11 Things To Do In Piran, Slovenia: A One-Day Itinerary

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by Maggie Turansky

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Many travellers looking to visit Slovenia don’t often realise that the small nation boasts its own coastline. Stretching just shy of 47 kilometres, there are a few towns on the coast that are worth visiting – but none quite as beautiful as Piran. If you’re considering heading to the Adriatic coast of Slovenia and are wondering what the best things to do in Piran are, then you’ve come to the right place.

For such a small country, it is truly amazing how much diversity there is in Slovenia. In the short drive from Ljubljana to the coast, you will go through so many different climates that you are sure to be astonished.

And while Slovenia’s Adriatic coast isn’t quite as impressive as that of neighbouring Croatia, it is still very much worth visiting — especially if you haven’t been to Istria before.

Piran is a lovely little town with an interesting history. Its compact size and relative proximity to the capital make it an easy day trip, however, spending the night and spending a full one day in Piran (or even two or three!) can be an excellent choice, as well!

The beautiful city of Piran
The beautiful city of Piran

How Many Days in Piran?

Before I jump into what to do in Piran, let’s discuss how long you should spend there in order to really do this beautiful little town justice.

Piran is a very small town — so small that you can walk across its entirety in about fifteen minutes — and therefore, it’s really easy to see all of the points of interest within a relatively short period of time.

It’s because of this that makes going on a Piran day trip an appealing option. Spending one day in Piran is enough for you to be able to see the town itself, enjoy some amazing restaurants and even take a dip in the Adriatic if that suits your fancy.

However, if you choose to spend 2 days in Piran, you will have more time to explore some more places on the Slovene Riviera. For instance, the towns of Izola and Koper can be worth a visit if you have more time. You can even opt to head a little bit further afield to the nearby city of Trieste, Italy.

Spending more time in Piran is also a great idea if you want to have a bit of a relaxing beach holiday. Though most associate this with Croatia, there are some great swimming and sunbathing spots in Slovenia, as well, and if you want to combine this with some sightseeing then you may want to consider spending 2 or 3 days here.

All in all, however, if you just want to see the city and get a taste of Slovenia’s coastline, then one day in the town is definitely sufficient.

St George's Parish Church from Tartini Square
St George’s Parish Church from Tartini Square

Getting To & Around Piran

Now that we’ve discussed how many days to spend in Piran, now it’s time to figure out how you plan to get to and around Piran. There are a few options available to you in that regard.

The first and easiest option, especially if you’re visiting Piran as part of a longer Slovenia itinerary, is to drive to Piran using a hired car.

Having your own car makes it so much easier to get around the country and there are plenty of car parks outside of Piran that you shouldn’t have an issue. You can browse deals on Rentalcars.com across major providers.

Boats in Piran harbour
Boats in Piran harbour

It’s worth noting that the centre of Piran is completely pedestrianised so you cannot drive a car into the city. There are plenty of paid car parks just outside of the city that are within an easy walk (less than 10 minutes) into the centre. Some even offer a free shuttle service directly to Tartini Square.

We parked our car at the Arze Garage, which charges a €20 per day fee, however, it is less expensive if you’re only staying for a few hours. The Fornace Garage has similar pricing and also offers a free shuttle service into the city.

Having your own car is a great option, as well, if you’re spending more than a day in Piran and want to explore some of the surrounding area. Having your own vehicle will make this a lot easier to do on your own schedule and not be beholden to erratic timetables.

The other option to get to Piran by land is the bus. If you’re coming from Ljubljana, there are a number of direct buses that leave each day and the journey time is about one hour and forty-five minutes.

The Piran Bus Station is located just outside of the city centre, only about a five to ten-minute walk from Tartini Square.

If you don’t want to spend the night in Piran you can book this full-day tour which takes to Piran and some other sites on a day trip from Ljubljana.

Finally, there are also several ferry routes to Piran, including from Venice and Trieste in Italy. You can view ferry schedules here.

Once you’re in Piran, you’re going to have to rely on the transport of your own two feet as the centre is completely pedestrianised. Piran is incredibly compact, however, and you never need to walk more than five minutes to get from one place to the other.

Colourful buildings in Piran
Colourful buildings in Piran

11 Things To Do In Piran In One Day

City Walls of Piran

Begin your Piran itinerary at the city walls. Located on the hill above the city, the walls provide an excellent view of Piran and the Adriatic around it.

Getting to the walls in the morning is the best time for a couple of reasons, first off, you can beat the crowds that will inevitably flock here later in the day and second, the lighting in the morning is great for photographers looking to snap some great shots of the city.

There is only a small stretch of the walls that are still standing and it doesn’t take long to stroll along them, but it is still very much a worthwhile stop. Entry into the walls is €3 per person.

View from Piran's City Walls
View from Piran’s City Walls

St George’s Parish Church

Make your way down the hill from the city walls before you make it to the defining feature of Piran’s skyline, the St George’s Parish Church.

The church’s spire towers above the rest of the city, giving Piran its iconic look. If you want a different perspective of the city, you can actually climb up the bell tower depending on when you are visiting Piran – entry is €3 per person and it is open at limited hours during the summer season.

If you want to actually go into the church, make sure to pay attention to the artwork here, where you will notice the skyline of Piran in a good portion of the paintings.

Note that hours for entry vary and the timetable for opening hours are posted in the front of the church. If it is not open for viewing, you can still see the interior through the doors.

And, if you want a great view of the coast and of neighbouring Italy and Croatia, be sure to walk around the yard of the church and take in the scenery from there.

Inside St George's Parish Church
Inside St George’s Parish Church

Punta Lighthouse

Now it’s time to make your way all the way down the hill to the water’s edge and take in the beautiful Punta Lighthouse that sits on the tip of the Pirn peninsula.

This historic lighthouse is an important part of Piran’s history and has stood there, in one form or another, since it was originally constructed in the 13th Century.

You can choose to enter the lighthouse, if you wish, and climb to the top of the tower.

Punta Lighthouse
Punta Lighthouse

Waterfront Stroll

After visiting the lighthouse, take the time to stroll along the seaside promenade and take in the atmosphere of beautiful Piran.

There are countless cafes lining the seaside and swimming spots galore around here too, so now could be a great time to take a dip in the Adriatic if you wish to.

Piran is very small, so even walking along the entire promenade at a leisurely pace will likely only take about twenty to thirty minutes.

Make sure to really take the time to enjoy the atmosphere and see if you can spot the sculptures some local artists have carved into the rocks!

Mermaid sculpture carved into the rocks
Mermaid sculpture carved into the rocks

Tartini Square

Now that you’ve enjoyed the seaside, it’s time to head to Piran’s main gathering point — Tartini Square. named after the composer Giuseppe Tartini (who was born in Piran), this square is absolutely lovely and really the absolute centre of the city.

Tartini Square used to be part of the harbour until it was filled in and turned into the main square in Piran.

Today, it is a wide expanse with lots of cafes lined around the square and several benches to sit and relax on. There is also a bank with an ATM just off of the square which is the best place to take out cash, if needed, in the city.

Tartini Square
Tartini Square

Fresh Seafood for Lunch

After all of this sightseeing, you’ve likely worked up quite an appetite. Luckily, there are several great restaurants in Piran that are sure to hit the spot.

If you’re looking for something quick, casual and affordable, you absolutely cannot go wrong with Ribja kantin’ca PORTO restaurant. This is a casual place with a few tables outside. They churn out many fresh seafood dishes at affordable prices — their fried calamari and prawns are particularly delicious!

If there are no seats available at PORTO, then consider heading to Fritolin pri Cantini which is another fish shack in 1 May Square.

There are more tables here, but note that you must order at the counter and pick up your order once your number is called. The menu is similar to PORTO restaurant and it is also absolutely a fantastic place for fresh local seafood.

Lunch at Ribja kantin'ca PORTO
Lunch at Ribja kantin’ca PORTO

Piran Minorite Monastery

After lunch, head over to the beautiful Piran Minorite Monastery. Located just a stone’s throw from Tartini Square, this Roman Catholic Monastery is known for its beautiful courtyard with incredible acoustics. In fact, there are frequent musical concerts put on here for that very reason.

Regardless if you visit for a musical performance or simply to take in the beauty of this Franciscan Monastery, it is very much worth a visit. Entry is free of charge.

Piran Minorite Monastery
Piran Minorite Monastery

1 May Square

From the Monastery, it’s time to walk over to the other major square in Piran, 1 May Square. In fact, this used to be the main square in Piran before Tartini Square was built.

There are two restaurants in the square; the aforementioned Fritolin pri Cantini and the wonderful Gostilna Rostelin. The latter of these you can even glimpse the cooks making fresh pasta through the windows.

If you want to take home some local gastronomic products, make sure to stop by GourmIstra which is located just off of the square. This shop has everything from local wine, olive oil and truffle products and the shop owner lets you taste everything to see if it’s something you’d want to buy.

You can visit all of these sites and more on the Piran Walking Tour. This small-group tour runs at different frequencies depending on the season and accommodates a maximum of eight people. You can book the tour online and it is absolutely worth doing if you want some great historical context about this beautiful city from a travel guide.

1 May Square
1 May Square

Get Lost in the Side Streets or Go Swimming

After a lot of sightseeing, it’s time to simply let yourself wander around the beautiful streets of Piran. There are so many small alleys and side streets where you can get lost — and the size of Piran means that you are never going to be too far from anything!

This is also a good time to, if the weather allows for it, go for a swim. There are some swimming spots along the promenade where you can take a dip in the Adriatic.

Some areas even have showers so you can rinse the salt off of you and change into some clean clothes if you’re only on a day trip to Piran.

Side streets of Piran
Side streets of Piran

Watch the Sunset

After a lengthy day of sightseeing, now it’s time to enjoy the beauty of Piran at sunset. You can use this time to enjoy a bit of an aperitivo and grab a cocktail at one of the many seaside cafes.

If this doesn’t suit your fancy, you can opt to find a nice bench or a good place on the rocks to watch the sun sink behind the horizon.

If you want a great view, you could head back up to St George’s Parish Church and watch the sunset from the yard surrounding it.

Sunset in Piran
Sunset in Piran

Dinner in the Old Town

If you’re planning on spending at least one night in Piran, then you should be able to have time for dinner.

If it’s seafood you’re after, then look no further than Restaurant Pirat. This restaurant has an excellent menu filled with freshly caught seafood at reasonable prices. It’s absolutely one of the best places for fresh fish in Piran.

If you’re more interested in indulging in some Istrian cuisine, then consider heading to Rostelin in 1 May Square. Here you can get delicious fresh pasta dishes with local produce (including truffles!) and cooked in traditional ways. You absolutely cannot go wrong with either of these choices.

Cuttlefish ravioli from Gostilna Rostelin
Cuttlefish ravioli from Gostilna Rostelin

Have More Time?

If you have more than one day, there are a lot of things to do in Piran and around that can keep you occupied — especially if you have your vehicle.

For instance, you could spend a day exploring the other towns on the Slovene Riviera including lovely Izola or the port city of Koper. A visit to the salt pans just south of Piran is also a popular spot and can give you an insight into the historic industry in this area of the world.

If you want to venture further afield, you can even opt to take a day trip to nearby Trieste, Italy. This city is only about a 45-minute drive from Piran and, because of the Schengen Area, you don’t need to worry about border crossings when visiting there, either.

Izola Harbour
Izola Harbour

Where to Stay in Piran

Hotel Piran – If you’re looking for a higher-end hotel in Piran that is situated directly on the beautiful Adriatic Sea, then this is a great option for you. They have luxe rooms on offer, an on-site restaurant and bar and an unbeatable location directly on the seaside promenade.

Memento B&B – Located in the centre of Piran, this bed and breakfast is an excellent option for those looking for something that is both chic and intimate. They have stylish rooms available (all with air conditioning) and offer breakfast each morning.

Apartment Park Piran – If you’d rather have your own place than stay in a hotel or B&B, then this apartment is a fantastic choice for you. Located in the centre of Piran, it has two bedrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen and a lovely outdoor terrace.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Piran hotels!

Strolling around Piran
Strolling around Piran

Planning the best things to do in Piran is not a hard task as the compact town has a lot to do and is very digestible. There is absolutely no denying that this beautiful town on the Slovene Riviera is well worth the visit.

Are you planning a Piran itinerary? Are you considering adding the town to your trip to Slovenia? Let us know in the comments!

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Maggie is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from the US, she has lived in five different countries and has travelled to dozens more, both solo and with her partner, Michael. She particularly loves exploring Spain and spending time in the Caucasus and the Baltics. Read more about Maggie

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