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.
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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
|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.
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.
can be found on elite locations along the sea with well-tended beaches.
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
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.
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:
with a parachute
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.
1. The monastery and church of St. Bernardin
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
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
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.
Liburnio / C (ais) f (ilio) Valenti /
(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
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.