Koper and Strunjan - Mediterranean Town and Hidden Beach in Slovenia

The town of Koper in Slovenia is rarely on anyone's itinerary. Initially, it wasn't on ours either. It was supposed to be simply the first point of entry into the country. Although it is not as spectacular as the neighboring  Piran (a must see when visiting Slovenia - it has the vibe and the beauty of the extremely famous Dubrovnik), Koper still boasts the Mediterranean charm and the tiny Old Town covered with red brick roofs is similar to other towns along the Adriatic coast. Near Koper, we also found a little, secluded wild beach shielded by a large white cliff - it's completely off the beaten path and visited by locals only. What a nice surprise it was after the whole day of visiting!

 

Koper - the best and cheapest way to enter Slovenia
 

Slovenia is slowly getting more and more popular due to the beautiful Alpine town of Bled, which boasts the lone island with a majestic monastery right in the middle of the blue lake bearing the same name.

From what I've heard, most of the travelers in Slovenia arrive in Bled by train from the capital - Ljubljana and therefore they skip the beautiful, although short, Slovenian coast on the Mediterranean sea. If you travel from the mainland Europe, this makes sense, but if you want to visit Slovenia and go down the countries on the Balkan peninsula, the cheapest way to reach Slovenia is through the Mediterranean town of Koper - coming from Italy.

We flew to the border town of Trieste in Italy - more budget airlines fly there than to Ljubljana. From Trieste bus station, we took a bus to Koper (for around 3 EUR/3.50 USD) and in around 45 minutes we were is Slovenia. The bus went along the coastline and we could enjoy some great views.



Koper and first impressions of Slovenia
 

Slovenia was a part of Yugoslavia, a communist country so we expected the overall scenery to change drastically after crossing the border. We thought we would see the communist era concrete blocks and the grey, dull architecture.

Surprisingly, not only did we not notice any difference but we didn't even know when exactly the moment of crossing the border happened as both Italy and Slovenia are in the Schengen zone and there's no borders anymore. The only thing that was different was the language on the signs. Slovenia is also very clean and well maintained, even more than Italy and other countries from ex-Yugoslavia. It's the richest countries of all ex-communist states, therefore, unfortunately it's not as cheap to travel around as you would think.

 

 Koper

Koper

 Koper Old Town

Koper Old Town

 Koper Old Town

Koper Old Town

 Praetorian Palace

Praetorian Palace

 Tito Square

Tito Square

 Koper Old Town

Koper Old Town

 Daily life in Koper

Daily life in Koper

 Assumption Cathedral with the bell tower

Assumption Cathedral with the bell tower

 The Bell tower seen from the Old Town

The Bell tower seen from the Old Town

 View from the Bell Tower

View from the Bell Tower

 Red roofed houses

Red roofed houses

 One of the winding, old streets

One of the winding, old streets

 One of the old streets

One of the old streets

 Buildings at Presernov trg plaza

Buildings at Presernov trg plaza

 Houses in Koper

Houses in Koper

 A bike - decoration

A bike - decoration

 Carpaccio square

Carpaccio square

 At the well - now turned into a little fountain

At the well - now turned into a little fountain

 Bell Tower and Old Town

Bell Tower and Old Town

 

What to See in Koper

 

From Koper, you can easily explore the rest of Slovenia - public transport is very efficient and affordable (unlike food and accommodation, unfortunately, as I mentioned above). But if you have a bit of time, you can spend a day roaming codecoaround this small sea town.


Koper has some cozy little streets and a nice old town which has been carefully preserved and remembers the times of the Venetian Empire. Koper is so small that you wouldn't even need a map - just walk around and I'm sure you'll find all the places featured in this post.

The main things to see are:

  • Tito Square - the 15th century center of Koper with beautiful cobblestone street, renovated buildings and the impressive Praetorian Palace
  • The Tower Bell - another monument worth visiting at Tito Square - you can climb the tower for only 2 EUR and take some beautiful photos of the red roofed old town houses.
  • Cathedral of the Assumption - Romanesque style Cathedral, dating back to the 14th century, also at Tito Square
  • Presernov trg - another city square with old town buildings and fountains
  • Carpaccio Square - the most picturesque square, in my opinion. It features the house of painter Vittorio Carpaccio, the St. Justine's column and the 15th century well.
  • Koper Marina - Carpaccio Square overlooks Marina - it is a nice place for a walk along the seaside, dotted with palm trees, however the sea itself is not too spectacular here nor there are any beaches

 

 Koper - modern town

Koper - modern town

 Koper Marina

Koper Marina

 Koper Marina

Koper Marina

 Koper Marina near Carpaccio Square

Koper Marina near Carpaccio Square

 Koper Marina

Koper Marina

 

Strunjan Beach

 

Around 10 km (6 miles) west of Koper, lies a little village called Strunjan. You can get there by a public bus that goes along the coast past Izola - which is another beautiful town similar to Koper - if you have time - visit it too! We didn't have too much time so between Izola and Strunjan we chose Strunjan.

The bus from Koper left us at a roundabout and from there, we had to walk around 30 mins to reach the coast and the Strunjan Cross. There's a nice view from the cross - over the blue see and the white cliff. Down, at the bottom of the cliff, there's a long, wild beach - it's quite picturesque but unfortunately it's a pebble beach - so those who love sand will be disappointed. Nevertheless, it's a cool place to enjoy the nature - it's hidden away and shielded from civilization - we were so glad we had found it!

From Strunjan we went down to visit Slovenia's Mediterranean gem - Piran - it's a must see! I will describe it in the next post about Slovenia.

 

 The town of Izola on the way to Strunian

The town of Izola on the way to Strunian

 Strunjan Cross

Strunjan Cross

 The white cliff

The white cliff

 The Adriatic Sea

The Adriatic Sea

 Strunjan Beach

Strunjan Beach

 The town of Piran seen in the distance

The town of Piran seen in the distance

If you liked this article, you can also download it via the GPSmyCity app - you will be able to gain access to the guide, which will direct you to all the attractions described above, even if you're offline. Download it here.

Author: Tom @ Adventurous Travels

 

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