A Day Trip to Piran, Slovenia - Al Fresco Holidays
Piran is one of Slovenia’s most popular towns, and not without good reason. It remains one of the best-preserved historic towns in Europe and has a picturesque charm that frequently proves impossible for visitors to resist.
Clinging to the northern peninsula of Slovenian Istria, the Venetian influence on the architecture is immediately noticeable; with the soaring bell towers, terracotta roofs and elegant renaissance style buildings. However, to say that Piran is merely a carbon-copy of an Italian city would be unfair. The town has its own distinct personality, with narrow, meandering streets and several pretty squares, hidden in the labyrinthine network of roads and alleyways.
The town still has its medieval wall and is virtually surrounded by the sea, which very much adds to its charm. If you’re staying near Venice or holidaying in Istrian Croatia, Piran is an excellent option for a day-trip. It’s easy to reach and there are plenty of things to see and do whilst you’re there.
Things to Do on Your Day Trip to Piran
1. Meander through the city. Part of Piran’s considerable charm is its atmosphere. Whilst there, take the time to wander through the streets and soak up the ambiance, before stopping for a drink in one of the many small squares within the town.
2. Visit Tartini Square. Tartini Square, located in the heart of the town, is also one of Piran’s most photographed areas. The beautiful square is surrounded by buildings influenced by both Venetian and Austrian styles, and it has wonderful views of both the cathedral and the harbour. It’s also often a hive of activity, with markets, buskers and plenty of restaurants serving excellent cuisine.
3. Climb the old town walls. For the best view of the town and the sea beyond, head for the old town walls. The climb is steep (unsuitable for those with mobility issues) but well worth it. Once at the top of the wall, you’ll be treated to an uninterrupted 360˚ view of the town below.
4. Cathedral of St George. Piran’s cathedral is a real gem and worthy of visiting when exploring the town. Externally, the cathedral has a tall, Venetian-style campanile tower which reaches high above the entire town, and also has an austere Baroque façade. Art lovers will appreciate the interior, with the impressive decorated ceiling and statue of St George slaying the dragon.
5. Have a pizza in Tartini Square. Piran, although different to Italy in many ways, openly recognises the influence that the country has had upon it. This is very much evident in the cuisine; and a pizza in the excellent pizzeria in Tartini Square is likely to be a hit with all the family.
6. Piran Aquarium. Piran’s aquarium is appealingly petite in size and only takes about an hour to walk around, making it a good option to include on your itinerary. It contains about 24 tanks, featuring approximately 140 sea creatures.
7. Rent a boat at the harbour. Piran’s coastline is picture-postcard pretty, and the best way to see it is by boat. If you visit the harbour, you’ll find a few boating companies who will be happy to take you on a sailing trip around the shores of the town and further afield.
8. Visit the Holy Trinity Church at Hrastovlje. If you have the time, visit the neighbouring village of Hrastovlje, which is home to one of the most remarkable churches in the country. The building, which dates back to the 12th century, is most famous for its frescoes of the ‘Danse Macabre’, or as it’s sometimes known, the Dance of Death. The fresco was accidentally discovered in 1949 after years of being hidden under thick layers of plaster.
How to Get to Piran from Croatia
If you’re staying in Croatia and want to visit Piran for the day, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s easy to cross the border and explore the town. Although you can’t make the journey by train, there are plenty of buses in operation in the area and the journey takes approximately an hour and a half from Pula. At the border, you’ll need to show your passport.
If you’re looking for a holiday park near Pula which offers a good location from which to visit Piran, the CampingIN Park Umag is a relatively short drive away, and has a range of excellent facilities for the family, including a large swimming complex and entertainment for the kids.
Getting to Piran from Italy
Alternatively, if you’re enjoying some time near Venice and want to visit Piran for an extended trip, you’ll need to catch the ferry. The ferry takes approximately 3 hours and again, you’ll need to show your passport in order to enter the country.
A great holiday park to stay at whilst in Italy is the Sant Angelo Village, which is only 33 miles from Venice. It’s also located directly on the beach and has a large lagoon-style pool, making it a popular choice with families.