Slovenia has a small but beautiful and diverse coast along the Adriatic sea. It’s stretching on around 45km and living there feels like part of the Mediterranean.
To move around is best to rent a car. There are also buses, especially in the summer, but not so frequent. The coast is not so long so you can easily walk some parts of it or cycle the Parenzana route (old railway trail turned into a cycling route). Slovenian coast is very close to Ljubljana (1h away) and Trieste so you can easily do a day trip to our capital or across the border to Italy. Basically, anything is close in Slovenia. This is a huge advantage and you can see many things in a short amount of time.
On a nice sunny day, you will be able to see all the way to the snowy mountains and possible catch a glimpse of our highest mountain Triglav.
Historically most of the places at the coast were connected with health and making people feel better. That is why we have many hospitals and spas for wellbeing.
Most of the towns in the coastal area are bilingual, with both Slovene and Italian as official languages.
Ankaran (not Ankara in Turkey!) is my childhood hometown. It has a small centre with nice bars, good restaurants and a cosy beach. Here you can find a very good campsite and a monastery that was converted into a hotel in which you can stay. I believe you will find the history of the place fascinating.
From Ankaran you can drive to my favourite area called Debeli Rtič (towards the Italian border), where you find small walking trails among vineyards and seaside with cliffs. A wine company maintains a tradition of Cabernet here, growing since 1955. It’s quite romantic, especially if you catch the sunset.
A bit before Ankaran centre we have the St. Katerina beach. It has a learning trail, including the only salty meadow in the Mediterranean, and sports facilities like beach volleyball.
I would call it a wannabe Miami. You will feel it when you walk along the palm trees at the seaside. Koper isn’t really a place where you go for the beach experience. It has a really nice historical centre with small shops – you will definitely feel an Italian vibe. Main sights in Koper include the 15th century Praetorian Palace and Loggia (where you can have a coffee), the 12th century Carmine Rotunda church, and the Cathedral of St Nazarius, with its 14th century tower- all located at the main Tito square. Continue from there to Čevljarska street and explore Da Ponte Fountain and Muda Gate. At the gate turn right to the sea and walk along it while eating some ice cream from shops on the way.
The city’s Port of Koper is the major contributor to the economy in probably whole Slovenia.
Izola is an old fishing town and I have grown to like it. I celebrated my 30th Bday here with friends and family at a beach bar close to the lighthouse. It has an old town with narrow streets where you can linger, excellent restaurants and many places to buy souvenirs. You can swim in Izola in a crystal clear water and enjoy the sun on the nearby grass.
Just a bit further from Izola towards Strunjan you have the Moon bay- an isolated beach by the cliffs and part of a Landscape protected park. A splendid area to avoid the crowds and typical beach places. You can get there only by foot.
Portorož is a seaside resort and spa town. It’s now one of Slovenia’s major tourist and gambling area, and Slovenia’s answer to the French Riveria but without the bumper-to-bumper traffic and hordes of people selling you things. It’s one of the rear places on the Slovenian coast that you will find some sandy beaches.
For a more luxury experience, you can stay at Kempinski palace. Five-star hotel built in 1910 and reopened in 2008. A tourist attraction by itself.
Piran has its charming style that resembles Venice. It’s not allowed to enter the city with a car. You will find parking spaces just before it and a shuttle bus that will take you to straight to the famous Tartini square. The square is named after the famous violinist Giuseppe Tartini, that was born in Piran in 1692. As appropriate for a local hero you will see his statue on the square. You can visit his birth house.
A bit above the square we have the church of St. George with a good panorama, and town walls that you can visit.
Piran is where I got my scuba diving license so there are some diving centres you can go to. In the sea expect octopus, conger eels, seahorses, squid, lobster – visibility is often unfortunately not great. There are a handful of wreck dives that explore what remains of WWII boats, including Kec (a military transport ship) and Maona Rossa (a cargo barge). Dives come pretty cheap.
The salt evaporation ponds! A must do natural park. Salt ponds from Sečovlje are one of the few where salt is still produced in a traditional way by hand to preserve cultural and natural heritage. Here you can experience a demonstration of salt making and buy some Slovenian salt to help maintain this tradition.