We flew in to Pula to begin our 2 week adventure in Croatia late at night. We would spend a couple of days here before moving on to Zadar, then Split and finally Dubrovnik. Similar to our California Road Trip (blog here) I’ll do a blog on each city that we visited with an overall trip / tour blog to round them all up.
We chose to fly into Pula as it was much cheaper than Dubrovnik and would give us the chance to explore more of Croatia than just its famous capital. Each city had its own charm and whilst Pula was quiet and understated, it had some fantastic activities to keep us occupied.
We hired a car and stayed Airbnb, allowing us to explore outside of the city and further down the coast. Pula is situated at the southern tip of the Istrian peninsula and like many of the cities and towns on the crystal clear coastline, it offers spectacular views, food and ancient ruins.
Things to do in Pula
Pula itself is relatively small and most sights are close to one another. We didn’t visit every single one but managed everything we wanted to see within 4 hours of one day. If you have a car, there is a large, safe car park at the sea front used by locals and tourists alike that is approximately £1 an hour. Pula is very safe and easy to drive around and we didn’t have any bother navigating the streets.
Pula is home to Pula Arena, the only remaining Roman amphitheatre to have four side towers and is in very good nick considering it was constructed between 27 BC – 68 AD. You can’t miss it as it sits smack bang in the centre of the city and there are restaurants and car parks surrounding it like it’s no big deal. For a nominal fee you can visit inside and the cellars beneath.
The Temple of Augustus
Arch of the Sergii
Arco dei Sergi is about another three minute walk and the once magnificent gates to the city are now a beautiful archway that can be walked under or around. It was built circa 29-27 BC and stands nonchalantly amongst cafes and bars whilst visitors walk through.
The Kastel towers over the City and is a great spot to take in the views and learn about the more recent history of Pula. The entrance fee is minimal and the museum is small but very interesting.
The Istrian Coastline
There are plenty of caves along the beautiful Istrian Coastline and many a local will spend their days on the beach, jumping off rocks or kayaking along the coast. We chose to go look for the Blue Cave (Grotte Von Pula) and found it via this map. It’s a bit of a trek and you have to be comfortable climbing over a few rocks but it’s worth it. We spent the day jumping in and out of the water, swimming in the cave and watching braver souls than ourselves cliff dive. Excuse the poor photo – this was taken through a waterproof pouch hung around my neck!
It’s also worth noting you could take a day trip to Venice. Pula is a little over 3 hours from Venice and you can in fact drive there or take the ferry for a day trip. We had planned to but unfortunately ran out of time.
Places to Eat in Pula
My other half made it his mission (as he usually does) to eat a pizza in every town. Pula came up trumps with Jupiter. Rated as one of the top restaurants on TripAdvisor, it delivered beautiful, thin and authentic tasting pizza in a friendly atmosphere. You can sit inside or out (we preferred the terrace given the beautiful weather) and you can expect to pay less than £15 for 2 pizzas and 2 drinks.
Another hit of ours was a bit of a surprise. Facefood (blatant copyright infringement!!) looks like a small, unassuming eaterie near to the Amphitheatre (and just round the corner from Jupiter). It’s not fancy and to be honest I don’t recommend the salad BUT the burgers were amazing. Hand made, juicy and full of flavour, I’d recommend them for a quick bite if you’re looking for an inexpensive lunch or dinner.