If you are travelling around Croatia make sure you don’t miss out the interesting city of Pula. As the largest city on the Istrian Peninsula, there is a lot to see. The ancient city is over 3000 years old with many structures dating back to the roman times. This makes for good tourist picture locations. Pula is an excellent city to visit as it does not tend to get inundated with hoards of tourists throughout the year. It feels less discovered; a bit of a hidden gem.
Below is a list of the things you should do and see in Pula. We recommend staying in the area for a couple of days to really experience everything on offer.
Visit The Arena
The most iconic feature of Pula is undeniably the Roman Arena, visiting the Arena is the first thing you must do! Pula is an ancient city which dates back to the 1st century. This means we get to see the remains of lots of roman architecture. The Roman amphitheatre resembles the world-famous Colosseum in Rome – just smaller and a lot less crowded. Although it is smaller, it is no less impressive! The Arena is visible from most of the city, you you certainly worn miss it if you choose to visit Pula
The Arena is still used currently to host music concerts, opera, ballet and much more throughout the year. If you wish to look around inside the amphitheatre, the admission cost is 70 kuna. We opted to just admire the Arena from the outside as the view through the arches lets you see plenty inside.
Admire the City Gates
As mentioned previously, Pula is an ancient city with a lot of interesting structures to prove it. Spend some time searching for the many city gates of Pula and learning about their past. Historically, Pula was surrounded by city walls. In the 19th century, the walls were pulled down leaving only the remains of city gates like these.
Firstly, the iconic Twin Gates, pictured above on the left. These are located pretty close to the Arena. It is pretty obvious where they get their name with the two beautiful arches you can walk through.
Next we have the Arch of Sergei, also known as the Golden Gate, pictured above on the right. This corinthian style arch was embellished with many gilded elements thus giving it its nickname. The Gate was erected in 29 BC by the Sergei Family, who were very important people in Pula at the time
Finally, the Hercules Gate. This is the oldest and most simple of the gates. It is made from uncarved stone blocks. At the top of the arch, there is a carving of the face of Hercules, although it has decayed to a point where he is unrecognisable.
The Forum – Main Square
In the heart of Pula you will find the ‘Forum‘. This is basically the city’s main square. This is a social meeting area surrounded by beautiful buildings such as the Temple of Augustus. Here you can find many restaurants and cafe bars to enjoy. Much like back in the Roman times, this area is used to host events such as concerts in the summer months. This area can get pretty busy with locals and tourists alike during these times.
Kayak the Caves…
As Pula is a coastal town, you definitely need to check out the beach! Like almost all of Croatia, the sea is absolutely stunning with crystal clear turquoise water. The beaches in pula are made up of a rocky coastline where you can plunge yourself into the water below. There are some pebble beach areas too.
We recommend visiting Saccorgiana Cove, a few kilometers south of the centre of Pula. This area is easy to access by car with free parking. During the summer months, Zeppelin Beach is open. Zeppelin hosts beach parties in the summer months as well as offering sea toys to hire such as jet skis, banana boats and a large inflatable to clamber on.
A little further around the coast, you can find Stoja. We recommend hiring sea kayaks here to explore the caves. After a 20 minute kayak in the calm Croatian waters you will find Galebijana Cave. This is a large cave which you can kayak pretty deep into. Remember to bring a strong torch or headlamp with you as the light from a phone torch is no good at all when you get in quite far. As well as exploring inside the cave, many adrenaline junkies use this area as a great place to jump into the sea from heights as the water is pretty deep.
If you are looking for a great place to escape the summer heat, check out Pula Aquarium. This is the largest aquarium in Croatia. Located inside an ancient fort, this aquarium is spectacular on the outside as well as the inside.
The aquarium is home to hundreds of species of fish including fish local to the area (Adriatic) as well as tropical marine wildlife. The aquarium has many stand out features including a sea turtle conservation centre and a large shark tank.
Check Out The Activities Below
For more information on the attractions in Pula, or to find out more about the city’s rich history, check out the Pula tourism website here.
Pula is a wonderful city with so many things to see and do; you will absolutely find something for everyone here. The impressive Roman structures are particularly photogenic and will leave a lasting impression on you.
We hope this list helped inspire you to visit this wonderful city and Croatia in general.