Piran: 120km (74 miles) SW of Ljubljana

Piran is easily the loveliest place along Slovenia's tiny slither of Istrian Coast, drawing inevitable comparisons with Venice which -- after 500 years of rule -- it echoes in many ways; only here there are no canals -- the entire city is built on dry land, rising to a low hill, along which defensive walls are built. Within walking distance of Piran is the modern seaside playground of Portoroz ("Port of Roses"), with its strutting crowds and concrete resort hotels. Popular with pleasure seekers and always crowded during the peak summer months, it may be a worthwhile clubbing spot if you grow weary of Piran's more restrained nighttime tavern activity. North you'll find two more Italianate ports, Koper and Izola, neither of which is nearly as nice as Piran.