I was alerted that driving and parking in Piran was restricted, and that I should leave the car in the modern park, built a few hundred meters from city centre, at the end of the bathing area. Seeming a bit far, I risked to drive as close as possible, and, as a matter of fact, I could park closer to the historic center.
Leaving the city I verified that the mentioned parking lot is not a bad solution, because they have a free shuttle to town. Next time, I will already know!
Piran is an old town built on a narrow peninsula, long before cars were invented. It does not fit with cars!
Access into the town is limited to citizens and authorized cars, which includes Hotel guests. Just before the gate into the town, there is a public parking but it has limited space. In the high season, do not hope to park there, or may be if you arrive early in the morning. It is free under 1 hour, 3 €uros for 2 hours, 6 €uros for 3 hours. You cannot stay more than 10 hours (25 €uros).
You might find to park (free for 1 hour) in the upper part of the town, near the city wall, but there are not many parking spaces and you have to walk down to Tartini Square. There is a new underground parking near the football stadium but I have not seen it myself.
If it is full everywhere, I have read in my guide book that one possibility was to try to park in Portoroz and take a bus, running every 30 minutes. This is not available late evening but I have not found the exact time table of the busses.
We arrived in Piran around 2:30 PM but though this was not the full high season anymore (end of August), the public parking lot before the entrance into the city, along Dantejeva ulica, was full up. We had before tried to park on top of the city, near the old city wall but no space was available along Ulica IX Korpusa. We were able to park but this was on the other side, on the way down to Fiesa camping ground. That would have been a long way to walk to the old city! This is why we tried the public parking at the entrance into the old town, but to no avail!
What could we do ? We were hungry and it began to be late. We decided to try to drive into the old town, took the entrance ticket … and, just on the other side of the gate, on a small parking lot along Dantejeva ulica, there was a car that went away and left a parking space available. We were happy to take it and rushed first to Neptun restaurant and second to visit the town.
When we left, I noticed (I had not seen it on arrival as I was hypnotized by the empty space and anyway, we were very hungry!) that it was for locals only. No ticket on the windshield though… but at the tollbooth, I was asked 11 €uros for 2:32. That was “only” twice what I would have paid (6 €uros for 3 hours) at the public parking. Finally, I feel we have been lucky : Neptun restaurant was still serving dinner, which was excellent and we had visited most of the town. Though, I do not recommend to do the same as we might, as far as I have understood, have been fined!
Piran is very small and while automobile traffic is allowed into the center, parking is an issue and I don't believe anyone including hotel guests is allowed to park in the city center.
We took a ticket at the entrance to the city (1 hour free parking I think) and drove to our hotel because it was raining, we dropped off our luggage and the hotel clerk told us how to get to the parking that was included with the hotel rate. You have to go back to where you took the first ticket and then veer off to the right, ask at the ticket booth if you're not sure.
Once you park the car, look for the free shuttle bus signs, we only had to wait for about a minute and the shuttle bus dropped us just across from our hotel.
Only residents and people staying in Piran's hotels are allowed to drive into the town. Everyone else must park at the edge of town and walk in. There are two areas in which you can park. The first is at the top of the hill near the old town wall. There is an underground parking garage and a smaller outdoor lot which is a few hundred feet closer to town. The advantage of parking up there is that you can start your visit with a view from the top of the wall (see the photo on our Piran into page), which gives you a good feel for the town's layout. If you don't want to do the walk back up the hill at the end of the day, you can take a taxi from Tartini square back up to the top of the hill.
The other parking option is to park on the southeastern sie of town down by the water. This gives you easier access the the harbor area, and avoids the necessity of going up and down the steep hill (unless you want to experience the views from the top).
I used Bogdan Bevk taxi company a few times while visiting Piran in April 2005.
On the first occasion, I wanted to visit Umag in neighbouring Croatia and, with no buses going there at a convenient time, I asked the reception desk at the hotel to order a taxi for me. The hotel (Hotel Tartini) uses Bogdan Bevk for its guests.
The friendly driver took me to Umag and agreed to pick me up later in the day when I was ready to go back to Piran. I asked him to pick me up at 3pm and he arrived on the dot to collect me. The driver offered to drive me to any tourist attractions in Slovenia and to act as my guide if I wished - for what he said was a low price. I didn't take him up on his offer, but I did arrange for him to pick me up at the hotel a few days later to take me to Trieste for my flight back to the UK. Again, he showed up right on time and I paid the pre-arranged fare.
The company has a number of taxis and minibuses and you can contact them for airport transfers, excursions or merely to get to nearby Portoroz for an evening meal.
One thing to be aware of: the meter runs according to the time spent in the taxi, not the distance travelled. Therefore, if you get stuck in traffic you can find yourself in the frustrating position of not moving anywhere and watching the meter spiral out of control! This happened to me when I travelled to Croatia on a Public Holiday and spent ages in standing traffic at the border.