The best holiday in Istria - Hoteli Bernardin

The best holiday in Istria

Active break | 11. 06. 2017

During the predictable tempo of everyday, a vacation at the Slovene Riviera can be invigorating. Walks by the sea, excursions to the outskirts of Istria, exploring the abundant history and secret corners of the Slovene Riviera in ancient towns of Piran, Izola and Koper, and mingling at recreational or educational workshops are adventures, tailor made for people in their golden years.

After a successful career, there comes a time when many seniors can spend their time the way they choose. Research focusing on the lifestyles of seniors have established the three fundamental reasons why seniors take breaks, go on excursions and undertake travelling. The first reason is to escape the routine. The second is the opportunity to spend time with their families, be it grown-up children or grandchildren, and the third is relaxation, the understanding of which can be quite subjective. Some will already be satisfied by walks by the sea, while others prefer hiking, cycling or even take part in extreme sports. 

Slovenia, the perfect place for seniors

A number of years ago, the Slovene Tourist Board (STB) carried out a research to find out what seniors from abroad think about Slovenia and its tourist offer. It was discovered that their general impressions were quite positive (84%), which is why it was concluded that the tourist offer for seniors in Slovenia is appropriate. Slovenia is most valued due to its nature and opportunities for recreational activities (hiking, walking, running, cycling, swimming and golfing), while seniors also enjoy the spa and health resort offer, sightseeing in towns along with their cultural programmes, while they have also expressed interest in medical tourism. All of this coincides with Slovenia's advertising campaign, which portrays it as a “green, active and healthy” destination.

Nowadays, seniors are fit, and as a result, holiday offer targeted at seniors must include a diverse assortment of activities. After retirement, some people want to make up for what they had missed before due to lack of spare time. Senior tourists are usually well acquainted with competitor services on the market, while pricing usually plays the crucial role in their decision-making processes.

A certain segment of seniors just wants to enjoy life. Their expectations are high, which is why they will seek tourist advice and expect quality, comfort and pampering, and look for content-rich programmes.

In programmes intended specifically for this target group, travel agencies try to include sights, landmarks and places which might be of particular interest to them. Good transport connections without major jams, well-organized catering services, sightseeing with entrance fees already included in the package price, friendly companions and experienced guides are vital. 

Slovene Istria inspires both in spring and autumn

Every year, seniors can choose among a number of different excursions and trips. Some will decide for a quiet holiday at the Slovene Riviera with evening entertainment and organized programmes, and others will prefer to discover new places and cultural sights nearby. While certain seniors are finally faced with an opportunity – they possess the time, will and energy – to undertake longer travel.

Seniors prefer to visit the Slovene Riviera during spring and autumn months when temperatures are still pleasant, the weather is friendly and not too hot and prices are more affordable. From March to June, the weather is perfect for seniors who prefer to pursue recreational activities, love long walks or guided excursions in the arms of nature along with the fresh and healing sea air. In September and October, when persimmons, olives and grapes are harvested, excursions into the outskirts of Slovene Istria are very popular.

It's an active but at the same time more relaxed vacation out of sight of the summer hustle. Programmes for people in their golden years are carefully prepared and rich in terms of content. Before or after the main tourist season, individuals are most interested in staying in mid-priced hotels along the Slovene Riviera.

Discovering energy and other natural resources

An excellent starting point for a relaxing and recreational break is the Salinera Resort, surrounded by the evergreen Mediterranean vegetation and bioenergy park. The Salinera Resort is also a great starting point for long walks, trips and the exploration of natural wonders. It is a part of Nature Park Strunjan and the Strunjan Valley. In fair weather, the exquisite viewpoints at Nature Park Strunjan offer a spectacular view all the way from the Gulf of Trieste to Mount Triglav. Strunjan salt pans have been known for traditional salt production in the area at least from the 13thcentury, while today, they are protected as a natural and cultural monument. The sea lagoon is a shallow that was formed by the Strunjan River depositing sediment. After the construction of the embankment, the lagoon remained connected to the sea only by a canal that is part of the Natura 2000 network. The Strunjan cliff is a living sculpture carved by the sea. The cliff is 80 metres high, while its vegetation-covered edge and 200-metre sea belt have been proclaimed a nature reserve.

Authentic hospitality and tradition

Seniors love the town of Izola. The San Simon Resort is located by a hiking trail between Izola and Strunjan. In its immediate vicinity is the archaeological park San Simon, which attests to the rich cultural heritage in the area. Simon's Bay (Simonov zaliv) was mentioned in sources as an archaeological site as early as 16th century. In the area, remains of a Roman harbour and a part of a Roman villa stretching over a surface of 3,000m² have been found. Surrounding the villa, the remains of a water distribution system can be seen; clay pipelines extending underground which supplied the villa complex fresh water.

Another tourist favourite is the Parenzana, the so-called Trail of health and friendship, which vies through old towns and villages, along the sea and through vineyards and olive tree plantations, through short, illuminated and neatly arranged tunnels – crossing valleys and hills.
The centre of the authentic Istrian town of fishermen is the Izola “Mandrač”, an inland port deeply carved into the old town’s centre at the western coast. Along its rim, the most important public buildings were located throughout history, like the Manzioli and Lovisato mansions, the Church of St. Maur and St. Mary of Alieto. The town is shot with narrow streets, shops of local craftsmen and artists and is known for its lively bustle from early morning hours when fishermen are waking up until late evening when visitors are drawn by the town’s hustle, fragrant smells of Istrian cuisine and concertos by local musicians. 

The culture and pearls of Piran

Slovene Istria will also satisfy the curiosity and desire for culture with six culture trails around Piran, Portorož and their outskirts, which enthusiasts can visit either on foot or by bike or car. Each trail encompasses short and interesting descriptions of natural and cultural sights, and each follows a certain theme.

The culture trail encourages visits to museums, galleries, exhibitions and various collections, the Salt trail focuses on the history of salt panning as the most important branch of economy in the history of Piran and its significance to the development of health tourism, and the Sacral trail will lead visitors on a journey through the sacral heritage, which is quite abundant in this area. The Historic trail will turn back time and portray the development of Piran and its surroundings, the trail along the Austro-Hungarian Riviera will revive the times of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and Portorož as the cosmopolitan destination of the then elite, and the Boškarin trail leads through the picturesque and diverse Piran outskirts and describes the difficult life of the “Šavrini”.

Content with safe, accessible and quality offer in hotels along the Slovene Riviera

Even the hotel offer in Slovenia has long been adapting to the senior generation, which is becoming one of the main target groups in local tourism. The approach when a single product would satisfy every audience no longer survives, and seniors undoubtedly represent one of the audiences which should be provided an adapted assortment of products and services. The hotels in Bernardin, San Simon and Salinera offer safe and quality services with plenty of activities tailored-made for those who wish to come in contact with nature and are interested in accessible hiking trails, nature parks and cultural sights as well as those who want to experience a bit of pampering by the pools and at wellness centres.