STA, 15 July 2020 - After reaching above-average levels in early July, the sea temperature has been significantly below average in recent days, hydrologist Mojca Robič of the Environment Agency told the STA on Wednesday. Lower temperatures are mostly a result of a strong bora wind pushing through the coast.
At the start of July, the sea temperature reached 27 degrees Celsius, whereas in recent days it was hardly above 20 degrees.
This month has not been extremely hot, said Robič, adding that a two-day period of a fierce bora and thunderstorms has contributed the most to the cold spell.
"The bora swirls the water, which is why it gets colder," said the expert.
The average July sea temperature stands between 23 and 25 degrees, according to the agency. Usually, the sea enters a warmer phase by the end of the month; this year's trend hence departs from the normal course.
The bathing season, which officially begun this week, will be somewhat different to what we’ve been used to. Last Tuesday the National Institute of Public Health finally announced the new preventive measures that managers of pools, beaches and seawater areas will have to implement. Concerns have been raised that the requirements for social distancing will be difficult to put into practice.
According to the new pandemic prevention regulations, 1.5m social distance should be kept among visitors on shore, and 2m in water. Only members of the same household can sunbathe or swim in groups.
Some of the measures taken to ensure social distancing on the central beach of Portorož are floor markings, warning signs and greater distance between umbrellas, explained Jana Pines from Piran Environment for RTV Slovenia. Furthermore, she explained, contact surfaces such as toilets will be regularly disinfected, for which they will need more staff than they planned. Most difficulties, however, are expected with regard to keeping visitors at the requested social distance, especially in the sea, “where it is practically impossible to verify whether swimmers come from the same household or not”.
Duško Madžarović, the director of the Koper Public Sports Institute, which manages the swimming pool in Žusterna, also pointed to this problem. In a statement for RTV Slovenia he emphasized that staff do not have the authority to ask for the guests’ identity to find out whether they are from the same household or not.
STA, 13 June 2020 - Those living at the Slovenian seaside and those visiting the area will soon be able to make use of a free of charge shuttle ferry service linking Ankaran, Koper, Izola and Piran. The service will be available over weekends during the summer season, starting in late June, and could be used to transport bicycles.
Passengers will be able to use the shuttle transport on Saturdays and Sundays between 8am and 8pm, twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon.
The ferry will have a free of charge storage space for bicycles. The five bike spots will be occupied on a first-come-first-served basis, the Koper Regional Development Centre has said.
The free of charge shuttle service is a pilot initiative of the Crossmoby project that is part of the Interreg V-A Italy-Slovenia 2014-2020 programme.
Crossmoby promotes sustainable mobility by launching intermodal passenger transport options. The summer ferry service will take place over the span of 15 consecutive weekends, starting at the end of June and ending in late September.
Passengers will be able to board or get off the vessel in Ankaran at the Adria Ankaran camp pier, in Koper near the Ukmarjev Square car park, in Izola at the Marina hotel jetty and in Piran at the red lighthouse pier at the entrance of the harbour.
With every adult in Slovenia about to get €200 to spend on tourist accommodation to help kickstart the post-corona summer, we thought we’d take a look at various properties around the country to consider. Since the coast came top in a survey of Slovenes asked to state where they’d like to stay – just after Croatia – we got in touch with Olga Mostepanenko, who runs Piran Vacations offering short-term rentals of various sizes and asked a few questions, which she kindly replied to.
Tell us something about your background.
I’m Canadian, living and working in Switzerland for the last 10 years. I run a consulting company for small business owners. In 2012 I came to Slovenia on vacations and it was love at first sight: breathtaking nature, lovely people and so many cultural and natural treasures to explore!
When did you start renting properties? How has the market changed in this time?
I’ve been renting vacation properties for seven years: from the very early days of Airbnb in Slovenia, all the way into the enormous boom of 2018-2019, followed by complete shutdown of travel industry in March 2020 due to coronavirus – a true roller-coaster! That said, the beauty of the Slovenian seaside hasn’t changed. If anything, it only increased, as new beaches, hiking trails and dining experiences came to life in recent years.
What do you like about life in Piran?
I have many interests: art and science, travel, friends, nature hikes and historic architecture, the sea and stars... All of these are reasons to come to Piran, and I come as often as I can! As a host I’m happy to welcome you to Piran and help you plan a perfect seaside stay: get lost in the winding cobblestone streets of our medieval town, climb Piran’s ancient town walls, enjoy our many music festivals, discover the best beaches, sea lookouts, nature walks and bike trails – and, of course, just soak in the sun and enjoy delicious local fish, seafood, olive oil, truffles, fruits, ice-cream... I’m sure anyone who visits will keep coming back, this is the magic of Piran!
What effect has coronavirus had?
This is one of those once in a lifetime events that puts our resilience to a test. For sure, most of us are facing a big, negative impact on our businesses and employment. Fortunately, health-wise the situation on the coast is very much back to normal after just two months: the epidemic in Slovenia is over, Piran is full of happy holiday-makers, so let’s be thankful for that! As business people, we have to work smarter and better to compensate for the lost months and to brace ourselves for the recession ahead for Europe and the world. We want to serve each guest in the best possible way to bring back consumer confidence and smiles.
What do you think will happen this summer?
Thinking positively, the seaside is the best place to be in times of health concerns: sea breeze, sunshine, high-quality locally grown food – there are no better things to help build immunity! The Slovenian coast is a short drive from anywhere in the country and neighboring nations, and so many people have great access to the natural treasures of Piran, soaking in the history and culture as an added benefit. Private apartments are also well-positioned to serve as safe havens, creating your own “family bubble” where you don’t have to mix with strangers so much.
What is your opinion of the tourism voucher plan?
People were saying that seaside vacations outside Slovenia, especially Croatia, seem more affordable, and the government has done something about that. Now more locals can benefit from amazing holidays at home, as opposed to going somewhere cheaper destinations, where healthcare or hygiene standards may be not as high as in Slovenia. It’s a great opportunity for Piran, but also for other destinations in the country.
With that said, can you tell us about some of your properties on the coast?
We believe everyone – a solo traveler, couple, family or larger group – deserves a welcoming home in Piran. So we offer a variety of apartments and houses, all in the very heart of historic Piran and within 1-3-minutes’ walk from the beach. And it’s our pleasure to recommend activities to help you become a temporary local: shopping at the farmer’s market, enjoying the sea, people-watching at the grand Tartini Square, eating at the best local restaurants.
Thinking about specific properties, for a couple or family with young kids we offer two-room apartments (here and here) in a comfortable house right off Tartini Square: watch festivals from your window or enjoy a sea view from the common roof terrace! Feel immediately at home:
- clean and disinfected private apartments
- Wi-Fi, air con, bed linens & towels, washing machine
- kitchens with large fridge/freezer, stove, oven, plates, pots & pans, cooking supplies
- fully renovated bathrooms, free toiletries
- two-minute walk to swimming, supermarket, restaurants, farmers' market
For a family of 4-6 we are happy to offer a private apartment directly on the sea, with a gorgeous view – just walk out to the beach and seaside promenade! Enjoy a spacious living room, fully equipped kitchen, two bedrooms, beautiful bathroom and two balconies.
- the kitchen is custom-made from Slovenian oak and includes a large fridge/freezer, dishwasher, stove, oven, coffee machine, tea kettle and cupboards full of chinaware, cutlery, pots & pans, kitchen utensils, basic cooking supplies
- the fully renovated bathroom is equipped with a shower cabin, sink, toilet and a washing machine; enjoy complementary toiletries & laundry detergent
- the bedroom comes with a king-size bed and is facing a quiet street, while the kids’ bedroom has bunk beds and a sea view.
For a larger group (up to 12 people) we offer your own house with terrace and sea view
It’s all yours: a historic renovated house with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a spectacular private roof terrace - ideal for a family! 150 m2. of living space over five floors of a historic Piran house, a registered monument.
- free Wi-Fi, air conditioner on each floor, bed linens & towels, washing machine
- clean and disinfected
- fridge/freezer, stove, oven, chinaware, pots & pans, cooking supplies
- private roof terrace is spacious and offers amazing views of Piran & the sea
- perfect Old Town location: 2-minute walk to swimming, supermarket, restaurants
Anything else you would like to say?
STA, 9 May 2020 - Gathering on Slovenia's beaches and at other public places on the coast remains banned, with the exception of individual sports activities, said Slovenian seaside mayors on Friday, ahead of what is likely to be a sunny weekend, coming a few days after the government extended the ban on gatherings.
Apart from the mayors of Slovenia's Istra region, the Koper Police Department and Health Inspectorate have joined the calls for complying with the ban, saying that any sun-bathing, socialising or loitering on the beaches is not allowed.
Citizens may bathe or swim though, but any time spent on the beach prior or after these activities must be kept short. Physical distancing should be maintained as well.
Patrol officers and representatives of the coastal civil protection unit will be on the lookout this weekend for any violators who might be tempted to hang out outside and enjoy the beach life.
Warmer temperatures and sunny skies are expected to attract more visitors to the seaside, with the police urging tolerant and responsible behaviour.
In the past few days, the government has lifted quite a few lockdown restrictions, including giving a go-ahead for reopening restaurants and certain shops, however preventive measures still apply there. Moreover, gatherings in public spaces are still off-limits.
STA, 4 March - Tourism officials in the regions bordering Italy are not yet reporting a decline in visitors due to the coronavirus outbreak in Italy, a major market for Slovenian tourism. The coastal community of Piran has even seen more visitors than in the same period a year ago.
The tourism association at the seaside of Portorož recorded a slight drop in the number of overnight stays at hotels, which they say was mainly due to the fact that two major hotels are closed for renovation.
Most other hotels in the Piran municipality, which also includes Portorož, saw visitor numbers in February trumping those recorded the same month a year ago. "We've seen growth mainly due to foreign visitors, who generated a good fifth more overnight stays in February than last year," they say.
The Portorož tourism association is closely monitoring the coronavirus situation, following the advice of the National Public Health Institute and the Slovenian Tourist Board, and notifying its visitors in turn.
"Our hotels are well prepared too, keeping their guests up to date on the developments, making sure the premises are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, while the staff have attended training on preventive measures," the tourism association said.
Similarly, tourism officials in the port town of Koper have not noticed any particular effect of the coronavirus outbreak. February statistics are not yet in but the local tourism info point has not yet recorded a decline in footfall.
Nor has a fall been observed at the tourism centres in the Soča Valley, although the main tourism season there is yet to begin.
Restaurants along Slovenia's western border are not reporting a drop in turnout by Italian or other foreign customers either, but they are cautious about any projections and further developments.
Shaded countries had at least one confirmed case of coronoavirus as of 3 March 2020. WHO data, map US CDC - details
Gostilna pri Lojzetu, the award-winning establishment at Zemono Mansion, has had some cancellations from Italian and some other patrons who travelled through Venice airport, "but merely as a preventive measure because they wouldn't want to 'infect' any of our guests, even though they were not infected".
However, the restaurant does not expect any difficulties in the future. "We'll always have the restaurant full, it will definitely stay that way," they say.
The Chamber of Trade Crafts and Small Business (OZS) last week called for state aid arguing that the hospitality sector in the Nova Gorica area had been seeing a "drastic decline" in Italian customers.
All our stories on coronavirus and Slovenia are here
The first version of this story had a mistake in the date of the event in the main text - it's in September, not December
It’s February, the heart of the low season, and maybe you need some motivation to get out and moving, a goal to set and make sure you end the year in better condition than you started it. For some this goal will simply be to move a little more each day, or to eat less junk food, or do a stretch or two in the shower. But if you like to aim high, and are already starting from a position of enviable strength, then take some time consider the Ironman triathlon – with swimming, cycling and running in the beautiful surroundings of the Slovenian coast, taking in Koper, Izola, Piran and Ankaran, with a trip to Italy included in with the price of entry.
The race first arrived in Slovenia in 2018, adding to the list of extreme sporting events members of the public can try their hands and feet at, along with such Red Bull sponsored occasions as the Planica 400 (usually in September) and Goni Pony, which both see competitors go up steep slopes, by foot and mini-bicycle, respectively.
Ironman, though, is a different breed, with a far more punishing, lengthy and varied task ahead of the entrants, and far fewer possibilities for wearing a costume.
IRONMAN 70.3 Slovenian Istria, to give the race its full and correctly capitalized name, will start with a 1.9 km swim in the sea by Koper, followed by a 90.1 km bike ride through the town itself, followed by Ankaran, and then crossing the border to go along the picturesque Italian coast, including the town of Muggia. The cycling stage then returns to Slovenia and will challenge competitors with various ascents and descents in Istria. The last part of the race is a 21.1 km run, with the finish line by the sea in Koper.
It all sounds easy enough, from the comfort of one’s couch in February. But if you want to enter then you can register here and start planning your training regime, with just six months to go until the big day, Sunday 6 September 2020
What’s more, if you’re a truly competitive beast – and if you weren’t, would you be considering an Ironman? – then note that the race offers qualifying slots for the 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in St. George, Utah (USA). The official website, with all the details, can be found here.
STA, 13 November 2019 - The coastal towns of Piran, Izola and Koper were flooded during the night due to heavy rain and a combination of a cyclone, southerly wind and full moon, which caused an exceptionally high tide. According to unofficial information, the sea level reached the second highest point in the last 50 years.
Alarms went off in the coastal towns, whose old city centres were under water. In some parts, the water level was 60 centimetres high. The worst hit was Izola.
Major flooding in Piran, Slovenia this evening associated with intense southerly winds from the cyclone over the Mediterranean and high tide! Notice the person walking in deep water. Video by Bojana Francuz pic.twitter.com/Eu3UkjZ13y— severe-weather.EU (@severeweatherEU) November 12, 2019
According to Koper's tide gauge, the sea level reached 373 centimetres last evening, which the Environment Agency said was a rare phenomenon.
Firefighters were busy all night and their efforts continue as the sea level is expected to rise again this morning, so anti-flooding barriers are being set up.
The Environment Agency expects some 20-40 centimetres of water in the low-lying parts of the cost this morning.
Heavy rain and strong winds caused problems in other parts of the country as well during the night, especially in the north-east and in the west. Rivers may burst their banks today, especially in Slovenian Istria and parts of Primorska.
When we first heard about Ross Murray-Jones’ plan to swim, cycle and run from Piran to Triglav we had to know more, so we sent some questions that he was kind enough to answer.
Tell us a little bit more about Sea-to-Summit Slovenia. What is it exactly?
Sea-To-Summit Slovenia is a long-distance multisport triathlon from the Adriatic Sea to the highest mountain in the Julian Alps. After months of training and planning, this September, Chris Ryan and I will complete this never-before-attempted endurance challenge in under 24 hours. [ed. Sometime in the first or second week is the current aim, but it all depends on the weather]
Starting from Piran, we’ll paddleboard two-thirds of the Slovenian coastline to Koper before crossing the country by road bike, through the capital Ljubljana and passed world-famous Lake Bled, finishing with a climb to the summit of Triglav at 2,864m.
That sounds tiring. How did you come up with the idea?
In February this year I competed in Red Bull’s Samo Gas ski cross race on Kanin. From Slovenia’s highest ski resort you can see container ships docking at Trieste’s Italian port in the Adriatic, and the journey from sea-to-summit seemed do-able in a day. So I approached the only guy I knew crazy enough to come along with me, Chris, an old friend from London. Over a few beers the original idea escalated quickly to include a sea leg, the peak changed to Triglav and the decision was made to keep within Slovene borders only, adding an extra 100km onto the bike ride. And thus Slovenia’s toughest ever triathlon was born.
Where are you from and have you ever done anything like this before?
Chris and I are both from London originally. We came to Slovenia as part of the launch of a ski tech business and fell in love with this small, charming European country. Slovenia is really a hidden gem and the quality of life is simply incomparable to anywhere else we’ve lived.
We’re both quite sporty and have ticked off a number of Slovenia’s best sports events already, from UTVV100 and the Ljubljana Marathon to IRONMAN 70.3 Slovenian Istria and Red Bull’s infamous Goni Pony. However this new challenge takes us both to the next level: a 24-hour non-stop event.
Twenty-four hours is a long time indeed - how did you train for this challenge and did you pick up any injuries along the way?
The first problem was that although I’d kayaked 1,300km around an island in the Philippines a few years ago, I’d never really paddle boarded before and neither had Chris. Luckily, we teamed up with Slovenia’s SUP race team this summer, Tiki Team, who quickly taught us the basics over weekly training sessions. This was combined with time on the saddle: 100km+ bike rides from Slovenia into Croatia, Italy and Austria and even up to Mangart, Slovenia’s highest road as well as long trail days to the summits of Grintovec, Stol and Triglav.
Fortunately, my weekly appointments with Fizio Tri in Kamnik and regular conditioning sessions with JD Coaching in Ljubljana have kept me injury free thus far. My only serious incident happened recently on a morning bike ride around Vis Island, Croatia when unfortunately I came into contact with a dog and went straight over my handlebars; this has kept me off the bike the last few weeks.
Can you talk me through the various stages of the challenge, and will you take any breaks?
The Sea-To-Summit Slovenia is a multisport triathlon so there are three distinct stages to complete in under 24 hours covering 219km and 4,400m of elevation.
Stage 1: 15km paddleboard from Piran to Koper.
Stage 2: 190km road bike from Koper to Krma. 2,400m of elevation.
Stage 3: 14km trail run/climb from Krma to Triglav. 2,000m of elevation.
The 24-hour deadline is really tight, leaving little margin for error, but we have factored in a 20-minute rest break every three hours to check equipment, stretch, change clothes and take on board solid nutrition as required.
What parts do you expect to be most challenging?
Whatever we have to do in the dark will be tough. After careful consideration, we decided the bike would be our best choice given our relative inexperience on the paddleboard and the inherent dangers of climbing the country’s tallest mountain at night and tired. By starting at midday, we plan to reach Triglav Glacier in low light the next morning before making our summit bid on a rising sun.
Weather, especially wind, will also play a big factor in whether we’re able to finish the challenge in time. To mitigate this concern, we’ve given ourselves a five-day window in early September to minimise the chance of any big waves, crosswinds on the road or unsafe conditions high up on the mountain.
Will you use any special equipment?
A friend of mine is on Bestway’s SUP team and so we’ve both got a Bestway Hydro-Force Fastblast Tech SUP for Stage 1. For Stage 3, our friends over at Hoka One One have also kitted us out with a Speedgoat 3 trail running shoe for Chris and Sky Arkali hiking shoe for me so we have the right footwear for the job. Other than that we have invested in safety equipment such as bike lights, helmets and Personal Flotation Devices alongside various other bits and bobs such as MSR Dynalock Ascent poles and a Quad Lock for my iPhone X to make navigation easier.
Any idea what you’ll eat the day before, and on the day?
We'll likely burn through 20,000 calories so nutrition is definitely ‘Stage 4’, an absolutely key part of the challenge to prevent bonking (the curse of any endurance athlete).
We’ve devised a custom nutrition plan which starts 48 hours prior with spaghetti bolognese. The night before is an opportunity to carb up an extra 2,000+ calories with a large pepperoni pizza, and on the morning of the event, two eggs on brown bread with butter and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a banana and coffee should get us going. Delicious!
On the day, we'll drink just under a litre per hour on average mixed with electrolytes to maintain salt and mineral levels and then consume on-the-go snacks every 45 minutes, such as potica. It’s important to eat proper food too, so we’ll stop for Štruklji or prosciutto, pickles and cheese sandwiches at predetermined locations. And just in case, we’ll load up the support van with extras we might crave such as Red Bull, Calipo’s and salty olives!
So you’ll have people following you?
Yes, we'll have a support crew consisting of our very understanding partners to help us along the way. Without them, the challenge would simply be impossible from a logistical perspective given the need to switch equipment multiple times and take on nutrition in the dead of night.
At this point I should probably ask why are you doing this?
Chris and I really wanted to showcase the beauty and diversity of this country we’ve grown very fond of. Over the course of 24 hours, we’ll go from sparkling sand and blue waters through to medieval towns and glacial lakes before finishing up in the snowy peaks of the southern alps. Slovenia is really one of Europe’s leading outdoor adventure destinations and we wanted to highlight this in our own unique way.
More personally, I find pushing my limits gives me a deep sense of purpose and satisfaction. Success in life requires passion, grit and determination, and Sea-To-Summit embodies all of these aspects in one. And if we can inspire even just one person that it’s possible for ordinary people to do extraordinary things than that would be great too.
Finally, what’s the worst thing about living in Slovenia, and what’s the best?
The best is definitely the quality of life. The country itself packs a real punch in terms of its beauty, safety and kindness of locals. Moreover, within two hours you can be sailing in Croatia, skiing in Austria or eating a pizza in Italy. It’s incredibly diverse. And the worst has to be that Slovene is a very difficult language to learn and there unfortunately isn't a huge amount of material available to help. No Duolingo for now! Luckily, most Slovenes are very proficient in English. In fact, I’d even say some Slovenians knowledge of English would put us lot back in Britain to shame.
STA, 22 August 2019 - The annual Tartini Festival, dedicated to the Piran-born Italian Baroque composer and violinist Giuseppe Tartini, will get under way with a performance by international ensemble Il Terzo Suono at the Piran St. George's Parish Church on Thursday evening.
This year, the international music festival will be held in Piran and Koper until 8 September, with its final performance being hosted in Padua on 12 September.
The opening performance will include musical compositions by maestros such as Antonio Vivaldi, Giuseppe Tartini and Baldassare Galuppi.
Il Terzo Suono will give another performance next week, being joined on stage by Mario Brunello, an Italian cellist who is the first and only Italian so far to have won the prestigious International Tchaikovsky Competition.
He has worked with numerous acclaimed orchestral conductors and ensembles.
One of the festival's highlights will also be a performance by French pianist Pierre-Laurent Boucharlat, bringing the music of Camille de Saint-Saens and Claude Debussy to Tartini House, the birthplace of the renowned violinist and composer, in Tartini Square.
The popular Italian chamber orchestra, I Solisti Veneti, the festival's regular guest, will perform at the Piran Minorite Monastery.
The orchestra has given more than 6,000 concerts in over 90 countries and has participated in the most acclaimed international festivals.
The monastery will also see a duo performance by Slovenian violinist Lana Trotovšek and Japanese harpsichordist Masumi Yamamoto as well as a performance by the Salzburger Mozart Consort.
The festival, honouring Tartini as well as composers inspired by his art, will also present young talent at Tartini Junior concerts.
More details on the festival can be found here