Strunjan saltpans are the northernmost saltpans in the Mediterranean. Salt is still produced annually and in a traditional way. Another part of the saltpans is the brackish lagoon Stužja, which is divided to the big and transitional lagoon. Pans are very important due to dense stands of Mediterranean grasslands, dominated by sea rush. Mudflats that can be seen only at low tide are the habitat of halophilous plants. Other interesting things nearby are the Strunjan cliff and cape Ronek in Moon bay, where you can admire high flysch layers by the sea. Because it represents a typical coastal zone flysch landscape, the Strunjan peninsula and its surroundings were declared a nature park. Strunjan saltpans and lagoon Stjuža have the status of a nature reserve.
Access and trail description
The easiest way to get to Strunjan is with the intercity bus. Arrivals and departures are several times per day, which enables us to have a leisurely trip. We depart with the bus early in the morning and get off at Strunjan bus stop. From here we continue along the saltpans on the main road in direction of spa Krka (Birdwatching possible on the way). There is also a walkway between Stužja and the saltpans. The nearby lake in Fiesa, which is protected as a natural treasure, is worth seeing as well. It can be reached either by going on the coastal road in direction of Fiesa and Strunjan or by walking along the coast. The trip, including the visit of Fiesa, takes five hours.
Interesting bird species can be seen in Strunjan saltpans almost all year round. Since the saltpans are relatively small, we can cover the whole area using spotting scopes from several locations. Observations are most interesting during times of migration and overwintering, when different waders, gulls, little and great egrets can be spotted here. We will most certainly be surprised by the kingfisher as well. When you get to the coast, pay special attention to buoys of the mussel farms, where sandwich turns and gulls overwinter and Mediterranean shags rest throughout the year. The black throated-loon, great crested and black-necked grebe and with some luck even the horned grebe and red-breasted merganser can be seen in winter. We can also observe the whinchat, skylark, yellow wagtail, white wagtail and the nesting rock bunting on the Strunjan peninsula.
Other plants and animals
Other interesting residents of the saltpans are different Mediterranean reptiles, such as the Italian and Dalmatian wall lizard, dice snake and coluber. Different halophilous plants, such as common glasswort, sea lavender and Arthrocnemum macrostachyum can be found growing on the mudflats.