You might not have thought this possible on your holiday to Green Slovenia, but what about going back in time to spend a delightful afternoon strolling around a charming little Italian fishing village.. and then have a walk along a Mediterranean promenade and a dip in the warm Adriatic sea?!
Muggia is the last town in Italy, right on the border with Slovenia and just a 40 min hop from the Lodge. You get a totally different feeling to what you will find on the Slovenian and Croatian coasts! Visiting this little fishing port with a huge long rocky beach would be a great way to try something a little Italian on your Slovenian adventure! It's a great place just to hang out, maybe eat something Italian, sniff the fresh sea air and of course, sip a cappuccino!
Don't forget, this part of Italy was in Greater Slovenia not so long ago, so there is also a kinda mixed influence here. For example, we went into the pretty church in the main piazza for a look around and saw a long list of Slovenian language masses on the noticeboard as well as the Italian ones.
There is a pretty little harbour here stuffed with sailing boats as the focal point of the old town and those who have been to Cornwall before might have a deja vu feeling for a Cornish fishing village, but in an Italian style! There are several little restaurants and cafes dotted around for some Italian cuisine and you can also walk up to the castello for great sea views and then come back down through the narrow, colourful "Piran-like" streets to the main piazza and a cluster of little local shops..
We recommend you fully explore Muggia's delightful little old town, with several very picturesque arches separating modern Italy from this sleepy ancient fishing village inside the old walls.
Even better, if you fancy a swim, just walk a few hundred metres to the other side of Muggia and this ancient fishing village is transformed into a modern seaside promenade with miles of rocky beach for you find your spot, relax, sun bathe or have a swim Italian-style in the warm salty Adriatic sea! The prom has been recently renewed and is fab for a walk or even a cycle.
We noticed there are now many more blue parking spaces along the seafront, direction Slovenia. So you could easily arrive in the morning to get your parking space, spend the morning or all day by the sea and have some lunch or evening meal in the old fishing village by the harbour! Wow, what about that!
This little place will really really surprise you.. we like to pop down here to have a gelato or cappuccino in the off season, just cos we can! The atmosphere here is so unique and special.
You get the feeling this lovely little town is also a "getaway" for the much larger city of Trieste, which you can see across the water, but is on the same side of Adriatic coast as Muggia. What about this for an idea?.. You could take advantage of this as there is also a ferry from Trieste for the city dwellers to come to the seaside here, but you could park up in Muggia, go visit Trieste by boat and then return to finish the day off with a warm swim and a spot to eat in the village! Now that would be a tutti Frutti Italian treat with a cherry on top!
And if you are visiting in the autumn, then be sure to check the dates for the Muggia Jazz festival.. nice!
Fab suggestion for a Roundtrip to Muggia..
There are several ways to get to Muggia from the Lodge but how about this for a wonderful roundtrip that you might not think to do if we didn't tell you..
From the Lodge, head down the motorway and before you know it, in 2 shakes of a dragon's tail, you will be turning off at the unpronounceable Crni Kal, then taking the little side road to Osp. This little village is pretty much where Slovenia's Mediterranean Hinterland wine region commences and is also where the rocky Karst stops with a dramatic long cliff, much beloved by rock climbers of all abilities.
Drive through this very pretty village and continue towards Italy past fruit bushes and vineyards at the side of the road. It doesn't take long before you are in Italy and then you don't go towards Trieste, you just keep following the signs to Muggia. Italian road junctions are unnecessarily confusing, but remember you are hugging the coast now back towards Slovenia.
When you get into Muggia, there is a fab little car park where you can park over or underground.. if no spaces here, just drive the short distance along the harbour one way and continue through one of those big stone arches where there is another car park.. if no luck there you could just continue direction Slovenia a little bit and there are loads and loads of spaces along the sea promenade.
All parking spots are close to the old town and now it's time to explore magical Muggia!
You could easily come back the same way or instead explore more towards Trieste, maybe visit the city or go up the hill via Opcina or even, if you have time, jump into Slovenia's Teran wine region, (look for Stanjel as a focal point).
But the route we prefer is driving along the Adriatic and into Slovenia! It's a mysterious feeling going along this last bit of Italian coast and then just slipping into Slovenia, like through a back door! Past Muggia there are miles and miles of seafront where you can just park up and have a swim. We were also pleased to see on our last visit, that a few new car parks have been along here built as well.
Once in Slovenia, you are immediately greeted by thousands of vines growing beautifully on every patch of green you can see.. it's different and very beautiful. Going this way, you will get to see the part of the Slovenian Riviera that is often forgotten by foreign visitors, as the focus is usually on Piran, but this way you will go through Ankaran and then arrive at Koper, where you can decide whether to jump back on the motorway to zip home to the Lodge or continue to see the delights of Koper old town, Izola, Piran or Portoroz!
Ankaran is a funny place.. it's long and by the sea, but will remain a mystery to most visitors to Slovenia. We went there to solve this mystery as many of our Slovenian friends say they really love Ankaran, so we wanted to find out why. It seems thousands of Slovenes descend upon Ankaran in the school summer holidays especially and stay in the massive "Butlins-like" holiday camp there.. this is why you don't get a clear view to the sea when you drive through Ankaran.
But don't worry, you can visit the camp as a day visitor, they have swimming pools, spas and you can get down to the coast for a swim, so, particularly if you are a young family or an older couple.. seriously consider a day out at Ankaran.. especially if it is just outside the school hols.
Further towards Koper, the coast gets wild and unkempt, but turns into a very special nature reserve, which covers the rest of the coast until the port of Koper. The Slovenian coast is quite short, but packed with variety and beauty. However the coastal hinterland is massive and packed with little picturesque villages, curvy roads, hills, vineyards and olive groves.
You also need to know that one of Slovenia's biggest secrets and high up in our own SLOVENIAN TOP TEN is hiding in this hinterland in the unpronounceable village of Hrastovlje, (Little Oak tree village). This is where you can see the little castle church with the amazing and unmissable 500 year fresco of the "Dance of Death" .. let's tell you again that it is totally unmissable, you could imagine a place as lovely as this could be tucked away in the hills of Spain or France, but not in little old Slovenia.. but it is!!
You can get to Hrastovlje via Koper through the coastal hinterland roads or just drop off the motorway at the same place where you first left it for the start of this amazing round trip at Crni Kal. Have a great day out!