Koper, Slovenia: Travel Guide & Things to Do!
The city of Koper is a real gem in Slovenia and a visit to this charming metropolis is a real highlight on the Adriatic Sea. Located on the famous Slovenian coast, the commercial metropolis is a popular destination for excursions or short breaks. Especially the many amazing things to do in Koper, such as visiting the enchanting old town, the impressive harbor and the fantastic promenade, make this Slovenian coastal city so special! The flagship and landmark is the fascinating Tito Square, the beautiful main square with numerous historical attractions. Furthermore, there are also several beautiful beaches in and around the coastal city that guarantee unforgettable summer days. But what are the highlights of Koper, what are the real insider tips, and what are the best places to stay?
In this travel guide, you will find all the important information and tips about Koper in Slovenia. We also show you some great pictures, the best things to do and see in Koper, and inform you about the best accommodations.
General Information about Koper
The city of Koper, known in Italian as Capodistria and in German as Gafers, has a population of about 26,000 and is located in the north of the Slovenian Riviera. It is located about 106 kilometers from Ljubljana, 22 kilometers from Trieste and 16 kilometers from the popular resort town of Portoroz. The history of Koper dates back to Roman times, when the city was known by various names such as Aegida and Capris. In addition, the port metropolis belonged to the Republic of Venice from 1278, so you can enjoy an incredible Venetian charm while sightseeing. Today, Koper is the largest port city in Slovenia and an important industrial center in the region. Since 2003, it is also a well-known student city, which gives the city a youthful flair and hip lifestyle.
Koper is truly beautiful, and there are many places of interest and attractions to visit during a sightseeing tour of the city. The medieval streets of the Old Town, the 13th century Praetorian Palace and the 12th century Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary are particularly worthy of mention. The charming fishing harbor and the splendid seafront promenade are also well worth a visit. During the summer there are many cultural events and there is a great regional museum that reflects the cultural and historical heritage. You can also enjoy really beautiful beaches in the city and its surroundings, and Koper’s location in Slovenian Istria makes it an ideal starting point for excursions along the coast and inland.
Best Things to Do in Koper
When traveling to Koper, you can look forward to a number of attractions worth seeing. Most of them are located in the Old Town and can be explored on a walking tour. To help you keep track, we’ve compiled a list of the best things to do in Koper:
Praetorian Palace & Tito Square
The Praetorian Palace is one of the most famous attractions in town, and a visit is definitely one of the best things to do in Koper. The imposing building is located on the picturesque Tito Square in the heart of the Old Town and today houses the City Hall and the city’s Tourist Information Center. This historic landmark was built in the 13th century and has been renovated several times over the centuries. Truly characteristic is the Venetian architecture of the Praetorian Palace, which reflects the period with a beautiful open staircase, numerous decorations, battlements and arched windows. In the center of the palace, you can also discover the winged lion of St. Mark, once the symbol of the Republic of Venice.
Tip: If you are interested, it is also possible to visit the inside of the Praetorian Palace. Guided tours of the palace are offered several times a day.
The Koper Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, is a historical highlight and certainly, one of the most famous places to visit in the Old Town. Built in the 12th century, the current building dates back to the 15th century. This imposing church combines different architectural styles, such as Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque, due to the numerous renovations over the centuries. The interior of the church is also worth seeing, with many valuable paintings. An insider’s tip is to climb to the top of the 54-meter bell tower, from where you can enjoy a magnificent view of Koper.
Tip: If you want to stay in the center of town, there are some charming places to stay close to Tito’s Square, such as the beautiful Apartment del Bello Koper.
Originally built in the 17th century as a salt warehouse, the Taverna is an impressive building in Koper. Its history can be traced back to the production of salt in the area around Koper, which was promoted under the former rule of the Venetians. This interesting sight is located in the beautiful Piazza Carpaccio, next to the old city walls and only a few steps away from the picturesque promenade. Thanks to its historical charm, this former salt warehouse is now a popular venue in the port city. Especially during the summer months, numerous cultural events take place under the round arches.
The picturesque Koper Promenade is definitely one of the highlights of this port city. This beautiful, relatively new promenade stretches for several kilometers from the city center to the neighboring town of Izola. Here you can take picturesque walks or bike rides with magnificent views of Koper. There are also many beautiful sights and pleasant places to stop along the way. The city park “Centralni Mestni Park”, which was just opened in 2018, and the picturesque Zusterna Beach, which invites you to sunbathe, relax and swim in its pebble bays, are really charming.
Tip: A visit to the promenade in the evening is highly recommended, as you will be able to experience some fantastic sunsets from there.
The Žusterna beach is a great tip for relaxing days of swimming in Koper. Several beautiful pebble coves with the most gorgeous turquoise sea colors and a magnificent view of Koper make this beach one of the most popular in the port city. The green lawns with small trees are unique and perfect for sunbathing and relaxing. This charming, beautifully landscaped coastal strip is part of the Žusterna City Coastal Park, a local recreational center for cycling, jogging, walking, swimming and relaxing. This green oasis is located on the picturesque promenade and can be reached on foot in about 10 minutes from the city center.
Tip: Directly behind the beach, there is a large parking lot with a large number of paid parking spaces. It is perfect for those who prefer to come here by car.
A beautiful attraction in the very center of Koper is the Loggia Palace, which is also known as the Palazzo della Loggia. This Venetian-Gothic building is located on the Tito Square in the Old Town and can be easily visited during a sightseeing tour. The oldest part of the current building dates back to 1462, although the Loggia has been extended and renovated several times over the years. Interesting are the coats of arms on the façade, which were added after the outbreak of the plague in Koper in 1553-1555. In addition, a terracotta statue of the Madonna and Child was placed in a niche above the left corner pillar.
Tip: We recommend a visit to the coffee house on the first floor of the Loggia Palace. It was opened in the 19th century and is considered one of the oldest in Slovenia.
Vrata Muda Town Gate
The Vrata Muda Town Gate, also known as the Muda Gate, is located in the historical center of the city and is part of the well-preserved city walls. It is one of the most important historical monuments in Koper and a visit to it is a must on any tour of the city. The Muda Gate was built in 1516 in the Renaissance style and was the main gate to Koper at that time. At that time, the fortified town was located on an island and could only be reached via a bridge. The coats of arms on the gate are also interesting, especially the sun, which still adorns the logo of the city of Koper. In addition to the imposing main gate, there is also a smaller additional gate that provides access to the city center.
The Carpaccio Square, known in Slovenian as Carpacciov trg, is one of the most beautiful squares in Koper and one of its most famous attractions. This picturesque square is a place right out of a picture book. Colorful houses, romantic restaurants and cafés, as well as the old salt warehouse “Taverna” create an incredibly beautiful setting. The square owes its name to the famous Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio, whose house was located here. Also worth seeing is the mid-15th century fountain, originally from Venice, which was installed in Piazza Carpaccio in 1935. The beautiful Justina Column dating from 1572 is also interesting.
Tip: Right next to Piazza Carpaccio is the popular Hotel Grand Koper. It is a fantastic 5-star hotel for a very special vacation.
Da Ponte Fountain
The Da Ponte Fountain is certainly one of the most beautiful historical monuments in the Old Town, and a visit is one of the best things to do in Koper. Built in 1666 by the Venetian architect Antionio da Ponte, it is now one of the most impressive attractions in the old town. The centuries-old fountain consists of an octagonal basin with an arch representing a symbolic bridge. The artistic decorations with pyramids, coats of arms and stone faces are also worth seeing. At that time, it supplied the city with drinking water and was used until 1898. Today, the fountain is one of the most photographed sights in the center.
Koper City Beach
The Koper City Beach, also known as Mokra Macka or Mestna Plaza, is a real highlight in the center of the port city. This free public beach is located on the promenade, just a few steps away from the large port and the old town. It even carries the Blue Flag, a sign of the best water quality, cleanliness and facilities. What’s more, this bay has a really charming design and there is always a lively holiday atmosphere, especially in the summer months. There are shady spots under the trees, a green lawn for sunbathing, a playground, beach umbrellas and sunbeds for rent, and free toilets.
Tip: We also recommend visiting the cozy café on the city beach, from whose terrace you can enjoy a beautiful view of the sea and the Koper port.
Koper Regional Museum
The Regional Museum of Koper is definitely one of the museums in Koper that is worth seeing, and especially history buffs and art lovers will enjoy the extensive exhibition. It is housed in a Venetian building from the 17th century, one of the most beautiful Baroque-Mannerist palaces in the city center. A visit here will give you an interesting insight into the splendor of the Koper Renaissance and the Venetian period. There are also prehistoric artifacts on display and an idyllic museum garden with a lapidarium.
Škocjanski zatok Nature Reserve
The Škocjanski zatok Nature Reserve is located just a few kilometers outside of the Old Town and is an insider’s tip for anyone who wants to do something outdoors in Koper. There is a beautiful 2-kilometer walk around this wetland, with several stops and viewpoints for birdwatching. As many as 259 different bird species have their habitat here, right next to the industrial city. You will also have the opportunity to see the old Istrian cattle and Camargue horses that are kept in the green pastures of the nature reserve.
Tip: Entrance to the Škocjanski zatok nature reserve is free. There is also a free parking lot right in front of the main entrance to the park.
Port of Koper & Belvedere Viewpoint
The Port of Koper is the only international seaport in Slovenia and one of the highlights of this coastal metropolis. It plays a crucial role in the Slovenian economy and trade. More than 1900 ships call at the port every year, including huge freighters and some cruise ships. If you want to see the hustle and bustle of the port of Koper, the best place to visit is the Belvedere viewpoint. It is located between the Old Town and the port and is easily accessible on foot from the city center. From the platform you have an excellent view of the large ships moored in the port area. It is also interesting to visit in the evening when the port is illuminated.
The Best Excursions from Koper
During your vacation, you have the opportunity to make many exciting trips from Koper, as there are many beautiful sights in the area. Here are the absolute best destinations and attractions that you can visit near Koper:
The hinterland of Koper is also worth a trip. Hrastovlje with the Church of the Holy Trinity and Socerb Castle overlooking the sea are truly recommended.
The Postojna Caves, a huge stalactite and stalagmite cave, and the imposing Predjama Cave Castle are also worth a day trip.
Another insider’s tip is to take a trip to Lipica, a large stud farm with Lipizzaner horses. You can watch the horses in the fields and take part in a guided tour of the stables.
Where to Stay in Koper
Koper is a popular stop on round trips along the Slovenian coast, and the port city is home to some excellent accommodations. From beautiful hotels on the promenade to great apartments and guesthouses, it’s all here. If you are looking for recommended places to stay in Koper, we can give you these recommendations… It’s worth a look!
- Fantastic 5-Star Hotel: The Hotel Grand Koper is a charming 5-star hotel right on the promenade. The breakfast is fantastic, as well as the location of the hotel.
- Modern Apartment: The Koper Seaside Residence is a large apartment located in the center of Koper with a beautiful view of the city.
- Fantastic Holiday Flats: The VILA MOLET KOPER is located just outside the town and offers fantastic apartments with spectacular views of the sea and Koper.
- Apartment in the Old Town: The Apartment del Bello Koper is a great choice, especially if you want to stay right in the beautiful city center of Koper.
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