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From the tip of the Piran Peninsula, the rocky Slovenian coastline trails east two and a half miles toward a protruding landmass of bulking cliffs covered in trees. The protected natural reserve, Strunjan Nature Park, is rich with diverse geological phenomena; the layers of rock that plummet into the sea formed by the crashing waves, wind and rain. Natural vegetation, as well as olive groves and vineyards, grow on Strunjan, which can be explored by foot on intertwining trails. A shoreline path connects the two peninsulas, providing a pleasant way to walk from Piran to Strunjan on Slovenia’s coast.
Mid-morning, after lounging over coffee on Piran’s main square, we exited Tartini Plaza on the east side via a narrow passage, Bolniska Ulica. At the top of the street, after passing the Minorite Monastery and two churches, we found stairs to our left that descended to the beginning of the path and began our walk from Piran to Strunjan.
Walk from Piran to Strunjan
The paved trail barely exceeded the height of the splashing sea. Across the turquoise water of Fiesa Bay, we had unobstructed views of Strunjan and the 260-foot high bluffs. Although they seemed distant, we would be standing on top of them in just a little more than an hour.
In the small community of Fiesa, we regretted not bringing a Piran to Strunjan map of the route for our coastal walk, as it appeared we had three options. The path hugging the coast seemed to end at the waterfront hotel and the road veering right appeared to cut too far inland. The street to the right of the hotel leading up was marked with a faint bicycle trail marker – and we determined it had to be the right trail to follow. Our intuitions were correct and soon we had other faded and ramshackle signs keeping us on track as we moved onto a dirt trail under a canopy of trees. Through gaps in the greenery, we could see Strunjan getting closer and Piran growing smaller.
The dirt path ended at a road of steeply declining switchbacks. We kept to the berm as we made our way down to Strunjan Bay and the Strunjan Saltworks. The sectioned fields date to the 13th century and are still operating today using traditional methods for collecting sea salt. Rather than walking along the perimeter of the salt pans, we cut across the bridges to Strunjan Beach and lagoon, looking back at Piran and the distance we had traveled.
Exploring Strunjan Nature Park
We headed into town, looking for the trail on the Strunjan Nature Park that would ascend to the top of the cliffs. We hiked up stairs to a hotel and then turned left onto a dirt trail. At each opportunity, we stayed to the left, anxious for lookouts that would provide views over the sea. At the stone Cross of Strunjan, which was erected in 1921 for departing sailors to say a final prayer to the Holy Mary before setting out to sea, was the viewpoint we had hoped to find. It was a fairly clear day and from the base of the cross we looked over the Bay of Trieste to Italy. A viewing guide made from a wooden pole helped us locate the cities and sights on the land beyond the sea.
We had three paths to choose from to continue our trek: down the hill inland to the 16th century Church of the Apparition of the Virgin Mary, down the cliffs to the rocky beach below or straight along the coastline for more views. We chose the latter (although, later we regretted not making the short detour to see the church) and walked along the edge, peering down at Moon Bay (also called Bay of St. Cross).
Continuing east on the northern side of Strunjan, we walked through olive groves and farms, passing few other people along the way. We reached a second lookout point, which provided clear views north to the picturesque seaside town of Izola. Ready to turn around, we followed a one-lane road west. We made our way back toward town walking through vineyards and passing a few houses and abandoned structures on the way.
The road we were on took us almost directly to Strunjan’s main bus stop. Instead of retracing our steps on the walk from Piran to Strunjan, we hopped a ride on a bus and were quickly back on the Piran Peninsula, again viewing Strunjan in the distance.
Click here for our Best Things To Do In Piran, Slovenia!
Our top tips for your trip to Piran, Slovenia
Where To Stay
During our visit to Piran, we stayed in this awesome Airbnb Apartment. Not already a member of Airbnb? Use this link to create an account and save money on your first stay!) However, for those who prefer staying in traditional accommodations, there are many hotels to choose from in – or close to – the city center. Check out these top-rated hotels (based on guest reviews!) for your upcoming trip:
Or These Hostels:
Before You Go
- Don’t forget to pack a pair of lightweight and comfortable walking shoes. I (Sarah) have traveled with these shoes by Columbia, Skechers and Reef. Kris prefers wearing these shoes by Merrell and Sanuk.
- We’re certain you’ll be snapping tons of photos during your trip. Rather than relying on your mobile phone to capture the sights, upgrade to an actual camera for higher quality photos. We travel with a Canon Rebel (which takes amazing photos, but can be a bit clunky) and a Canon PowerShot ELPH (which takes beautiful pictures, is slim and lightweight – and the new models are wifi enabled so you can share your trip pics to social media in real time!).
- It’s easy to get turned around or lost in any new city! Be sure to have a good guidebook prior to arriving.
- We think travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel protected with World Nomads.
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