The country of Slovenia has so much to offer its visitors. Whether it is the historic capital city of Ljubljana, the picturedque Lake Bled, or the mountain of Triglav National Park.
While those are just some of the highlights in the country, there is also the chance to visit some towns right alongside the Adriatic Coast. When it comes to choosing a town on the coast, it doesn’t get much better than Piran.
Piran is the perfect place to spend a few days to relax after exploring the ins and outs of the rest of the country. This guide will go over 10 of the top things to do in Piran, as well as give you some helpful tips when going about a visit.
1) Piran Slovenia Map
Below you can find a map of Piran circled along with many of the highlights and attractions that I will be speaking in more detail about through the remainder of this guide. This is a great map to reference as you go through this article as well as when you are exploring Piran in real time.
2) Getting to Piran
There are three main ways to get yourself to Piran depending on where you are coming from. You can drive yourself there by car, hop on a bus, or even take a ferry to the coastal town.
Rental Car: when going about a Slovenia itinerary, I would highly recommend renting a car to get yourself around the country. Having a car will let you see the country at your own pace without the worry of relying on public transport or tour options.
From some of the main cities, here are some of the driving times:
Ljubljana to Piran: 1.5 Hours
Bovec to Piran: 1.5 Hours
Bled to Piran: 2 Hours
Note: you cannot park in the city itself as it is a car free town. Check out the next section for more details on this.
Bus: there is a great bus network that makes its way around Slovenia from one city to the next. If you do not have a rental car, then I would recommend taking advantage of the bus network to get yourself between cities including Piran.
Ferry: Lastly, you can take a ferry to Piran if coming from other coastal cities. The main three ferry options here include Venice, Trieste, and Rovinj. Both Venice and Trieste are part of Italy while Rovinj is a city in Croatia.
Venice to Piran: 2:30 hours; April to October; Saturday only departure
Trieste to Piran: 30 minutes; June to September; Wed, Thu, Sat, Sun
Rovinj to Piran: 1:30 hours; June to September; Wed, Sat, Sun
3) Parking in Piran
If you do end up renting your own car and taking it around Slovenia, you will need to find parking once you arrive just outside the city center.
One thing that made Piran so relaxing is that you do not have cars running through its streets. Instead you will just find a seaside promenade, narrow winding streets, and beautiful squares all throughout.
There are a few parking lots located just outside the city that you can choose from. Depending on where you are staying in the city, you can choose the one that is closest. Below are the walking times to the center of Tartini Square.
Garage Arze: 10 minute walk
Fornace Parking Garage: 13 minute walk
Parkirisce Fiesa: 18 minute walk
A few things to note:
→ Expect to pay around 15-17 Euro per day for parking in one of these garages.
→ Some hotels cover parking costs or a portion of the costs, so be sure to check with your hotel to save some money.
→ There is a shuttle bus from the Fornace garage to the town center to save some walking time.
→ If coming from Arze or Fiesa, expect a downhill walk when you arrive and an uphill walk on your way back.
4) Hotels in Piran
There are many hotels, guesthouses, and apartment rentals that line the streets of Piran. In addition, there are also hotels that are located outside of the city center right along the waterfront.
Depending on your budget and what type of trip you are interested in, you can choose from several different options.
Below are my top recommended hotels to choose from in Piran. All of these come highly rated and reviewed so it is hard to go wrong with any of them. Use the links below to book today – these will sell out during high season!
Inside the Old Town
→ Hotel Piran – you can’t get better location than this as the hotel is right in the town center on the promenade
→ Art Hotel Tartini – overlooking Tartini Square and the harbor, this newly renovated hotel is tough to beat
→ Second Life in Piran Hotel Zala Piran – it is located in the heart of the old town closer to the tip of Piran
→ Memento B&B Piran – a modern B&B that offers guests all they could want for a couple nights in the city
Outside of the Old Town
→ Barbara Piran Beach Hotel & Spa – a 15 minute walk from Piran is this secluded hotel with its own private beach
→ Hotel Fiesa – another hotel outside of town with some of the best views you can ask for over the Adriatic
Do note though that the hotels located outside of the city center will require a bit longer walk to get into town.
5) Top 10 Things To Do in Piran
Now that you have some good background about Piran, how to get there, and where to stay, let’s get into a list of the 10 things to do while in the city.
While the city is relatively small and can certainly be explored in one day, I would recommend to spend at least a night there and possibly even two. Having a day to do some exploring and another day to just spend some time relaxing is a great way to go about a visit.
» Learn more: You can read more about how to add Piran to a longer Slovenia road trip
At the center of the Old Town of Piran, you will find the large open space of Tartini Square. The square itself is named after Giuseppe Tartini, who was a violinist and composer. In the middle of the square you will find a statue of Tartini that was put in place there in 1896.
All around the square you will find various cafes and restaurants that have indoor and outdoor seated sections. It is the perfect spot to have breakfast, lunch or dinner during a trip to Piran.
While you will find plenty of historical architecture and colorful buildings surrounded the square, you will also have the large Town Hall building front and center overlooking the square.
Also, from the square you should get a view of the bell tower, which you should be sure to climb up during your time in town (more on that soon!)
Near the southern part of Tartini Square you should get a view of the harbor area right alongside it. Here you will find tons of boats and small vessels lining up the docks of the harbor.
I enjoyed just spending time walking alongside some of the piers here, which gave some great views of the water, boats, and the city in the background.
This is also where the ferries from other cities will stop at if you are coming/leaving to Venice, Trieste, or Rovinj.
» If you would like to spend some time out on the water, check out this Piran Sailing Tour that takes you for a nice cruise all around the coast.
Walk the Promenade
From the harbor area, you can follow the promenade northbound along the water. It is a pleasant walk to take part of as you enjoy some city and water views throughout. All along the promenade are restaurants and cafes that you can have a meal at as you walk the coastline.
Piranski Svetilnik Lighthouse
On the tip of Piran you will find the Piranski Svetilnik lighthouse. The lighthouse is on top of stone walled fortress and you can even head up to the observation deck to take in the view.
Just across the promenade here you will find a stone carved mermaid statue sitting on the rock barricade that separates the walkway from the water.
St George Church
Next up on the list of things to do in Piran is the St George’s Parish Church. The church is located above the old town center, so this will require some steps and incline to get up to.
The church was originally built in the 12th century but over the years it went through some transformations. It was in the 16th century when it got renovated with a more Venetian architecture appearance.
The church has a small museum, baptistery, crypt and churchyard to visit as well. While you can just take a peek into the church to see the interior beauty of it, for just a small entrance fee, you have access to rest of the church’s offerings.
The church is open from 10AM – 4PM (closed on Tuesday).
Piran Bell Tower
Directly attached to the church is the Piran Bell Tower. From the top of the tower you will get some of the best views of Piran that you can ask for.
The Bell Tower was constructed from the year 1600 to 1615 and stands a 47 meters / 154 feet tall. There are 140 steps to make your way up from the bottom to the balcony area. Throughout the bell tower you will find 15 landings named after the archangels and guardian angels. The tower was actually inspired after the San Marco bell tower in Venice so you will see quite the resemblance between the to.
While getting up to the top does require several sets of stairs, once up top you will have views of Piran and the rest of the Slovenian Adriatic coast out in front of you.
The cost of the climb is just one Euro and during the summer months, the tower is open from 10AM – 8PM (slightly shorter hours outside the summer). Depending on your timing, you may be able to catch a sunset from the top too!
Walking the Walls of Piran
The Walls of Piran is yet another place to visit up above the city, where you can get some incredible views of Piran and the coast.
The town walls were built over time between the 7th and 16th centuries to protect the city from invaders. While much of the walls have been demolished, there still stands a portion of the walls that has been preserved.
It will certainly be a walk uphill from the town center as the walls are high above the city. Here though, you get the chance to actually walk along the walls of Piran and take in the views.
You can take your time to walk along the walls and even head up some of the towers for an even higher panorama viewpoint. Note that it is just not one spot to explore here. You can really walk up and down the walls finding various staircases, narrow passages and different viewing spots.
From up top you will be able to see all the various other sights around the city center including Tartini Square, St George Church, the bell tower, and even the lighthouse area all the way at the tip of the city.
This is another great spot to head to for sunset as you have the highest vantage point of the surroundings from here.
The walls are pretty cheap to visit at just 2 Euros and are opened from 8AM to 9PM during the summer months.
Exploring the Old Town
Throughout your time in Piran you are bound to just have time exploring the ins and outs of the Old Town. Throughout the town you will find a labyrinth of passageways, arches, gates, colorful buildings, and narrow staircases to make your way through.
It is just a great place to walk around to enjoy the architecture and history of Piran.
What better way to enjoy the Adriatic Coast than by spending some time on the beach and in the water. The beaches here are not sand beaches, but rather pebble filled beaches. This is similar to many of the beaches on the coast.
While there are some pebble beaches along the Piran coast, there are also spots alongside the promenade, where people lay out a towel and jump into the water.
There are a few main areas I came by that had beaches, each with its own uniqueness.
Fornace Beach – one of the main beach areas here is located south of the city center. Here you will find a pebble filled beach, some jumping platforms, and some stairs leading into the water.
The great thing about Fornace Beach is you get some great views of Piran from afar. It is a great vantage point to enjoy as you relax by the water and take in the views of the city.
Piran Public Beach – right outside of Hotel Piran, you will find what is called the Piran Public Beach (at least on Google Maps that is). This is an area without a beach per se but there is an area to lay out a towel and even set up an umbrella.
From the water’s edge you will get yet another great vantage point of the city with the Hotel Piran hovering up above.
Plaza Piran Beach – lastly here is the Plazs Piran Beach located on the other side of the peninsula. As you head to the lighthouse area at the tip of Piran, you can turn the corner and follow the pathway right to the beach.
The beach here is certainly a bit more relaxing as you are outside of the city with the Piran cliffside on one side and the water on the other. From the beach you will also get a look at the church and bell tower up above.
Take in a Piran Sunset
What better way to end a day in Piran than to take in a sunset over the coast. You can really enjoy a sunset from anywhere along the promenade and harbor area.
As mentioned earlier, you can also take in a sunset from the Bell Tower or Walls of Piran. These could be great options if you want to enjoy that elevated view of the city.
The colors can get quite beautiful so be sure to time your day right to take in the view for yourself.
6) Piran Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you have a good idea of all the top things to do in Piran, below are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding a visit to Piran.
Is Piran Worth Visiting?
Yes, Piran is certainly worth visiting during a trip to Slovenia. The old town offers something that is different from the rest of the country. While you can enjoy time nearby lakes and rivers, getting to visit a coastal town like Piran is the perfect way to end a trip to the country.
I would say a couple of days is certainly enough time to see the sights and leave some time to just relax by the water and enjoy some down time.
What is Piran Known For?
Piran is known for being one of the top coastal destinations in Slovenia. Whether it is the Old Town, Tartini Square, the Bell Tower, or the Walls of Piran, there is just a whole bunch to do when visiting the city.
Can You Swim in Piran?
Yes, you can certainly swim in Piran as it is right alongside the Adriatic Sea. Whether you head to one of the beaches along the coastline or just jump into the water from the promenade, swimming is a definite possibility.
Does Piran Have a Beach?
Yes, Piran does have a beach to relax and swim at during a stay. There are actually several beaches that line the promenade. Some of them are right in the city, while others may be a bit further walk to get to.
As mentioned, note that the beaches in Piran are mostly pebble beaches as well as just promenades along the waterfront.
That about does it for some of the best things to do in Piran, Slovenia. If you have any question, be sure to add them in below. Also don’t forget to check out some of the other Slovenia itineraries and guides up on the site.
Have fun out there and safe travels!