Saturday, 27 June 2015

Portoroz-Piran Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 8.7 km (5.4 miles), terrain: flat

Little Slovenia has an even littler coastline, just 40 kilometers, with just a few towns. The biggest tourist resort is Portoroz, with its casino and Grand Hotel, and a waterfront lined with restaurants, bars and parks. But the nicest thing about the town is its location: just around the corner from Piran, one of the most picturesque old towns on the Adriatic coast.
View of Piran from the hill
This route follows the water from Portoroz to nearby Piran, then loops through that beautiful, Venetian-built town before returning to the 21st-century touristic reality in Portoroz.

We'll start the run right in the heart of Portoroz, across from the Grand Hotel, at the little, white dome of the tourist info office. There is a little park next door, where you can go to the water and turn right so that you'll have the water to your left side.
This spot, across from the Grand Hotel, is the start
Now just head off, past the little beach bars and restaurants, heading northwest.

You'll soon come to a spot where the sidewalk meets the street, at a big, stone, bunker-like warehouse. Keep left there, and stay along the water, away from the street. The warehouse used to be used for storing salt, which was manufactured in the salt pans south of town, when the area was famous for its salt.
Running past the salt warehouses
After the two old warehouses, the sidewalk comes out to the street again, but just as the main road starts going uphill, turn left into the little side street (it's called Obala, just like the main promenade in Portoroz) towards the Morski Laguna resort and the Bernardin Hotel. You can run right through the complex: there is a public walkway and bike-way.
Heading to Piran
After that, you just continue into the southern outskirts of Piran, heading past a couple of parking lots and then onto the main road again. You'll now have the Piran harbor to your left as you head into the medieval old town.
Along Piran's harbor
At the tip of the harbor, you come right into the main square, Tartini Square, with the Venetian city hall on the left side and the ancient church and the Venetian-style bell tower on the hill overlooking the town. You can see remnants of the old city walls lining the hilltops to the west.
Tartini Square, with Venetian town hall and church on hilltop
Now continue along the water, running past the little waterside caf├ęs and restaurants towards the strange tower in the distance. The tower belongs to a little stone church, but the tower looks more like it belongs to a castle.
Running past the waterfront restaurants
You've now reached the north end of town. You can continue around the corner for a few blocks, but then the trail ends below the cliffs beneath the main church, St. George's, with a wooden statue of the saint on top of the adjacent bell tower.

You could just turn around and head the same way back again. But I'd recommend that you follow one of the little lanes heading uphill in the old town. You'll eventually come to the church and bell tower, with a great view over town. Just run back down any of the other narrow lanes and you're guaranteed to end up back at the main square at the harbor, where you continue running home.
Heading up to St. George's church

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