The city of a thousand suns, which also shine in its inland areas
The coastal town of Koper glows in its rich cultural heritage, which can be found in its inland areas too. It is cultural tourism that gave Koper the title of the European Destination of Excellence (EDEN). A walk through the town itself, which is also considered to be the centre of the coast and Slovenia's seaside window onto the world, reveals architectural heritage, on which the Venetians left the greatest mark. Medieval Venetian palaces, such as the Praetorian Palace or the palace of the famous painter Vittore Carpaccio, which now houses the Koper Regional Museum, and other special buildings can be seen and experienced using the Koper Card. You can also say goodbye to the town and head to the countryside. Explore beautiful Istrian villages and their special features and taste the delicacies made from the gifts of the Istrian soil.
Traces of medieval art in Hrastovlje
Under the rock faces of the Karst Edge, you can find one of the most well-known sights of the inland areas of Slovenian Istria – Hrastovlje. In this village, you can see the impressive Church of the Holy Trinity. The church is special due to its Danse Macabre fresco, which is considered to be one of the best preserved frescoes of its kind in the world. In addition to the famous fortified church, there are also other special things to experience here –a private gallery, a museum collection, and selected tastes, provided by vineyards, groves, and fields surrounding the village.
A stroll through Koštabona
Visit the lovely Istrian village of Koštabona, towering on a natural pier over the River Dragonja. Its typical Istrian architecture will impress you, and it has additional charm due to the smoke tree, which is in bloom in the spring and turns fiery red in autumn. Explore remnants from the past – from prehistory, the Roman era, and the Middle Ages. Koštabona can serve as a starting point for walks on well-maintained walking trails, or you can visit other villages in the area by bicycle.
A “room” with a view of the sea
As you drive from the continental part of Slovenia towards the coast, you will first lay eyes on the blue sea as you pass Črni Kal. Here, you can see Slovenia’s leaning tower – the bell tower of the church of St Valentine in Črni Kal leaning by about a metre due to the sinking of the ground. Not far from the village is Strmec Castle, an age-old fortress, which provides an incredible view of the Gulf of Trieste and is a perfect destination for those trying to get the best Instagram photos. Also go to Holy Cave (Sveta Jama), where you can find the only underground church in Slovenia.
Make sure to visit Istrian farms
The paths in the Koper countryside lead you past many old homesteads, which are now a true treasure trove of tradition, stories, and customs. Visit Bardinc House in Lopar and have a look at the old farm kitchen with a fireplace and the wine cellar with the oldest Istrian wine press. In the land of Refošk wine, in the town of Marezige, where every spring the Festival of Refošk Wine is held, visit the Marezige kanava, an old stone house, in front of which three grapevines grow: Refošk, Malvasia, and Žametovka, the descendant of the oldest vine in the world growing in Maribor’s Lent area. You can also learn about the inland areas around Koper from Šavrinke, Istrian women, who will reveal many secrets about the locals use to live and they will serve you their selected homemade goods.
Taste the wonderful gifts of the Istrian soil
As the summer comes to its end, people around Koper are looking forward to the harvest. In autumn, sweet grapes will be turned into Refošk, Malvasia, and Yellow Muscat wine. If you don’t have time to wait for the new harvest, you can taste wines from previous years in one of the many wine cellars. The largest among them and one of the largest in Slovenia is the Vinakoper wine cellar, where you can also see the largest barrel in Slovenia and one of the largest in Europe.
In addition to excellent wines, you can also sample the fine taste of Istrian olive oils. Olive oil with the protected geographical indication of Slovenian Istria is one of the highest quality oils in the world. Locals will be proud to serve you olive oil with various dishes, and you can also join them in autumn to harvest olives.
Do you have a sweet tooth?
If you are one of those people who enjoy something sweet, then a visit to the Sweet Istria international festival of desserts and sweet products, the largest event of its kind in Slovenia, is a must. In late September, the streets of Koper are flooded with sweets made according to recipes handed down from previous generations, and in addition to Istrian desserts you can also taste modern sweet masterpieces by local and foreign confectioners.
Active holidays by the sea
Make your holiday by the sea even better by participating in interesting active experiences.
With a Bike Through the Land of Refošk Wine
Explore the picturesque villages of the Land of Refošk wine, such as Marezige, Montinjan, lopar, Popetre, Boršt, Turške and St Anton by bike and enjoy the wonderful views. You can make a stop in one of the numerous wine cellars and in the autumn in an osmica inn, where you will restore your energy with some vintage wines and home-made delicacies.
The Porečanka Trail for cycling enthusiasts
Take a ride along the former railway line between Trieste and Poreč and make stops in Koper and its surrounding area too. Make a slight detour to also visit the Škocjanski Zatok Nature Reserve and see Koper and its surrounding area from the 54-metre bell tower of Koper Cathedral.More
Take paths less travelled through the Koper countryside
Explore the Koper inland areas on the many footpaths. They will take you past picturesque Istrian villages, special natural and cultural features, among olive groves and vineyards.More
Are you ready? Set! Let’s go!
Autumn in Koper and on the Slovenian coast will be marked by sporting events. Cyclists will get their pedals going at the Istrian Cycling Marathon at the beginning of October, but the real sports adventure starts as early as September. Daring triathalon competitors will test their strength and willpower in the Ironman competition in Slovenian Istria, which is a true endurance challenge. Regardless of whether you come in a competitor’s jersey or to cheer on the competitors – just make sure you're there!
Explore the Slovenian coast
In addition to Koper, you can also explore other Slovenian coastal towns and their inland areas. You can have fun enjoying various activities or be pampered with treatments using the gifts of the sea.