Pula. Town in Croatia, Europe


Town in Croatia, Europe

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 - Pula
Pula. Photo by Mario Fajt
Pula, nestled beneath 7 hills, is the largest town of the Istrian peninsula, and important commercial and cultural center of the region. Sheltered by 3 islands, the city boasts a natural harbor with calm seas, known as the most important port in Istria (Wikipedia Article).

The town boasts one of the most well-preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world, known as “The Arena”. The huge amphitheater, which can hold over 22,000 people, becomes the venue for various spectacular concerts and shows in the summer. Although the amphitheater in the town announces Pula’s Roman origins, its history in fact stretches far beyond this period.

Historical attractions aside, Pula is a busy resort that has managed to retain small-town appeal. Beyond the town, the surrounding area with numerous tiny picturesque villages, Roman ruins, and the nearby national parks should not to be missed. The best time to visit is between early May and late September.

As the sun goes down, most of the fun is to be found around the ancient Fort Bourguignon (Wikipedia Article), area where you’ll be able to dance until dawn. The town has a good choice of bars and discos but for the wow factor, head to the Amphitheater, which hosts concerts from opera to rock.

Pula Arena - Pula
Pula Arena. Photo by zhelen

What to Do

Seek out the set of well-preserved, 1st-century ruins, marvel at the fascinating architecture, and discover. Activities to enjoy in town include tennis courts, mini-golf, and swimming in indoor and outdoor pools, and the surrounding countryside offers scenic cycling and hiking. If you want to enjoy astounding, unspoilt, natural beauty, head to the nearby island of Brijuni, which is home to a spectacular national park brimming with wildlife and lush forestry. One of Pula’s main draws is its gorgeous stretch of beaches. If you fancy a dip, head about a kilometer south of Pula, where you’ll find 170 kilometers of mixed rocky, pebbly, and sandy beaches. There are also plenty of hideaway coves, so it won’t be difficult to find your own spot.


Pula's Arena (Istria-Croatia) -
Pula's Arena (Istria-Croatia) - Pula. Photo by Paco CT

Roman Amphitheatre

Pula’s most famous and imposing sight is the amphitheater located northeast of the Old Town. It was built during the 1st century AD and completed under the reign of Emperor Flavius. Known as the Pula Arena, it is the only Roman amphitheater that is entirely preserved. Every year, the arena plays host to Pula’s annual summer festival which brings in famous names from across the globe. Visit in the morning to skip the crowds and midday heat in the summer.

Temple of Augustus

The Temple of Augustus, situated in the Forum, is dedicated to Goddess Roma and Emperor Augustus. The temple was built between 2 BC and 14 AD. Having served a variety of different functions in its long history, including grain warehouse and as a church, the statuesque building is now used to house a small historical museum.

Triumphal Arch of Sergius

The majestic arch was erected between the years 29 and 27 BC by the Sergius family, in honor of three members of the family who held important positions in Pula at that time. The arch was constructed in Corinthian style with strong Hellenistic and Asia Minor influences.

Brijuni Islands

The Brijuni archipelago that sits just off the peninsula is a must-see. The gem in Istria's natural heritage is comprised of 14 islands and islets, a safari park, Tito Museum, and the remains of Roman villas and forts. Visitors are only allowed on two of the islands, Veli Brijun (Wikipedia Article) and Mali Brijun. The gateway to the islands is the small fishing village of Fažana, 8 km northwest of Pula. You can visit the Brijuni on an organized day-trip or book into one of the hotels themselves.

Villa on Veliki Brijun - Brijuni
Villa on Veliki Brijun - Brijuni. Photo by egonwegh

Pula, Croatia -
Pula, Croatia - Pula. Photo by jordan pickett

Where to Stay

Accommodation varies to suit every taste and budget with great value, self catering villas and apartments, giving you the chance to get out and about to sample the traditional Croatian cuisine and fine local wines. The Old Town is a great place to stay if you’re looking to make the most of the historical sights, with the Arch of the Sergii and the Roman amphitheatre easily accessible. Away from the bustle of the main town are larger hotel complexes; many of which are located along the Verudela Peninsula. If you prefer a rural getaway, staying in northern Pula is a good option. Close to small villages such as Fažana, it’s a great place to soak up local Croatian life.

Food & Drink

In Pula, just as in most towns of Istria, be sure to taste seafood dishes. Local specialties are a tasty brodetto, a popular black cuttlefish risotto, delicious stewed savory buzara with Kvarner scampi, and pilchard in savory sauce. Fuži, gnocchi, steak or cheese with truffles - rare and precious fungus growing under the ground, are also a must-try. The perfect starter in Pula's restaurants is Istrian prosciutto. If you have a sweet tooth, try the simple yet very tasty kroštule, fritule, and cukerančići. While tasting traditional meals, have a glass of Istrian Malvazija, or Teran if you prefer red wine.

Getting Around

The center of the town can easily be explored on foot, and many of Pula’s most exciting museums, restaurants, and parks are within short walk of each other.

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Author: Ayda. Last updated: Jan 11, 2015


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