While on a holiday on Adriatic coast, do not miss Sečovlje salt pans. At these biggest and oldest salt pans in Slovenia, salt is still being produced in a traditional way based on a 700 year old method.
The entire area of Sečovlje Salina Nature park covers 7,5 km2. In the Northern part, Lera, the salt is still being harvested today while in the Southern park you will enjoy exploring the extensive meadows and abandoned salt pan houses.
Traditional Salt Harvesting
Traditional method is still used today with help of a few modern machines (e.g. water pumps, diggers and trucks for loading and transportation). To extract the salt from the seawater, they use small shallow basins where the water slowly evaporates (2 to 3 weeks of hot and sunny weather is needed for this phase) and it is then moved to the basins for the crystallisation. The water is moved between the basins with the help of water pumps. Traditional tools are then used to rake the salt which is later stored in special warehouses.
Years ago entire families moved to the salt pans during the harvest season. While men used to work on the fields, women were looking after their houses and vegetable gardens. These houses were situated in the middle of the salt fields and today they are mostly in ruins. You can visit one of them which has been renovated for the visitors to get an idea how they used to live and work there.
What is there to visit?
You can visit both parts of the Sečovlje salt pans. To enter Lera, active salt production part of the park, you will have to leave your car at the entrance to the park where you also pay your entrance fee for the entire park (7 € for individuals, 5 € for children or 16 € for families). A straight road with the evaporation and crystallisation basins on both sides will take you to the visitors’ centre where you can visit an exhibition as well as an audio video projection about the tradition of salt production in the area. There is also a small shop to buy the salt and other related products (bath salt, chocolate, soaps etc.).
To visit the other part of Sečovlje salt pans, you need to drive over Slovenian border control and turn on your right just before entering Croatia. You will park your car at the end of the road where you will be given bikes (all included in the price) to visit the Fontaniggie, where salt harvesting was abandoned in 1960’s. Cycling along the road, you will enjoy the beautiful views of the houses in ruins, overgrown basins, mudflats and grasslands with salt-loving plants and numerous bird species.
What not to miss?
Visiting Sečovlje Salina park is a great experience for the whole family. You will learn a lot about the importance of the salt as well as its traditional production. You will also enjoy exploring the park on a bike, admiring various birds, traces of salt fields, levees and channels.
Renovated saltmaker’s house and Salt making museum will give you a special insight about the life of people working at the salt pans.
I recommend you visit Sečovlje Salina park. You need to allow at least one hour for the first part and about two hours for the second park to make the most of it. And I suggest you plan your visit either in the morning or later in the afternoon because it can get very hot there 🙂