While Slovenia isn’t the first destination that comes to mind when you think of a beach getaway - as many locals know - its underratedness makes it a true hidden gem and a darling to discover. You can pair these beautiful locales with delicious local wine or a day trip from Ljubljana, the Slovene capital. Or, mix it up and hop over and back from Italy and Croatia.
But if you’re not one for crowds and love exploring off-the-beaten-path spots - with some tips and recommendations from friends and locals living in Slovenia - look no further than these 12 Slovenia beaches.
1. Piran and its beaches
The Venetian candor of Piran is what travellers first get smitten with - an orange terracotta roof harbour that had close ties with Italy (due to the proximity and historical rule from Venice). For architecture lovers, the Slovenian town of Piran, or as some call it, Pirano, is a treat. Medieval walls, a bell tower view in a pastel-building lined square, and cosy labyrinth-like alleyways that zig-zag a lived-in town.
In the summer, go where the locals go and hit the beaches. Piran is small enough to explore within a day on foot, so the beaches are even closer together even though they’re dotted throughout the town.
Plaža Piran is considered a beach, even though it’s a concrete shore that extends into the Adriatic Sea. Despite the lack of sand, there’s a whimsicalness to it. Townsfolks come here and throw their towels down, and the ladder at the end of the slabs makes for easy access to just bob into the water. When you’re swimming here, you’ll get a grand view of Piran and its adoringly antiquarian architecture. The narrow lighthouse tower adds to the atmosphere!
The large boulders up and down the promenade are also a spot where locals sit and sunbathe, making it a prime spot for watching the sunset in Piran. You can also check out Piran as a day trip activity that's easy to book here.
Where to stay in and around Piran
Budget - Hostel Adriatic Piran: There's a beach nearby, the staff are super friendly and helpful - what more can you need?
Midrange - Piraneska: a comfortable, quiet abode.
Luxury - Barbara Piran Beach Hotel & Spa: Jaw-dropping gorgeous stay that has its own beachfront.
2. Beach Fornače
The second, more beachy, swimming spot in Piran is Beach Fornače. This pebble beach is hemmed between wooden terraces where people sunbathe and the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic sea. The shallow water is a perfect spot for any type of swimmer, making it popular with families and kids. If you have water shoes, be sure to bring them! The nearby pine trees provide much relief of shade.
3. River Kolpa
In the far South-Eastern region of Slovenia is the River Kolpa (which also forms a natural border with neighbouring Croatia). Up and down the River Kolpa is riddled with little beach spots where you can truly get away.
Michaela Mardonovic, a local who resides in Bela Krajina and spends a lot of time hanging out at the River Kopla beaches, says originally it was a whole new experience for her. Michaela notes that “the atmosphere is really mild, calm, green” in contrast to other parts of Slovenia.
That’s one major thing you’ll notice right away about the beaches around River Kolpa - the soothing water is superbly clean. Michaela also says that “it’s the warmest river in Slovenia” which makes it absolutely perfect for swimming. She adds that there are no particular coordinates for the beaches, as they’re spotted along the River Kolpa, but to check out the villages of Pobrežje, Adlešiči, Vinica, and Podzemlj as your starting point.
4. Portorož Beach
Where the Austro-Hungarian monarchy once holidayed, Portorož has long been a jewel of a resort town shimmering on the Adriatic. There’s an air of romance in Portorož, possibly because its name literally means Port of Roses, or because of the stone sculpture gardens and wellness centres.
While this part of the Adriatic Sea is known for pebbly beaches, Portorož actually has one of the few sandy beaches in the region. While it does get quite busy on the weekend with local Slovenian families, on the weekday there are plenty of spots to claim your own. The beach in Portorož has several wooden piers, extending long into the harbour for those who love to dive off it. If you ever want to book a day trip to Portorož Beach, check out the excursion here.
At Portorož Beach there are tons of beachside snack bars, as well as a surf school. If you’re not one to just lay on the beach all day, you can rent a banana boat, kayaks, or speedboat for a cruise along the Slovenian coast. Then you can hit up multiple different beaches! Or, if you want to just take it easy, Piran is actually only a 40-minute walk from Portorož with a coastal stroll. The promenade connects the two towns, passing by green hillsides and panoramic views of the peninsula.
Where to stay in and around Portorož
Budget - Hostel Panorama Portorož: Great place to meet people when you're travelling alone, as well as free breakfast.
Mid-range - Apartment Case Bianca: Have a two-bedroom apartment for yourself! With utmost privacy and great location close to the centre.
Luxury - Mind Hotel Slovenija - Terme & Wellness LifeClass: Smack middle of everything as well as breakfast included, with tons of wellness facilities for you to luxuriate in.
5. Mestna Beach, Koper
The Slovenska abala, as the locals call it - otherwise known as the Slovene Riviera - is this slice of the country that touches the Adriatic Sea. The port city of Koper is the largest on this riviera, and even then, it’s a walking-friendly pace that can be explored in less than a day.
Don’t let the industrial ship ports fool you - there are more charms within the walls of Koper than its initial sight let on. This is still a town on the beautiful sea in a gem of a country that is Slovenia, after all. The old town of Koper is well-preserved and feels like an alternative picturesque neighbourhood to Venice (without the overcrowdedness too!).
To take it relaxed, between the delicious fresh seafood and fantastical places to see in Koper like the Praetorian Palace, enjoy Mestna Beach. Mestna beach is a contrast to the cobblestone streets of the city, being near a marina with beach bars and reaching out to the alluring turquoise water. It’s a very casual urban beach, only meters away from shipping containers, but it provides a much-needed summer heat break for locals and travellers alike.
6. Strunjan Beach
The competition for the most stunning beach in Slovenia heats up when one of the options is Strunjan Beach.
All above the beach are the cliffsides where you can look out into Piran, Izola and the nearby Italian city of Trieste. This is the same peninsula that includes Bele Skale beach and Moon Bay beach. That means you get the same rocky terrain but are blessed with the free-flowing effervescent Adriatic sea to swim in.
Georgy Vasilyev, who moved to Slovenia 8 years ago and now resides in Izola (so hands down he knows about Slovenia’s coast), says what makes Strunjan Beach his favourite is the “plenty of shadow (large trees all around), nice view of Piran and bay of Strunjan, great sunsets.” It’s a perfect mix for kids too, with floating platforms for jumps and a playground for kids. He notes that there are “a lot of loungers, changing cabins, and showers” at the beach too.
The pathways nearby Strunjan Beach may whisk you away to similar dreamscapes of Tuscany, with rows and rows of olive groves and vineyards. And in the far distance across the waters, the alps!
As a local tip about Strunjan Beach, Georgy says “I think the only major downside is always busy parking, but only during daytime (I usually go there in the evenings/mornings). Anyway, you can park on the additional remote (15 min walk) parking and a free shuttle bus will take you to the beach.”
7. Bele Skale beach
To get a slice of an untouched and unspoiled splendour on the Slovenian coast, head to Bele Skale beach. It’s secluded from the rest of the bustling towns since it’s part of a protected area in Strunjan Landscape park. The beach is hidden below a steep swooping cliff that cascades down to the pebble enclave.
Due to how private while accessible the beach is, it’s a popular spot in Slovenia for couples and nudists too. You’ll see some boats bobbing in the sea not too far off, but other than that, Bele Skale beach is a spot to really just soak in the sunshine. Swimming in the sea here is so refreshing and, if you’re like me, you won’t be able to get over how translucent the waters are! The water looks like you’re in a tropical country south of the equator, even though it’s with the balmy Mediterranian climate.
Since it’s a change of pace being located basically in the wild, there aren’t any facilities or infrastructure at Bele Skale Beach. To get here, follow a trail down from Belvedre camping ground, taking about 15 minutes to reach the beach.
8. Moon Bay (Mesečev Zaliv) Beach
The ever-playful name of Moon Bay tickles the imagination of what magic, nature and peaceful resevoir could hold there. Luckily for us, the beauty of Moon Bay beach lives up to what the name conjures. Slovenia’s coast may be small - but with a gem like this, it’s worth it to experience for yourself.
My friend Nena, whose hometown is the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana; but now resides just north of it, told me “there’s a nice path down to Moon Bay. With rocks, a big white cross above it, the bay is shaped like a part of a circle.” Hence, Moon Bay - is a beach with gentle lapping waves, and great water quality.
Swimming in Moon Bay, you’ll have clear views of the cliffside with lush trees growing out from it. The turquoise water is so clear that you’ll see right to the bottom where soft rocks fill the bay that makes Strunjan Nature Park.
9. Sotočje Tolminke natural beach
Only 1 kilometre from Tolmin’s city centre is Sotočje Tolminke natural beach. Here the water is a bit colder than the other spots on this list, but the beach still makes for a great hangout spot.
But don’t be put off - you can still go and dip your toes in!. Some locals actually drift down the river for a laid-back swim, if the water temperatures aren’t too low.
Whether you’re planning a picnic, or just want to do some water activities like boating and stand-up paddle boarding, Sotočje Tolminke natural beach is a serene location for it. In the evenings, the Sotočje bar that’s right on the beach has little bonfires which makes the spot so cosy!
10. Lake Bohinj
When I asked Janja Likar, who was born and raised in Slovenia, where her go-to beach is in the country, she gushed that her favourite beach is actually a change-up from the coast. Switching up from the seaside, she prefers Slovenia beaches that are lakeside!
For Janja, it’s Lake Bohinj. She lets us in that it isn’t just a picturesque natural swimming spot, but “there’s a beach around the lake.” This is where she takes her daughter to kick-start their weekend. On a Friday no less, they usually find a spot just to themselves amongst the pebbly beach.
Janja’s tip for enjoying Bohinj Lake: “You just have to be careful and park your car in the marked parking spaces” since the area can be known for strict rules on parking (and the possible ticket fines if not followed). Other than that, she brings a stand-up paddle board for her daughter to wade through the crystal-clear waters. If you don’t have your own, there’s a centre where you can rent a kayak, canoe or a stand-up paddle board at Lake Bohinj too. If you don't have a car and want to explore Lake Bohinj, you can book it as a day trip here.
11. Svetilnik Beach, Izola
For those who love snorkelling - this is the spot to do it! Grab your goggles since there are loads of fish and sea creatures swimming around in these clear waters.
Svetilnik Beach is part of Izola, an island town with deep characteristic roots in Slovenia’s fishing industry. With its location of being quite literally in the Adriatic sea, the waters have long been a source of livelihood for the locals here in Izola. You can still see it walking around town, from the large marina to the plenty of boats all around. The symbol of Izola is also Batana - a fishing boat!
The locals refer to Svetilnik beach as Lighthouse beach, a quintessential summer spot in Izola. An abundance of flourishing pine trees surrounds the beach, with historical buildings like the Church of St. Maurus in the backdrop. While it’s a concrete bank, there are easy-to-walk stairwells that submerge into the water. This makes it an easy urban beach to dip in and out of the water for swimming.
Where to stay in and around Izola
Budget - Hostel Alieti: Really affordable place that's only a few minutes walk from the beach!
Mid-range - Apartments & Rooms Nardin: This place has everything you would need for a family stay that is walkable to everywhere in Izola.
Luxury - DeGrassi Boutique Garni Hotel Izola: You will fall in love with this beachfront stay - truly an escape.
12. Simonov Zaliv Beach
Near to Koper is Simonov Zaliv Beach, where Nena, who grew up in Slovenia, spends a lot of time during summer. If you’re a family or looking for a beach for kids - this would make a great spot since there are tons of playgrounds and even a huge water slide!
“There’s a narrow road down to it. The beach has grass spots, trees, and a burger joint,” says Nena.
If you want a chair with an umbrella, you’ll definitely have to rent them. Otherwise, the spots in front of them and along the beach are all free to use. There are also free changing areas, toilets, and showers. Depending on the time of year, Simonov Zaliv Beach can get quite crowded - so if that’s the case it’s better to check out the more natural beach spots shared on this list for a bit more space.
Day trip into Italy
Neighbouring Italy makes a fun day-trip, especially since right across the border there's more beautiful beaches and coastal cities. Check out our guide for the beaches of Trieste (they're right next to Slovenia!) or discover more of the next door Italian city of Trieste with our recommended things to do here.
If you're interested in adding any of these beaches to a fully Slovenia itinerary, check out our highlights itinerary of Slovenia here for more inspiration for your travel.