Even if the Slovenian coast of the Adriatic Sea is really small, only around 47 km in length, and is often in the shadow of more popular seaside destinations in the neighboring countries: Italy and Croatia, it is still a very interesting and beautiful place that definitely deserves your time.
Not only you can visit there old, historical towns with charming corners but also a few wonders of nature that will surely impress you. Not to mention the spectacular views stretching over three countries. When planning your trip to Slovenia set aside a few days in your Slovenia itinerary to explore the seaside and discover the Venetian heritage of the region.
After my recent visit to the Slovenian coast (another one, I’ve been returning there for a few years now) and when I found even more great places there, I think it’s time I put together this guide to the Slovenian seaside. If you think of visiting this corner of Europe and wonder what to see along the Slovenian coastline – read on and plan your own trip there. You will not be disappointed.
How to get to the Slovenian coast
The main place and the transportation hub of the Slovenian coast is Koper, a town of around 25.000 inhabitants and the only port in the country, located some 100 km away from Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.
You can easily get here by public transport, both trains and buses reach Koper, there are direct connections from within Slovenia as well as from Italy (mostly Trieste) and Croatia. From there you can use frequent buses serving other destinations along the coast.
How much time for visiting the Slovenian seaside
You need some 2-3 days to see all the attractions of the Slovenian coast, the area is pretty small after all. Add to that as many days as you wish for relaxing or for some side trips in the surrounding regions.
Where to stay at the Slovenian seaside
If you rely on public transport, you should stay in one of the main towns on the Slovenian coast: Koper, Izola, Piran, or Portoroz. Each of them has its own qualities: Koper is the largest one, Piran is the most beautiful one, Izola has its own charming Old Town too and Portoroz is the main seaside resort of Slovenia.
If you travel around by car, your options expand and you can choose from the more remote places along the coast or accommodations a bit further inland (yet with some great views).
You can book your accommodation in Slovenia here.
How to get around Slovenian seaside
The good thing about this part of the country is that everything is nearby (like in most of Slovenia) and the public transport works fairly well so you can easily get around between the places (and on the weekends and public holidays the tickets are crazy cheap, like 1€ for Koper-Piran bus).
You can also hike along the Adriatic coast in Slovenia to get to slightly less popular areas – the hikes are very easy, paths are clearly marked, and the views are rewarding! But no matter what you choose and where you go, you are in for a treat!
What to see on the Slovenian coast
With only less than 50 km of coastline, the Slovenian seaside is really small but packed with attractions, both historical and natural. Here are the best places to visit on the Slovenian coast.
Koper, the main city in the region and the entry point to the Slovenian coast, is often overlooked by tourists who only pass it by on the way to the more popular destinations. But even if at first Koper might look a bit too industrial (due to the main Slovenian port that is located here), the city actually has a long history and offers numerous attractions hidden in the charming Old Town. Koper is in fact the oldest town in Slovenia, dating back to Roman times, but over the centuries it has changed its layout and names a few times. The town has been also under different rules, the longest one being the Venetian Republic (1279-1797).
The oval-shaped Old Town of Koper, located near the port, is where you will find most of the attractions of Koper. The heart of the place is Titov Trg, the main square with the most beautiful building in Koper – Praetorian Palace – located there. It dates back to the 15th century and in the past, it was used for administrative and justiciary functions, today it is home to tourist information as well as the city council. For a small fee, it is possible to visit Praetorian Palace inside.
Another attraction of the Titov Trg is the Cathedral of the Assumption, originally from the 12th century (but destroyed by the earthquake and renovated afterward) this is the largest cathedral in Slovenia that is worth visiting for the peculiar mix of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles. Be sure to climb the bell tower attached to the cathedral, from the top you can admire the beautiful panorama of Koper and beyond. Inside you can also see one of the oldest bells in Slovenia, from 1333.
When wandering the narrow streets of Koper Old Town look carefully around for some interesting details and hidden traces from the past. Be sure to find also other attractions, such as the 17th-century Fountain Da Ponte (its design was based on the Rialto Bridge in Venice), Muda Gate (the only remaining city gate from the twelve that used to stand in Koper) or Taverna (the former salt deposit).
Once you are done with the sightseeing you can join the locals who enjoy wandering around the promenade, on a clear day you might even see the Alps from there!
Piran is, hands down, the most beautiful place to visit on the Slovenian coast (or maybe even in the whole country) as well as the most popular one. But the place gets all the attention for a reason. The centuries-long Venetian rule shaped the town and still today you can find numerous traces of that time in the remnants all over the city.
The heart of Piran is its main square, Tartini Square – a perfect place to sit down for a cup of coffee, do some people-watching and feel the place’s vibe. From here you can start your excursion around Piran, wandering around the narrow and winding streets of the Old Town and looking at the town from different viewpoints.
You can admire the stunning panorama of Piran and its surroundings from two of the town’s biggest attractions – the bell tower located next to the St. George Church (the replica of the San Marco Campanile in Venice) and the remnants of the city walls, originally from the 7th century. Both places offer a breathtaking view over the red rooftops of Piran and are definitely worth a climb.
If you want to properly enjoy Piran without too many people around it’s better to start your sightseeing in the morning, before 9 a.m. you will have the place mostly to yourself.
Located between busy Koper and popular Piran, Izola is often overlooked by tourists yet it is another interesting place on the Slovenian coast that is worth your time. The town is known mostly for its marina, the largest one in Slovenia, as well as the fishing tradition but you can also visit there a charming Old Town, typical for the region.
Izola is yet another place with long and interesting history dating back to Roman times. The Old Town is a perfect place to wander around the winding lanes, feel the vibe of the old times, and visit some of the town’s attractions, such as St. Maurus’s church from the 16th century or the Baroque masterpiece – Besenghi Degli Ughi palace. Izola is also the best place on the Slovenian coast to eat some fresh local fish and seafood.
Of all the towns on the Slovenian coast, Portoroz is the least interesting one. The place is located right at the border with Croatia and is known mostly as the most popular holiday seaside resort in Slovenia.
Even if the first settlements developed here already in Roman times, the town actually developed only in the 19th century, when it became a popular summer seaside destination in the Austria-Hungary Empire. Today you won’t really find any historical monuments in Portoroz, but it is a good place if you are looking for a relaxing getaway on the Slovenian coast.
Located some 4 km away from the Old Town in Piran, Strunjan Salt Pans is one of the biggest natural attractions on the Slovenian coast. Originally dating back to the 8th century, this is the northernmost, still operating salt pan on the Adriatic Sea, however, it is believed that the salt was extracted here already in Roman times. In Strunjan you can see salt pans – tanks in which water evaporates and salt settles, as well as three salt pits, which are monuments.
On the Slovenian coast, there is one more salt pans area – Sečovlje, located between Portoroz and the border with Croatia. This is the biggest salt pan in the country, with a history similar to Strunjan Salt Pans. Until the 20th century, there were as many as 400 saltworks here, which also had residential functions, today only a few of them remain. These days Sečovlje salt pans serve mostly historically and are a nice yet unique place to visit during your trip to Slovenia.
Nature Reserve Strunjan
When walking along the coast between Piran and Izola you will go through one of the most beautiful places on the Slovenian coast – Nature Reserve Strunjan. The hiking trail takes you to the top of the picturesque cliffs, with a stunning panorama of the Slovenian coast as well as Italy (you can clearly see Trieste from here). The cliffs are among the highest ones on the Adriatic coast, with a height of up to 200 meters – they are impressive both from the sea level and from the viewpoints on top.
In the Strunjan Nature Reserve, you will also find probably the most beautiful spot on the Slovenian Coast – Moon Bay, named after the moon-alike shape. Since this is still a rather geologically active area pay attention to the warning signs when wandering around.
Sadly, the beaches in Slovenia aren’t among the most amazing ones you can find along the Adriatic coast. They are usually rocky or even concrete and you hardly can find sandy ones around. The best area for relaxing at the beach is Portoroz but then these are the busiest ones. Fortunately, the Slovenian coast offers so many attractions and great places to see that spending time on the beach will be your last-seek activity.
What to see near Slovenian coast
While the Slovenian coast itself is a wonderful place to visit, there are some other very interesting destinations nearby that you can go to as side trips when spending time at the seaside.
Only 20 km away from Koper you will find a true hidden gem of Slovenia – the walled church in Hrastovlje. It was built in the 16th century to protect the local people from Turkish attacks. From the outside, the church doesn’t look that impressive but inside you will find spectacular Gothic frescoes from the end of the 15th century with the most famous one of the “Danse Macabre” (Dance of Death).
A little bit further you can visit Skocjan Caves – one of the most spectacular caves systems in the world and the UNESCO World Heritage site. The place is known especially for one of the largest underground river canyons in the world but the rest of Skocjan Caves offers even more attractions.
Those of you who enjoy wine will find the Slovenian coast and its surroundings even more interesting since this is one of the main and oldest wine regions in Slovenia. The most popular wines from this area are refošk and malvazija. You can visit some of the wineries in the region or you can go for wine tasting and shopping in Koper, at Vinakoper place.
While you are visiting the seaside of Slovenia you can also easily hop across the border and visit other interesting and popular destinations in Italy and Croatia. Trieste is only 25 km away from Koper and Croatian Istria is just across the border (my personal favorite place there – Rovinj – is 85 km by road from Koper).
Slovenia is one of my favorite countries to visit. I always love returning there to discover new places. Even if it’s such a small country it offers so much!
I published many articles about this beautiful country so if you plan your trip to Slovenia, you might find some of them useful and interesting:
- Slovenia Travel Guide – All About Visiting Slovenia
- Slovenia itinerary – places to visit in Slovenia in 3 – 10 days
- 30 Best things to do in Slovenia, according to travel bloggers
- 21 Amazing Things to Do in Ljubljana, Slovenia
- 17 Perfect Day Trips from Ljubljana, Slovenia
- 15 Great Things to Do in Maribor, Slovenia
- 13 Best Things to Do in Lake Bled, Slovenia
- 9 Wonderful Things to Do in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia
- and many more!
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