While planning our trip to Slovenia, Kai and I realized that flights from Amsterdam into Ljubljana were quite pricy. Like, €260 each pricy, which was a bit more than we were hoping to spend on a long weekend trip in Europe. As our ultimate destination was Lake Bled, we knew we would have to rent a car anyways, as there are no airports in the close vicinity of the lake. So when we found €80 return trip tickets to Venice, which is only a 2.5 hr drive from Ljubljana, we quickly got excited about saving some money and also spending some time in Italy! Kai and I had both been to Venice before, and so we decided to do a pit stop a bit closer to Slovenia in Trieste, Italy. We flew into Venice late on a Wednesday night, slept at a cheap and cheerful airport hotel, took advantage of the free breakfast the next morning (ohh how my heart loves a good Italian breakfast of meats, cheeses, crusty bread, and espresso!) and hit the road early enough to arrive in Trieste by lunch time. After a few hours of zooming down the motorway, we took the exit for Trieste and were greeted by long winding roads that tightly hugged the sea, far, far below. We drove along steep drops and under rocky alcoves, all the while admiring the brilliant turquoise waters from the car. After a few minutes of starring longingly at the sea, we decided to pull over and go for an impromptu dip in the ocean. We parked on the side of the road behind a short string of cars, and after a careful exploration, found a small path in the brush that wound down towards the sea. And so we began our very steep decent in very inappropriate footwear! As we scaled the rocks, the brush thickened, and soon we were hiking down through a thick forest of trees. After a slow and steady 20-minute descent, we were thankful to reach the small pebble beach below. However, we then faced another obstacle . . . everyone on the beach was stark naked! We’d accidentally hiked down to a nude beach, or a ‘zona naturist’ as we saw painted on a large rock. As we’d already spent so much time carefully venturing down to the beach, we quickly weighed the options before deciding to join in on the nude fun! We tossed our clothes on the hot pebble shore and ran down to the water, bare bottom and laughing.After splashing around in the nude for a bit, we decided to soak up some sun and go for a stroll. We once again donned our clothing and hiked back up the rocky cliff with the aim of exploring the grounds of a castle we had spotted off in the distance. Miramare Castle is a sight to behold, perched high above some of the most serene, blue waters I’ve ever seen. We explored the grounds, ice cream and camera in hand. Following our castle jaunt, we hopped back in the hot car and drove a bit closer to town. We parked by the harbor, with the intention of grabbing some lunch before hitting the road again towards Slovenia.While we lucked out and managed to find an adorable restaurant for lunch, we nearly missed the opportunity, as many lunch spots in Trieste close around 2pm for a break between lunch and dinner service. We made it to Trattoria Nerodiseppia just in time, and although the cafe had just emptied following the lunch rush, a sweet chef offered to cook us lunch if we made our order straight away.Trattoria Nerodiseppia specializes in seafood, and although we were craving pasta as a main, we made sure that a delectable fish dish would appear at our table as well!We started with a lightly battered and heavily fried plate of zucchini, calamari, shrimp, and sardines. It was crunchy and flavorful, complimented by a light squeeze of lemon and a thick dusting of salt.And while I couldn’t stomach eating the little guys with faces . . . . . . . Kai had very few reservations!For our mains, I had a simple, creamy spaghetti with pine nuts and butter, while Kai had a rich linguine with asparagus.Following our pasta feast, we did what any typical glutton would do and had yet another ice cream. When in Rome . . . er . . . Trieste!Fast forward a few days, and we again had to return to Venice for our flight back to Amsterdam. And so we decided to stop for a second time in Trieste, as the food had been delicious and there were a few spots we’d spied previously that begged a visit! We saw La Terrazza Di Giovanni Tosto (or in English, The Terrace of Giovanni Tosto) on our previous pit stop, and knew we had to lunch on the sunny terrace. With a large area of covered seating, seaside views, and a scrumptious menu, the restaurant ticked all of the boxes of a might fine lunch stop. Having sampled the fresh seafood from Trattoria Nerodiseppia and eager to devour more before departing Italy, we sprung for three seafood dishes to share – a pasta smothered in olive oil and piled high with mussels and shrimp, a deep-fried starter plate of calamari and sardines, and a raw plate with various ceviches and smoked fish. The food and the view did not disappoint, and our eyes drank in the sunny blue view as our bellies enjoyed a final glass of white Italian wine.Trieste is a gem. It’s a small seaside town that packs a charming punch, with nude beaches, delish seafood, and unparalleled ocean views. If we ever return to Slovenia, we would surely stop in Trieste again – it offers just the atmosphere to kick off a jovial trip or relax in the sun before returning home.