Pula is the largest city in the Istrian County, located in the southern part of the Istrian peninsula. In the architecture of the city, the most prominent are the Roman monuments, which have been preserved from the ancient times of the Roman Empire. This city with its natural harbor was developed in the time of Emperor Augustus, and the historic amphitheater, temples and triumphal arches that will take your breath away have survived for 2000 years almost intact and in their original form.
If you visit Pula, you will not miss stories about the ancient Romans, Venetians, Franks and the time of the powerful Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.
Interesting monuments, rich culture, beautiful beaches, flora and fauna are just some of the things with which Pula will win you over.
In this guide we will present you buildings and monuments preserved from the past, perfect beaches and a trip to the nearby national park to take you on an unforgettable journey:
Day 1 - City research
1.1. Pula Amphitheater (Colosseum) - perhaps the most famous place in Pula is the imposing Roman amphitheater, located in the heart of the city. Built between 27 BC and 68 AD, it was originally used for gladiator games and had a capacity for 23,000 spectators. Even today it is excellently preserved. It is used as a tourist attraction and a place for concerts and cultural events such as the Pula Film Festival.
1.2. Aquarium - this is the only aquarium worth visiting in the whole of Istria. It is housed in a former military fortress dating back to 1886 on the Verudela Peninsula. The aquarium has over 100 tanks with more than 250 species. The Pula Aquarium also houses the Sea Turtle Rescue Center.
1.3. Golden Gate - built in the 1st century BC by a wealthy Sergius family, the triumphal arch was built within the city walls and city gates. However, both the walls and the door were brought down in the 19th century and today only the triumphal arch remains in place.
1.4. Forum - located in the western part of the city, Forum has been the central city square since Roman times. Built in the 1st century BC, it had all the elements of a typical Roman forum. There were temples dedicated to the Roman gods. In the case of Pula, Jupiter's, Junon's, Minerva's, but also the temple dedicated to the Roman emperor Augustus, and the temple of Diana. Only the temple of Augustus is completely preserved.
1.5. Temple of Augustus - although much can be seen in Forum Square, your eyes will be fixed on the Temple of Augustus. A typical Roman building, this temple has a story that dates back to the year 14 AD. Changing functions over time from the temple of Emperor Augustus, to the church and eventually the museum. Unfortunately, it was destroyed during World War II, so what you see now is a faithful reconstruction. For HRK 10 you can head to the temple and explore a small museum of ancient artifacts.
1.6. Pula Local Market - if you want to see how locals buy outside the international supermarket chains, go to the Pula Market. While there are some stalls that are meant for tourists so they sell souvenirs that can be found anywhere, there are also stalls that sell authentic local produce at affordable prices and fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables.
1.7. Zerostrasse - below central Pula winds through tunnels that Tito originally ordered to be built as a bunker. It is now possible to wander through these tunnels, called Zerostrasse, and explore them. Nowadays, the tunnels serve as an art and photo exhibition where you can see photos of Pula's past, mostly from the time when it was still part of Yugoslavia and was Tito's favorite destination. Admission is HRK 15 for adults and HRK 10 for students and the elderly.
1.8. Bourguignon Fortress - a fortress built during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, named after the then officer. It connects several fortifications making a massive defensive fortification.
1.9. Verudella Fortress - the best-preserved defensive fortress of this type on the Adriatic, from the Austro-Hungarian era. Today it is home to a beautiful Pula Aquarium and is open to the public.
1.10. The House of Istrian Olive Oil - the golden treasure of the whole of Istria, including Pula - olive oil is a symbol of this area. Visit this museum to learn about the history of oil production and taste different types of olive oil.
Day 2 - The most beautiful beaches
2.1. Histria Beach - one of the top beaches in the vicinity of Pula is the beach Histria, which is located south of the city on the Verudela peninsula. If you want, you can rent an umbrella and a deck chair on the beach, but the pine trees at the end of the bay offer beautiful shade on hot summer days. You can find many sports facilities, including tennis, mini-golf, table tennis and golf!
2.2. Premantura Beach, Cape Kamenjak - the beaches of the nature park Cape Kamenjak are must-visit attractions when you are near Pula. The sky blue sea of supreme cleanness and rich fauna are a combination that leaves no one indifferent.
2.3. Hawaii Beach - for many the most beautiful beach in Pula. Here while swimming you have a real feeling of the Caribbean - the sea shines in the most beautiful turquoise blue colors, and it is also crystal clear, which is ideal for diving. The beach is a white pebble bay with round stones that descends into the sea and is surrounded by extremely beautiful rocks.
2.4. Ambrela Beach - another very popular beach on the Verudela Peninsula near Pula. The sea here glows in picturesque blue colors and is also crystal clear. Don’t forget the diving mask, this bay is ideal for diving! Refreshments and snacks are available at the bars located just above the beach.
2.5. Gortanova Bay - Gortanova Bay is high on the list of the best beaches in Pula. The picturesque bay is located directly on the waterfront, Lungomare, and can be reached from the Valkane district by bike or comfortably by car. Right behind the beach, there is a nice little beach bar that offers refreshments and snacks.
Day 3 - visit to Brijuni National Park
Brijuni is a fantastic day trip from Pula. Located not far from the city, these islands once served as the summer residence of Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito, and today are one of the most beautiful national parks in the entire country and beyond.
Although you can opt for a day trip to the islands directly from Pula, the only boat that has a permit to dock on the islands departs from the nearby town of Fazhana.