Best things to do in Piran
Find out more about those top places in Piran
Perched nearly a rugged peninsula jutting into the turquoise Adriatic Sea, Piran is undoubtedly one of Slovenia’s most historic towns. Influenced equally by Italian, Germanic and Slavic cultures, this picture-perfect seaside town is one of the Mediterranean’s true hidden gems. The tightly packed historic center is crisscrossed by enthralling cobbled lanes and peppered with baroque Austrian municipal buildings and Italianesque villas and piazzas. Piran’s most enchanting attraction is Tartinijev Trg, the atmospheric main square named after the 18th century Italian composer Giuseppe Tartini. Beyond this, a relaxing stroll around the town’s near-circular seaside promenade is irresistible.
Tartinijev Trg is the square at the bustling heart of old Piran and is named after the town’s most famous son, the composer, who is better known by his Italian name, Giuseppe Tartini. For classical music enthusiasts, tours of Tartini’s former home, which sits on the square, are available.
Built in the baroque style during the 17th century, Piran’s Cathedral of St. George is a highlight of any tour of the Slovene Riviera. Sitting astride a hill looking out over the Adriatic Sea, the cathedral can be freely explored while the nearby Parish Museum of St. George houses Piran’s holiest religious relics, including a silver figure of Saint George slaying a dragon.
The tip of the Piran peninsula is capped by the delightful Punta Lighthouse, which is built into the medieval Church of St. Clement. While the lighthouse itself is not of much interest, its setting is Piran’s most spectacular with the waves gently lapping at the shore and the entirety of the town’s medieval jumble of alleyways and plazas behind you.
For visitors interested in Piran’s complex history, head to the highly interactive Mediadom where you can explore the town’s story from its prehistoric origins to the expulsion of its Italian residents following World War Two and Slovenia’s declaration of independence from Yugoslavia.
The UNESCO World Heritage listed Škocjan Caves are a highlight of any trip to Slovenia. Once at the caves, you will be led on a two hour guided tour that will reveal underground caves bedecked in stalactites and stalagmites and raging subterranean rivers. With tours leaving regularly from Piran the caves are within easy reach from the Slovene Riviera and make the perfect day tour.
Perhaps the most visible reminder that Piran is little more than a short hop across the Gulf of Trieste to Venice is the stunning Venetian House. Built during the 15th century heyday of Venetian naval power, the house can be visited by guided tours that reveal the building’s romantic backstory.
One of Slovenia’s most important protected environments, the Secovlje Salt Pans are home to innumerable species of bird life who nest and winter amongst its brackish lagoons. Alongside this the pans are also important for the local economy with salt harvested today much as it would have been centuries ago. For the best experience, take an electric bike tour from Piran.