On a clear day, they say you can see Venice from Piran. I don’t know if that’s true (can’t seem to track down the famous ‘they’) but if you were in Piran I don’t know why you’d waste time trying to get a distant glimpse of Venice when Piran itself is ridiculously good looking.
Slovenia’s coastline is 46 kilometers long, sandwiched between Italy and Croatia at the top of the Istrian peninsula. Piran is one of the three major towns of Slovenian Istria, the place to where people flock on long weekends and during the summer. If you were a strong swimmer (or say, a dolphin) you could swim directly from Piran to Venice and it would only take you sixty miles.
We opted to drive, the trade off being that cars are discouraged in the old town; we were required to leave our car in a parking lot just outside of Piran. Although this sounded annoying at the beginning, it was simple in practice. We arrived at Hotel Piran, unloaded our bags, and a hotel driver followed Jared up to the parking lot and brought him back. We also got a discount ticket from the hotel and paid 7 euro for a day of parking rather than 15.
The day we arrived it was gorgeous and sunny; the next day it poured rain as we drove further down the coast. Both days, Piran remained pretty. It has an old city wall – popular for sunset viewings – winding cobbled streets, and a wide town square that is technically an oval. We walked to the church for panoramic views of the town, stopped at a small pub for a beer (Jared) and an aperol spritz (me), then had an early night.
We left the next morning and I felt like I hadn’t quite seen enough of Piran, but I suspect that staying for many more days would have resulted in a restlessness. I would rather leave a little bit too soon than too late, and hold fond memories instead of tarnished ones.
Piran is one of those small towns that I’ll probably never return to. I still know virtually nothing about it, though it now holds the esteemed position of my desktop background at work. It’s the kind of place that could comfortably be housed in a snow globe, perfectly compact and eternally beautiful. Slovenia has a surprisingly diverse landscape; I’d never have guessed that the country that gave us snowcapped mountains over Bled also had a charming seaside town hiding on the Adriatic.
Good job, Slovenia. I’m a convert.