Ljubljana Day Trips: The Coast

By , 25 Apr 2018, 14:05 PM Travel
The Piran peninsula The Piran peninsula Screenshot from one of the embedded YouTube videos

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While we prefer to overnight at the coast when possible, so the driver can relax, it is possible to get there, have fun, and come back to Ljubljana in a day, traveling by car, bus, or train, so here’s our brief guide to what’s there and how to travel. 

April 25, 2018

The travails of history have left Slovenia with a short coastline, especially when compared to Croatia, where many residents decamp for their summer vacations. But while the country lacks length, variety and islands in this regard, the small size of the Slovenian Riviera – just over 40 km long – does allow you to master it all in a few trips, or at least gain the impression you have.

And just as Ljubljana has its own character and charms, despite being “less so” on almost all metrics compared to Paris, Barcelona or Rome, so that short stretch of the Adriatic coast where Slovene is spoken at home has much to offer, whether on your first trip or as part of a regular respite from the rigors of the continental climate.

Wikimedia - the coast from the air.jpg

Wikimedia: The Slovenian names, followed by the Italian

To that end, we present a short guide to what’s on the coast and how to get there, with more details to be added in longer texts as the season progresses and we work on our tan, within sight and sound of those enchanting waters. (And one thing to note, if you’ve never been there before and have certain image in your head, is that the beaches have more rocks than sand, other than at Portorož, and the waves could never be surfed.)

Koper is the main town on the coast, with a large port and, for our purposes, the main transport links with Ljubljana. You can get to and from here by bus or train, and then head to by bus or taxi to any of the other locations along the coast. While there is a beach at Koper, it’s relatively small and crowded, and thus most visitors will head to one of the other towns along the Adriatic.

 Wikimedia - Piran - Tobin - CC by 2.0.jpg

Sunbathers in Piran. Note the lack of a conventional beach. Wikimedia: Tobin - CC by 2.0

If you don’t live Slovenia and won’t be coming back then it’s probably best to head to Piran first, as it’s the main picture postcard attraction. It has a beautiful Venetian old town to explore on a peninsula that, as all peninsulas do, juts out into the sea, with focal points being Tartini Square and the Parish Church of St. George, and plenty of places to eat, drink, sunbathe and swim.

Piran is not far from the other main attraction, Portorož, and with some time and moderate fitness you can walk between the two, or simply get a bus or a taxi. This is a classic resort town that still has some of the grand architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, along with top hotels, casinos and restaurants, and thus plenty of glamour to go with the slightly more downmarket attractions of stores selling flip-flops, inflatable objects, sundresses, sunhats and sunglasses.

In essence, and like most of the coast, in Portorož you get what you see, and if you like loud, gaudy places then it’s got something for you, while if you prefer more quiet and seclusion, then you should head on to izola or Strunjan.

Like Piran, Izola is another old Venetian town with some nice architecture and a stony beach, with concrete to put your towel on and fry. There are also many seafood restaurants, and you can see some of the attractions in the following promotional video.

While most of the other places on this list are towns, Strunjan is a nature reserve, with trails for hiking or biking, and if you’re want to get some relative peace then this is the place to head to, as shown in this video of some Italians enjoying what they know as Strugnano (with our more detailed look at this lovely getaway here).

One focus of the park is Mesečev zaliv (Moon bay), shown in the image below, and a good base for exploring rock pools or leaving your things on the shore and taking a dip. The striking appearance of this bay is due to the flysch it’s made of, a sedimentary rock that dates back to the Eocene, some 56 to 33.9 million years ago.



Getting there and away

There are buses and trains to and from Koper and Ljubljana, but bear in mind that there are considerable variations in the schedules depending on the time of year and day of  week, which is why we’re directing you to the related sites rather than writing something here which then turns out to be incorrect. Trains take between two and three hours, and the relatde website is here, whiloe buses take just over two hours, and the timetable can be searched here. Finally, if you're driving, then the A1 highway runs from Ljubljana to the coast, and the journey takes about 90 minutes.

Other articles in this series can be found here.


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Slovenia Traffic Info

  • The first significant increase in foreign vehicles driving on Slovenian roads before the main summer tourist season is during the Easter holidays.

    We are therefore expecting increased traffic at the end of this week from Austria and Italy in the direction of the border crossings with Croatia and from Italy to Hungary.

    Holidays in certain parts of Europe start on Thursday, 29 March; therefore, we may expect increased traffic from Austria in the direction of Croatia. On Thursday, we also expect heavy freight traffic and long waiting lines at the border crossings with Croatia.

    Roads will be heavily burdened on Friday, 30 March. Heavy congestions can be expected on the Lower Carniola motorway at Dobruška vas due to construction works.

    Due to the end of the holidays in most European countries, traffic will be significantly increased in the opposite direction on Monday, 2 April, and Tuesday, 3 April. 

    The electronic tolling system is being implemented on 1 April and short road closures are to be expected during the night.

    When and where there will be the most traffic based on data from previous years: info.

    You can view the travel times on certain sections live on the website of the Traffic Information Centre at www.promet.si.

    Limitations for freight traffic

    Please note that limitations for freight traffic in Slovenia also apply on Easter Friday and later on Sunday and Monday. There will be no limitations in Slovenia on Saturday.

    You can view limitations in Slovenia and in neighbouring countries here.

    Expected construction works and road closures

    A2, Ljubljana - Obrežje

    A full road closure is expected in the Dobruška vas - Drnovo section until 21 May, which will be carried out in five stages. Traffic shall run on the other half of the motorway in both directions. Due to the full closure of the section, the Smednik junction will host temporary passage. Due to the closure of junction sections A and B at the Smednik junction (the expected start of the construction works is at the beginning of April), a detour will run on state-owned roads. The Zaloke jug rest area will be closed for the duration of the closure.

    A2, Ljubljana - Karavanke

    From Monday, 16 April to Thursday, 19 April from 8am to 4pm there will be maintenance works in the Karavanke tunnel.
    Traffic will run at intervals with waiting times at each end of the tunnel of up to 30 minutes. The maximum transport width is 3.5m.   à

    A1. Ljubljana - Koper, H4, Vipavska dolina

    As part of adjusting the toll booths for the DarsGo system, there will be a full half hour closure of the Divača - Kozina section on Monday, 2 April between 12am and 1am due to the removal of the signalisation at the CP Videž gantry. There will be a short closure of the Gabrk - Sežana vzhod section on Tuesday, 3 April between 4am and 6am due to the removal of the signalisation at the CP Dane gantry. Traffic will also occasionally be hindered outside the listed dates.

    Within the next phase of a more extensive renovation of the Vipava expressway, the worn roads in certain sections of the Vipava-Ajdovščina and Ajdovščina-Selo expressway in the total length of 7.7km will be renewed in each direction. The contractor will begin the renovation works as soon as the weather allows for it or after the end of the winter service on the motorways and expressways at the latest, most probably in the last third of March.

    A1 Maribor - Ljubljana, A5 Maribor - Lendava

    On the night of 1 April, traffic will be hindered at toll booths on the A1 at CP Vransko, CP Kompolje and CP Pesnica, on the A5 at CP Dragotinci, and on the A4 at CP Prepolje due to the implementation of the new traffic signalisation. CP Vransko will also have a half hour full closure in both directions at around midnight.

    Due to road patching works, traffic will be hindered at CP Vransko on Saturday, 31 March. 

    From Tuesday, 3 April to Saturday, 7 April, road patching works will commence on the A5 motorway at Vučja vas, Murska Sobota.
    On Saturday, 7 April, lines will be painted for the toll booths on the Styria motorway, while road patching works at CP Tepanje will commence on Sunday, 8 April.


    We are already seeing bikers on our roads and numerous national prevention initiatives to increase the safety of bikers are already taking place. The purpose of the initiatives is to make bikers aware of the importance of preparing appropriately at the start of the biker season, of wearing protective gear, of unexpected situations on the roads and of other participants in road traffic. More can be found at the link bikers.

    Speed as a risk factor remains one of the main reasons for traffic accidents and is an important contributor to the severity of consequences and the number of people severely or mortally injured in these accidents. Therefore we urge you to be attentive and to adjust your speed to the conditions on the road!

    Traffic information

    We suggest that you check the status of the roads using:
    - the website www.promet.si,
    - the PIC operator by dialling 1970 (the number is not free of charge) or the responder 080 22 44 (free of charge),
    - the mobile application DarsPromet+,
    - the social media (Twitter @promet_si and www.facebook.com/Vozimo.pametno),
    - the traffic information on radio stations.

    The Traffic Information Centre for Public Roadswishes you a pleasant and prudent drive.


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