Place in Slovenia between the sea and the sun - Hoteli Bernardin
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Bernardin between the sun and the sea

Bernardin is a touristic destination amongst oleanders, palm trees, rosemary and laurel bushes where you can find a holiday resort and meeting point on 25 acres of land, comprising hotels of different categories and price ranges but with one thing in common: services of the highest standards enriched with Slovenian hospitality. All this is Bernardin.

In the beginning of the 70s, a hotel “giant” was designed around the church of St. Bernardin. The hotel complex was a charming holiday town with everything that a modern tourist might need: numerous restaurants and cafés, outdoor and indoor swimming pools with seawater, various shops, a bank, a post office, a tourist agency, galleries, a smaller marina, tennis courts… Where once stood a shipyard three hotels were built (the present Grand Hotel Bernardin, Hotel Histrion and Hotel Vile Park). It was a new endeavour in the touristic sector of Slovenia. In the middle of the 90s, Bernardin started to develop the image and offer it has now and which put the company beside the most renowned providers in the sector of hospitality and congress services in Slovenia as well as abroad. 

You can find numerous restaurants and bars in Bernardin, casinos, old villas etc.

A quiet green oasis above the sea

Where now stands the excellent vacation resort and congress centre St. Bernardin, in the past there was only greenery, caressed by the warm sun. The hill protected from northern winds was bathing in the sun. The fields were full of fruit and olive trees, vineyards and lush Mediterranean vegetation. In the area between the towns that are now Piran and Portorož you could find freshwater springs and cottages (known as “rustic villas”) that provided shelter for farmers and shepherds. In the bay were many sailors who came here to heal their war wounds and repair their ships. The ancient Romans also built a port near Bernardin. Unfortunately, today we can only see the remains of its pier, but it proves that the area has been inhabited and buzzing with life for three thousand years.

The history of the town

Saint John of Capestrano, a reformer and preacher, an observant Franciscan, stopped in Istria in 1451 during his journey from the Czech Republic, where he gained immortal fame for his victory over heresy, towards Turkey, where he sought to fight Islam. He came to preach to the inhabitants of Piran and inspired them so much, that they begged him to allow them to build a church outside the town’s walls dedicated to the new saint from Sienna, Saint Bernardin of Sienna, and a monastery for his observant brothers. They couldn’t have chosen a more curative, spacious and pleasant location for the sacred building. They built the church on a hill above the sea, close to the church St. Mary of the rosary and above the port with the same name, which later gave Portorož its name. It all started here, in Bernardin.

SAINT BERNARDIN OF SIENNA (1380-1444)
Bernardo Albizeschi was raised by his relatives after his parents’ death. He was a very talented boy and started attending the University of Sienna when he was only 11 years old. He was forced to finish his studies six years later because of the plague. He tended the sick and dying and got sick himself. It was then that he decided to join the order of Friars Minor. He spent the first decade in poverty in the monastery that he founded himself. Then he started travelling as a preacher of repentance. He preached love, marriage and peace. Despite his rigor, he was so popular that he was honoured as a saint during his lifetime. Six years after his death, in 1450, pope St. Nicholas proclaimed him Saint Bernardin of Sienna.

Climate

Thanks to the subtropical climate, Bernardin is one of the warmest parts of Slovenia. The winters are mild and the summers not too hot. There many sunny days, the yearly average is 2346 hours. There is very little rain, between 1000 and 1100 mm yearly. Because of all of these reasons, visitors of all generations like to come here 365 day a year, as Bernardin never sleeps. If you decided to visit us, check the weather forecast and the live webcams.

Beaches

The hotels can be found on elite locations along the sea with well-tended beaches.
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Bernardin Resort, Grand Hotel Bernardin beach

Next to the seaside promenade that connects Piran, Bernardin and Portorož and is very popular for walks, is the beach of Grand hotel Bernardin, which offers all the comfort needed. Deckchairs, umbrellas, beverages, massages, etc. are also available upon payment. Fun and activities are guaranteed by our animation team, which is very active during high season and has a rich programme. The beach also has a smaller playground for children.

Bernardin Resort, Hotel Vile Park beach

In the centre of the touristic “town” of Bernardin resort is the lively well-tended beach of Hotel Vile Park. It has grassy areas with umbrellas and deckchairs, an “amusement park” in the water – Wibit that will be great fun for children, a fresh water pool for the youngest visitors and a bigger pool for grownups. There is also a playground for children.

The largest indoor water park in Slovenian Istria, Laguna Bernardin

You can have fun, relax or pamper yourself in the largest water park during the whole year. In Laguna Bernardin you can play and have fun with your children or take some time for yourselves in Wellness center Laguna.

Activities

There are activities for everyone, families, couples, pensioners and groups of friends or sports enthusiasts. During your holiday in Bernardin you’ll meet friendly and joyful locals, explore the culinary offer and also have numerous activities to choose from:

Scuba diving

Horseback riding

Fishing

Water skiing

Sailing

Volleyball

Cycling

Jumping with a parachute

Windsurfing

Football

Tennis

Golf

SUP



Hiking

In Bernardin your holiday will be perfect in every way. Explore the culinary offer in the best restaurants with local specialties. The beach, the water park Laguna and many activities will keep you busy during the day. You can spend your evenings visiting festivals and concerts. Bernardin is the perfect choice for those who want have fun, relax and quiet on their holiday, no matter their age.

Experiences

1. The monastery and church of St. Bernardin

On the 1st July 1452, a year after the arrival of Saint John of Capestrano in this area, pope Nicholas V sent a special letter from Rome, in which he permitted the inhabitants of Piran to build the church and the monastery for the order of observant Franciscans. An inscription on the church’s façade tells us about it:

Hanc Sacram AEdem & Domum Religiosam
Cives Pyranenses pyssimi
Sancto Bernardino, &Fratribus Minoribus
Dedicarunt M.CCCC.LII

The church reigned above the sea and the bay of Piran, over the stretch of saltpans and fishing areas and olive tree groves.

The inside of the church matched its surroundings. Its construction was tapered, the bell tower was built in Venetian style.  The monastery was of medium size and it had dormitories, workrooms and cloister cells. Around the monastery were gardens with pine trees: it is said that they were planted by John of Capestrano himself. It was an ideal place for observant Franciscans, who devote themselves to the active contemplation of life and live by strict discipline, immersed in books.

After the fall of the Venetian republic in 1797, the Austro-Hungarian Empire ruled over this area and dissolved the church and the monastery of St. Bernardin in 1806. Other monasteries in Istria saw the same end as the emperor Joseph II dissolved them too with a decree in 1783. In 1839 the Austrian army transformed the monastery in a fortress that protected the bay.  

2. The bell tower of the church of St. Bernardin

Today we can still see the church’s bell tower with its 26,12 m of height. In 2002 the parish of Portorož in cooperation with the inter-municipal Institute for the protection of cultural and natural heritage of Piran, the management of Hoteli Bernardin (the owner of St. Bernardin’s church), the Municipality of Piran and the Ministry of culture, restored and rebuilt the chancel and the outside of the bell tower.

3. Promenade - seaside promenade from Portorož to Piran

Take a pleasant walk by the sea, ride a bicycle, cruise on your rollerblades or your skateboard… Recharge your batteries in the pleasant sea breeze.

4. Archaeological remains in the area

A well-preserved Roman tombstone made of sandstone was found during the construction of Hotel Histrion. The archaeologist of the Maritime museum “Sergej Mašera” of Piran, who was the first person to examine the finding, did not find the stone in its original location as it had been moved. According to the workers who found it, the stone was discovered 29 m southeast from the remains of the eastern wall of the chancel, at a depth of approximately 2 m in a layer of gravel.

The stone was beautifully carved, nowadays it is a little chipped; it measures 86 cm in height, 57 cm in width and 18 cm in thickness. The smooth stone has no profile on its edges and it bears a clear inscription on its upper part, written in five lines. The letters become gradually smaller in each line: in the first line their height is 7,5 cm, in the second 5,5 cm, in the third 4,5 cm and in the fifth 2,5 cm.

 C (aio) Liburnio / C (ais) f (ilio) Valenti /

Achaicus lib (erbus) / v (ivus) f (ecit) Sibi et suisque / omnibus.

Based on the text and the shape of the letters, archaeologists think it is a Roman tombstone from the end of the first or second century AD. The inscription tells us that the repentant Achaicus built this tombstone during his lifetime for Caio Liburnio, his sun Valenti, himself and all his relatives.

During construction work on almost the whole hill of Bernadin, from the shoreline in the southeast to the road from Piran towards Portorož, many other archaeological remains were found, such as fragments of Roman amphorae and bricks, all in the upper earth layers. Because of these findings, smaller archaeological probes were dug on the south-eastern and eastern side of the remains of St. Bernardin’s church. The oldest remains were the foundations of the cloister of the Franciscan monastery and the destroyed cemetery, probably dating to around 1452 as the church itself.

Floatplanes airport

In 1923 Italians built an airport for floatplanes in Bernardin. Until 1941 there were regular connections to Venice, Pavia and Torino that brought here Italian guests looking to unwind and have a good time. The Germans destroyed the airport and the hangars in 1945. A sunken floatplane can still be found in the sea not far from Bernardin at 13 m of depth.

The bay even had a shipyard and a power station for the trolleybus.