The glory years for Sečovlje were between the 15th and 18th centuries, when the Venetians controlled the area. With the change of ownership moving to Austria, the salt-lands began to experience a cycle of prosperity and recession and were frequently on the verge of bankruptcy. Italy took over again after World War I, but the business side of things continued to decline until the decision was taken to make it into a national park.
Fontanigge, in the south, is an entirely different beast. Salt production here was abandoned in the 1960s, but it is here you can find the museum of salt making, housed in a number of renovated salt workers houses. Tools, salt stores and the history of salt making are all explored. The most fascinating aspect of Fontanigge might not be the salt however. The abandonment of salt production created some unusual ecological conditions, allowing a number of rare species to thrive here. Not only does halophyte (plant life adapted to live in salty conditions) fauna dominate it, but a number of strange beasts also reside here. One of these is the Etruscan shrew, otherwise known as the smallest mammal on the planet. It has also provided refuge for numerous birds, making for some of the most special bird watching available on the continent.
At the time of writing there was no public transport out to Sečovlje, so driving, taking a taxi or a long walk but pleasant walk along the sea from Portorož are your only options.
Soline Pridelava soli d.o.o. Seča 115, +386 (0)5 672 13 30, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.kpss.si. Open 08:00 - 21:00. Admission: €6 (Apr - Oct €7) adults, €4 (Apr - Oct €5) students and seniors, free for children under age six, €14 (Apr - Oct €16) family ticket.