Exploring the fascinating natural heritage of Slovenian Istria. The sea is of great importance to Slovenians, as it is closely related to our image and way of life. Warm days in spring and autumn lure us to seaside towns where we can enjoy coffee and seafood. In addition, the sea allows us to contact the wider world. Nevertheless, the question arises as to how much we actually know about the Slovenian sea and the marine environment.
The Slovenian coast stretches for 46.6 kilometers along the Adriatic Sea and the hinterland of Slovenian Istria. The coast of Slovenia is bounded in the north by the neighboring Italian coast, while in the south it borders Croatia with the Dragonja river. Slovenian Istria, like the rest of Istria, can be divided into the land closer to the sea, called “blue Istria”, and the land further inland, “green Istria”. Slovenian Istria has approximately 120 settlements, and the most changed image is in settlements by the sea, such as Koper, Izola and Piran with nearby tourist resorts. Lucija and Sečovlje with salt pans, Bernardin, Strunjan with salt pans and landscape park, Debeli rtič, Ankaran and Fiesa are smaller coastal towns.
Exploring the charming natural heritage of Slovenian Istria – Natural and well-maintained bathing spots on the Slovenian coast – an ideal destination for a summer vacation
The Slovenian coast is surrounded by the bays of Piran, Koper and Strunjan. Tourism, transport, trade and port activity dominate these coastal areas. Especially along the coast, summer tourism is of great importance, with many accompanying activities. Among the tourist places, Piran and Portorož stand out, where there is the largest marine park in Slovenia, Laguna Bernardin, as well as numerous wellness centers, spas and casinos. In addition to the summer season, congress tourism is also developing. There are other popular excursion spots nearby, such as Lipica with Lipizzaner horses and the famous Škocjan Caves and Postojna Cave.
The Slovenian coast, despite its short length, offers as many as 21 natural bathing spots where visitors can cool off in the water. However, it is more recommended for tourists to have well-kept beaches at various seaside locations, such as Debeli rtič, Ankaran, Sveti Katarina, Koper, Žusterna, Izola, Simonov zaliv, Strunjan, Fiesa, Piran, Bernardin and Portorož. Slovenian natural swimming pools stand out for their water quality, as they have been meeting the very strict requirements of the European Union for many years. That is why many Slovenian swimming pools have been awarded the blue flag, which means that they are ecologically sound and carefully maintained.
Exploring the fascinating natural heritage of Slovenian Istria – Characteristics, sensitivity to environmental changes and coastal biodiversity
The Slovenian Sea is known for being quite shallow, which means that it heats up very quickly in the summer and cools down quickly in the winter. The underwater plane, which is mostly made up of clay silt, is quite shallow and reaches a depth of only 25 meters in some places. Due to its shallowness, the Slovenian sea is very sensitive to environmental changes and pressure than the deeper parts of the Adriatic. In addition, the Slovenian sea also has a lower salinity than the average salinity of the Adriatic Sea, as the Soča, Timava and Po rivers flow into this part of the Adriatic Sea.
Although the Slovenian coast is short, it is nevertheless quite populated and varied. Between Debeli rtič and Sečoveljski salt flats, we find high Strunjan cliffs, which represent one of the most biotically rich parts of the sea coast in our country. Two coral reefs are also located in these areas. Sečoveljska and Strunjanska solina are important areas for birds, while the coast between St. Catherine and St. Nikolajem pri Ankaran, an example of a Mediterranean salt meadow. In the Škocjan Bay, fresh and salt water meet, which creates a unique ecosystem that includes areas of the sea, semi-saline lagoons, sea meadows and freshwater marshes.
The areas mentioned in the previous paragraph are all protected because of their natural wealth, which can be admired on educational trails. Just a few meters away from Piranska Punta, the seabed descends to the greatest depth in the Gulf of Trieste, which measures 37.5 meters below the surface. There we find a diverse underwater world that provides a home for many plant and animal species. On the entire 46-kilometer coast and 406 square kilometers of territorial sea, we have two landscape parks and three nature reserves of national importance.