A Day Trip to Piran
When a visitor makes a visit to the coast of the Adriatic Sea, they often think of Dubrovnik, Croatia. Not only is Dubrovnik known as the inspiration for King’s Landing in the hit show, Game of Thrones, it is also known for its amazing views and narrow historic passages. However, it can be a very crowded place, especially in summer. Yet, during my time in Slovenia, I had the opportunity to pay a visit to the lesser-visited city of Piran on the Slovenian coast.
The visit to Piran was definitely the high point of my trip to Slovenia. It was on this day that the weather finally was agreeable with mostly sunny skies, and I could not have asked for a more perfect day.
This tour to Piran literally took place the day after my trip to Lake Bled. The itinerary for this tour was to stop at Skocjan Cave and Predjama Castle before finishing up at Piran.
This tour was actually very lucky for me. Originally, a minimum of two people was needed for it to run. A couple days before, I received word from the tour company that it might be cancelled since I was the only one. However, the day before it was to run, two other people from Australia signed up, so the tour went as scheduled.
The first stop on the tour was to Skocjan Cave. Skocjan Cave is very famous because it is known to have the largest underground canyon in the world. Similar to Postojna Cave, all the people entering the cave were split up into language groups. The English-speaking group was the last to enter. The tour through the cave lasted about 2 hours, and in my honest opinion, this was an absolutely amazing site. Unfortunately, photographs inside the cave were forbidden because the flash of cameras disturbs the special ecosystem that is inside the cave.
By far though, the most amazing site in Skocjan Cave was the underground canyon deep within the cave. This was truly amazing to see, and it is honestly difficult to fathom how big the canyon is without seeing it in person or without a picture. However, I can absolutely promise you that underground canyon is enormous and stunning to see.
After the tour to Skocjan Cave ended, myself and the two other people on the tour discussed with each other what to do. Since all of us had been to Predjama Castle already, we asked the guide if there was an alternative place to go. Thankfully, the guide was very reasonable and accommodating, and he took us to a town called Socerb, which is very close to the Italian border and drove us up a cliff to the ruins of Socerb Castle, which is now a restaurant and which gives a wonderful view of Trieste in northeastern Italy.
Once we had sufficient time to take in the landscape of northern Italy, the guide drove us to the city of Piran. This was the part of the trip that I was most looking forward to. I had seen pictures of the city for advertisements to the Slovenian coast, and I could not wait to see the place with my own eyes. Once we arrived at the city, the guide first took us to the old city walls to give us a view of the entire historic center. In my opinion, from the viewpoint from the city walls, it looked very similar to Dubrovnik and just as beautiful. The guide then gave us some brief historical information about the town and some practical information about when to meet up, and then he left us to our own devices to explore the city as we wished for a couple hours.
Since time was sparse, the two Australians opted to find something to eat, but I knew that would take more time than expected, so I decided to skip getting something to eat. Instead, I made the decision to spend as much time as I could exploring the old city. I knew I would not be able to see everything with the time I had, but I wanted to try and squeeze in as much as possible.
The first stop I made was to the church of St. George, which originally dates from the 12th century but whose current form dates from the 16th century. The church sits on a hill within the walled city overlooking the rest of the city.
For a very small and reasonable fee of 2 euros, it is possible to enter the beautifully-decorated church. The admission price also includes entrance to a small crypt and a small one-room museum/treasury of the church that holds various liturgical items, such as monstrances, chalices, and crucifixes along with some detailed statuary.
It is also possible to climb up to the top of the belltower for another 2 euros. I climbed the belltower and was able to get some magnificent views of Piran and Adriatic Sea along with the Bay of Trieste. Unfortunately, by the time I reached the top, it was approaching dusk, and the weather was getting increasingly cloudier, so my pictures from the top of the belltower were not as good as I would have liked, but I can definitely see how this would provide a magnificent view on clear days.
Luckily, the historic center of Piran is quite small, so it was very easy for me to walk around the entire city in the time that I had left. As I walked around the passageways and streets, it reminded me so much of a smaller version of Dubrovnik. In my opinion, both Piran and Dubrovnik could be twins with how similar they are, yet it seemed to me that Piran is not as touristy as Dubrovnik, and it also did not seem as crowded. However, since it was still shoulder season, it is entirely possible, there is a lot more activity in the summer months.
Once I finished exploring the city with the time that I had, I decided to get a gelato and then waited for the driver at the appointed time in Tartini Square, which is the main square of the city. The driver arrived on time, but one of the Australians was late in coming back since she had decided to walk around for a bit and lost track of time.
If I have to be honest, Piran was definitely the high point of my visit to Slovenia. This was surprising since before I made this trip, I was certain that Lake Bled would be the high point. However, unlike the rainy weather that occurred at Lake Bled, the day trip to Piran had perfect weather for a good portion of the day, and it lent itself to give me some marvelous views and photo opportunities. A definite future goal of mine will be to return to Piran since I did not have a chance to explore as in depth as I would have liked.
Have you been to Piran? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!
Please enjoy the photo gallery! All photos were taken by me using a DSLR and iPhone.