It is 1st of March, sunny outside and it feels like spring is slowly coming around the corner, but painfully slowly. I wish I could return to the sunny coast of Slovenia, having coffee in a shadow of pine trees and breathing in fresh air of Adriatic sea, overlooking magnificent coastline.
My partner in crime is from Slovenia and I have always teased him about their 46 km of coastline vs our (Latvia’s) 531 km, the one thing I clearly beat him in our never-ending competition Slovenia vs Latvia. It is another story that even in the middle of the summer you need to have guts to swim in Baltic sea (temperature of the sea barely gets over 20 C), but we compensate that with quantity of long sandy beaches. Anyway this post will be about Slovenian beaches and as hard as it is, I have to admit, that they have an amazing weather which makes their rather short shoreline very much enjoyable.
Slovene Riviera as they call it, is located in the gulf of Trieste by the Adriatic sea and comes with typical Mediterranean climate, it is easily reachable from the capital Ljubljana in just 45 minutes and can be a great day trip while visiting Slovenia. Unfortunately Slovenia doesn’t have many beaches, and the one’s they have are covered in concrete, but there are some exceptions. Last May while exploring Slovenia’s wine region Goriska Brda I managed to get a proper tour of Slovenia’s coastline ( it only took me 10 years, since I first came to Slovenia), so here is a quick glimpse into the best Slovenia’s beaches.
Koper city beach
First coastal town you will reach from Ljubljana is the only port of Slovenia – Koper. You wouldn’t normally imagine beaching at the major nautical transit line, but charming old town, palm trees and extensive yacht harbor will make you feel like on the coast of Italy. There are two main swimming areas, Koper promenade by the park with couple of stairs for quick access to the water, which I’m not entirely sure are actually ment for swimming. And a more private beach – called Mestna plaza (city beach) behind the cafe Krostola. Small pebbly bays are separated with piers for easy access into deeper water, grass lawn is perfect for lazy afternoons in the sun, reading a book and eating as much ice-cream from the nearby cafe as you possibly can. Port is well behind the beach, water is clean and there are almost no signs that you would be enjoying seaside pleasures at the port.
If you are not a fan of salty water, you must try Koper’s Olympic outside swimming pool, follow the pedestrian path from Koper towards Izola and you will reach Zusterna swimming pool, where you can swim your heart out overlooking Adriatic sea. http://www.sportvkopru.si/objekti/single/olimpijski-bazen-zusterna
Next stop Izola – a dreamy fishing village, which by my surprise originally has been an island. Today you would never say it has ever been separated from the mainland, beautiful old town stretches deep inside the sea opening great views to Adriatic sea. There is a romantic pebbly beach at the tip of the “island” by the lighthouse, which in my opinion is great for viewing sunsets while having picnic. You can get the best view over the Izola from the nearby road to Dobava, that reveals picturesque views from above.
Strunjan & Moon bay
It was first time I heard, that Strunjan, the next village on the coastline is actually located in the Nature park and part of the coastline is protected, preserving some of the rare species and plants, that are dangerously close to disappearing. The protected status has also helped preserve coastline as it once was and Moon bay located in the park is a true testimony to that. Slovenians call it a “white cross” beach, as at the top of the cliffs stands a large white cross. The beautiful long pebbly beach at the bottom of the cliffs is backed by a massive cliff wall, and the view from above is amazing. You need to take the small path along the cliff to walk down the beach, which is probably a good 20 minute walk, but it will guarantee you privacy and fantastic views. Follow signs of White Cross (Beli Kriz) to find the road to the nature park, once you will reach large white cross on the top of the cliffs, just walk down on the right hand side to reach Moon bay.
Strunjan has also a beach in the center of the town, typical to the rest of the shoreline it is covered in concrete, and backed with pine grow. Right word would be – practical, not necessarily beautiful.
Piran is probably one of the most romantic Slovenian coastal towns with great restaurants, fantastic views and architecture, but it’s not really a seaside resort. Locals come here often to swim, as the long promenade by the sea is paved in concrete and made easy to access the water. It rarely gets crowded as it’s not so comfortable laying on the pavement, but swimming really feels like in a large swimming pool. Park your car just before the entrance into the town, as parking inside the town will cost you at least double. This is the only town on the coast you actually have to pay, if you want to access it by car.
The flashy seaside resort of Portoroz is the pride of Slovenia: palm trees, luxury hotels (in which locals never stay, as they are too expensive), casinos and crazy nightlife. Officially the only sandy beach in Slovenia, it looks very artificial to me, but who cares what gives you the true feeling of being at the sea. Portoroz is the place you want to be if you want to have fun. Plenty of entertainment to both adults and kids, great restaurants and buzzing bars, be prepared to pay little extra for the Slovenian seaside extravaganza.
Slovenia has never been a seaside holiday destination, as they just can’t compete with neighbors over both sides of the border, but if you are in Slovenia take advantage of the fact that you can be at the sea in just 45 minutes eating ice cream, swimming in the sea and soaking up the sun. I wish I could be there right now.
Find all these beaches on the map: