Pula is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Croatia. The reason for this is a large number of well-preserved Roman monuments, rich gastronomic scene and the beautiful Adriatic Sea. Here, thousands of years of history and a lively Mediterranean lifestyle intertwine at every step. Further in the text, find out how best to organize a three-day trip to Pula.
Day 1 - Monuments of Roman Pula
1. Arena - The most famous and significant monument, the building from which each tour of the city begins and ends - Pula Arena, the building where gladiator fights were held. It was built in the 1st century, during the reign of Emperor Vespasian. Today, the Pula amphitheater organizes many cultural and educational events, including Roman historical shows with actors and music concerts.
2. Temple of Augustus - The temple at the Forum is dedicated to the Roma goddess and Emperor Augustus. It was built between 2 BC and 14 AD when Augustus passed away. The second temple, of which only the back wall has been preserved, is supposed to have been built at the same time and in the same style, and, according to sources, was the Temple of Diana.
3. The Arch of Sergius - The Arch of Sergius, better known as the Golden Gate, was built by the Sergius family, a powerful Roman family that managed to maintain its glory and power for centuries. The triumphal arch is a superb architectural achievement of late Hellenistic Roman architecture, whose arch reaches a height of eight meters and dates to the end of the 1st century BC.
4. Heracles' Gate - At the turn of the second and third centuries, during Roman times, this gate was built. At the top of the arch is carved the figure of Heracles with a club who was back then the protector of the city. Architecturally modest doors are very well preserved and accompanied by legends that can be learned by passing through them. The oldest preserved city gate is located not far from the amphitheater.
5. Forum - Pula's Roman Forum has been the central town square since the time of the Roman colony of Pola. It has changed over time, and only the Temple of Augustus testifies to its ancient period. In Roman times, the forum was the main place of the social life of the city.
6. Roman Mausoleum - In the park of Petar Kresimir IV there is an octagonal Roman mausoleum from the 1st century, which is another example of the ubiquity of ancient Roman heritage in Pula. At this place, there used to be a Roman necropolis, i.e. cemetery so this finding is not surprising.
After a full day of exploring Roman monuments, it’s time to rest.
7. Epulon Food & Wine - Epulon Food & Wine is a new, attractive place located in the historic center of Pula. The menu is adapted to the Istrian area, and tapas are especially delicious - snacks that will show you all the delicacies of Istria. You can also enjoy traditional favorites such as homemade pasta Fuzi with truffles, spaghetti with seafood, and the like.
Day 2 - Other most important sights of Pula
8. Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Pula Cathedral was built on the site where Christian believers gathered at the time of the persecution of Christians. The church was rebuilt over the centuries, and today's form was created by rebuilding it in the 17th century. The church houses the relics of five saints housed in five sarcophagi.
9. City Hall - Pula City Hall was built in the 13th century on the remains of one of the three Roman temples at the Forum. Parts of the temple are built into the back of the building. Over the centuries, the building has been renovated and upgraded several times, so that today, in addition to ancient parts, elements of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque are intertwined. An exceptional blend of rich history and different styles has made this building one of the most interesting architectural monuments in the city.
10. Church and monastery of St. Francis - The church and monastery of St. Francis were founded in the 12th century when the Franciscan order came to Pula. The church has retained its original form since the 13th century, and Mass celebrations are still held there today.
11. Verudella Fortress - Verudella Fortress is one of the fortifications of Austro-Hungarian builders that adorns the panorama of the city. At the time when it was built, it was considered the best such building in Europe, and since the wars bypassed it, it is still the best-preserved such fortress on the Adriatic. Today, in addition to the history that accompanies it, visitors are attracted by the Pula Aquarium, which moved here. In the aquarium, you can see the diverse fauna that can be found in the Adriatic sea.
12. Zerostrasse - Below Pula is an underground world made up of tunnels that stretches through almost the entire Pula. This network has four entrances and is called Zerostrasse. Zerostrasse was created during the First World War to shelter people in the event of airstrikes on the city. Today, various events and exhibitions are organized in the tunnels.
13. Waterfront - Pula's waterfront stretches down St. Peter's Street, along the southeastern coast of the Bay of Pula. This is a place to socialize and meet, especially for the locals. The waterfront offers a beautiful view of the Colosseum and the harbor. In the immediate vicinity, there are many green parks, which are also ideal places for rest and socializing.
14. Restaurant Ribarska Koliba - Restaurant Ribarska Koliba has a long tradition dating back over a hundred years, and has always offered its guests local cuisine with daily fresh, locally grown ingredients prepared in the traditional way. Culinary delights are complemented by a beautiful sea view both from inside the restaurant and from the terrace.
Day 3 - Pula surroundings
15. Brijuni National Park - Brijuni is a national park that includes three islands. The islands can be reached by a short boat ride from Pula. On the Brijuni Islands, there are ruins of Histric, Roman and Byzantine buildings. A state residence was built here in the former Yugoslavia, which still serves today to receive foreign delegations, and there is also a museum dedicated to Josip Broz Tito, the former president of the SFRY, who had a residence on the Brijuni Islands. In 1983, the archipelago was declared a national park due to its preserved and rich flora and fauna.
16. Cape Kamenjak - Cape Kamenjak is the southernmost part of Istria, a peninsula on an almost 4 km long beautiful and indented coast, with as many as 30 idyllic bays for swimming and refreshment and 11 uninhabited islands that together form a magnificent archipelago. Due to its exceptional natural values, as well as for the purpose of its more effective protection, Cape Kamenjak was declared a protected area in 1996.