Spring is an excellent time for visiting Slovenia. It is one of those seasons during which you can go skiing in the morning and afterwards enjoy a warm afternoon by the Adriatic sea. For the brave ones even a dip in the sea is not out of the question.
Sunny weather was reason enough for M. and myself to drive to the coast and have a walk in the hills above one of the charming coastal towns of Slovenia. We chose Izola where we left our car and started our circular, 16 kilometre walk.
We got the idea for this hike from a local website (www.izola.eu) where you can check out a few walking/biking suggestions. Maps and GPS directions are available for free download.
After we left our car at a free car park just outside the Izola old city centre we started our walk towards the nearby hills. Quickly we left city streets behind us and found our way amongst old vineyards and olive groves.
Beautiful views of the coast were there to admire all the way around the path. With the exception of occasional wind gusts it was pretty warm for this season. Some trees and flowers were already blooming in bright colours. A branch of rosemary we picked on our way provided a natural aromatherapy opportunity. It smelled even better as it looked.
When we were done with the first half of our walk we stopped for lunch. In the town of Šared we stumbled upon a restaurant called Panorama. The first impression was not too promising, but they offered really good value Sunday lunch menus, which to our surprise were prepared individually - even rice for the shellfish risotto was not cooked in advance.
This meant the lunch stop took quite a while, but it was definitely worth it. We washed the food down with a glass of local wine, made from grapes that grew on a nearby hill. Delicious!
After lunch we continued our walk past a small church dedicated to St. James. It is situated on the outskirts of Šared. From there we followed distinct yellow markings, that can be found on various pilgrimage routes leading to sacral objects dedicated to St. James.
I have a feeling we will be seeing many more of such markings sometime in the not so distant future. More about that in one of the future posts...
From Šared the path led us downhill towards the sea. We passed a few more vineyards on our way and enjoyed beautiful views of Izola below.
We entered Izola through the town's marina and enjoyed a beautiful sunset just as we walked past rows of many moored sailboats and yachts.
One of the most interesting sights on this trip was definitely a small entertainment park (Lunapark) by the seafront. Although it was closed at the time we walked by, it was interesting enough just to look at from a distance. To me it looked like a scene from a horror movie. That huge chimney at the back and graffiti painted old walls sure don't help with the inviting look of the place.
I suppose at night with all the lights on, it might even look a bit more inviting.
For the grand finale we stopped for a glass of wine in the old centre of Izola. There are a few enotecas with great selection of wines. We chose Wine Bar Manzioli, operated by the Zaro family. Apart from owning the charming bar, they also produce some great wine themselves.
It was a great day in the warm spring sun. We are planning to explore the coastal region of Slovenia again as soon as possible.
Actually this Sunday a "Culinary walk of Istria's delicacies" (Kulinarični pohod Istrskih dobrot) is taking place and it might serve as a perfect excuse for another trip to the region.
Clicking on any one of above photos will reveal them all in a much more flattering resolution.