Best Things to do in Piran Slovenia

6 Great Things to do in Piran, Slovenia

Julie Slovenia 8 Comments

Most of Slovenia is landlocked, with the exception of a tiny sliver of land that stretches out to the Adriatic Sea. Called Slovenian Istria, there are three small coastal towns that dot this short but beautiful coastline: Koper, Izola, and our favorite, Piran. With a colorful main square, medieval walls, a bustling harbor, and lots of great seafood restaurants to choose from, Piran is one of Slovenia’s best small towns to visit.

Piran in August

A Quick Overview of Piran

For 500 years, from 1283 to 1797, Piran was part of the Republic of Venice. After 1797, Piran bounced back and forth between Austrian, French, and Italian rule and in 1954 it became part of Yugoslavia. Since 1991, Piran is part of Slovenia.

Until the mid 20th century, Italian was the official language. Much of the architecture and food in Piran have very strong Italian influences. If you look on a map, it is just a short drive to Trieste, Italy and not much farther away is Venice.

Map of Piran

Best Things to do in Piran

Visit Tartini Square (Tartinijev trg)

Tartini Square is the main square in Piran. It is named after Guiseppe Tartini, an Italian composer and violinist, who was born here.

Tartini Square

Piran Tartini Square

On three sides, colorful buildings surround the square. The fourth side of the square opens up to the harbor.

Until the end of the 19th century, the square was filled with water and this was part of the original port. In 1894, platforms were added and more buildings were constructed, forming the square as we see it today.

The Church of St. George

Climb up the hill behind Tartini Square to visit the Church of St. George.

Modeled after St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, this church is a great spot to get unique views over Piran and the coast. From the yard that surrounds the church, you can look down at the small slivers of rocky beaches that surround the old town. Off in the distance, you can see the Italian and Croatian coastlines.

Church of St George

Piran Church and Bell Tower

Piran Beach

Climb the Bell Tower

For the best view of Piran, climb the bell tower. It is 146 rickety steps to the top and your reward is a 360° view over Piran, Slovenian Istria, Italy, and Croatia.

This is the best spot to get an aerial view of Tartini Square.

Tartini Square Piran

Piran Bell Tower View

Gulf of Trieste

Piran Old Town

This tower is a great example of the Venetian influences on the architecture in Piran. The bell tower is a smaller-scale copy of the San Marco Campanile in Venice. It is located at the Church of St. George.

Cost: €1

Walk the Medieval Walls of Piran

While Piran was part of the Republic of Venice, these fortifications were built to protect the town from Turkish invasions. These walls date back to the late 15th century.

For another unique view over Piran, you can walk this short stretch of medieval walls. It is an uphill walk to get here, and it can be very hot in the summer months, but it is worth it for this view.

Piran Walls

Piran from Medieval Walls

Cost: €2
Hours: 8 am to dusk

Wander through the Old Town

The old town is a maze of narrow cobblestoned lanes and colorful houses, especially in the area between Tartini Square and the end of the peninsula. No maps are needed since it is small and compact. It won’t take long until you pop out onto a beach or wind your way back to Tartini Square.

Cobblestone Lane

Explore Piran

Flowers in Piran

Dine on Fresh Seafood

The most popular item on the menus in Piran is seafood. Take your pick from a number of great restaurants in town.

Seafood in Piran

Pirat. This is where we ate lunch. They serve a wide range of seafood dishes and the portions are large. Pirat is located right along the harbor, just a few minutes walk from Tartini Square.

Fritolin pri Cantini. Located in the maze of streets that make up the old town, this great budget restaurant serves delicious seafood dishes. This restaurant gets rave reviews and some people even say they had their best meal in Slovenia here.

Casa Nostromo Restaurant and Lounge Bar. This is a pricier restaurant but it makes a great place for dinner and drinks. They have a great wine list and a wide range of seafood dishes.

How to Get to Piran

Piran is a popular day trip from Ljubljana. From Ljubljana, you can take the public bus to get to Piran. It takes roughly 2.5 hours one way and buses leave hourly.

From Trieste, the public bus takes 1 hour.

Having a rental car is the most convenient way to get around Slovenia and the Istrian Peninsula. Here are driving distances and times from nearby destinations:

  • Ljubljana, Slovenia: 120 km, 1.5 hours
  • Trieste, Italy: 37 km, 45 minutes
  • Rovinj, Croatia: 80 km, 1.25 hours
  • Venice, Italy: 200 km, 2.5 hours

There may be additional time for border crossings if you are coming from Italy or Croatia.

About Parking. Unless you are staying at a hotel that offers parking, you will not be able to park your rental car in town. There are two parking garages for visitors located outside of the old town. We parked at Garage Fornace and from here it was a 10 – 15 minute walk downhill into town (it will be an uphill walk on the way back to your car). Garage Arze is another option.

By Ferry. Once a week during the high season (May to September), there is a ferry that connects Piran and Venice. Learn more here.

Nearby Spots to Visit

Koper is another coastal town in Slovenia. It’s smaller than Piran with less to do. If you are short on time, Piran is the better of the two towns to visit. However, we did visit both Piran and Koper in one day as a day trip from Croatia.

Strunjan is a nature park that is located just 2.5 miles from Piran. If you want to walk along the coastline, see plunging cliffs and visit more beaches, put Strunjan on your list.

Where to Stay in Piran

UPSCALE: Hotel Piran. This hotel has an excellent location, just 350 feet from Tartini Square. Rooms feature views of the city or the sea. There is a rooftop bar, a spa, and a beach right in front of the hotel.

MIDRANGE: Art Hotel Tartini. This hotel was renovated in 2018. It is located on Tartini Square, has a rooftop bar, and a restaurant.

BUDGET: Hostel Pirano. This hostel gets rave reviews for its location, cleanliness, and helpful staff. It is located just a few minutes from Tartini Square. Rooms can accommodate two to four people.

About Our Visit

We visited Piran at the end of July. It was very hot during our visit, with the heat index over 100°F.

Despite it being peak season during the summer months, Piran was not crowded. In fact, it was less crowded than Pula and Rovinj, Croatian towns we visited during the same week.

Piran is a wonderful little town to visit on the Adriatic Sea. With its Venetian architecture, small size, gorgeous views, and low crowd levels, this is a great town to visit on the Istrian peninsula.

Learn how to plan a day trip to Piran and Koper in our article One Day in Piran and Koper: How to Plan Your Day Trip


Do you have plans to visit Piran? Comment below if you have any questions or to share your experience.

More Information for Your Trip to Slovenia:

Planning a trip to Slovenia? Read all of our articles in our Slovenia Destination Guide.

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Piran Slovenia Best Things To Do

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Comments 8

  1. Hi! Great information. I am planning a trip to Budapest, Slovenia, and Croatia. I am debating the best modes of transportation, bus vs rental car. You noted that renting a car was a great way to explore Slovenia. Did you have any issues driving around the country, parking, etc? Was it easy to cross the border and drive around Croatia as well?
    Thanks!

    1. Post
      Author

      Driving through Slovenia was easy, no problems that I can remember. Crossing the border back and forth between Croatia and Slovenia wasn’t difficult (you just show your passport) but there can be lines at rush-hour times, especially on weekends, holidays, and during peak season. I think having a rental car in Slovenia and Croatia is the way to go because it gives you so much more freedom and flexibility. Cheers, Julie

  2. We came to Piran by bus from Ljubljana. You can purchase tickets at the busstation in Ljubljana (it’s right in front of the train station). And from Piran we took the ferry to Venice, Italy. You have to book your tickets on time, and it goes only once or twice a week in summer. Our son loved Piran, he was very disappointed we only could stay one day.

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks about the info on the ferry. I know that you can take a ferry from Venice to Pula but didn’t know about the ferry from Piran. I just looked it up and currently there is one ferry per week on Venezia Lines. Thanks for the tip!! Cheers, Julie

    1. Post
      Author

      With half a day, you can visit everything on this list, if you move quickly. It takes just a few minutes to visit Tartini Square the the Church of St. George. Then, it’s just a 15 minute visit to climb the Bell Tower. You need about 45 minutes to an hour to walk the medieval walls. Then use the remainder of your time to wander the old town and grab a bite to eat. Funny you asked this question…my next post is how to day trip to Piran and Koper. Cheers, Julie

      1. Hi Julie,
        We are trying to go to Croatia for about 5 days and need to get some suggestions from you.
        Shall I have my base location to be Robinj and get a rental car to drive places from there for all 5 days or have a hotel in Robinj for few days and move to different locations?

        1. Post
          Author

          Hello Kelly. It depends on where exactly you want to go. If you are only planning on visiting places on the Istrian Peninsula (Rovinj, Pula, Cape Kamenjak, Piran etc) than staying in Rovinj for the entire time is a good idea. Rovinj is close enough to day trip to all of these places. However, if you also want to visit places farther south on the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia or Plitvice Lakes, then I would stay in two different places. Cheers, Julie

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