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The Charm of Piran

  • July 31, 2017
  • By 50 Shades
  • 24 Comments
The Charm of Piran

We had arrived at our penultimate cruise stop, prior to reaching our disembarkation port in Venice, at the port of Koper in Slovenia. I guess we were all excited because we had arranged a cycling tour through the Slovenian countryside to the charm of Piran – a seaside village.

However, due to rain overnight, we were told that our cycling tour was cancelled because of wet roads (that we found no evidence of), and that we were joining another couple on a tour by car to Piran. We were not impressed because the ground around us looked decidedly dry and we were all looking forward to some fresh air and exercise.

Slovenia

The Charm of Piran

Views of Slovenia from a lookout outside Koper

I basically had no prior knowledge of this Central European country on the Adriatic Sea. Although I had heard of its capital, the almost unpronounceable Ljubljana, and the glacial lake of Lake Bled. Formerly it formed part of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia but became an independent state in 1992. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the northeast, and Croatia to the south and southeast.

Slovenia is a green country, with its location between the Alps, the Mediterranean and the Pannonian Plain. Over half of the country is covered with forests, boasts 50 parks and almost twice as many nature reserves. So you can understand why we were so eager to cycle through some of this lush green landscape.

Koper

The Charm of Piran

Praetorian Palace in Koper Old Town

Our day started and ended in the port city of Koper. This place dates back to the sixth century and was originally part of the Venetian Republic. When you think about it the Italian town Trieste is more or less a stone’s throw away and Venice is only 2 hours away.

The Charm of Piran

A Hotel in Koper Old Town

The town, apart from being a busy trading port has an old town with a central town square surrounded with secular and religious buildings from the 15th century. Praetorian Palace takes pride of place in Tito Square, the city bell tower adjoining the Cathedral of Mary’s Assumption with its romanesque structure and the Foresteria with the Del Corte Renaissance portal and the Armeria.

Piran

The Charm of PIran

The Palace Hotel in Portoroz

Our tour guide set off towards the seaside town of Piran that was only a half hour drive away through green pastures, valleys and forest. We drove through the seaside resort town of Portoroz, popular for its spas that offer therapeutic treatments based on the mud and brine from the nearby Sečovlje Salina salt pans.

The Charm of Piran

The Seaside Town of Piran

Piran was part of the Venetian empire from the late 13th century to the end of the 18th century and then part of Italy from 1918 til 1947.

The Charm of Piran

Piran Town Square

When we arrived at Piran we were immediately struck by the charm and beauty of this seaside town. Whilst our tour guide parked the car we strolled into the town square and felt as though we had stepped right into a picture postcard. Taking pride of place is the statue of the most famous man in Piran, the well-known Giuseppe Tartini, composer and virtuoso violinist who was born in a house just steps from the square.

The Charm of Piran

Fishing Boats in Piran Harbour

In the small bay fisherman were unravelling their fishing nets on the piers and locals were sitting by the sea, chatting and enjoying the warm sunshine and the sparkling sea. After a history lesson from our tour guide about Tartini Square and some of the buildings facing onto the square we set off on a walking tour through the narrow laneways of the town.

The Charm of Piran

1st of May Square in Piran

A short distance away we came to another square called 1st of May Square, formerly the Old Square, that used to be the administrative centre of the town up until the 13th century. In the centre of the square, there is a stone rainwater cistern, which was built after a severe draught in the year 1775 and at either side of the stairway to the entrance to the square are two statues – Law and Justice.

The Charm of Piran

Narrow laneways of Piran town

As we ambled through the town we learnt that most of the buildings possessed Venetian architecture and rich frescoes. We listened to legends and tales of the wealthy families of Piran.

The Charm of Piran

Buildings in Piran

The Charm of Piran

The Riva in Piran

Eventually we walked along the promenade or riva, lined by cafes and restaurants and made our way to Cape Madona and the small church of Cerkev Marije Zdravja, with Punta Lighthouse and the round, serrated tower of the Church of St Clement located at the rear on the point.

The Charm of Piran

Rock Sculptures at Cape Madona in Piran

The Charm of Piran

Small Church at Cape Modona

The Charm of Piran

Punta Lighthouse at Cape Modona

After a small climb we came to St George Cathedral, that afforded panoramic views back over the town and the sea. The cathedral was built in the 12th century with further additions in the 14th century. In the year 1637 it underwent a baroque renovation and the belfry and the baptistery were added in the year 1650. We queued up to have a quick look inside the cathedral with its seven impressive marble altars. For a small fee you can also enter the museum and bell tower to climb to the top.

The Charm of Piran

St George Cathedral Piran

The Charm of Piran

Views over Piran Town Square

Towering above Piran high up on the hill, are the old town walls that were built over a period of time in typical Romanesque and later on in Gothic style. The town walls were eventually completed between the years 1470 and 1534 and had eight crenellated towers with battlements. Our tour guide was not keen to take us higher up the hill, otherwise we would have scaled uphill to these walls to check them out.

The Charm of Piran

The Old Walls of Piran

Other things of interest to do in Piran are visiting the Aquarium, Sergej Mašera Maritime Museum, Museum of Underwater Activities and Magical World of Shells Museum.

The Charm of Piran

A restaurant on Piran Riva

The Charm of Piran

Relaxing on Piran Riva

After a delicious lunch of local calamari and a Greek style salad, it was time to return to Koper. Our tour guide took us to a couple of lookout spots where we got spectacular views over Izola, an old fishing town, and also over the port of Koper.

The Charm of Piran

Views over Izola

Although Piran was a charming town, we couldn’t shake off the disappointment of not being able to do the cycle tour. We felt a little ripped off and although the road trip was great, it wasn’t what we planned to do. Our day in Piran was memorable and we did enjoy visiting the little known country of Slovenia.

Linking up with Travel Photo Thursday

 

By 50 Shades, July 31, 2017 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
  • 24

50 Shades

Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

24 Comments
  • budget jan
    July 31, 2017

    I understand your disappointment about the cancelled bike tour. I like having a tour guide but it really annoys me when they won’t take us places (like the walls in your case). We loved Piran too. I enjoyed your photos – it is nice seeing a place through another lens.

    • Kathy
      July 31, 2017

      Yes we were really bummed when we found out our cycle tour was cancelled. The roads weren’t even wet and we think it was more of an economic decision, because there was only 4 of us. However we did find Piran to be a delightful town.

  • Ruth | Tanama Tales
    August 7, 2017

    Yes, it is a little bit hard when an activity is canceled (more when you were looking forward to that activity). Well, at least you were taken to a nice town. The architecture looks beautiful.

    • Kathy
      August 7, 2017

      Piran was a gorgeous little seaside town, but I would have liked to see more of the countryside in Slovenia and the cycling tour would have been the perfect way to do this. :)

  • Abigail Sinsona
    August 7, 2017

    Slovenia looks unbelievably gorgeous. Small European towns like this are my jam. Love the view by the seaside and the small town charm that it exudes – yes I can tell even just by the photos! I have always been intrigued by famous European cities like Dubrovnik and Prague, but this one is well worth traveling to, it seems!

    • Kathy
      August 8, 2017

      Slovenia is renowned for being a green country with lots of pretty countryside. We only got a small snippet of this country and would love to return to explore some more.

  • My Travelogue by Bhushavali
    August 7, 2017

    Too bad about the flopped cycling plan! But its ok, you got explore the city some way or the other! A place with history since 6th C? That’s totally my kinda place! The narrow lanes with cobble stone wall & arches around is so gorgeous! So much of heritage associated with it!

    • Kathy
      August 8, 2017

      We were terribly disappointed that we never got to cycle through the Slovenian countryside. For a country that is known for its beautiful green terrain it would have been most enjoyable. Piran was a very town with an interesting history.

  • Marvi of Osmiva
    August 7, 2017

    Too bad about the cancellation of your cycling tour. I’m sure it would have been more lovelier if your initial itinerary pushed through. Piran looks lovely indeed and your photos captured it! :)

    • Kathy
      August 8, 2017

      Thank you Marvi. It was a shame we never did the cycle tour, but sometimes when you travel you have to make the best of situations and we did exactly that.

  • Zoya
    August 7, 2017

    So much culture and history! What an amazing trip, I’ve never even heard of Piran but I would love to explore this old city and admire the beautiful historical buildings…and of course, pop in for a spa treatment at Portoroz. Nothing beats a bit of pampering!

    • Kathy
      August 8, 2017

      Oh yes the salt pan spa treatments sounded divine. We never had time to experience any of this, but it would certainly be top of the list for next time. Piran was a gorgeous little place.

  • Amrita Sen
    August 8, 2017

    The place looks beautiful. I really liked the photographs, especially the rock sculptures. Sometimes tour guides really don’t let us travel the way we want to, and that becomes annoying.

    • Kathy
      August 9, 2017

      There was so much more of Slovenia we could have seen that day so we felt decidedly ripped off. Our tour guide was certainly not the best as she only spent about one hour with us and then we were left to our own devices. However Piran was a beautiful place.

  • Amber Pittman | Wanderlust Conqueror
    August 10, 2017

    It’s a shame you didn’t get to go cycling through the forests of Slovenia! But Piran seems adorably quaint while being large enough to enjoy yourself. I could definitely see hints of Venice creeping through some of the building’s architecture. :)

    • Kathy
      August 10, 2017

      Piran was originally Venetian so there is a lot of influence there. It was a shame we didn’t get to cycle through the Slovenian countryside but Piran was the perfect alternative. :)

  • Michele {Malaysian Meanders}
    August 11, 2017

    That’s too bad that your cycling tour was canceled as it looks like lovely countryside to bicycle through. Luckily, the alternative plan still seems rather nice. That part of the world has certainly changed hands many times. The clock tower seems particularly Venetian to me. I wonder what the Magical World of Shells museum is like.

    • Kathy
      August 11, 2017

      Not sure. My husband went to the Aquarium but the rest of us preferred to sit on the riva and eat calamari and sip sparkling water! Piran was such a pretty place but it was a shame about the cancelled bike ride.

  • Paula - Gone with the Wine
    August 11, 2017

    Slovenia looks beautiful! I love all the European cities with their old towns and amazing buildings. Slovenia is definitely on my bucket list for the future when ever we have a chance to explore Europe more again.

    • Kathy
      August 12, 2017

      Europe certainly doesn’t lack historical buildings. Everywhere we travelled there were “old towns”, castles and fortresses. I really enjoyed our trip and would love to return to see Spain and Portugal.

  • Sandy N Vyjay
    August 13, 2017

    Slovenia is really beautiful. Piran comes as a revelation, so elegant and charming. Looking at the pictures of the square and the alleys of Piran, I had a sense of Deja Vu. They seem so much like Venice. The Italian influence seems to be present in each and every structure.

    • Kathy
      August 14, 2017

      Slovenia used to be part of the Venetian empire, hence the Italian influence. It was a very pretty place to visit.

  • Madhurima Maiti
    August 14, 2017

    I am absolutely new to Piran and this place looks so amazing! Awesome pictures :)

    • Kathy
      August 14, 2017

      Thank you. There are so many of unheard of places in the world and this is just one of them.

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