The Slovenian Coast: Koper, Fiesa, Piran

Having now travelled what we considered to be a goodly chunk of interior, our plan had always been to travel the Slovenian coast – which beckoned in the form of a short strip of seaboard just 27 miles long. Koper (renamed in Slovenian from the far-more poetically Italian ‘Capodistria’)  was a 65-mile journey from Ljubljana and lay just south of Trieste. It commanded a position of seemingly no strategic worth whatsoever as Slovenia’s northernmost coastal city but having found a large car-park on the outskirts of what turned out to be its rock-strewn sea-side, we cycled in to explore an unpromoted ‘old town’ interior. It was very hot. The Old Town was very small. We took some photos. We cycled back. And then drove on.

Now, Piran was a slightly different platter of seafood. Much publicised as being a well-preserved, historic, Venetian-styled coastal port and well worth our time, we felt a visit necessary, but couldn’t find – despite copious research – any Piran-based motorhome-friendly sites. What did pop up was the nearby small-resort of Fiesa, where a campsite appeared to exist and to which we made due haste.

Our timing was perfect as – not having booked a pitch – we arrived at 1:00pm to accidentally coincide with a 12 noon check-out time, so a warm and friendly welcome awaited us; we were ushered through a locked barrier and assumed prime position in a small campsite of about twelve vans, with a view to the sea across a couple of hundred metres of grassy parkland, already littered with sun-bathing families. A couple of café-bars, a beach volleyball court and a small, unobtrusive shower-block added to the jumbled people-watching opportunity, so we deployed our awning; laid out the reclining chairs; hung out a newly-acquired drying line (every good motorhome should have one) and declared ourselves ensconced and established for as long as we wanted to be there. With the sun still shining bright, we strolled across to a narrow shingle beach and plunged ourselves into the surprisingly warm(ish) waters of the Adriatic.  

It turned out that Piran was but a short walk on a coastal path around a promontory immediately accessible from our beach, so the following day – having lazed assiduously for most of it – we ‘dressed for dinner’ (meaning a change of shorts and T-shirts) and ambled around the point. Well, yes, Piran is indeed an attractive little town, with a classic, central harbour; narrow rambling alleys and lanes dotted with interesting, bohemian shops and a rather strikingly large central square (allegedly created by filling in the former harbour.) Above all this, a gurt big church stood sentinel, not really noticed until our journey home, when it provided a spectacular illuminated backdrop to the thriving town square.

A refreshing beer in still-strong early-evening sunshine was taken at the Theatre Bar on the harbourside before tracking down a restaurant ‘tucked a little away from the main tourist drag’ where ‘this fine little place doesn’t mess with the basics . . . fresh seafood . . . nicely cooked and served with a smile.” Which it was. Although displayed photographic images of the dishes on offer can be a bit of a touristy-turn-off, in this particular instance, the mixed seafood platter looked (and sounded) well worth our attention. With the rocking prows of moored vessels nodding gently not fifty yards away down a side-street, who were we to argue with the journalistic might of the Lonely Planet Guide to Slovenia, or indeed with the chef of the slightly uninspiringly-named Gostilna Park restaurant.

A gentle stroll back to the Knumptywagen through the bustling town and along the coastal path (in the dark now so thankfully avoiding the rather bizarre outbound sight of a completely naked elderly gentleman enjoying the impetus given to a certain part of his anatomy by throwing small pebbles into the sea – presumably as a perverse form of local entertainment, mainly for him we guessed.)

And so to bed.

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