If you think Slovenia is all about mountains, you are wrong. In fact, the 47 km long Slovenian Coast has a couple of beaches, though perhaps not as impressive as other ones in the Mediterranean. Additionally, the country has three historical towns that are well worth visiting: Koper, Izola and Piran.
Through the centuries, Slovenia has been part of Italy, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Yugoslavia. Thus, the country’s architecture is varied and rich. Today, life here seems relaxed and quiet. Beaches are narrow and covered in pebbles, the food is great and, this is a big plus to us, Slovenia hasn’t been gentrified nor invaded by franchise shops. Easily accessible from Italy, the Slovenian seaside is a great surprise!
While many online portals advice against visiting Koper, we found it to be quite beautiful. Yes, it’s the biggest city on the Slovenian seaside with a big industrial area and a port, but it is also home to a splendid old town. On top of that, it’s not as visited as Piran or Izola so it feels very local.
The focal point of the Old Town is the large Tito Square. Though most of ex Yugoslavia’s towns renamed their squares and streets in the nineties, Slovenia kept the old name. On the square you will find three superb buildings: the Cathedral of the Assumption, the Praetorian Palace and the Campanile on the square. To the North of the Old Town there is a small beach, named Mestna.
Izola is something literally and figuratively in between. The city is located between Koper and Piran and doesn’t feel quite like a city nor as a small town. Once again, the Old Town is the most interesting part. It seems a bit smaller and less monumental than Koper’s Old Town. Nevertheless, the 16th Century St. Maurus’s Parish Church is truly interesting.
A lovely promenade full of bars and restaurants surrounds the old town. Additionally, there is a narrow stretch of beach. The whole atmosphere is laid back, with people eating, having coffee, sun soaking and swimming. We had a great time getting lost in the old town and watching older men playing chess by the sea.
Piran is arguably the most beautiful town on the Slovenian coast. Upon entering the magnificent Old Town you’ll spot a narrow beach packed with people. Continuing walking on the marina you get to the monumental Tartini Square. Be sure to notice the colorful Venetian House on the square.
There is another beautiful square in the Old Town: The 1. Maj. There are a couple of cool coffee houses and yet again, people chilling. Go up the hill and check out the Church of St. George, one of several interesting churches in town. You can climb the city walls next to it and enjoy amazing views of this charming city. Finally, you will find another small beach to the north of the Old Town.
Where to stay on the Slovenian seaside
When on the beach we like a real hotel in a great location and with nice views. After a thorough research we decided that Hotel Koper would be our base to discover the Slovenian seaside. The hotel has an old grand feel to it and our room had spectacular views to the sea. In addition, we were just off Koper’s main square amidst great restaurants. Since we didn’t have much time, staying near the bus station was important for both connections with Trieste and Ljubljana.
Portorož, other beaches and excursions
Granted, Slovenia doesn’t offer the most amazing beaches. All three historical cities have short narrow pebble beaches. Therefore, if you are looking for a beach resort you should check Portorož, just south of Piran. The beach is bigger so it’s full of fancy hotels and bars. On the other hand, if you are looking for a real natural beach, Moon Bay beach (Mesečev Zaliv) is the one for you. Take note that the bay is only accessible by car.
As you can see, Slovenia may be a small country, but it has a lot to offer. Do not rush through it and be sure to stop at Postojna Cave and Predjama Castle. We did and had a great time. Located just over an hour from the coast on the route towards the capital Ljubljana, both are unique and set in nice nature.