Koper, the old town centre
The old town is very interesting from a tourist's point of view. In the past it was surrounded by defensive walls. One of its twelve doors is still preserved till today: it is the Muda door, resembling a triumph arch and built in the 16th century. Another very interesting monument is the Da Ponte Fountain on Prešeren Square, shaped like a bridge, while on the other side of the square there is the church of St. Basso.
The most important architectural monuments that adorn the old centre of Koper are most certainly the cathedral, built in the 12th century, in which the sarcophagus of st. Nazarius, Koper's patron saint, and the Praetorian Palace, located on the main town square, Tito Square. Near the cathedral there is a 43 m tall bell tower: it is open to the public and on sunny days you can enjoy a wide view of the surrounding area from its top. On the opposite side of the square to the Praetorian Palace we find the Loggia, the only preserved Gothic building of this kind in Slovenia. The ground floor hosts a beautiful café, while on the first floor there is an art gallery. Two other buildings decorate the main square of Koper: the Armeria (Armoury) and the Foresteria (Guest House): the former was a weapon depot until 1550 and later it hosted the town savings bank; the latter was used as a residence for the guests of the head of the town. Scattered in the town there are a number of other interesting buildings, such as Almerigogna, Gravisi-Butorai and Carli, as well as the Belgramoni-Tacco palace, which presently hosts the regional museum.
Piran, the old town centre
The settlement developed in the early Middle Ages. Among all the towns on the Slovene coast, Piran is the most outstanding as far as its architecture is concerned, thanks to the partially preserved town walls with seven mighty towers, which symbolize the town´s past power and pride. In the heart of Piran lies Tartini Square, with a beautiful bronze statue of the famous violinist and composer Giuseppe Tartini. Tartini had a music school in Piran which was attended by pupils from all around Europe. During your stroll around this architectural jewel of Slovene Istria, do not forget to visit the Church of St. George and Saint Mary of the Health, the town Loggia and the Benečanka (the red house on Tartini Square, the oldest one on the square).
Sečovlje Salina Nature Park
The Sečovlje salina stretches along the estuary of the Dragonja river near Sečovlje, on an area of roughly 650 hectares (1,606 acres). The area has been protected as a nature park since 1990 and in 2001, the government proclaimed the salina museum a cultural monument of national interest. The nature park is divided in the north part and the south part, which are separated by the Drnica stream.
Hrastovlje is a Mediterranean village in the Koper municipality, on the north-east border of Slovene Istria, just above the Karst Edge. The village is widely known for the Danse Macabre fresco in the Holy Trinity Church, a work by Johannes of Castua (1490). The theme of the fresco is a dance or a procession in which live people, skeletons and Death itself are ordered according to their social status. The fresco was probably painted during an outbreak of the plague.
Postojna Cave (Postojnska jama)
Today the Postojna cave is one of the most important caves accessible to tourists in the world. It is also the most visited tourist attraction in Slovenia and in the Alps-Adriatic Region. This exceptional fame is due to a number of past discoveries, 200 years of development and promotion and, last but not least, to several unique features that, along with the stalactites and stalagmites are found only in the Postojna cave. The combination of all these features will create a special experience and tell a unique story that will satisfy any visitor.
Škocjan Caves (Škocjanske jame)
The Škocjan caves have a special place among the thousands of caves in Slovenia due to their spacious halls and underground gorges. They comprise a network of eleven caves, collapsed sink holes, ponors, natural bridges and so on. Due to their unique natural and cultural heritage they were entered on UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites in 1986. Their fame has helped taking their homeland, the Karst, all around the world. Sites inside the caves include colourful, sometimes giant stalagmites and stalactites with incredible shapes, stone curtains and big limestone pools. The most important element of the network is the Big Water - the Reka river, which falls in waterfals, noisily rushes through rapids and quiets down in little pools and lakes.
The Lipica stud farm is the cradle of all Lipizzan horses in the world. Today it is one of the most beautiful historic cultural monuments in Slovenia. Its history dates back to 1580.
The stud farm boasts centuries of tradition in breeding and selecting pure breed horses. In the 1960s a classical riding school was established in Lipica, which still competes at horse-riding events around the world. Visitors can take guided tours of the stud farm and enjoy a presentation of the classical riding school.
Miramare Castle, Trieste, Italy
The Miramare Castle lies about 6 km to the north-east of Trieste. The name originates from the Spanish phrase "mira mar", which means 'view of the sea'. It was built in 1860 by order of Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of the House of Habsburg. After his death, the castle continued to be a place where the Habsburgs spent short periods of time. Today it has been transformed into a museum. Around the castle, there is a wonderful park with rare exotic plants, while in the immediate vicinity there is also the Castelletto, a smaller dwelling where Maximilian and his wife lived during the construction works.