5 things you should not miss in Pula

Pula is the largest city in the Istrian region with a population of 70,000. That’s how a blog about Pula could start. However, it is much more appropriate to point out that it is probably the unique tourist center with the richest cultural and historical heritage in all of Croatia.

The wealth of this 3,000-year-old city is incredible.

Fantastic beaches, an irresistible old town core, attractive monuments from the Roman and Austro-Hungarian periods, beautiful parks and forests and an excellent gastronomic experience.

Read 5 things you must not miss in Pula.

Golden Gate, “entrance” in the old city

Visit to the Arena and tour of the old town core

Pula’s old town center is not too big. You can walk it within an hour. However, its historical richness is truly enchanting.

At every step you can see a monument, a park, a gallery, a museum or an interesting street that bears witness to the rich Roman or Austro-Hungarian heritage.

Below is a list of must-see places:

Pula Amphitheater – probably the most famous monument in all of Croatia. It attracts millions of visitors every year, and some of them visit this beautiful city precisely because of this enchanting monument. It is among the 6 largest amphitheatres in the world, being the best preserved and probably the most attractive after the Roman Colosseum.

Historically, this building was used for gladiator fights and could host 20,000 visitors. Today it is visited by many tourists, and during the summer it is the stage for many world-famous names. Numerous musical stars such as Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys, Simply Red, Norah Jones, Andrea Bocelli, Eros Ramazottii, The Kelly Family, Luciano Pavarotti…

Roman Amphitheatar called “Arena” among locals

Forum Square with landmarks – the central city square and the largest square in Pula. It is home to numerous landmarks, including the Temple of Augustus and the town hall.

underground city tunnels Zerostrasse – we can’t think of another city in the world that has kilometers of tunnels under the old city. Pula is unique in the whole world because of that. They were built during the First World War as a shelter for people, and today they are a real tourist attraction.

Underground tunnels Zerostrasse in Pula

Kaštel fortress – you will not make a mistake visiting it just for the enchanting view of Pula. It was built by the Venetians and represented an important defensive point for them in the Adriatic Sea. Today, it is the home of the Historical Museum of Istria, which has a collection of 75,000 objects.

Kaštel fortress in Pula

Best places to eat in Pula

Pula has many places where you can eat well. The most popular places are pizzerias, street food, restaurants and taverns.

If we talk about street food, Zembies street food is an indispensable place. Fantastic food, affordable prices and views of the Arena while eating make it a popular spot. They have a wide selection of burgers, tortillas, and salads.

Zembie’s street food near roman Amphitheatar

They are specific in that you can also enjoy classic, local dishes prepared in a street food style, so there is octopus, squid, and squid. Chicken box is an absolute hit. Check out their website.

Jupiter is one of the oldest and most famous pizzerias in Pula. They recently expanded their offer to include meat and fish specialties. The prices are moderate, the service is excellent.

If you want a slice of haute gastronomy, the Amfiteatar restaurant is inevitable. It is a casual restaurant, whose chef is probably the most famous Croatian chef with worldwide experience, Deniz Zembo. If you want a fine dining experience with several courses, contact them in advance with your wishes for a menu of your choice. You will get a unique experience and get the opportunity to have a famous chef cook for you, at a price that is much more favorable than the world’s most famous destinations.

Taverns that serve typical Istrian cuisine are very popular among the locals. Some of the most famous are Boccaporta and Taj.

Gastronomic experience

It is unthinkable to stay in Istria without experiencing it in a gastronomic sense.

The region that has the best olive oil in the world, top-quality truffles and excellent local varieties of wine such as Malvasia deserves to explore gourmet experience and try istrian food.

The most acclaimed platform with a rich offer of gastronomic programs is Istria Cooking. They offer cooking courses, private dinners, chef hire, food tours, dinner on request…Check their fantastic programs on this link.

Cooking class, Istria Cooking
Private dinner in holiday home in Istria (near city of Poreč), Istria Cooking

Beautiful beaches

Pula has a beautiful and long coastline with beautiful beaches. These are not classic sandy beaches that stretch for several kilometers, but a multitude of small and breath-taking bays. If you like beaches with pebbles or rocks, Pula has them among the most beautiful in Croatia.

Galebove stijene beach, (eng. seagull rocks), popular among adventurers

Our recommendation for beaches in Pula and its surroundings: Ambrela (one of the most popular beaches), Lijon Banjole (beach suited for families), Havajsko (popular among younger population), Galebove stijene (untouched nature with big rocks and open sea), Valovine ( popular for kids and families).

Beach popular among families with children. Situated in Banjole, 15 minutes ride from Pula.

However, if you love sand beaches, you should think of the beach Valovine (Stoja) and Bijaca (Medulin).

From excursions to adrenaline

Istria is the leading tourist region in Croatia primarily thanks to its rich tourist offer. In addition to the undisputed gastronomic offer, there are aquaparks, adrenaline parks, quads, paragliding, surfing, kayaking, cycling, boat trips, theme parks for children…

The great advantage of Istria is that everything is 1 hour away. Tourists usually choose the coast and places like Rovinj, Poreč, Pula, Umag, Rabac, Medulin… However, the interior is beautiful, and places like Svetvinčenat (place of the best-preserved castle in Istria), Bale (place of artists), Vodnjan (the best preserved mummies in Europe), Grožnjan (a small town of great cultural importance), Motovun (medieval Istrian fortress)…

One of the most popular excursions is Brijuni, an island not far from Pula, which was the “home” of the late president of the former Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito.

Brijuni island

Istria Wonders: your Istrian guide

Istria Wonders provides a guide for your vacation with recommendation for accomodation, art and history, restaurants, outdoor activities, travel and business services and things to do in Istria and Croatia. It is first specialized tourism portal for Istria on English.


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