What to experience in Izola
A CITY OF HISTORY, CULTURE AND SEA
What to experience in Izola as a visitor? In Izola, you will be inspired by the historical sights and cultural treasures of the city and its surroundings. Visit the famous palaces, climb the bell tower and learn about history. Cycle through the city, where you can admire "Mandrač", the town harbour with restored old boats alongside the old typical Mediterranean houses. Further along the coast, you can pause for a snack or a drink in one of the many cafés.
"Mandrač" or harbour, is deeply cut into the old town centre on the west coast of Izola, which used to be the centre of the town. It was historically the site of the most important public buildings, such as the Manzioli and Lovisato palaces, the churches of St. Mavro and St. Mary of Aliet, and the Italian primary school.
One of the oldest buildings, built in 1470, is the Manzioli Palace. It is a typical Venetian-Gothic style town house. It was named after the former mayor of Isola, Tommaso Manzioli, who was also involved in the design of the Isola Mandrake. It can be found on Manzioli Square.
The Manzioli Palace is overlooked by the Lovisato Palace, which is best known as the birthplace of Domenico Lovisato, the patriot and scientist from Isola. The restored rooms of the palace house the headquarters of the Italian National Community of Izola. The premises serve as an exhibition space and a venue for small events.
The late 18th-century Besenghi degli Ughi is an example of late Baroque secular architecture. It was commissioned by the wealthy Istrian Besenghi family to the Milanese architect Filippo Dongetti, one of the most important architects of the time. Today, the Besenghi degli Ughi is the seat of the Izola Music School.
The former municipal palace was built in 1325 in the Gothic style. The Baroque facade was added in the 17th century. The building has undergone many interventions in various later styles, especially in the interior. The facade is adorned with a stone statue of a lion looking out over the "Mandrač", the old harbour of Izola.
The Renaissance church of St. Maurus is dedicated to the martyrs and St. Maurus, St. Donatus, Bishop of St. Maurus, and Pope Sixtus II. It occupies a dominant position on the central Izola outcrop of the former island.
The original Romanesque church had a facade with a main entrance and left and right side entrances. In the Baroque period, the church's dimensions were preserved and, inside, the main nave was shaped into its present form on 14 columns in the style of a basilica by adding a choir and extending it, redesigning the façade and adding a cupola. The paving was then replaced. The chapels and the altars, which were originally wooden and gilded, were also redesigned. Next to the church stands a bell tower, over 30 metres high, built of common Istrian stone on a Gothic base. At the top of the bell tower you can experience a beautiful view of the town and the surrounding area.
The Church of Maria Alietska is the oldest church in Izola. It is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary. It was built in the second half of the 11th century and has a Romanesque design. It features a wood-carved choir, three altars and an organ made by the most important Venetian organ builder. The church is located in Manzioli Square, next to the town harbour.
At the end of the Izola peninsula, you'll find the Izola Lighthouse and the beautifully landscaped Izola City Baths. The lighthouse is a popular point for walks. There are benches where you can enjoy beautiful views of the sea. In summer, this area is popular with swimmers, as there is a very nice beach with clear water and pebbles in the immediate vicinity.
The beach has showers, a sandpit and children's play areas. You can cycle to the beach, which is just 200 metres from Izola's town centre, and continue along the path from the remains of the fish factory to the main roundabout in Izola, next to the campsite.
In the area of the former coastal road between Izola and Koper, today a paradise for walkers and cyclists, the Rex, the largest and fastest Italian ocean liner at the time, sank during World War II. It was 40 metres high, had 12 floors and could accommodate 2032 passengers.
On 8 September 1944, Allied aircraft spotted the Rex between Izola and Koper, where the ship was hiding from a possible bombardment of Trieste. Due to its size, it ran aground about 200 m off the coast below the present-day Izola Hospital. It was an easy target for Allied aircraft to strafe. The locals took everything of value from the wreck. After the war, the state authorities of the time decided to cut up the ship and melt the iron. The locals called this area of the coast "Na Rexu".
People are different, some like solitude, others crowded, some want shade, others heat... We've gathered some interesting beaches for different tastes. The coastal promenade is the central promenade and is a lively area of Izola in the summer. At the end of the street is a small parking lot called Lonka. At the other end is the town harbour and the lighthouse with the town beach. Here you can find many bars, delicatessens and fish restaurants.
You can cycle from the wild beach in the Mesečev zaliv Bay, to the beach for young people under Belvedere, to the beach in San Simon, which is especially suitable for families, to the beach in front of the Delfin Hotel, and all the way to Lighthouse - the iconic "Svetilnik" beach with a view of the Alps. In the iconic beach vicinity, Izola has the only dog beach in town.
Access is possible along the cycle route leading from Koper to Izola or vice versa .
After years of efforts by the coastal municipalities, the coastal road between Izola and Koper was closed to traffic in March 2017.
In 2018, toilets, showers and drinking fountains were installed along the 7km of coastline, with separate areas for cyclists, pedestrians and bathers. Plans are also underway to improve public lighting and accessibility to the sea.
This part of the coastal strip is now used for recreation, swimming and leisure activities. From here, in good weather, you can see the coastline of neighbouring Italy and as far as the Alps. The coastal road leads from the centre of Izola towards Žusterna along a signposted cycle route.