Pula Croatia is the largest town in Istria. Located at the southern tip of the peninsula, the town stretches on and beneath seven hills.
Maybe this was the reason Romans chose Pula for their important administrative centre. Today, Pula is important shipbuilding centre, but also a tourist centre.
Pula beaches are among the best beaches in Istria. Pula boasts a wealth of historical sites and lovely examples of roman architecture.
The most famous town's site is Pula colosseum, a roman amphitheater dating back to 1st century AD. It is well-preserved, and today it also serves as a venue for summer festivals and concerts.
Town's history is right in front of your eyes. You can touch it and feel it everywhere you go within Pula city centre.
Contents For Pula Croatia Travel Guide
- 1 Where is Pula Croatia: Pula Map
- 2 Best time to visit Pula Croatia
- 3 Pula weather
- 4 Reasons to visit Pula
- 5 Things to do in Pula Croatia
- 6 Pula sightseeing: what to see in Pula Croatia
- 7 Food and restaurants in Pula
- 8 Accommodation in Pula
Where is Pula Croatia: Pula Map
As we have already mentioned, Pula is the largest town in Istria, and region’s economical and administrative centre.
The town is a bit rough around the edges, not as polished as Rovinj or Porec, but Pula is a bigger town where shipbuilding, fishing, and navy have always been more in the DNA of its citizens than tourism.
However, the town hides wonderful historical sites, as well as myriads of beaches in the southern neighbourhoods.
The town is also less touristy than other Istrian coastal towns, and thus cheaper to stay in.
Below you’ll find Pula Croatia map.
Best time to visit Pula Croatia
The best time to visit Pula is from June through September. However, if you have a choice choose June or September above July and August.
July and August are considered top season in Croatia, and Pula isn’t different. June and September offer equal opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and other experiences as July and August, but also fewer crowds, and more affordable accommodation prices.
September is also a good time to visit Pula as you can enjoy many concerts and festivals taking place in Pula and its surroundings.
Dimension Festival, an underground electronic music festival, and Outlook Festival, bass music and sound system culture festival, and Visualia, a festival of light, all take place in Pula in September.
What kind of Pula weather can you expect? Pula Croatia weather is typical Mediterranean with dry and warm summers, and mild but wet winters. Temperatures in winter are above 0°C. It almost never snows.
Summers on the other hand are very dry and hot. You shouldn’t expect much rain in summer.
Average temperatures in July and August are 25°C. But this is the average for the month, including daytime and nighttime. This means that often we can go days with daytime temperatures above 30°C.
Reasons to visit Pula
Since you are already considering to visit Pula, I don't think you need much convincing. However we stress out below some of the reasons to visit Pula Croatia.
You don’t need to be a history buff to enjoy Pula’s historical sites. From Roman Colosseum and Theatre, Temple of Augustus and Arch of Sergii to Venetian palaces, and extensive number of civil and military building constructed during Austria-Hungarian rule, Pula’s history is showcased in in numerous monuments that can be seen throughout the town.
Various music festivals take place in Pula from June through September including Outlook, and Dimensions festivals. And not only that, but they take place in some of the most interesting venues you can imagine. 3.000 year old amphitheater, underground tunnels, former military fort, and a beach are just some of them.
A coastline in and around Pula hides some truly lovely beaches. Wether you like pebbly beaches within tourist resorts that also come with lots of amenities, wild beaches of nearby Cape Kamenjak nature park, or sandy beach so rare to find in Croatia, Pula has you covered.
And Pula Croatia beaches are just a quick hop from the centre of the town, and the port.
Great local produce
Chiavalon Olive Oil, Trapan Wines, and Kumparicka Cheese are just some of many great local produce you can find in Pula and its surroundings.
Affordable Pula accommodation
If you are planning your holidays to Pula Croatia, you will like to know that accommodation Pula Croatia tends to be cheaper than in tourist destinations in Istria, like Rovinj or Porec.
So if you are trying to save some money, consider staying in Pula and making day trips go other Istrian towns and villages.
Things to do in Pula Croatia
Pula holidays don't need to be only about lazing at the beach with a glass of wine in hands (not that anything is wrong with that!). You'll find a myriad of things to do in Pula during your holidays. It's up to you to pick up the and intensity and the number of Pula activities you will overtake.
Explore Pula amphitheatre
A great example of Roman architecture, Pula Coliseum is a must visit site during your stay in Pula. Roam this ancient Pula amphitheatre and don’t miss visiting underground section with permanent exhibitions of olive oil production and amphorae.
Shop at Pula’s green market
First open in 1903, Pula green market consists of two parts: closed part where you’ll find fish market, butcheries, bars, and alike, and open market where you’ll find stands with fruits and veggies. The market building is beautiful, made of steel and glass and thoroughly renovated in 1997.
Have a drink at the art café Cvajner
This unique café bar is located at Pula’s main square – Forum. Interior is beautiful, with retro furniture and interesting art on the walls. Outside terrace is a perfect spot to enjoy Pula’s past and present, watching Augustus’ Temple and the world go by. If you like beer, they have a good choice of local and international craft beers.
This is the only real aquarium worth visiting in all Istria. It’s located in a former military fortress dating back to 1886 on Verudela peninsula. The aquarium has over 100 fish tanks featuring over 250 species. The Pula aquarium also houses a sea turtle rescue centre.
In the vicinity of Pula you’ll find some of the best restaurants showcasing traditional cuisine of south Istria, above all amazing seafood. We highly recommend visiting Batelina in Banjole, Lanterna in Pjescana Uvala, Vodnjanka in Pula, and Alla Beccaccia in Valbandon.
Pula sightseeing: what to see in Pula Croatia
There are many things to see in Pula that are worth seeking out. And you should definitely take a day out to explore obvious and less obvious Pula sights.
Built in the 1st century AD, Pula’s Arena was once a place of gladiator fights. The unique feature of the arena, compared to other colosseums, is that it has 4 rectangular towers. It had four floors, and could accommodate more than 20.000 spectators.
Arch of Triumph (Golden Gate)
Built in 1st century BC by a wealthy Sergii family, the Arch of Triumph was incorporated within town walls and town gate. However, both walls and gate came down in 19th century and today only the Arch remains in place.
Located in the western part of the town, Pula Forum has been the central town's square since the Roman times. Built in 1st century BC, it had all elements of a typical Roman Forum: temples dedicated to Roman gods, in Pula's case Jupiter, Juno, Minerva but also a temple dedicated to Roman emperor Augustus, and a Temple of Diana. Temple of Augustus is the only one of five that's fully preserved.
Some of the things to see in Pula aren't that obvious, and it takes some effort to find them. One of such Pula sights is “The Punishment of Dirce” floor mosaic hidden next to a car park, in the middle of an unassuming residential buildings. However, the mosaic is well-preserved, almost intact, and well worth finding.
While almost everybody who decides to visit Pula Croatia knows about its 3.000 year old history and roman heritage, very few people have such an in-depth knowledge of Pula's more recent history, particularly during the time of Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. This era, from 1816 to 1920, has actually seen Pula develop into a large naval port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The entire town with its surroundings have been fortified featuring as many as 26 forts, underground tunnels, and artillery batteries. Many of them are still perfectly preserved and although serving different purpose they are still in use. Fort Verudela today houses Pula's Aquarium, Fort Punta Christo is a venue for many music festivals, and so does Fort Monteparadiso.
Food and restaurants in Pula
Food in Pula is similar to other places in Istria and along Croatian coast. You'll notice many restaurants offer typical Croatian restaurant fare: pizza, pasta, risotto and grilled meat or fish. These restaurants are mostly aimed at tourists. Here, you can have a light lunch for as little as 10 € per person. However, don't expect a great gastronomical experience.
But, you can also find some top-notch restaurants in and around town, if you are after a delightful feast. Central European and Venetian tastes influenced the food in Istria through centuries. Today, the result is a sublime mix of hearty dishes from the land, and delicate plates from the sea.
Some of our favourite restaurants in and around Pula Croatia include: Batelina in Banjole, one of the best seafood restaurants in all Croatia where simple, oily fish and other underrated Adriatic delicacies are the stars of the menu; then Vodnjanka in Pula, a hidden gem where locals like to go for marenda (a mid-day meal). Run by two fishermen (hence, the name!), the Hook and Cook attracts locals and tourists alike with its simple but tasty seafood like battered calamari, fried mixed fish and seafood, tuna burgers, and alike. Wether you feel for an elaborate seafood dinner or just a couple of tapas, you'll find them all in a restaurants and wine bar Lanterna in Pjescana Uvala, just 5 km south of Pula. For a hearty meat dishes and yummy stews head to Valbandon to the restaurant Alla Beccaccia.
Accommodation in Pula
You will find various accommodation in Pula: from large hotels and resorts to small family-run boutique hotels, private apartments, campsites and even glamping.
While you can find private apartments all over the town, Pula’s neighbourhoods of Stoja and Verudela are home to large hotels, resorts and campsites.
Arena Pula is the largest hotel company owning and managing majority of hotels, resorts and campsites in Pula. Some of Arena’s properties feature Park Plaza brand.
Best place to search, compare and book accommodation in Pula is Booking.com. Here you will find the vast majority of all Pula accommodation. The website is easy to use, and it offers the most competitive prices and booking conditions. No prepayment, and 48h cancelation policy are just some of them.
If you are looking for private apartments, and you don’t find anything suitable on Booking, then you might also consider using Airbnb (SIGN UP HERE TO GET UP TO 35 $ OFF YOUR FIRST TRIP!).
If you plan to stay in Pula a couple of days, consider staying in downtown. Here you can check hotel Amfiteatar, City Center Rooms, City Center Arena Apartments, or Polai Center Apartments.
If you prefer to stay by the beach, consider hotel Park Plaza Arena. It is a recently-renovated 3star property that offers good value for money.
Transportation: Pula serves as a main regional hub for a variety of public transit options. The airport is only 5 km from city center. This is a small airport that gets busy only during the summer. Majority of companies flying into Pula are charter companies. However, during the summer Ryan Air flies into Pula from Oslo, Brussels, Paris, London and Frankfurt. During the winter the only scheduled flight is from Pula to Zagreb. Although Pula has a train station, traveling on train isn't very practical in Istria. Regional railroads run west to Slovenia, and not east to Croatia. Trains are old, slow, and not frequent. Town's main bus station is 15 minutes walk from the town's center. Although there are some intercity bus connections, they are still too infrequent to travel conveniently by bus. The best way to travel in and around the region is still by your own car. To move within and around the town, you can use town buses. The single way ticket range from 0,9 € (town ride) to 2,7 € depending on the distance you go. The town is not very big and you can move on foot or bicycle.
Pula beaches are among the best beaches in this Croatian region. Istria has a pretty rocky coast and to find a decent beach is a bit of a stretch. There are no beaches or swimming areas in downtown Pula, but from Stoja neighborhood south, there are many swimming areas. Valovine, Valkane, Valsaline, Zlatne stjene are just some of popular beaches in the town. Verudela peninsula is very touristy with lots of hotels, but you'll also find the best pebble beaches there.
Parking in Pula: There is many designated parking lots in downtown Pula. Pula Parking is in charge of parking lots. Parking costs from 4 kn (0,5 €) to 15 kn (2 €) per hour depending on the zone. Just below town's amphitheater, at the waterfront, there is a huge parking with 200 parking spaces. It is convenient to park your car there if you are visiting Pula for couple of hours. Amphitheater is just above, 2 minutes walk, and other historical sites are within 10 minutes walk from the parking.
Internet in Pula: Most of the hotels offer free WiFi connection, as well as many bars and restaurants. However, the connection is not open, and you'll need to ask a password to connect.