The largest town of the Istrian peninsula has a three-thousand-year-old history, offering a diversity of attractions to lovers of culture. The streets of Pula are decorated with ancient monuments that stand as reminders of the greatness that once was the Roman Empire. Let your train of thoughts get lost in its past as you stroll its vibrant streets with a gelato in your hand. Visit Pula’s protected beaches in hot summer days and go swimming in the clear Adriatic Sea. This town is sure to capture not only your heart, but also your imagination.
Things to do
Istria county is best known for its exquisite olive oil, so it would only make sense if Pula had a museum dedicated to just that. If you want to know more about what makes Istrian olive oil the best in the entire Croatia, make sure to visit Museum Olei Histriae. For those who like history and would also like to know more about the Adriatic Sea, the Archaeological Museum of Istria and the Historical and Maritime Museum of Istria are the perfect fit. The Museum of Contemporary Art of Istria brings a whiff of youth into this old town, but if you’re looking for something different and closer to home, make sure to visit the Memo Museum of Everyday Life.
Pula hosts many events throughout the year, whether they are musical, educational, or relaxing. For those who like big parties, the Dimensions festival and the Outlook festival taking place in September are a great chance to go wild and unwind from the stress of everyday life. In case you find yourself in Pula before or after September and still want to party, Uljanik is a great place for you. It’s Pula’s party venue of choice ever since 1965, hosting various DJs practically every weekend, and it offers affordable nights out to its fun-focused regulars. For those who want to go a bit underground, Rojc is a perfect place. Let yourself get lost in this former military school of the Austro-Hungarian army as your senses are overflown with various exhibitions, films, talks and conferences, with just the right amount of music following you everywhere.
Of course, everyone who visits Pula has to visit the ancient Roman Amphitheatre, which is better known as the Arena of Pula. Once the sight of epic gladiator fights, today it is the venue for many different events such as Pula Film Festival, various concerts, opera, ballet, and also sports competitions. If you find yourself in Pula over the summer and would like to experience what it was like to watch gladiator fights, make sure to visit the Arena, as it hosts gladiator fights every week during the summer months. Ancient Roman mythology enthusiasts will appreciate the old Roman Forum of Pula. The Temple of Augustus still stands in the main square of the city’s historic centre next to the City Hall. As most of old cities and towns, Pula also has a fortress. Scale the fortress and enjoy fine views of the historic centre to one side and the cranes of the nearby shipyard to the other. For those seeking religious escape, attending a mass in the Cathedral of Pula is perfect. It was built at the site where Christians gathered in the time of their persecution. Look down at old mosaics before you crane your neck to the skies.
Unlike most Croatian aquariums which are strictly old-school, Pula’s aquarium has made it its mission to save the endangered sea turtle. Set in the Habsburg-built fortress in Verduela, the aquarium gives you a chance to discover the local sea life and also help the animals that need it the most.
Top places to eat
Istria is best known for its olives and Mediterranean cuisine. If you want to have a good local meal for an affordable price, check out Vodnjanka, and if you prefer luxury, Milan is the perfect place for you.
Top places to sleep
Pula offers an assortment of different accommodation, such as beautiful hotels, family guesthouses, and campsites – all you need is to know where you want to stay while in this gorgeous city.
Located in Pula, 1.3 km from Pula Arena, Hostel Ljiljana has rooms with free Wi-Fi access. The property is close to Archaeological Museum in Pula, Istrian Museum of Contemporary Art and Gate of Hercules. Attractions in the area include Historical Museum of Istria, 1.3 km away, or Pula Cathedral, situated 1.4 km from the property.More on Hostel
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Completely renovated at the end of 2016 and centrally located in Pula, City Point Rooms offers accommodation just steps away from its most famous sights. The 1st-century Roman amphitheatre Arena can be reached in a 5-minute walk.More on B&B
Only steps away from the beach, Park Plaza Histria Pula is set 4 km from Pula’s centre. Featuring 3 restaurants, tennis and squash courts, it offers an outdoor pool, billiards, mini golf and sunbeds.More on Hotel
You will have no issues getting to your hotel or apartment once you arrive to Pula. The city is well supported by taxis and public transportation. If you’re coming to Pula by plane or by bus, local buses are ready to take you to town.
The streets of Pula are lovely to pass on foot, but if you’re looking for a faster way to get around the city, you can rent a bike or get on the bus. Buses are known to be expensive (11 kn per card, per person, per ride), however, if you plan on using the Pulapromet only, you should make yourself a BusCard. The BusCard is an electromagnetic ticket that you can fill with money and then use cheaper bus rides. The price of a buscard is 30 kn but they usually sell them for 70 kn which includes 40 kn credit you can use on the bus. The BusCard reduces drastically the price of the ride making it a 6 kn per hour on the city lines (lines 1 to 9). Also, up to 5 people can use the same BusCard at the same moment, for the same bus. Also, the money on the BusCard is forever, meaning you can save it for the next time you come to Pula without fearing money loss.
Taxi is also available. The current start price is 15kn and 7kn per kilometre, Sundays and nights are 20% overcharged.