Pula is the oldest Croatian city on the Adriatic coast, where artifacts created even before our era have been preserved. It is defined not only by picturesque beaches and a well-equipped resort area, but also by historical monuments and cultural centers that host exhibitions and concerts. Pula is also a major port of the Istrian peninsula. Founded by the ancient Greeks, it flourished during the Roman Empire, and this historical fact still attracts fans of ancient monuments to the city. It is interesting to relax here for those who love active entertainment, and fans of beach holidays and nightlife. Diving centers and sports grounds coexist here with noisy discos, clubs and casinos. But this does not interfere with the contemplative pastime among the ancient ruins.
Note: according to allcitypopulation, the population of Croatia is 3.899 million (2021).
The first traces of human life were discovered near Pula, and the first mention of this city is found in the legend of the Argonauts. According to her, it was the Argonauts who founded Pula when they went on a journey for the Golden Fleece. This is confirmed by numerous items found during archaeological excavations. The connection of this city with ancient Greek culture is obvious. A few years before the beginning of our era, Pula received the status of a Roman colony, thanks to which its rapid development began, and the buildings built at that time still help us make a mental journey into the depths of centuries. One of the most interesting is the Arena – a huge amphitheater, perfectly preserved to this day, arousing the interest of both historians and tourists from all over the world.
The triumphal arch of Sergius and the Temple of Augustus were also donated to the city by the Roman era. After the fall of the Roman Empire, power over the city belonged successively to the Venetians, Austrians, and Italians. And only in 1947 Pula returned to Croatia. During a long difficult period in the life of the city, buildings were built here, mostly typical of medieval Roman-Gothic architecture. Many of them have survived to this day.
In Pula, not only traditional hotels and apartments are common, which are in great abundance in the resort town, but also campsites. Equipped campsites for motorhomes and tents offer all the necessary amenities for those who love an inexpensive vacation close to nature. You can also rent a small cabin for four or five people at the campsites for only 900 HRK per day.
For those who want to save money, hostels are suitable for 150 HRK per person per day. Double rooms in mid-range hotels will cost 400 HRK. For this price you can get 3* service, free breakfasts and Wi-Fi. Sea view apartments will cost approximately HRK 650 in high season. This accommodation is located near the beaches and close to the main attractions. You can also rent an apartment or a room in the private sector by the day. However, it is better to plan this option in advance, since there are practically no free reservations during the summer season.
The Adriatic Sea is considered one of the best dive sites for both professionals and beginners. Unusual and diverse flora and fauna, combined with clear blue waters, make the sessions unforgettable. The diving season in Pula is long – from May to October – almost all this time the visibility under water is from 20 to 30 m. The abundance of caves, picturesque reefs and shipwrecks near the coast make diving very popular in this area of Istria.
The cost of one scuba dive depends on how long the boat will be involved, and whether the wrecks are planned to be visited. Diving from the boat will cost 180 HRK, going down to the ship will cost about 300 HRK.
On the outskirts of Pula in Verudela, there are dives on the House Reef, where you can sign up for training courses for beginners. The diving depth here does not exceed 18 m, but you can see electric stingrays and sea spiders live. A place called Canyon will interest experienced divers. It is also located on Cape Verudela, allowing you to dive to 30 m and see several tunnels and caves.
What to bring
For souvenirs, you should go to the shopping street, which starts from the Golden Gate in the center of Pula. There are many small shops with textiles, ceramics, traditional food and drinks. Local handmade tapestries are the most popular souvenir from this city. They can be bought from the masters themselves for 220-270 HRK.
During the summer, most shops close for a siesta at lunchtime until 17:00. On weekends, all establishments are open only until the middle of the day.
Pula is also famous for its lace and embroidered tablecloths, wood carvings and coral decorations. Jewelry is bought here not only as a commemorative trinket, but also simply because of the relatively low price. Local alcoholic drinks are also in demand. Slivovitz and Travaritsa, Maraschino liqueurs and wines will be a good gift from the trip.
- Souvenir shops in Pula
Cuisine and restaurants in Pula
Pula is dominated by Italian and Istrian cuisines, with a special emphasis on seafood. Oysters and lobsters of the first freshness can be tasted in restaurants on the shore, such a lunch will cost about 300 HRK per person. Such establishments are also famous for their truffle dishes. Local cuisine will appeal to meat lovers, as in Pula it is perfectly cured and smoked. Prshut, chobanac and police are variations of meat dishes that most accurately reveal the peculiarities of Istrian cuisine. Fast food at the resort – with an Italian “bias”. There are many pizzerias and bistros that serve pasta, pizza and desserts of excellent quality. You can dine together in them for 170 HRK – including Croatian beer or tinctures.
Not only food and alcohol attracts gourmets to Pula. The city is famous for its great variety of quality coffee, which is appreciated by connoisseurs from all over the world. It is worth trying white coffee, the beans of which are baked in a special way until they get a white hue. They are usually brewed in milk.
Portions in restaurants are very large, so you should order them one by one. You can have a bite to eat on the go, kiosks with Italian ice cream and donuts are found everywhere.
Entertainment and attractions
All the historical sights of Pula are concentrated in a small space in the city center, so you can explore them in detail in a day, walking around. It’s worth starting with the amphitheater, built by the Romans in the 1st century BC. e. It deservedly received the title of the Croatian Colosseum, as it occupies the 6th place in terms of size among the surviving amphitheaters in the world. You will be able to see the city from a height if you climb the tower in the Kashtel fortress. It was founded in the 14th century, and now the Historical Maritime Museum is located here. Under the fortress there is a cave, about the mystical inhabitants of which there are many amusing legends among the locals. The Hercules Gate and the Arch of Sergius will help to get an idea of Roman architecture. These are the oldest buildings in the city, built in the 3rd-1st centuries BC. e.
Several ancient temples in the center of old Pula remind us that believers gathered here during the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire to pray together in secret.
If you want to escape from antiquity, you should go to the Marine Park. It was founded in the 19th century and to this day has retained almost all the features of the park architecture of that time. Many exotic flowers and trees grow here, in the shade of which you can take a break from the beach heat. Man-made masterpieces of recognized masters of painting are kept in the collection of the Franciscan monastery of the 13th century, which in itself is a landmark.
3 things to do in Pula
- Sit on the steps of the Temple of Augustus, which was built during the life of Christ.
- Visit the places where the author of the famous “Ulysses” Irish writer James Joyce lived and worked.
- See near the electric ramp and scuba dive to the sunken passenger ship “Baron Gosh”.
Pool for children
Children of primary and school age will be able to have fun in various centers and parks, which in Pula are enough to keep them busy for weeks. Lovers of active age will like the Green Garden Pula park (off. site in English), where you can go kart and compete in speed, even if vacationers come with very young children. Instructors will tell you in detail about how to control the equipment and take care of safety. Those who are more fond of contemplative relaxation can go with their children to the local aquarium located in Fort Verudella (off. site in English). Not only representatives of the local fauna live here, but also a variety of living creatures from other parts of the world. Children will observe fish, lizards, turtles and even the smallest organisms with the help of a microscope.
The whole day will take a visit to the rope town in Adventure Park Pula (website in English). There are several obstacle courses and attractions that will be of interest to both kids and adults. Children can also be taken on diving trips. According to the rules of the international association PADI, they can dive under the supervision of an instructor from the age of 10.
Pula is located on the Adriatic coast, where it is hot and dry from April to October. The water temperature reaches its maximum towards the end of summer, so the best months to visit this resort are August and September. It is relatively cold here in winter. Due to the high humidity, the coolness becomes more noticeable by January. Spring comes early, but due to the fact that the sea is still cold, most coastal hotels open only in June. The local Mediterranean climate with thickets of coniferous forests and the absence of mountains is considered healing, so it is recommended for people with weak lungs and joint diseases.