No exploration of the beautiful country of Croatia is complete without well-spent time in Pula. Down in the southernmost point of the Istrian peninsula, overlooking spectacular views of the Adriatic Sea, it is the port city in the county of Istria.
Pula is nestled amongst seven hills and enjoys the mild climate and coastal abundance of unspoiled nature and gentle waterfront. Evidence of Pula’s historical traditions as a key port in the Roman Empire is in the remains, the ruins and the architecture. As the administrative centre of the county, Pula offers a vibrant community attractive to residents and tourists alike.
There’s so much to see and do in Pula. With a long tradition in shipbuilding and winemaking, the sites range from architectural sightseeing to shopping, fine dining, and nightlife! The amphitheatre, or Arena, is the heart of the best that you can see and do in Pula. It’s one of the last remaining ancient arenas from the Roman world and has been restored to host tours and summer festivals. The Triumphal Arch and the Arch of the Sergii are also well-preserved ancient Roman structures well worth visiting. One of the few remaining gates of the original city wall can be found at the Twin Gates, or Porta Gemina. Other remains of the city are close by.
There is an abundance of history all over Pula. From the Augustan Forum, to the temples of Roma and Augustus, narrow streets from the medieval and Renaissance periods, with Authentic Roman paving stones, deck out Pula’s old city quarter. Even the meeting place in the main town square has retained its role of centuries of gatherings.
Restaurants are scattered among the historic sites and offer authentic pizzas, slow cooked traditional meals and plenty of menus featuring the harvest of the sea. Authentic Croatian food is served up at the Amfiteatar Restaurant close to the Arena. And Croatian wines from local peninsula wineries are found in all establishments.
For the more adventurous, try a fish picnic. It’s authentic to walk through the marina, or visit one of the boat charter agencies for an exploration of the many nearby accessible islands, and parks. You can rent just about every kind of boat here: sailboat, yacht, day tripper, catamaran or houseboat. With over 190 kilometres of coastline indented with coves and capes, the crystal-clear sea and beaches are attractive to everyone; some secluded and not overly busy. The pebbly beaches are not far at Kamenjak and Premantura, the southernmost points.
Mountain biking and hiking are popular choices with local rentals and guides to tour you through the surrounding landscapes and protected nature. A stroll down quaint Sergijevaca Street offers up small shops, boutiques, bars and sweet shops. Pick up a true luxury from Truffles, featuring authentic truffle products. Be sure to sample a medica, the traditional honey rakija, or try it with mistletoe as a biska.
The Archaeology Museum and the Pula Aquarium are not to be missed. For music lovers, you’ll hear influences from all over the globe. For a unique setting, The Punta Christo is a now a summer club and music festival venue where once it was a Austro-Hungarian fortress. And the Pula film Festival is the highlight of July and the whole city comes alive and welcomes visitors and hands out Golden Arenas in the Arena venue. Pula will surprise you with its variety of culture and sophistication…three thousand years in the making.