Pula, Croatia Travel Guide: What to See, What to Do, Where to Stay
Welcome to Pula Croatia, the oldest town on the east side of the Croatian Adriatic coast. Situated at the southern tip of the Istria peninsula, lies under seven hills at the bottom of a wide and well-protected gulf.
Pula (Pola in Italian) is the largest town in Istria region and the eighth largest city in Croatia with about 60.000 inhabitants.
Through the ancient period it was inhabited by the Histri, an Illyrian tribe. In 177 BC the whole Istria peninsula, was conquered by the Romans, indicating the beginning of the long period of a Roman Empire influence.
There are rumors that the Romans has chosen this town on seven hills because it reminded them of Rome, gaining elevated colonial rank between 46–45 BC as the tenth region of Roman Empire.
Pula, Croatia weather
Thanks to its location, protected on the north by the mountain chain of Alps, Pula enjoys the mild climate typical for Mediterranean climate.
During the summer period (August) the the highest air temperature is about 24 °C (75 °F), while the lowest temperature in January is around 6 °C (43 °F). Summers are usually warm during the day and cooler in the evening.
The average sea temperature is 25°C (73 °F) in August and it’s slightly lower than in central and southern Dalmatia regions.
How to Get to Pula
Pula has excellent connections either with all Croatian major cities (Zagreb, Zadar, Split) as well with all European countries, particularly with Italy, Germany, Austria and UK.
Pula has a small airport for domestic and international flights, located in Liznjan about 8 km northeast of the town.
This Pula Croatia airport is very popular and frequently used flights from the UK with direct flights from May to October.
Ferries to Pula Croatia
The map on the left shows passengers ferries (catamaran) connections with Venice. These are only active in summer period (June to September).
These are also only passengers (on foot) fast catamarans between Venice to the main Istria regions towns.
Buses to Pula Croatia
Traveling by bus to Pula is definitely the best and cheapest way. Considering that Trieste (Italy) is only 110 Km from Pula it will take you less than two hours to reach Pula bus station.
There are also buses from Padua that stops in Venice and Trieste before arriving to Pula. From Pula runs daily bus connections to Zagreb (3-4 hours ride), Zadar (7 hours ride) and Split (10 hours ride) and one daily bus connection with Dubrovnik (15 hours ride).
Most domestic and international buses can now be booked online at the Autotrans website. In the summer season it is highly advisable to get your ticket and seat assignment as soon as possible. See more tips about traveling around Croatia by bus.
Driving to Pula
If you decide to drive to Istria you will find the nice and scenic Istria interior. The roads are very modern and from Pula you can start your trip down the Croatian coast via the picturesque coastal road.
In case you want to hire a car, all major car rental companies have offices in Pula airport and downtown.
Pula: things to do and see
Pula is after Split and Zadar the most original city with the richest remains from the Roman period. It’s the town of rich historic heritage, admired by Roman rulers, Renaissance poets and Venetian noblemen.
The most important monuments from the Roman period are all located in the very center of Pula. Here are some of the most impressive things you must see:
This is the sixth largest Roman amphitheater in the world and according many the most beautiful by its elegance. The amphitheater is also an outdoor concert hall with a full program of music, theater and entertainment during the summer (July).
Pula Croatia Roman forum and city hall building. The Forum, a central square of ancient and medieval Pula is located in the western part of the town. It was built during the 1st century BC.
Augustus Temple at Forum in Pula dedicated dedicated to the Capitoline triad of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva is the only of two temples visible today.
The Triumphal Arch of the Sergi, best known as Porta Aurea or the Golden Gate, was erected by the Sergi family, a powerful Roman family.
Pula was encircled by walls. There were about ten gates proving the entrance into the town, of which the Twin Gates or Porta Gemina are visible today, as well as a part of former walls.
The Punta Christo Fortress is the biggest Austrian Hungarian fortification. Although having been long abandoned, it is the present day site for numerous concerts, exhibitions and other cultural events.
The Small Roman Theater from the 1st century was erected on the slope underneath the castle. It could hold between 4 and 5 thousand spectators. The theater lies on the hill slope, which was the characteristic of Greek theaters.
Things to do in Pula Croatia
If you decide to choose Pula Croatia for you holidays , here are some suggested things to do in town or in Pula’s neighborhood:
- Go inside the Pula Amphitheater or take a two-hour guided walking tour that includes all most important historical monuments.
- If you are diving enthusiast, sea waters near Pula offers a wide choice of diving possibilities including wreck diving and boat diving. You can contact Orca Diving Center, located at Park Plaza Histria Hotel in Verudela for more info.
- Cycling is one of the most popular activities around flat coastline and gentle interior hills, offering exciting and relaxing opportunities for cyclists of all levels. You can opt for several tours from a cycling tour and wine tasting through Kamenjak nature park, Premantura exploring secluded bays and sandy beaches or for more experienced bikers, try the full day Parenzana cycling tour that takes in the hilltop villages of Motovun, Groznjan and Buje.
- Book a boat trip with snorkeling or a kayak trip with snorkeling.
Where to stay in Pula, Croatia
Pula as a seaside resort, offers an incredible choice of all kind of accommodation whether you opt between nearby resorts on the Verudela peninsula or town center accommodation for those who like to experience Pula’s rich historic heritage.
I suggest without doubt the green Verudela peninsula for sea lovers that thanks good transport connections can always enjoy both.