Slovenia has been riding a popularity wave for a couple of years now, but this small town on the southeastern coast has only recently broken the surf. The historical centre is all peaches and cream, with immaculate apricot and vanilla-coloured townhouses stacked around the stunning main square, Tartinijev. Although it bears many similarities to its Adriatic neighbours, Venice and Dubrovnik , this sienna-roofed town retains a calm, introverted charm.
Legend has it that a rich Venetian merchant fell in love with a beautiful local girl in Piran in the 15th century. He built her a house in the square prompting salacious whisperings among the villagers, leading him to inscribe the Latin phrase "lassa pur dir" (let them talk) between two elegant windows at the top of the crimson house. He may well have made his point to the locals that they were to be ignored, but the travel circuit today can't seem to stop gushing about this seaside escape.
The Piran salt pans were first established in 804, and salt production remains a prevalent industry in the area. Visit Sečovlje for a tour, where you'll also find the Museum of Salt-Making. If pampering is more your thing, the Lepa Vida Thalasso Spa uses healing products from the Sečovlje Nature Park - most notably salt-pan mud and brine - leaving you feeling like you've spent a day at the beach.
When to go?
The Slovenian climate can be mercurial, but the weather tends to be much better in the summer months.
Who to take with you?
Someone who appreciates architecture and life's simple joys.
Most likely to bump into
Fishermen working their nets down by the dock and sunbathing locals.
Essentials to bring with you
A bikini and an appetite for seafood.
How to get there
The Italian airport of Trieste is much closer to the Slovenian coast than the country's capital, Ljubljana. Flights to Trieste airport can be direct from London airports for a price, but if you're flying from an alternative UK airport, expect a couple of stop-offs.