Slovenian Istria, full of richness and splendour, a step to the sea - Hoteli Bernardin
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Slovenian Istria, full of richness and splendour

The  identity of the Slovenian land and culture is closely linked to the sea, the same goes for our lifestyle, which would have been totally different from the one we have today if we had not had such a tight connection with the sea. Warm sunny days in spring and autumn tend to lure crowds of visitors who come for a cup of coffee on the seaside to leave behind the harsh cold, clouds or fog in the hinterland. Going to the coast means being able to enjoy in riches such as seafood, salt, olives and citruses. Last but not least, it offers us opportunities to reach out to the world. But how deep is actually our knowledge about Slovenia’s sea or Slovenia’s maritime environment?

The Slovenian coast

The Slovenian coast consists of a 46,6 km long stretch of land along the Adriatic sea as well as inland Slovenian Istria. On the north, it shares the border with the Italian coastline, whereas on the south, it borders with Croatia along the Dragonja river. Slovenian Istria, similarly to other parts of Istria, is devided into the land along the coastline, the so-called “Blue Istria” and into the land in the hinterland, the so-called “Green Istria”. Slovenian Istria consists of around 120 urban agglomerations. The towns that had undergone most changes during the centuries and had consequently changed in appearance are Koper, Izola and Piran with its nearing tourist resorts. Smaller seaside towns include Lucija and Sečovlje with saltpans, Bernardin, Strunjan with its saltpans and natural park, Debeli rtič, Ankaran and Fiesa.

The Slovenian coast is nestled along the bays of Piran, Koper and Strunjan. The main activities of the seaside towns are tourism, transportation, commerce and maritime services. The main economic activity on the coast is the hospitality industry, which includes a wide range of accompanying services, the leading two destinations being Piran and Portorož. This tourist destination boasts Slovenia’s biggest water park with salty water pools, Laguna Bernardin, the renowned long-tradition seawater spas, a wellness centre and casinos. In pre-summer and post-summer seasons, congress tourism is in full expansion. Other most visited tourist locations in the hinterland, but not too far from the coast, are mainly Lipica with its white Lipizzans and the famous Škocjan Caves, a Unesco world heritage site, and Postojna Caves.

Slovenian seaside beaches

There are 21 natural beaches on the short Slovenian coastline, and well-kept beaches are to be found at Debeli rtič, Ankaran, Sveta Katarina, Koper, Žusterna, Izola , Simonov zaliv, Strunjan, Fiesa, Piran, Bernardin and Portorož.

Natural seaside beaches in Slovenia excel in water quality and its cleanness, in fact, they have been consecutively compelling with the most stringent EU standards for some years now. Our beaches are already traditionally known as Blue flag beaches,  having been awarded an official certification issued to environment-friendly and neatly kept swimming areas.

Natural richness of the Slovenian coast and sea

The Slovenian sea has a rather shallow depth. The underwater plain, predominantly covered with clay sludge, exceeds 25 metres of depth only in some parts. Due to the sea’s shallow depth there are fluctuations between summer (28 °C) and winter (6 °C) temperatures as the sea can quickly get warm or cold. The characteristically enclosed and shallow-water Trieste gulf makes the underwater ecosystem particularly vulnerable since it is constantly subjected to environmental changes and factors, to a greater extent than the southern, deep-water Adriatic sea. Apart from temperature fluctuations, another characteristics of the Slovenian sea is its saltiness. The tributaries that flow into the sea, particularly the Soča, the Timava, the Po, contribute to a lower average saltiness if compared to that of the whole of the Adriatic sea.

The coast and its distinct aspects

The Slovenian coastline from Debeli rtič all the way to Sečovlje saltpans is fairly short and densely populated, yet it has managed to preserve its many varieties and distinctive features. The breathtaking Strunjan cliffs, which are the highest ones on the Adriatic coast, are considered among the most untarnished natural environments and biologically diverse seashores on our coast. Precisely in these two locations, in the proximity of the promontories Ronek and Debeli rtič, the biggest coral reefs in our sea can be found. Sečovlje and Strunjan saltpans are areas of great importance from an ornithological point of view. The shoreline between Sveta Katarina (Saint Catherine’s) and Sveti Nikolaj (Saint Nicholas’) near Ankaran is where the protected sea meadows are to be found. Another particular area is that of the Škocjan bay where freshwater from the Badaševica river and saltwater meet, thus creating a unique ecosystem combining a marine environment, a half-salty lagoon, sea meadows and freshwater marshes.

Nature learning paths and parks

All mentioned areas are protected. Biodiversity awareness and natural wealth are top priority, so learning paths have been created to acquire knowledge while taking a stroll amidst nature. Just a couple of metres from Piran’s Punta (the promontory), the seabed reaches a depth of 37.5 metres below water surface, which is by far the deepest part in the whole of the Trieste gulf. A rich variety of habitats can be found there, the area is home to numerous plant and animal species. The 46-kilometre long coastline and the surface area of 406 km2 of territorial waters boast two landscape parks and three natural reserves of national relevance.

Researchers have evaluated that biodiversity of the Slovenian marine environment is still relatively high. Tourism, fishing, urbanization, maritime transportation and portuary service activities within the Port of Koper as well as that of Trieste, are the main factors of influence and impacts on the marine environment. The value of the marine environment is priceless and should not in any way be affected by irresponsible human conduct. All means must be implemented to ensure an environment-friendly and sustainable use of the natural environment and its resources, so that they can, in their turn, benefit other marine ecosystems as well as economic activities, all of which become useless if the state of the marine environment has been deteriorated. 

Our destinations on slovenian coast

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