F o r m o r e o n t r a v e l i n S l o v e n i a s e e s l o v e n i a . i n y o u r p o c k e t . c o m
PiranistotheAdriaticwhatBledistotheAlpsandSloveniaasawholeistoCentralEurope:tiny,friendlyandoverwhelminglypicturesque.It’satownthatisalmost impossiblenottofallinlovewithonyourfirstvisit,andifyouonlyhavetimeforaday tripyou’lllikelywanttomakeplanstoreturn.Wealsoonlyhalf-jokinglyadded“family residenceinPiran-preferablyrenovated”toourlistofthingswenowlookforinpotentialsignificantothers,butthat’sonlybecausewe’resuperficial.Despiteit’smodestsizePiranisawashinsuperlatives.Itboastswhatisundeniably thecountry’sfinestsquare,the19thcenturyTartinijevTrgnamedafterthecom-poserGiuseppeTartini,andwhathastobeoneofthemostdramaticallysituatedchurchesanywhereinEurope,StGeorgeCathedralanditsspectacularbelltower perchedonthehilloverlookingthetownandthesea.Inaddition,itsnumerousrestaurantsnotonlyturnoutsomeofthebestseafoodwe’veevereatenbutalsoserveitinsomeequallyunforgettablesettings.MetreformetrethispetiteVenetianportcanholditsownagainstanyone,including theimperialcapitaljustoverthehorizonthatwasresponsibleformuchofitsfor-tune.InfactPirandoeshavethesamekindofopen-airmuseumfeeltoitasVenice,onlyonamuchmuchsmallerscale(andwithoutthe€6espressos,stagnantlagoonsmell,periodicfloodingandconstantworryofsinkingintothesea).However,onceyouventurefromtheheavilytraffickedwaterfrontandcentralsquaredownthenar-rowbackstreets,thecrumblingfaçadesofancientvillas,freshly-launderedclotheshangingfromwindowsoverheadandtheoddovergrowngardenletyouknowthat PiranshouldnotbemistakenforsomemanufacturedculturalDisneyland-thecharmsarerealand,yes,peopledoactuallylivehere.
Where to stay
UpthehillfromTartiniSquare,thissmallboutiquehotelishousedinabeautiful300yearoldhouseandisoneofourfavouriteplacesto stay onthecoast,although if you’realight sleeper theover-activebellsat thecathedralnext door may provebothersome.Max,theowner andapparently soleemployee,isafriendly oldbulldogandardent Liverpoolsupporter who’llbegladtocarry your luggageupthenarrowstairsor talk your ear off over coffee,but we’vealso heardrumoursthat hecanhaveabit ofbark if youinterrupt hisafternoonsiesta.
Miracolo di Mare
Tomšičeva23, tel. (+386) 59217660/(+386) 5144
Thishighlyrecommendedbedandbreakfast isat thesouth endof townonly acouplestreetsaway fromwheretheintercity busesdropoff.Theroomsaresimplebut tastefully decoratedandwereallcompletely renovatedin2008,however,somearelarger thanothersso it might beagoodideato ask what’savailableif yoursseemsabit onthesmallside.Breakfast isservedout back inapleasant courtyardarea,andtheincredibly friendly owner canarrangeallkindsof excursionsandactivities.
A-1, Bonifacijeva11, tel. (+386) 31363666, info@alibi.
Listedastwo separatelocations(aswith allAlibihostelsthenamesarederivedfromthestreet addresses)but practically acrossthestreet fromoneanother with receptionat B11,they’reat theoppositeendof townfromwherethebusesdropoff so beready for animpromptusightseeingtour onyour way there.Recent renovationshaveleft themlookinggreat andthankfully seemto havetakencareof earlier dampnessandmouldproblems.Roomsonthetop floorsof each buildinghavetheir ownterraces,andallroomsat B14areensuite.
Where to eat
A-1, Gregorčičeva31, tel. (+386) 56732233.
Thisplacecamehighly recommendedbysomeofourSlovenefriendswhoknowathingortwoaboutqual-ity cuisine,andwecan’t say that weweredisappointed.It may look alittleworse for wear thansomeof theother placesyoupassalongthepromenade,but every itemonour reasonably-pricedcombo platter wascookedto perfection.Wouldwebeableto tellit apart fromthecompetitioninablindtastetest?It’shighly unlikely we’llever haveto.
The poetically named Portorož, or Port of Roses, is home to one of the
largest modern marinas on the Adriatic and is the undisputed king of Slovenia’s coastal tourism trade. Although it lacks the Venetian old townsthat can be found else where along the coast, its numerous hotels, restau-rants, conference centres, spas and casinos make it a popular destination for both foreigners and Slovenes, and an excellent base for day trips andexcursions farther afield.
Where to stay
Kempinski Palace Portorož
D-3, Obala 45, tel. (+386) 5692 70 00/(+386) 5692 79 50, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.kempin
This grandest of residences dominates Obala Street and theentirePiranBaywithitsmajesticarchitectureandrefinedgardens.Allthecomfortsof a 5 star superior hotel can be found at the Palace, and at a reasonable price for the quality. When you want to escape for a moment of peace, the tranquil gardensat the rear of the hotel offer are a shady retreat rom the busy Obala entrance.
164 rooms, 17 suites (singles €235-310, doubles €285-360, suites €900-2150).
D-3, Obala 28, tel. (+386) 5617 40 00, fax (+386) 5617 40 11,
This small but high-quality hotel boasts beautiful rooms which all have balconies attached, some facing toward the beach, others facing to the back for more quiet. It also has a beau-tiful front garden for relaxing. As this small unique hotel only has 48 rooms,they fill up fast during the high season with many returning visitors.
48rooms (doubles €100-120, suites €130-160).
Penzion Forma Viva
Seča 159, tel. (+386) 40 369 003, fax (+386)5677 04 66, email@example.com, www.formaviva-portoroz.si.
If you would prefer to avoid the resort town atmosphere of the city’s crowdedbeachside area, but still want easy access to its restaurants and nightlife, this
23 room guest house in the leafy hills just south of Marina Portorož is a great option. With views towards the strangely exotic-looking Sečovlje salt pans,
its pink-walled palm-lined courtyard has a distinctly tropical feel to it. Thehotel is both pet and family-friendly, and the staff can arrange boat trips andrecommend pleasant walks through the surrounding countryside
Where to eat
E-3, Obala16, tel. (+386) 56742072, www.ondina.si.
Thisres-taurant servesawiderangeof typicalseafoodoptionsinitsItaliantrattoria-styleenvironment,but therearealso meat andpastaoptionsif you’renot inthemood forfish.Whileitmakesgreataimsatbeingclassytheconstantflowoftrafficoutsidetheir doorsworksagainst that effort;headto thesideroomfor abit moreintimacy.Notveryvegetarianfriendly.
E-3, Obala55, tel./fax(+386) 56745074, starosidro@siol.
Walkingupthestepsof theoldandabandonedVillaSanMarco andheading inthedirectionofStaro Sidro,canfeellikegoinginto atimewarp.Thebeautifulbut decayingoldrestaurant seemsto befrozeninanother,simpletime.Someof thestaffseemtobefrozenthererightalongwithit,butitnonethelesoffersacharming get away fromtheMTVbeach madness.Itsstandardfareof seafoodandmeat dishesarereasonably pricedandofferedwith alengthy list of localwines.If you’re
lookingfor anexperienceof classicoldPortorož,thisisyour destination.
D-3, Obala14, tel. (+386) 56746181, www.kanelabar.com.
Afabulousrock n’rollhangout duringthesummer time,day andnight.Thebar isactually so smallyoucanbarely fit morethan10peopleinsideat any givenmo-ment,but most prefer thepleasureofthebeach directly infront of theamongst thetallpalm treeswherethemusicisstillheardloudandclear.Liverock concertsarefrequent andtheatmospheresurely heatsupinthelatehourswith plenty of singing and dancing: a beach party in the making!
Open 09:00 - 03:00.
E-4, Obala 20a, tel. (+386) 5 674 82 64/(+386) 30 691 608,
A cafe during the day, the uber-moderninterior only hints at the debaucherous disco scene that the place transforms
A-1, Prvomajski Trg, tel. (+386) 56733275.
For ahealthy doseof oldworldcharmthere’snowherebetter thanthistiny winebar hiddenbe-neath acanopy of grapevinesonthe1st of May Square.Thisplacehasso muchcharacter you’llwish youcouldbottlesomeupandsmuggleit homeinyour handbaggage.Light meat andcheeseplatesareavailableif youlinger longenough todrink upanappetite.
What to see
1st of May Square (Prvomajski Trg)
Theadministrativecentreof Piranuntilthe13thcentury,thesedaysitstandsinstarkcontrasttotheglistening TartinijevTrgonly acouplehundredmetresaway:scruffy andanunkempt with theoddclumpof grasspokingupbetweenstonesandmorethanonefaçadeunin-tentionally revealingbrick wallsbeneath crumblinglayersof paint,inother words,perfect.Inadditionto severalrestaurants,art galleriesandagreat littlewinebar,alargestonecisternelevatesnearly half thesquareametreoff thegroundandservesasastagefor variousmusic,danceandtheatreperformancesduringthesummer.FlankingthestairsleadinguptothenowdormantwellsaretwoallegoricalstatuesrepresentingLawandJustice,both of which areobligingly photogenic.
Tartini Square (Tartinijev Trg)
Already arguably themost impressivesquaresinSlovenia,alldebatewasput to rest last year whenit wastransformedinto apedestrianonly zonewith outdoor caféstakingtheplaceof parkedcars-a fact that hasyet to bereflectedonmost internet sites,includingGoogleMaps.Frontedby two largeneo-Renaissancebuildingsononesideandamélangeof smaller buildingsof varyingarchitecturalstylesontheother,thesquareitself isyoungerthanalmostallofthem,havingbeenpartofPiran’sharbouruntilitwasfilledinin1884.Thesquare’sinner ovalwasgivenitsdistinctiveshapewhenit served
astheterminusfor anelectricrailway that connectedPiranto PortorožandLucija
until1953,whileitswhitemarblesurfacewassomethingof aposthumousgift tothelateTartiniin1992onwhat wouldhavebeenhis300th birthday.
St George Cathedral
Watchingover thetownandvis-iblefromnearly every openspaceisthemassivecathedraldedicatedto Piran’spatronsaint,thedragonslayingyoungknight fromCapadoccia,George.Legendhasit that towardstheendof the16th century thecathedralfellinto astateof disrepair,which wasso troublingthat theSaint Georgehimself madeanappear-anceinorder to motivatethecitizenry to undertakethenecessary renovations,andevenblindedascepticalmayor to showhemeant business.Trueor not,thecathedralsawsomemajor renovationsshortly thereafter,includingtheadditionof anearly 50mbelltower,which isascalecopy of theSanMarco CampanileinVenice.Throwinsomestunningviewsof boththecity andtheseaandyouhavethemakingsfor oneof themost impressivechurchesinSlovenia.
Town Gallery Piran
A-1, TartinijevTrg3, tel. (+386) 56712080, info@
Above Café Tartini on the mainsquare,Piran’smost important art spacehostsarangeof exhibitionsthroughout theyear includingthepopular Ex-Temporeof Piran,which bringstogether upwardsof 500artistsfromCentralandEasternEuropeannually.Unfortunately,their web-siteisalittlelight oninformation-inEnglish or otherwise-so it’sprobably best to enquireabout upcomingexhibitionsat thenearby tourist centreor viaemail.
into during the evening with themed nights ranging from latin to house music. Thenights are replete with scantily clad go-godancers and a rotating roster of localand travelling DJs.
Open 08:00 - 03:00. Admission free.
Alaya Cocktail Bar
E-4, Obala22, tel. (+386) 51332233/(+386) 31
ACaribbean,tropicallydecoratedbeachbar which servesupcocktailsof allcoloursof therainbow.Aworthy placefor astopover duringanight out with friendsandonsomenightsabeach party morethanlikely canfireupwith occasionallivemusicor aDJ.
What to see
Sečovlje Saline Nature Park
Tel. (+386) 56721330, firstname.lastname@example.org,
goldandrulersfought to acquireandcontrolitsmeansof collection.Sečovljewas
onesuch rarifiedareaandtoday it ispreservedasapark with avisitors’center andmuseum.Afascinatingpieceofhistory,thesaltpansarenotonlyaninteresting publicpark,they arealso awell-preservednaturalhabitat for birds.Thetrek out tothepansisaninterestingonebut makesureto pack your insect repellant,not allof theinhabitantsherearefriendly.
Open08:00-17:00.Admission:€3adults; €2students,seniors;freefor childrenunder agesix.
Max Mara Kempinski
D-3, Obala45, tel. (+386) 59077490/(+386) 31
667223, email@example.com, www.morris.si.
LocatedintheluxuriousKempinskiPalace Hotel, this well-known Italian fashion brand has been selling designer-quality apparelfor overfifty years.Thefocusof thecurrent collectionisonsexy urbanclothesfor confident sophisticatedwomen.Of courseelegant Italian-madecouturedoesn’t comecheap,so youmight want to start thinkingnowabout howyoucanclaimthat must-havesummer dressasabusinessexpense.
by prior arrangement onGSM031667 223
Studio La Perla
D-3, Obala33, tel. (+386) 56740186, firstname.lastname@example.org,
ThissmallboutiqueintheLifeClassResort complexhasyoucoveredifyou’veforgottento pack yourswimsuit orwouldjust liketo treat yourself to somethingalittlenicer beforehittingthebeach.
Open10:00-20:00,Sun10:00-15:00.Still an easygoing fishing village at heart, Izola doesn’t get nearly as muchlove as some of Slovenia’s other coastal towns and is often overlookedby tourists racing by on their way to Piran for a day trip. However, as far as we’re concerned it’s a beautiful little Venetian port town with enoughamenities to keep you comfortable, windy old streets to wander and sightsto see to make it a worthwhile destination in its own right.
Where to stay
H-6/7, Veliki Trg 11, tel. (+386) 56 60 41 00, fax (+386) 5660 44 10, email@example.com, www.hotelmarina.si.
Aside from privateapartments, the Marina is pretty much your only option if you want to stay right in the centre of the old town, luckily it’s also one of the best. Perchedright above the fishing port, it’s perfectly situated to soak up all of Izola’srich history. The rooms are not huge but they’re all incredibly comfortable andwell-equipped, and about half have balconies with sea views - although they come at a significant premium. The multi-lingual staff is friendly and helpful,especially when it comes to making travel arrangements, suggesting excur-sions or answering random questions.
52 rooms (singles €59-115, doubles €79-144, suites €135-261).
Morova6a, tel. (+386) 56603100, fax(+386) 56418402,firstname.lastname@example.org,www.sansimon.si.
operatesthat massiveSt Barnardincomplexinnearby Portorož,theSanSimon
resort isacomparatively modest affair with some200three-andfour-star roomscontainedintwo separatehotelsandfivesmaller buildingsthat arebefittingof Izola’smorelaidback appeal.Asidefromaccommodationthecomplex’sgreenslopinggroundsincludearestaurant,tenniscourts,aprivatebeach,anewly built wellnesscentreandspa.
Where to eat
I-8, Drevored 1 Maja 5, tel. (+386) 41 67 59 53/(+386) 41 65 0333, email@example.com.
One of several places within a block of each other on Drevored 1. Maja (or The 1st of May Avenue), Gušt always seems to havethe fewest empty seats on its long terrace, and for good reason. Its thick menuhas a bit of everything, but for our money the brick oven pizzas are probably the best in town. For those staying farther afield they also deliver to most nearby areas.
Open 08:00 - 24:00. (€4.5-19).
H-7, SončnoNabrežje20, tel. (+386) 56417440/(+386) 4167
Offersallkindsofmeats,pastas,pizzasandtraditionalIstriancuisine,but don’t befooled-thisisaplaceyoucometo for onereasononly:seafood.Not thecheapest optionintown,but that shouldn’t comeasasurprisegivenitslocationandreputation.There’salso alargecourtyardwhich hassomethingof atropicalflavour to it andisagoodplacefor adrink withor without food.
Designedby Italianarchitect GianniGavioli,who’ssomethingof alegendintheclubbingworld,thismassive1600squaremetrecomplexcancomfortably fit over 2500peopleandisoneoftheregion’stopdestinationsforseriousclubgoers.Thebuildingitself isahodgepodgeof themes,materialsandstylesbut maintainssomethingof awarmMediterraneanvibethroughout.Eventsareusually only heldonceor twiceamonth at most,but couldbeworth planningyour triparoundif you’reabigfanof electronicmusic.
Wine Bar Manzioli
H-7, ManziolijevTrg5, tel. (+386) 56162137, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Operatedby theZaro family,who havecalledIzolahomefor around700years,thebar occupiesthegroundfloor of aformer palaceontheoldtown’smost picturesquesquare.It’soneof our favouritespotsontheentirecoast for adrink,andthebest placeinIzolato samplequality localwines.If you’rethereonaSaturday afternoonyou’realso likely to catch at least oneweddingceremony at thechurch opposite.
What to see
Besenghi degli Ughi Palace
J-6, Gregorčičeva 76, tel. (+386) 566267 00/(+386) 040 631 034.
Considered by many to be the finest building inIzola, it has sadly seen better days and from the looks of things now serves asa nightly hang out for the beer-swilling local youth. Although if you can imagineit without the grafitti and low hanging power lines it gives you some idea of the city’s past glory. By day it currently serves as Izola’s music school, whichmeans visitors can take a look around while lessons are taking place.
Church of St Mary of Haliaetum
Theoldestchurchin Izola does its part to help make Manziolijev Trg one of the most aesthetically pleasing places in town. Other than the summer, it’s not often open to the pub-lic, but if you settle in for a drink at the nearby wine bar on any given Saturday afternoon you’ll likely be able to catch a wedding ceremony or two.
I-7, Alme Vivoda 3, email@example.com.
In 1902 the
Parenzana railway line was built connecting Trieste with Poreč (or Parenzo in
Italian, hence the name) 123 kilometres to the south in present-day Croatia.Although it was only in operation until 1935 it garnered quite a reputation for the beautiful scenery along the route, much of which serves as a footpathand cycling road today. Dedicated to preserving the history of the short-livedline, this tiny museum opened its doors in 2000. It also houses an impres-sive model train collection that is probably a must see attraction for anyoneinterested in such things. It’s a good idea to ask for directions and confirmits working hours at the tourist office, since we had a bit of trouble tracking it down only to find that it had closed early.
Open 09:00 - 15:00. Closed Sat,Sun. Admission: €2.10/1.50 for adults/children.
St Maurus Church
H/I- 6, Trg Svetega Mavra.
Sitting atop Izola’smodest high point is the parish church of the town’s patron saint, who isalso responsible for watching over the Azores, shoemakers, coppersmithsand the disabled. The present church was originally built by the Venetiansin 1547, with the bell tower, which bears some resemblance to its larger predecessor in St Mark’s Square in Venice, coming some forty years later.The church last saw major renovations at the end of the 19th century andstill holds regular services.
Piran’spicturesqueTartiniSquareisoneof Slovenia’smost impressivepublicspaces
TheFormaVivasculpturegardeninthehillssouth of Portorožisamust-see
sight for art-lovers
I-8, Sončnonabrežje4, tel. (+386) 56401050,fax(+386)56401052,firstname.lastname@example.org,www.izola.eu.
July,August:everyday09:00-20:00.June,September:09:00-19:00,Sunday 09:00-17:00.October -May:09:00-17:00,Sunday closed