Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Slovenian coast: Ankaran, Izola, Portorož and Koper

Although we thought we're officially done with this year's summer vacation (read the post about our summer vacation here) now that we're in Ljubljana (read the post about the reason why we're in Ljubljana here) we decided to spend one weekend at the Slovenian coast. Slovenian coastline is only 43 kilometers long so we basically saw most of it in one weekend. It might be short, but doesn't mean it needs to be missed, right?

For financial reason I booked us a hotel in Ankaran, which came out much cheaper than hotels in more famous areas such as Portorož or Piran. We got a triple room at Hotel Arija for €55 per night with breakfast, in a resort complex with private beach, outdoor and indoor pools, children playgrounds, restaurants, basketball and tennis courts. It's just a little more than an hour drive from Ljubljana so we drove off right after my husband's done with his work on Friday afternoon.

Babygirl and her dad dipped themselves a little bit in the sea before the sun completely set, when I realized that I lost my new bathing suit -which we bought along the way because I forgot to pack myself one- then we just rested and spent the evening in the hotel.

After breakfast the next morning they ran off to the beach for a swim, then realized that the water was just way too cold and decided to dip in the outside pools by the beach that were filled with sea water -I was still without bathing suit.

Babygirl and her dad's game in the pool. Obviously looking way too dangerous for me.
Around noon we headed to Portorož, around half an hour drive from Ankaran, to grab have some lunch. We chose a family restaurant by the beach called Prego, where babygirl and I shared spaghetti with seafood (with huge prawns that amazed her) and her dad had grilled calamari. After a long walk along the coast full of hotels and casinos, we sat down for coffee and ice cream next to a playground where babygirl played with slides and tunnels.

Around 3pm we headed to Izola, a small coastal town on the way back to Ankaran, because my husband wanted to visit the maker of his childhood favorite canned mackerel (in tomato sauce) produced in this very town -the brand called Delamaris. But of course we didn't check their working hour, and their official shop closed few minutes before we arrived. We sat down in the oldest bakery and cake shop in Izola to have frozen yoghurt and izolanka, a signature dessert of Izola which is vanilla cake filled with layers of vanilla and chocolate cream, orange cream and walnut.

The beautiful old town of Izola
After the cakes we walked through the beautiful old town and witnessed a wedding that was going on in the main town church. The town itself looks similar to most old Italian towns in the Croatian part of Istrian peninsula, hilly, narrow passages, full of colorful stone houses with the main church and a main tower in the center, all looking onto a small port where fishing boats are docked. I got myself a bathing suit in a small shop here (finally!) so when we came back to our hotel we all went swimming in the salt water pools until sunset.

The view of sunset from our hotel backyard
After breakfast the next day we continued the salt water pools routine until noon, and we decided to go to Koper after checking out from the hotel. The hotel staff told me nicely that even though we checked out, we could use all hotel facilities (pools, sauna, gym) until the end of the day if we wished too, which was nice, but we made up our mind already about Koper.

Koper is the main trading port of Slovenia. It has an old town part like Izola, but it's mainly industrial. My husband works mainly for transport infrastructure -like ports and railways- so he wanted to visit the port since the first time we got to the country. After seeing around we grabbed fried sardines and fried calamari for lunch. As babygirl was asleep on her dad in the carrier, we decided to head back to Ljubljana immediately. It was a day of parliamentary election of Croatia, so my husband needed to go to the Croatian embassy to vote -to which he previously registered for voting outside his residential address.

Following our short visit I personally think the Slovenian coastal towns are, although a little underestimated, worth to visit. One might not find turquoise colored sea with crystal clear water like in the southern part of Adriatic sea (the part you'd find in Croatia), but the towns are beautiful, local people are welcoming, and you can eat (and drink!) really well in this area.

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