A Beautiful Hike Around Strunjan Nature Reserve in Europe’s Green Capital — Slovenia
Exploring the natural beauty of Slovenia’s Adriatic coast across orchards, salt pans, a nature reserve and a beach
In the summer of 2019, I had the pleasure of staying in the small coastal town of Portorož in Slovenia. Slovenia’s coastline stretches just 47km across the Adriatic Sea, being sandwiched in between the beautiful beaches of Croatia and the port city Trieste that lies just beyond the border into Italy.
Having booked to spend a full month in Slovenia — the green capital of Europe — I decided it would be best to sneak in a few beach days and some hiking before heading off to the bigger cities of my Europe trip. I anticipated life would be much busier and my schedule would be a lot more jam-packed in the likes of Budapest, Prague and Berlin.
The hike from Portorož through Strunjan Nature Reserve and back
After enjoying a nice relaxing day on the beach with a few ice-cold beers, I took out my hikers guide to the Slovenian Alps and planned out my route through the nature reserve nearby.
The old railway tunnel
It was about a 10km round trip in total and the scenery looked pleasant. So I took off from my hostel and immediately ascended up the hill through a quiet little residential area away from the hotels and restaurants that lay along the beach. It led to a tunnel that once served as a railway line that connected to Trieste, but is now open as a cycling lane and pedestrian walkway.
Orchards and olive groves
Beyond the railway tunnel, I was met again with daylight and the sun as I walked up through a beautiful area embraced with orchards and olive groves that lined both sides of the path.
The salt pans
I next came to the Strunjan salt pans which sported pleasant views across the lakes where sea gulls flocked, with hills and farmhouses in the distance.
A bridge took me between between the two lakes and then came the Strunjan Nature Reserve.
I feel at home when I’m in a forest for some reason. As someone who can be a little introverted at times, I think I’m drawn the solitude of being away from civilisation. Alone with my thoughts and away from the stress that life often brings, I find it to be like a therapy that leaves me feeling more chilled on the back-end of it.
The holy cross and Moon Bay beach
Making my way through the forest, I came to an open and the end of the reserve and was met with a holy cross. Now, standing at my peak was my favourite part — the views across the coastline to the Moon Bay beach.
I made my way down to the beach and took a dip in the sea to cool off after having the sun beat down on me. It was refreshing and very much needed to say the least!
After enjoying a friendly chat with a family who came up from Ljubljana, the country’s capital, for the day, I made my way from the sandy beach and along the rocks to Piran.
Piran — “little Venice”
The home stretch
I took off along Piran’s coast which neighbours Portorož, where I began my travels, on the final stretch home.
I returned back home to the hostel, got some shelter and rested from the heat. Hiking can really take it out of you, especially when you’re used to a colder climate (like myself, being from Ireland!).
I miss my time in Slovenia. It’s a country of natural beauty and plenty of opportunities to stay active while on holiday and enjoy plenty of nice scenery along the way.
I look forward to sharing more about my experiences in Slovenia with you all soon.