Latest posts by Adam Lowe (see all)
- Restaurant review: Bauhaus, Gastown, Vancouver - 15 February, 2020
- Restaurant review: The River Restaurant, The Lowry Hotel, Manchester - 22 January, 2020
- Brits prefer realistic holiday snaps to picture-perfect selfies - 11 January, 2020
Portorož means ‘Port of Roses’, and the name is apt. As well as featuring a number of beautiful rose beds, Portorož, with its mild Adriatic coastal climate and glamorous hotels, is the perfect tourist destination for couples.
Boasting some seriously fabulous hotels, ice cream parlours, golf courses, casinos, spas, a marina and a gorgeous beach lined with seafront shops and restaurants, there’s just the right balance between laidback cool and decadent fun. Meanwhile, the natural grace of Portorož’s parks and rose beds ensure plenty to look at.
Sightseeing and Heritage
Portorož, although in modern-day Slovenia, is in the Municipality of Piran, which was once a celebrated part of the Venetian Republic. The architectural and cultural influence of this is apparent, and manifests in the detail and pomp evident in the architecture, cuisine and culture.
Local sights include the Magazen, Grando and Monfort historic salt warehouses, which are listed as both cultural and historical heritage sites. Monfort is now an exhibition gallery. Tourists can also visit the ruins of the 15th century church at the hilltop hotel resort of Bernardin.
Food & Drink
Here in the Piran region, foodies can discover Mediterranean Istrian cuisine handed down over generations. Expect menus bursting with a diverse assortment of fresh fish and seasonal local fruit and veg, with a range of homegrown herbs and spices for flavour.
The Istrian countryside provides olive oil, truffles and wine – all of which are key ingredients in local food, whether served in homes or a seafront pizzeria. The coast also has some of the best gelati in Slovenia.
Arts and Culture
Portorož also has a vibrant cultural calendar, such as the popular music festival The Melodies of the Sea and the Sun and the International Folklore Festival. Since 2005, it has hosted the Banka Koper Slovenia Open tennis tournament of WTA Tour.
The annual Festival of Slovenian Film (Festival slovenskega filma) is held in Portorož, with Vesna awards being awarded for best achievements in Slovenian cinematography; and since 1961, Portorož also hosts the biennial International Sculpture Symposium Forma Viva, with works on display in the sculpture park at the nearby Seča village.
Health and Wellbeing
Those seeking time and space to relax can enjoy the calming climate and the reputed healing benefits of the 700-year-old Sečovlje Salina, around which has developed a local tradition of spa tourism. The sea is naturally warmed by the sun and in summer can be as hot as 31°C.
Visitors to the region can enjoy beaches in Portorož, Piran, Strunjan and Fiesa, several of which have been awarded the 2013 Blue Flag environmental certificate – an indication of high quality beaches with clean sea water. Moon Bay is a magnificent natural beach under the Strunjan cliff. Although access is restricted, it’s definitely worth the extra effort to visit.
Among the 171 countries with seas surveyed by Conservation International, the Slovenian sea has been ranked 18th, with one of the top rankings for any Mediterranean country. For this reason, watersports and diving are very popular activities.
Kempinski Palace Portorož
The Kempinski Palace was called ‘the most beautiful hotel on the Adriatic coast’ in 1910, and over a hundred years later this is probably still true. Gorgeous, expansive and lavish, it overlooks the Adriatic Sea. Facilities include the Rose Spa, restaurants Sophia and Fleur de Sel, meeting rooms, the Istrian Wine cellar and the breathtaking Crystal Ballroom where guests can take breakfast.
Located centrally in Portorož, close to the medieval town of Piran, Kempinski Palace is just a short drive from Trieste and Venice in Italy, and of course Ljubljana in Slovenia. The hotel is a legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1910. Its Habsburg grand facade hides a fusion of traditional and contemporary design. Parisian designers DESSEINS Interior Design Studio, led by Jean-Claude Laville, dreamed up the hotel’s iconic interior.
Package deals with Luxury Slovenia are available online.