A guide to Pula

During my trip to Croatia, I spent my final week in Pula. Having just returned from Unknown Festival in Rovinj I was looking forward to having a relaxing week, but as usual I couldn’t sit still for long. Pula is a very pretty town but I would say a week is long enough to explore what it has to offer.

Pula Amphitheatre

Pula Amphitheatre

One of the must-see sights of Pula is definitely the Roman amphitheatre.  It’s the best preserved ancient monument in Croatia and is depicted on the back of the 10 kuna banknote. If you get the chance to go in and have a look around it is pretty spectacular. The amphitheatre is still used for various events including film screenings, concerts and recently Outlook Festival’s opening party.

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While the amphitheatre is something of a landmark in Pula, there are lots of other things to see and do. Zerostrasse is a network of underground tunnels from the Austro-Hungarian period. It’s pretty eerie down there, but worth a look. If you like art galleries there’s also The Museum of Contemporary Art of Istria. I had mixed views about the museum – it was probably one of the strangest galleries I’d ever been to. The art was interesting but minimal. It was the building itself which interested me the most. The museum is set in an old printing house and it’s shabby and sparse. The plaster was peeling of the walls and there were empty rooms and graffiti. I was struggling to tell whether some of the rooms were supposed to be art installations or simply neglected rooms.

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Museum of Contemporary Art of Istria

If you fancy a day at the beach, there are lots of nice ones to choose from. They are quite a walk away from the centre of Pula but you can take the 2A bus to Veruda which saves you the walk. While you won’t find sandy beaches, the water is lovely and clear and great for swimming.

Once you’ve explored what Pula has to offer, it’s worth taking some day trips to other nearby towns such as Rovinj, Porec  and Medulin. Your trip wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Brijuni Islands. As they are classed as a national park, there’s only one boat that’s allowed to stop on the islands, so it’s worth booking your excursion through the official booking office. The tour includes return boat ride and a guided tour of the island. Brijuni Islands were inhabited by President Tito following WW2 as well as his huge collection of safari animals which were given to him as gifts. Although most of the animals are long gone, the island is still home to zebras, llamas, sea turtles and an elephant.

Brijuni Islands

Brijuni Islands

Overall Pula is a nice destination to spend a relaxing holiday. There are a few bars and clubs but the city isn’t as geared up to nightlife as some of the other Croatian towns such as Zadar and Split. There are quite a few quirky boutique shops where you can buy handmade items as well as lots of restaurants if you fancy a meal out. I found a week was long enough to spend in Pula, but it’s definitely worth a visit.

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Emma

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