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With its Old Town perched on an outcrop in the Adriatic, it's fitting that Izola's name means 'island'. This charming fishing town is often overlooked on a typical route through Slovenia, so those who do make the stop are treated to uncrowded beaches and streets. Stroll down cobbled alleyways and marvel at Medieval, Gothic and Venetian-influenced architecture, or sit by the water at sunset to watch fishermen bring in their catch. If your timing's right, you might get to join in celebrations like the annual Orange Wine or Fishermen's Festivals.
Bask in the calm pace of the town with a stay at an Izola hostel based in a historic house. With free Wi-Fi, you can get online and post your beach pictures or gaze at the water from a hostel close to the sea. Look out for Izola hostels with air con for when the temperatures climb in the summer and heating for the chilly winter months. You'll also find hostels in Izola with free tea and coffee, as well as some with a shared kitchen.
Izola's Old Town is a labyrinth of winding streets and charming houses. Come here to get a feel for the sleepy way of life and for easy access to the marina and beaches. Two other towns in Slovenian Istria are worth a visit too: Koper is a red-roofed Medieval village with a vineyard and cathedral, while Piran's buildings will make you feel like you're in Venice.
Stroll the boardwalks at Plaža Izola, a shoreline of green parks and clear waters to dip your feet into. The late-Baroque Besenghi degli Ughi Palace is just as majestic now as when it was built in 1775. Walk up to the Parish Church of St Maurus on a hill for a panorama of the town or head to the peaceful sands of Simon's Bay for a lazy day on the beach. You can liven things up on weekends with an outdoor jazz concert in Manzioli Square.
Venice Marco Polo Airport is the closest to Izola. From there you can drive (about 2 hours) or take a bus into Venice, then a train (a 3-hour journey). You could also take a train from the airport, changing in Portorož (just under 4 hours). Once in the town, you can get around easily enough on foot or bicycle, and in peak season a holiday train for visitors rolls from Republika Square to the beach.