Piran, well worth visiting old venetian city - Hoteli Bernardin
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Piran - Pearl of the Mediterranean

Piran is a centre of culture and arts, a town of numerous events, concerts and art galleries. Let yourselves be captured by the pearl of the Mediterranean, come and get to know the history, culture and  stories of hidden treasures ...

Piran is a fascinating medieval seaside town, in the past home to fishermen and saltpan workers, a town set within a genuine Mediterranean environment that the visitors rarely come across elsewhere. The town is situated on a peninsula that ends in the promontory Punta Madonna, which used to be populated already in pre-Roman times. The first written accounts of Piran are papers from the 7th century. The origin of its name derives from the Greek word PYR (fire)  for there was always a fire burning on the promontory to warn sailors at sea.

Piran’s architectural design is medieval with narrow streets and houses built one against another, which gives the town a typical Mediterranean touch and a particular charm. On top of the hill is majestically located the baroque church of St. George with its 48.7-metre high tower bell upon which is set St. Michael’s statue. Today’s appearance of the church is from 1637. The church’s interior is decorated with artistic works, but one can admire also the many treasures on display at the parish museum, as well as the archaeological findings deriving from excavations below the church’s building. Between 1912 and 1953 the inhabitants of Piran used to travel by electric tram, which connected Piran and Portorož to Sveta Lucija, where the railway station was located, one of the stops along the narrow-gauge railway line Parenzana that could take you from Trieste to Poreč (Parenzo) and back.

Contemporary Piran is an administrative and tourist centre, during weekends it turns into a favourite destination for national and foreign visitors. The main attractions in Piran are the monument to the violinist virtuoso Giuseppe Tartini, and Tartini House, his birthplace, Tartini Square, which is named after him and used to be an inner dock only 100 years ago, the Palace of Justice and the Municipal palace dating from the period of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, the newly restored Venitian palace, the oldest and most beautifully preserved Venitian gothic building on Tartini Square, the pair of stone pillars of the flag posts, the 1st of May Square, known as the Old Square, the seven entrance gates of the town walls, the oldest parts of the ramparts dating back to the 7th century, and the fortified part of the walls on Mogoron hill with eight defensive towers, near a dozen churches as well as the Minorite monastery with the vaulted alleys. Do not miss a visit to the Maritime Museum, the Aquarium (established in 1964 and renovated, managed by the Grammar, Electrotechnics and Maritime Secondary School Piran), discoverthe Aquatic Diving Museum, the Magical world of shells (Čarobni svet školjk ), the Coastal galleries (Obalne galerije) etc. Along the seaside, the promenade leads you past the many restaurants and inns with an inviting offer of genuine local dishes and local wines. At every step we are reminded that architectural elements, paintings and sculpted works are omnipresent, thus making culture accessible and artistic jewels on display not only in museums or galleries, but actually suggestively decorating the town’s streets and buildings.

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The fascinating medieval town of Piran is located at the furthest, southwestern point of Slovenia. It lies in close proximity of the Croatian border, while the borderline with Italy is set at sea. The climate is submediterranean, which means there are  many sunny days throughout the year and a low level of rainfall. Slovenian Istria has typically mild winters with favourable climate conditions. This is the reason why guests keep coming back throughout the year. Should you want to check the weather forecast before leaving for the coast, click on weather (link) or watch live stream – webcam



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Resort Salinera, Salinera Beach, Strunjan

On the outskirts of the Natural landscape park Strunjan, at an idyllic location where you can regenerate your strength within the Bioenergetic Park Salinera, is located Salinera Resort offering not only hotel and apartment accomodation facilities, but also a wonderful beach boasting spacious green areas with lots of natural shade, two freshwater pools and a well-maintained swimming zone.

Fornače beach

Fornače is a larger area located along the road leading to the older part of Piran, in proximity of Bernardin. The location boasts a spacious, newly reconstructed beach with in-built wooden chaise lounges and a neatly paved promenade (opened in 2016). A free-of-charge bus shuttle is available for visitors to shorten the distance between Fornače and Tartini Square. From Fornače a paved walking track leads towards Piran or towards Bernardin resort.

Fiesa beach

Fiesa is a small bay, located between Piran and Strunjan. It is interesting for its two freshwater lakes, of which it is smaller natural and larger artificial. Over the last decades the bay has turned into a popular holiday resort with camping sites, hotels, holiday homes and villas.

Beach below St. George’s hill

The beach below St. George’s hill is known to be a wild beach, a favourite naturist seaside spot. It is less accessible and off the beaten track, and most suitable for four-legged pets.

Things to do

There is a wide range of choices, just pick a suitable one for you.You can choose from activity options for families, couples, seniors, groups of friends or athletes. During your stay in Piran, when you get to know the good humoured and friendly locals, or while you experience culinary delicacies,you can also spend your time actively. There is a vast range of choices:

DivingHikingFishingWater skiing
SailingVolleyball   Cycling  Discovering cultural sights
SurfingFootball Tennis

The town of Piran – Pearl of Slovenian Istria –   offers you a complete range of holiday services. Visitors can choose among numerous hotels, apartments and hostels. Culinary specialities can be tasted in the best restaurants offering a wide choice of local food delicacies, while you enjoy the mystical atmosphere of this medieval coastal town. Spending time on the beach or enjoying in your favourite activity to make your day memorable. 

Things to experience

1. St. George’s Bell Tower

St. George’s Bell Tower is considered one of the most important monuments in Piran. The Bell Tower, situated on top of the hill, is the perfect spot to admire the beauty of the old town centre, surrounded by impressive medieval walls and full of monuments that offer a vivid portrayal of Piran’s rich and interesting past. The first church was built as early as the 9th century, a bigger one was later on built in the 12th century and underwent several developments, while the current appearance of St. George’s church dates from 1637. The construction works of the Bell Tower were finished in 1608 and it is interesting to know that Piran’s tower is a miniature  version of the 15-century Campanile on St. Mark’s Square in Venice.


2. Piran’s town walls

The oldest part of the town centre was surrounded by the walls as early as the 7th century. Seven town gates out of eight, which served as entrances to town, managed to survive throughout the centuries.As the town expanded towards south-east, new walls were built to encircle and fortify new quarters of the town. The oldest part of the walls that protected the old town core in the Punta quarter has preserved its original shape, although undergoing numerous and thorough restorations throughout the centuries. The construction of the ramparts with eight defensive towers on Mogoron hill was completed during the period between 1470 to 1534. The exterior side of the walls has a distinctive angle of inclination, a characteristic feature of enhanced defence. The walls reach considerable heights. The defensive towers were renovated a few years ago and staircases were added to link and make the towers accessible to the public.

3. Tartini Square with a unique touch of music

Tartini Square is the largest square in the centre of Piran. Today’s square was a town port in the past, an inner dock for galleys and fishing boats. It was turned into a square at the end of 19th century and named after Piran’s famous violinist and composer Giuseppe Tartini. Giuseppe Tartini, a violinist virtuoso of worldly fame, was born in Piran, where he spent his youth years. His legacy is perceived everywhere in town. The monument to his memory stands on the main square, within proximity of his birthplace, and is open to visitors who can admire the maestro’s original violin on display. To honour the virtuoso, some years ago the town of Piran began to organize the Tartini Music Festival every summer. The event takes place at the vaulted alleys of the Minorite monastery.

4. Cultural heritage of saltpan workers and farmers

The genuine level of a country’s culture is reflected not only in the works of painters, musicians and architects, but is also molded by its inhabitants. At Lera, the northern part of the Sečovlje saltpans, salt is still harvested to these days by using the same method as 700 years ago, completely manually. In the southern part, called Fontanigge, production ceased years ago, but old buildings have been turned into what is today known as the Saltmaking museum. Visitors can have a look at the renovated interior of saltpan workers’ houses in order to learn about life in the saltpans throughout the centuries. 

In the village of Sveti Peter (St. Peter’s) that is gently nestled within inland hills behind Piran, Tona’s house - a renovated farmhouse - is the perfect visiting spot for you to get acquainted with life in the hinterland, most particularly with the life and work of olive growers.

5. Cultural treasures of Piran

Discover the rich cultural heritage of Piran and its surroundings with the help of Cultural treasures of Piran brochure.

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