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. The town 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
- 9 Pula Beaches
- 10 Bars, Clubs & Nightlife in Pula
- 11 Events in Pula
- 12 Travelling to Pula
- 13 Getting from Pula airport to city centre
- 14 Transport in Pula
- 15 Car rental in Pula
- 16 Parking in Pula Croatia
- 17 Shopping in Pula Croatia
- 18 Money and ATM
- 19 Internet
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. Therefore, 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 prefer to stay by the beach, consider hotel Park Plaza Arena. It is a recently-renovated 3star property that offers good value for money.
When you mention Pula, perhaps beaches aren’t exactly the first image that comes to mind. But funnily enough, Pula beaches are some of the best beaches in Istria. Majority of beaches in Pula are located in the southern part of the city, along Stoja, Zlatne stijene, and Verudela neighbourhoods.
Just like other Istrian beaches, beaches in Pula are either rocky, pebbly, or cemented. Nearby Medulin has a sandy beach if you are after that kind of Pula beach.
The most popular beaches include Ambrela Beach, Saccorgiana Beach, and Hawaii Beach on the Verudela peninsula. Then, Valkane Beach, Gortan’s Bay, and Valsaline Beach along the Lungomare, a seaside promenade.
Another popular swimming spots for tourists and locals alike are beaches of the Cape Kamenjak Park, Fratarski Island, and beaches in and around the campsite Brioni (ex. Puntizela).
Bars, Clubs & Nightlife in Pula
If great nightlife is important for you when choosing your next travel destination, then you perhaps won’t come to Pula in the first place. That said, here are few tips on where to find Pula nightlife.
Teens like to hang in the Titov park while older crowd prefers various bars in the town. Later on, the party crowds head to some of the night clubs in Pula. Uljanik is the most popular club in Pula with two venues: one playing mostly rock/metal, and other playing an electronic music. Also, it often features various live music events and concerts. Other clubs include Cargo, and Pietas Julia. Cargo tends to play a lot of Balkan folk music.
We like to have a glass of wine and few tapas in the Wine & Tapas Bar Lanterna in nearby Pjescana uvala. If you are into craft beer, check Baobab bar or Shipyard Pub in Pula. For a day of swimming and chilling head to the Safari Bar in the Cape Kamenjak park.
Events in Pula
Pula hosts many cultural, musical and gastronomical events throughout summer.
Arena and Kastel are especially popular venues for concerts, plays, shows, and various performances.
A fair of Istrian hand made souvenirs is held at the Pula Forum starting at 8 pm every Friday and Saturday from mid June through August.
At Pula green market, on certain Saturdays (in June and July every second Saturday) you can attend a fair of Istrian homemade and homegrown foods and drinks.
Travelling to Pula
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 regional airport that gets busy only during the summer.
Many companies flying into Pula airport are charter companies. However, during the summer Ryan Air flies into Pula from Berlin, Brussels, Stuttgart, London and Frankfurt. Jet2 flies from a handful of UK destinations including Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, London and Manchester. Other low cost companies flying into Pula airport from April through September include Eurowings, Norwegian, Vueling, Easy Jet, etc. To check all flights in and out of Pula, consult Skyscanner website.
During the winter the only scheduled flight is from Pula to Zagreb.
Although Pula has a train station, traveling by train isn't very practical in Istria. Regional railroads run west to Slovenia, and not east to Croatia. Also, trains are old, slow, and infrequent.
Town's main bus station is 15 minutes walk from the town's centre. Although there are some intercity bus connections, they are still too infrequent to travel conveniently by bus.
You can also arrive to Pula by ferry from Venice, and vice versa, depart Pula to Venice. Pula to Venice ferry runs from April to October. In high season, it sails every day. More info at Venezia Lines.
The best way to travel in and around the region is still by your own car or renting one.
Getting from Pula airport to city centre
Pula airport is a small regional airport, located short 5 k away from the city centre. However, it's not always cheap neither easy to reach the airport.
If you are looking for Pula airport transfer, you have few options: taking Pula airport shuttle, or taxi from Pula airport to Pula. Pula airport bus runs every 90 minutes. Pula airport bus connects airport with the city centre (station near the port authority building, in Ulica Svetog Petra), and it one-way ticket costs 30 Kn (approx. 5 €).
On the other hand, cost of taxi from Pula airport to Pula city centre is around 20 €.
The pula airport shuttle also connects the airport with Verudela Peninsula, Fazana, Medulin, Rovinj, Porec, Novigrad. This Pula airport shuttle is run by different companies, and its schedule is adjusted to flights' arrivals and departures. A cost of one-way shuttle ticket from Pula to Rovinj is 150 Kn (approx. 20 €), and the price of the ticket from Pula to Porec is whopping 300 Kn (approx. 40 €). For this reason, if you are budget-conscious, rather take a shuttle bus pula airport to pula city centre, and then just regular bus from Pula to Rovinj, or Porec. You'll save a lot of money. A regular bus from Pula to Porec costs anywhere between 6 € and 9 €, while a bus from Pula to Rovinj costs 4 € to 5 €.
Taxi in Pula
Transport in Pula
With a population of 60.000 people, Pula isn’t particularly big town. This means that a large part of the town can be explored on foot.
The part of the old town, around main sights dating back to Roman times, is pedestrian-only zone. The same goes for few other downtown streets like Flanaticka Street that connects Giardini with Pula’s main farmer’s market.
From here you can easily explore majority of Pula’s sights (like Pula Arena) by walk.
However, if you aren’t a fan of long walks in summer heats, you can move around Pula using city buses. The city bus system in Pula is pretty good and reliable. It is divided in four zones. Zone 1 covers entire town, including outer suburbs of Puntizela, Veli Vrh, or Stinjan. The single ride ticket costs 11 Kn (approx. 1,5 €). Majority of buses within the Zone 1 run from 5.30 am to midnight, more or less every 20 minutes. Zone 2 covers neighbouring villages and towns, including Fazana, Vodnjan, Premantura, and Medulin. The single ride ticket costs 15 Kn (approx. 2 €). Zone 3 and Zone 4 include villages further away, like Barban, Barbariga or Rakalj. Ticket costs 20 Kn and 25 Kn respectively.
If you plan to use city buses extensively, you might consider buying prepaid card. It costs 70 Kn, out of which 30 Kn is a cost of a card, while 40 Kn goes toward riding credit. The cost of a single way ticket goes down to 7 Kn for Zone 1, 11 Kn for Zone 2, 17 Kn for Zone 3, and 20 Kn for Zone 4.
Below you will find the map of Pula's urban lines. Detailed timetable and price list you can check at Pula Promet website.
Car rental in Pula
If you plan to stay in Pula for at least 3 days, and you don't have your own car, we highly recommend that you rent one at least for a day or two in order to visit other sights in Istria.
Travelling in Istria by bus is doable, but not the best way to travel. In fact, if you would like to visit hilltop towns, you can't even do it by bus.
Majority of car rental companies in Pula have their offices at Pula airport, but many also have a branch office within one of the hotels on the Verudela peninsula.
We recommend renting a car through Rentalcars. Use the form below to check availability and prices.
Parking in Pula Croatia
Parking in Pula isn't that easy to find during the summer, especially if you try to find a free parking spot.
However, at least paid parking in Pula, isn't that badly organised, and from our experience, you should be able to find your spot no matter what.
Parking in Pula is organised in three zones, depending on the location and proximity to downtown and town's main sights. Parking includes parking lots and street parking. Pula Parking is in charge of parking lots.
From June, 1 to September, 30, the parking charges apply 7 days a week, from 7 am to 10 pm. For the rest of the year, parking charges apply from Monday to Saturday, from 7 am to 8 pm; while on Sunday and public holidays parking is free.
Parking costs from 4 Kn (0,5 €) to 15 Kn (2 €) per hour depending on the zone. You can pay majority of parking lots with coins, or sending sms to designated phone number. You send your full registration (without spaces) to the following phone numbers: 708521 for Zone 1, 708522 for Zone 2, ‘08523 for Zone 3.
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.
You can find all Pula's parking lots at the following website.
Shopping in Pula Croatia
For locals, Pula is a shopping centre of Istria. Here you will find all large supermarkets, but also DIY, construction, car dealerships, furniture stores, and few shopping malls with popular fashion retailers like H&M, Mango, Pull&Bear, Hervis, etc..
Downtown shopping in Pula
There are small grocery shops scattered all over the town. But Pula's green market is our favourite place to shop for food in Pula. The green market consists of closed and open part. Here you can find fish market, various butcheries, charcuterie and cheese shops, vegetable and fruit stalls, and even stalls selling cheap clothes. There are also bakeries, and bars around. The market is housed in a beautiful historical building dating back to 1903. Don't miss visiting a stand of the Kumparicka farm. They produce one of the finest goat cheeses in all Istria.
The main downtown shopping streets are Ulica Sergijevaca, from Giardini to Forum square; and Flanaticka Street that goes from Giardini to the Pula's green market. Both streets are pedestrian-only.
Supermarkets in Pula
All large supermarkets are located along Sijanska and Vodnjanska cesta, two main roads into Pula either from highway or old national road. Here you will find the most popular supermarkets: Konzum, Kaufland, Plodine and Lidl. Interspar supermarkets can be found in both, MaxCity and City, shopping malls.
Pula shopping malls
Max City shopping mall in Pula is the largest shopping mall in Istria. Open in 2019, and built within the former quarry, Max City spreads on over 30.000 m2, and features over 60 shops, bars, and restaurants. Popular shops include H&M, Skechers, Mass Shoes, Mango, Intersport, etc. The shopping mall is next to popular beaches of Valkane and Stoja.
Pula City Mall is smaller mall at the outskirt of Pula, in Ulica Prekomorskih brigada. It features Interspar supermarket; Mueller store featuring various cosmetics, perfumery, fashion, speciality food, sweets, over-the-counter drugs, household products, toys, stationery and books; fashion stores like New Yorker and C&A, etc..
Money and ATM
Croatia doesn't use Euro yet, although you can pay in Euros for many things like meals in restaurants, accommodation, pay toll on Croatian roads, and gas. However, while you can pay in Euro, you'll more often get change in Croatian currency – Kuna. And the exchange rate might be less favourable than what you would get in an exchange office.
For 1 € you should get around 7,4 kuna; for 1$ about 6,8 kuna, and for 1 £ around 8,4 kuna. You can exchange money at many places all over the town: exchange offices, banks, hotels' receptions.
ATM machines you will find scattered all over the town. In fact, there are too many of them, that the cities started thinking of the ways to limit the number of ATM machines, especially within old historical buildings as the machines ruin the look of the old towns.
ATM machines are operated by banks, but also by other money operators. We find that bank's machines charge lower fees than the others. If you are budget conscious, avoid Euronet's, Auro Domus', and similar operators. Simply stick to bank's ATM machines. If you don't mind few euros here and there, go ahead and use any ATM machine. They are all safe to use, and some are located more convenient than others.
Another thing to be aware is so-called dynamic currency exchange rate. When you pay with the credit card, you will be offered a choice to either pay in your currency, or in local currency. It's a tricky question, as it might seem logical to choose your own currency. But more often than not, you'll end up paying higher fees if you choose to pay in your own currency. So, we always choose to be charged in local currency.
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 for a password in order to connect.