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Portorož and Piran in a new light

The best advice from locals and hidden gems

You have probably visited Portorož and Piran or you’ve come back often, which we’re especially happy about. But did you know that in the vicinity there are many hidden gems that you probably won’t find in any guide and are certainly worth visiting?

Less known places that will totally enchant you!

Istrians like to say that the sweetest figs grow off the beaten path. And the same applies for places which are not at the top of your average must-see lists but will totally enchant and surprise you with their diversity.

Salt-pans: in the embrace of the sun, salt and memories

If you think that salt is just a spice, then think again. Here salt is … life! If the walls of the old stone cottages in the midst of the salt-pans could talk, they would tell you plenty of stories about the times when they were full of life. Although the days of harvesting salt in the area of Fontanigge are long gone, a visit to the southern part of the Sečovlje Salina Nature Park will take you back to the time when salt was worth more than gold, earning it the name "white gold". In Fontanigge you can admire wide salt fields that are being slowly overgrown by diverse vegetation, and you’ll witness unique scenes created by numerous animals that have found their home in the salt-pans over the years.

Strunjan Cross and Moon Bay: where the earth and the sky meet

Strunjan cross, the sentinel over Moon Bay, offers one of the most spectacular views. The footpath to the cross leads through picturesque olive groves, and offers panoramic views of the Adriatic Sea, the whole Gulf of Trieste and the faraway Alps. Words don't do it justice, so we suggest that you embark on an adventure and discover the splendid views for yourself.

Under the steep cliff you’ll find Moon Bay, which got the name after its unique crescent shape. Retreat to peace and quiet, listen to the waves gently lapping the shore, and watch the slow sunset. Surrender to nature and leave your everyday worries behind.

Walk to Šentjane and be rewarded with a breathtaking view

If you like to leisurely explore the hinterland and want to get your heart pumping, than the walk to Šentjane is the balm to your soul. At the top you’ll find a view worth your every step – let your eyes rest on the wide Adriatic Sea and the views that extend all the way to distant Croatian coast. Admire the diverse landscape all around you, the picturesque Strunjan valley and the Seča peninsula embraced by the Sečovlje Salina Nature Park.

The valley of the Dragonja River threads like a dragon's tail

The valley of the Dragonja River is reminiscent of a picture postcard. This area offers breathtaking natural gems. It is said that the Dragonja River got its name because of its winding form and it originates from the Italian word “drago" (dragon). A long time ago, there were 40 mills on the river and today you can visit the restored mills Kodarinov mlin (near Koštabona) and Mazurinov mlin (near Trsek). You can wrap up your walk by visiting the beautiful Škrline waterfall, which you can reach on foot or by bike.

Seča Cactus Garden

Have you ever wished to capture a piece of American wilderness and bring it home? Then the Seča Cactus Garden will take you on a real journey to faraway deserts without you needing to leave Slovenian Istria. Visit the charming collection of cactuses, from really small prickly ones to big, tubular wonders, and you can even buy them, so you can have a piece of wilderness in your own home.

Nearby there are some furry friends. Say hello to donkeys, horses and goats that live in Seča. Not far away is the well-known Fonda fish farm, and behind the cactus garden there is a hidden path that brings you to the Forma Viva park in less than 10 minutes.

Fiesa Lakes – salty or not?

What do you get when you combine freshwater oases and the salty sea? The answer is the lakes in Fiesa. The smaller lake contains fresh water and since 1963 the bigger lake has been connected to the sea and you’ll be surprised by the mix of fresh and salty water. Both lakes are a haven for many plants and animals.

A wide belt of reeds and other riparian plants provides a safe shelter for fish, marsh birds and especially to some rare dragonfly species. Although it may seem an unusual combination, it is a place where the freshwater and seawater worlds intertwine. Due to their great ecological value the Fiesa lakes have been included on the list of the most important natural heritage in Slovenia.

Approach the lakes silently and cautiously as on the floating wood there are often some of the ancient inhabitants enjoying the sun – turtles.

Do you know Stjuža, the only Slovenian sea lagoon?

If you'd like to experience something different, we recommend a walk by Stjuža, the only sea lagoon in Slovenia. It is a special conservation area that provides a home for many rare and endangered animal species. Visit this hidden gem and observe the vibrant life in front of you.

What will you add to your list?

We hope that our revelation of less-known spots inspires you to take time off and come for a visit. You know what they say … Sometimes we find the best things off the beaten path, where we can connect with nature, history and ourselves.