45 m)

    is the high­light of  your days spent in Piran. You will will have a 360 view above the city, see its hus­tle, but only hear the wind.  It was com­pleted in the year 1608, and is a smaller scale copy of San Marco Cam­panile in Venice, con­firm­ing the Vene­tian influ­ence in Piran. The ticket you pay to go up in the tower is one euro and even if it were twenty times more, it would be worth it.

  • Church of Saint  George is the next build­ing you will find near the Bell Tower and know that St. George is the patron saint of Piran. YS3A3234-2As a Chris­tian prince and knight from Capadoc­cia, and a saint and mar­tyr, he became a pro­tec­tor of many towns. Rarely is any saintly knight men­tioned so fre­quently in leg­ends and myths as he. Even the Dar­d­anelles were once named the Straits of St. George. In Eng­land alone, one hun­dred and sixty churches are ded­i­cated to this mar­tyr. He is depicted as a mighty young man in his knightly out­fit, on a white horse bear­ing his spear and a shield. The por­trait of St. George on his horse, fight­ing a dragon, is one of the best known and fre­quently used motifs in Chris­tian­ity.
Amazing Slovenia

Slove­nia is a tiny coun­try but def­i­nitely an exam­ple for the say­ing: strong fla­vors come in small bot­tles. The coun­try, has three UNESCO sites and six on the wait­ing list, 7.000 km of walk­ing trails, 97% of its sur­face is forest, 47 km of coast­line to the Adri­atic Sea and its home to the sec­ond biggest under­ground canyon in the world.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Wow, great article.Really look­ing for­ward to read more. Will read on…

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