Pula: a guide to Croatia’s ancient city

Pula (Croatia) is a city located on the west coast of the country – the Istrian peninsula. A seaside resort, a large port, a place where ancient people and the historical center of Croatia lived, Pula, in addition, is one of the top 100 cities for cultural recreation. More than 55 thousand people live in it, most of which work in the services and tourism sectors. Locals are engaged in winemaking, fishing and diving, so these are the most popular activities for travelers.

Amphitheater in the city of Pula

What to do in Pula, which beach is considered the best and where are the most interesting sights? The answers are in this article.

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Story

Pula is an ancient Greek colony. It was founded in the 4th century BC and became a strategically important city after the transition under the control of the Roman Empire. Since 478, Pula belonged to Venice, after which it was ruled by the Franks, Slavs and Ostrogoths, alternately capturing this territory. At the end of World War II, the country passed from the possession of Austria to Italy, and after a few years became part of the kingdom of Yugoslavia. Since 1991, Pula has been part of independent Croatia.

Roofs of houses at the Roman amphitheater

It was the eventful history that made the city the way it is now – interesting, motley, and unusual. The mix of Roman, Greek, German and other cultures was reflected not only in the multinational population of the region, but also in architecture, the main attractions.

Pula Beaches

Sand of Uval
Peschana Uvala Beach

A wide shallow pebble beach is located 4 km south of Pula in the village of the same name. Due to its favorable location between the two peninsulas, Peschana Uvala is considered the best place to relax with children. The sea here is always clean and calm, and for small travelers a special gentle slope into the water is provided. In addition, the beach is suitable for those who want to dive from a height – in its western part there are small, but very beautiful cliffs.

There are no organized entertainments on the beach, as well as noisy cafes or shops, so it may seem boring to active tourists.

Biyetsa

One of the few sandy beaches of Croatia is located near the village of Medulin, 14 km southeast of Pula. Despite the tempting offer to bask in the warm sand, many tourists do not come here a second time. The main problem is that Biyets is very dirty, there is an uncomfortable entry into the water and large stones that are not visible under the water. The sea here is clean but shallow.

Bijeca Beach

Biyetsa also has advantages – several cafes, a supermarket and a children’s goods store are installed on the beach, and thanks to its sandy coating and shallow depth, it quickly warms up. In the village of Medulin you can get to know more about traditional Croatian cuisine in home cafes and restaurants.

Ambrela
Beach Ambrela

According to the reviews of tourists who visited Pula (Croatia), Ambrela is the best state beach in the city. It is equipped with sun loungers and umbrellas. It is located in a picturesque area with cliffs and groves surrounding it. Here you can book a dive or go on a boat trip.

The beach is pebble, the descent to the sea is gentle, you can hide from the hot rays of the sun under one of the trees of the coastal grove. On its territory there are several showers and changing rooms, there are public toilets, two cafes, a small playground. Rescuers are monitoring the safety of travelers from several towers around the clock.

Aerial view of Ambrela beach

The only drawback of the beach is the large number of tourists, but its popularity only once again confirms the excellent quality of relaxation in this place.

Note! The cleanliness and comfort of Umbrella Beach is confirmed by the Blue Flag, established after appropriate verification by the Foundation for Environmental Education.

Note: A selection of the best sandy and pebble beaches in Croatia .

Stozh
Stozha Beach

This clean and picturesque beach on the Adriatic coast is 3 km south of Pula. Surrounded by dense groves with a quiet and clear sea, it is very popular among active tourists. The beach is covered with large pebbles and stones, equipped with two convenient approaches to the water and the camping of the same name, where for a small fee you can play volleyball, golf or basketball. Fans of extreme entertainment can dive from small stones or dive under scuba diving.

Valkana
Valkana Beach

One of the best beaches in Pula and Croatia as a whole is located in the main bay of the city, near the Hotel Pula. For the purity of water, sand, compliance with environmental standards and comfortable conditions of rest, Valkan was awarded the Blue Flag of the FSE. On the beach there are sun loungers and umbrellas, several toilets, changing rooms, showers, restaurants and a playground. In addition, here you can rent equipment for water activities or a boat, play football, volleyball or tennis in the sports complex. Nearby there is a small forest, the nearest grocery stores are a half hour walk.

Important! Valkan has all the facilities for people with disabilities. Especially for them in one of the parts of the beach equipped with a convenient gentle descent into the water.

See also: Holidays in the Croatian Rovinj – attractions, beaches, accommodation .

Accommodation: hotel v / s apartments

Hostel room Ljiljana
Hostel Ljiljana

The city of Pula is one of the most expensive in all of Croatia. For a night in a hostel you have to pay from 14 euros per person, a day in a mid-range hotel will cost at least 40 € for a couple, and prices in 4- and 5-star Pula hotels by the sea start at 80 € for a double room.

Apartments in Pula (Croatia) cost a little more than hotels – the minimum cost for accommodation here is 25 euros per day of rest in a small studio. For more economical tourists, there is another option – renting rooms from local residents, which will save up to 15 € per day.

Find out RATES or book any accommodation using this form

Nutrition: where, what and how much?

National cuisine is a real attraction of Croatia. Since Pula is located on the sunny Adriatic coast, it serves delicious seafood almost everywhere. The best restaurants in the city, according to tourists, are:

Dinner at Konoba Batelina Restaurant
Konoba Batelina
  • Konoba Batelina. It serves fine wandering and pickled mussels. For a full dinner for two with a bottle of wine you need to pay from 75 €;
  • Oasi. Responsive staff and skillful hands of the chef daily attract hundreds of visitors to this restaurant. Here, meat and fish are perfectly cooked, and they also surprise with delicious desserts and their unusual serving. The average bill is € 90 for two.

Advice! Before ordering a double portion of Croatian delicacies, pay attention to the weight of the dish indicated on the menu. Most likely, it will be difficult to get pleasure from a kilogram of seafood, despite their excellent taste.

Prosciutto in cafe Vodnjanka
Cafe Vodnjanka

Those who want to try pashtitsadu or prosciutto without harm to their wallet should visit the inexpensive Pula cafes with a high level of service, for example, Tavern Medeja or Vodnjanka. It serves delicious European and Mediterranean cuisine at affordable prices, a full dinner for two costs about 40 euros.

Sights of Pula

Amphitheater
Huge Amphitheater in Pula

It was in Pula, one of the largest cities of the Roman Empire, in the first century AD that a huge amphitheater was built, which has survived to this day. Its walls saw a lot: the bloody fights of gladiators, tired citizens who turned the battle arena into a cattle grazing area, rich fairs and world-wide wars.

The amphitheater was restored in the 19th century, so it has completely preserved the outer ring to this day. It still rests on 4 towers, but now in the elliptical arena, measuring 68 * 41 meters, only artificial blood is shed and only during staged gladiatorial battles (organized every summer Sunday). The upper viewers have a great view of the city, from where you can take many beautiful photos of Pula.

Amphitheater Arena in Pula
  • Address: Flavijevska street.
  • Opening hours: from 8 am to midnight (July-August), until 21 (from early May to late September) and until 19 (from October to April).
  • Entrance fee – 50 kunas, for children – 25 kunas.
Aquarium
Fish in the aquarium

Travelers with children and just nature lovers should definitely visit this attraction of Pula. Founded in 2002 by a team of oceanologists, today this aquarium is home to more than four hundred inhabitants, including sea anemones, catfish, moray eels, mollusks, sharks, octopuses and other marine animals.

Entrance to the aquarium in Pula
  • The exhibition is stored on two floors of Fort Verudella, located on the eponymous boulevard,
  • Open daily from 9 to 22 in the summer, from 10 to 18 from October to May, from 10 to 16 the rest of the year.
  • The price of an adult ticket is 60 kuna, a school ticket and a child ticket are 50 HRK and 30 HRK, respectively. Children under three years old have the right of free entry to all the attractions of Pula and Croatia in general.
Triumphal Arch Sergiev
Triumphal Arch Sergiev

Another imprint of Roman culture two thousand years ago and the most photographed attraction of Pula. Despite the small size of the arch (8 * 4.5 m) compared to other similar buildings, it is of great historical and cultural value. Passing by a small square, be sure to go to the Arc de Triomphe to see the figures of the Victory Goddess, cupids and other heroes carved in stone by the skillful hands of ancient Roman architects.

The monastery and church of St. Francis
The monastery and church of St.  Francis

The architectural complex, built in the early 14th century, is one of the few attractions of Pula in the Gothic style. The church and monastery are not decorated with tons of gold or rare icons of saints, on the contrary, their main value is in modesty and even severity, which reflects their appearance. Around the complex and in the buildings themselves, many ancient artifacts are stored – tombstones, decorations, paintings, etc.

  • Address: Uspon Svetog Franje Asiškog 9.
  • Schedule: from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Services in the church are not held, photographing is allowed.
  • Entrance – 10 kunas, the price includes a gift card.
Temple of Augustus
Temple of Augustus

The temple, built in honor of Emperor Augustus, is located in the central square of Pula and reaches 18 meters in height. Next to him are the remains of his “twin”, erected in honor of the goddess Diana. The temple itself was almost completely destroyed during the Second World War, but in 1948 it was completely reconstructed. Today it has a historical museum.

Advice from tourists visiting Pula! The Temple of Augustus belongs to those attractions that are best viewed only from the outside, since the museum has less than ten exhibits, and the interior of such structures is not of particular value.

The entrance fee to the museum is 5 kunas.

Town Hall

The building was built in 1295 on the remains of the temple of Diana. Then it was partially destroyed and an Italian palace with baroque elements was erected in its place. At the end of the 20th century, they tried to restore the building, but in the end they only strengthened it with metal screeds, not wanting to deprive the city palace of its uniqueness.

Town Hall in Pula

Despite such a complex structure and respectable age, the Town Hall is still a functioning administrative building, therefore entry into it is prohibited. It is located in the central square next to the previous attraction – the Temple of Augustus.

You will be interested: Unusual sights of the city of Porec – where to go on an excursion.

Kastel Fortress

The majestic fort, located on a hill in the center of the old city, can be seen from anywhere in Pula. The defense complex was built in the 16th century and for more than 300 years has protected residents from bloody international warriors. The fortress is star-shaped with 4 corner bastions, but the fort had to endure so many battles that today only powerful stone walls and fortification towers remain from it.

Kastel Fortress in Pula
Cannons of the Kastel Fortress

Since 1960, the best historical and maritime museum of Istria has been operating in Castel. Among 65 thousand exhibits you will find ancient weapons, the remains of ships, military awards and much more. Inside there are several exhibitions with photographs and postcards, scientific films on the history of navigation are being broadcast. Kastel’s towers offer panoramic views of the sea and the city.

  • Address: Gradinski uspon 10.
  • The museum is open seven days a week from 9 am to 6 pm.
  • The cost of a full ticket is 20 HRK, for children under 14 years old – 5 HRK.

Climate Pula: a visit to the sun

Pula air temperature

Like the entire Adriatic coast, Pula has a Mediterranean climate. In summer, the air heats up to + 27 ° C, the sea temperature is + 24 ° C, and there is practically no rain. Mild winters and autumn are accompanied by strong winds and showers, especially a lot of rainfall in November and early December.

It is best to come to Pula in late June or August – the swimming season is already open at this time, and the sun does not bake as much as in the middle of summer.

How to get to Pula

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From Zagreb
Zagreb Bus Station
Bus station Zagreb

Despite the fact that there is an international airport in Pula, it only accepts domestic or European flights. Arriving in the capital of Croatia , you will need 3.5 hours and from 20 to 35 euros per person to get to Pula by direct bus. You can buy tickets and find out the exact timetable on the website of the carrier crnja-tours.hr.

From Rijeka
Bus Brioni Pula

This is the cheapest way to get to Pula from Ukraine, Russia and other CIS countries. Arriving in the historic port city of Rijeka , you will need to walk 15 minutes to the main bus station and catch the Brioni Pula bus there. For the exact departure times for all 7 minibuses and ticket prices, see www.brioni.hr . The final stop is Pula.

From Split

If you have already flown to one of the cultural centers of Croatia and want to visit Pula, you will have to be patient. The cheapest and fastest option:

Split Train Station
  1. The first destination is the Ostarije train station, where you will travel by train number 520 from Split station. He leaves at 8:27 and arrives at 13:20. Ticket price – 160 kunas. You can buy on the site prodaja.hzpp.hr .
  2. The next intermediate station is called Vrbovsko, to which you will be taken by train number 4058 (departure at 17:44) or 702 (leaves at 18:32). Travel time is 29 minutes. The trip will cost 23-30 kuna per one.
  3. From the Vrbovsko train station, you need to go to the bus station of the same name and take the bus with a fare of 130 HRK. The journey takes 2 hours 40 minutes.

If you are able to withstand 11 hours by bus and are ready to leave at 5 in the morning, a direct bus is suitable between Split and Pula for 350 kunas. Tickets are available at shop.flixbus.ru .

Pula (Croatia) is a unique city worthy of your attention. Have a nice trip!

Learn more about the city of Pula from the video.



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