The Slovenian coast lies where the Gulf of Trieste is closest to the heart of Europe. Here, there’s a beautiful Slovenian seaside resort and spa town, Portorož. Often also spelled as Portorose, the place is in the Municipality of Piran, in southwestern Slovenia. Here are the best things to do in Portorose for your trip!
As a health resort, Portorož was locally known since the 13th century, when the Benedictines from the Monastery of St. Lawrence used to treat certain diseases with the help of seawater and mud from nearby salt pans.
Today, this tradition continues in various spa resorts in the region. Since the Slovenian coast is quite limited, I suggest visiting all the places on foot, even the towns outside of Portorož. Nothing like walking these beautiful paths close to the sea, leading from one town to another, to enjoy the stunning views and landscapes under the warm Mediterranean sun.
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Where to Stay in Portorož
Here are our top recommendations for where to stay in Portorož. Generally, budget means hostels and guest houses for around $55 a night, mid-range is from about $40-100 per night, and luxury will cost over $100 per night.
Luxury: For an upscale experience in Portorož, these two fantastic top luxury hotels in Grand Hotel Portoroz 4* superior – Terme & Wellness LifeClass or Hotel & Spa Čeligo.
Planning to visit Maribor as well on your trip? We’ve curated a list of all the best hotels and accommodation in Maribor, Slovenia.
The Best Things to Do in Portorož
In no particular order, these are some of the best things you can do in Portorož, take a look!
Get Some Sun at Portorož Beach
Considering that Portorož is a seaside town, the top attraction is, obviously the beach. Along the coastline of Portorož, you can find many cafes and restaurants. There are also some hotels featuring loungers, towels, and other beach amenities, for a set fee.
However, you can also find some beach areas where you don’t need to pay, fr instance on the piers, or on the green spaces. The beach is sandy, and it can get quite crowded at weekends, that’s why I would recommend checking beach San Simon in Izola as well. Check them both to see which one suits you the most.
What I like the most about the beach in Portorož is that there are several piers from which you can dive. In the area, you can also find Water Adrenaline Park, mostly a venue for kids but suitable for adults too.
Rent a Boat in Portorož
For all those into adrenaline and adventure, Portorož offers the possibility to rent water scooters, tube trips for several persons, banana boats, or also enjoy speedboat rides and panoramic trips along the entire Slovenian coast (Portorož-Piran-Strunjan-Izola-Koper-Ankaran).
There is also a ski and surf school featuring introductory courses. Visitors can also hire pedal boats, kayaks, water bikes, and water balls, or take a stand-up paddle trip. Everyone can find a suitable and enjoyable thing to do no matter if traveling alone, as a couple, with friends or with the whole family.
I personally loved renting a boat and swimming in different spots, some of them peaceful enough also for snorkeling. The team at Rent a Boat Portorož is great. They will give you all the information you need and guarantee a fun time.
For kids, I strongly suggest San Simon Beach Slide. Among other possibilities, it is also possible to rent a bigger boat for groups. For a quieter experience, you can simply hire a boat, or join someone of the many organized trips like this original hop-on hop-off style boat trip!
Have a Cup of Coffee at Cacao
Close to the main beach you can find a great café called Cacao, with unique views of the main beach of Portorož. On their coffee list, you’ll find an impressive variety of ice creams and other desserts. In my opinion, these are some of the best ice creams I have ever eaten.
You can also opt to order coffee, juices, smoothies, cocktails, cakes, and much more. When I arrive early to the beach, I mostly have my breakfast here. My favorite option is a good cup of coffee with. Oftentimes, I also come back in the evening for desserts. My favorite one is called Kinder Cake.
Here, the staff is friendly and the service fast while prices are convenient according to Portorož standards. This is definitely one place to visit during your stay in Portorož.
Eat Delicious Seafood from the Adriatic
All that swimming and discovery adventures in the city most certainly make you hungry! When this happens, follow my suggestion and visit Bungalow, a restaurant with a perfect location by the sea.
The place has an amazing atmosphere while their staff is welcoming and friendly. Service is quick and, above all, their dishes are delicious. It’s great to know too that their menu is really varied and there are also plenty of options for vegetarians as well.
They offer anything from fast food, salads, pasta, and their own specialties. The dishes are presented with a lovely decoration, adding an extra touch to the overall experience. My go-to dishes when I dine here are the salad with shrimps and tuna tagliata. Bungalow is definitely a must-stop in Portorož.
Relax at a Thermal Seawater Pool
Water Park Laguna Bernardin in Portorož is the largest pool complex with heated sea water on the Slovenian coast. Featuring more than 1,000 m2 of water within the area, St. Bernardin is designed for guests who want to relax in total peace and enjoy the fun activities on the water.
Bernardin Lagoon is located inside the Histrion Hotel and is connected to the beach by the sea during the summer season.
On the ground floor of the hotel, the restaurant Taverna Mediteran is famous for some delicious Italian dishes prepared according to original recipes, and for their grilled dishes too. You will be impressed by the wide selection of pizzas and pasta, which are served in the winter garden or on the terrace with an amazing view of the sea.
Visit the Forma Viva Sculptures
Whether you love art or not, Forma Viva is an interesting spot for everyone. Forma Viva offers an interesting collection of stone sculptures, in a park located in Seča peninsula near Portorož.
All the statues are on display in the open and the collection can be viewed at any time, with free admission. The collection was created within the framework of sculpture symposia or international meetings of sculptors. The wonderful artistic heritage known as Forma Viva has been left by sculptors from 30 different countries and has been in continuous creation for forty years.
The collection features 120 stone statues. You can really enjoy the amazing view overlooking the sea, surrounded by interesting sculptures and green nature, the place is really peaceful and quiet, so check it out.
Try your luck at the Grand Casino Portorož
An important part of Portorož is the Grand Casinò Portorož. It’s the oldest Slovenian Casino, built back in 1912 and renewed in 2012. The casino is right across the street from the beach. You can’t miss the enormous building with the Casino sign.
The full-service casino includes classic games, modern slot machines, fun events, great hotel amenities, and a unique sea view. Top gamblers and those looking for fun, relaxation, and some luck come here any time of the year.
The atmosphere is fun and offers an opportunity to meet new people, chat, and try your luck. The staff is always welcoming and smiling, plus there is no admission fee. In fact, the first time you enter the casino there is a surprise for the guest.
In case you aren’t a fan of gambling, they have different events on Saturdays such as food tasting, gala dinners, live music, fashion shows, and different themed parties.
Take a Day Trip to Piran
One of the most beautiful towns on the Slovenian coast is Piran. It lies about 3km away from Portoroz. The settlement is located at the very tip of the Piranesi Peninsula, in the immediate vicinity of Portorož.
Once there, you can visit Tartini square, St.George’s Parich Church, and the famous Walls of Piran. The structure is in fact the city wall that has surrounded Piran from the 7th century. Parts of the walls are still preserved today. The view from the area is amazing since you can easily spot both the town and the coastline.
Visit Piran’s Tartini Square
While you visit Piran, don’t miss the famous and beautiful Tartini square, one of the major attractions on the Slovenian coast.
Tartini Square is the largest market in town as well as the center of Piran. It was named after the famous Piran countryman, violinist, and composer Giuseppe Tartini.
The market was once a harbor or inland port for sailboats and fishing boats. It used to be located outside the city walls, since the oldest partly-preserved walls ran behind the present-day municipal palace, with only St. Peter’s Church standing outside it. Already in the Middle Ages, it was surrounded by the most important city palaces and houses of wealthy townspeople.
The square got its present appearance in the second half of the 19th century. It preserved amazing architecture, which you will probably notice while strolling around the town. I personally like spending time here while staying on the Slovenian coast.
You can find many cafes, restaurants, and shops. I love drinking coffee in one of these cafes while checking the various street entertainers, that lighten up the overall atmosphere.
Visit Piran’s Magical World of Shells Museum
While you are in Piran, check the Museum in the seaside area of Tartini Square. The Museum of the Magical World of Shellfish in Piran is a remarkable and unique museum with about 3000 specimens of shells and snails of all seas and continents of the world.
It is an experience you will rarely get. The museum is also constantly expanding and supplementing with new specimens and stories, so you will always be surprised no matter when or how many times you visit.
You will see the shell of the largest snail in the world, the snail houses, which were only allowed to be worn by the chiefs of distant islands, the glowing shells with which they used to be able to buy slaves, but also shells with stunning patterns, and pearls.
I must admit the first time I heard about it, I wasn’t as interested, but once I stepped into the museum I changed my mind. The museum provides a lot of interesting information about shells I didn’t know about and it’s interesting to see shells from all over the world, the diversity is really amazing.
Marvel at the Sečovlje Salina Nature Park
In Sečovlje Salina Nature Park, past and present walk hand by hand. The ancient way of salinization, which Piran’s salt-makers learned from their teachers is still something special today, even in the Mediterranean.
Traditional manual picking of salt on salt plots is not only a special feature of the cultural heritage of Mediterranean Slovenia but also provides the conditions that allow the preservation of the most important natural heritage of the Sečovlje salt pans.
According to written sources, the Sečovlje Salt pans are more than seven hundred years old, and some authors swear they are significantly older. Once upon a time, salt pans in Slovenian Istria were everywhere along the coast, but today they are preserved only at Sečovlje and in Strunjan. To visit the salt pans with a group and discover more about the area, I suggest this great excursion by bike that also takes you to Piran.
In 1989, the Sečovlje salt pans acquired the protected status of the nature park, which allows only those economic activities that don’t threaten the natural balance. Such activities are the salt works and the cultivation of marine organisms. Today, the salt pans are protected by state regulation as a Nature Park.
For the visitors, the abandoned part of the salt pans called Fontanigge is the most attractive area. It’s here where unique scenes can be expected – many birds, extensive meadows of salt marshes, and over 100 abandoned and demolished salt pans.
Walk the Path over the Strunjan Cliff
About 3 km from Portorož, lies a town called Strunjan. You can get there by car or there is also a beautiful footpath and a cycle path from Portorož through the former railway tunnel to Strunjan.
When you get there, find a beautiful path over the Strunjan Cliff, that locals enjoy using. The trail above Strunjan is one of the most beautiful trails on the Slovenian coast. Although not known to everyone and not as crowded or touristic, walking through the path is truly magical.
The Strunjan Cliff is 80 m high and 4 km long and is considered one of the most interesting in the Adriatic. The beautifully landscaped trail offers views of the Gulf of Trieste and leads past the stone Strunjan Cross that had been observed by sailors since 1600.
St. George’s Parish Church and Bell Tower
The church complex above Tartini Square consists of a church, a free-standing bell tower campanile, and a baptistery. The church is built in Venetian-Renaissance style.
Archaeological research has confirmed the remains of ancient construction and the existence of the first Christian church from the period between the 6th and 7th centuries. It was built to its present size in the 14th century and renovated into Baroque style in the 17th century.
Next to the church, you can see the characteristic bell tower that you can climb for a small fee. I honestly recommend visiting the Bell Tower, because the view from the top is really mesmerizing and you can see the whole Tartini square and the sea from there
As you could read, there are so many amazing things to see and discover in Portorož that you won’t regret spending some time visiting this stunning part of Slovenia!
5 Things to Pack for Your Slovenia Adventure
We have a full Slovenia packing list, but in case you just want the quick version, here are a few essentials you shouldn’t forget to pack!
A good guidebook: While travel blogs are great, we still think a good guidebook is always handy. We suggest Lonely Planet Slovenia if you’ll be traveling quite a bit around the country, or if you are planning a multi-country Balkan trip, Lonely Planet Western Balkans includes Slovenia and many of its neighbors.
Unlocked Cell Phone: Allison and I both have unlocked cell phones that we bought in Europe (I use a Samsung and Allison uses an iPhone). This allows up to get SIM cards when we travel so that we always have the internet. This has gotten us out of so many jams.
If you don’t have an unlocked cell phone that can use a Slovenian SIM card, you can buy a cheaper unlocked phone online and bring it with you! This is also good if your cellphone is expensive and you’re worried about losing it or having it stolen while you travel.
Pacsafe Citysafe or Other Anti-Theft Bag: This is the bag both Allison and I use (it’s unisex, so even men can enjoy it). It has a pouch with RFID technology so our credit cards can’t get scanned from afar, interlocking zippers to make it harder to pickpocket, slash-proof mesh inside, and it’s roomy enough to be a perfect sightseeing day bag. We also think it’s stylish enough that it’s just our everyday bag!
A Sturdy Moneybelt: If you don’t want to get a new bag with anti-theft features as I use, you can use a money belt instead. I prefer to have these features built into my bag instead, but I know for a lot of people a money belt is a less expensive investment than a new bag.
Grayl Water Filter: While the water is safe to drink, you’ll want this if you plan to do a lot of hiking or you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors. If you don’t want to be buying millions of plastic water bottles, you can get a reusable water bottle that comes with a water filter so that you can stick to the tap water and reduce your plastic waste.
Wet wipes, hand sanitizer, TP & other Balkan transit needs. Bathrooms in the Balkans tend to be… how can we say it?… not so well-stocked. Save yourself the disappointment and bring a mini-rescue pack of wet wipes & hand sanitizer.
More Slovenia Travel Resources
If you’re just starting to prepare for your trip to Slovenia, read our guide to planning a trip to Slovenia which features an 11-step checklist as well as these useful tips for staying safe in Slovenia.
If you’re an avid photographer, you’ll find our Instagram guide to Bled helpful (Ljubljana on the way!).
If you need more Slovenia travel inspiration, check out the best places to visit in Slovenia, the best Slovenian castles, the most breath-taking Slovenian waterfalls, and what Slovenian souvenirs you should bring home.
If you’re headed to Slovenia in the off-season, check out our guide to what to do in Slovenia in winter. We also have a guide to visiting the Lake Bled Christmas Market and the best Lake Bled winter activities if you’ll be here from the end of November through the beginning of January!
Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!
I’m sure you’re aware that travel insurance is a good idea for traveling in Slovenia (or really, any part of the world)! Allison and I have both been paying customers of World Nomads for the last three years. We love the peace of mind it gives us in case of emergencies, accidents, illnesses, theft, or trip cancellation or disruption.
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