Pula is the most populated town in the Istrian peninsula, attracting thousands of tourists year by year. The magic of the area is not limited only to the beautiful beaches. Depending on your mood, you can choose from different activities, for instance, all-day-long hikes. You can also take part in cultural and historic programmes, as well as trips in nature and sports. What to do in Pula? Make this an unforgettable trip, and plan in advance!
This article gives you an overview of the following topics:
- What to do in Pula: Historic gem
- Things to do in Pula: Explore the miracles of the peninsula
- What to do in Pula: Ideal for kids as well
- Gastronomy and festivals
What to do in Pula: Historic gem
Pula’s history dates back a long time, and this is why the place is popular among history enthusiasts. People used to live here as early as a million years ago. The town itself has traditions of 3, 000 years old. There have been many leaders through history, but the town could still preserve its main monuments from the ancient Roman times. It is definitely worth spending at least a few hours in the morning here to admire the most important architectural masterpieces.
This is the most frequently visited historic monument; also, it is among those monuments in Croatia that are in the best condition. They built it in 27–14 BC. During the glory days, its capacity was 23, 000 people. In the middle ages, the inhabitants stole a lot of stones for building houses, but fortunately, they did not do any damage to the structure of the building. Today, it is the 6th largest Roman arena. They used to organise gladiator fights here in the first place, but there were fighting and hunting performances as well, and the arena was also used for public law enforcement. In the middle ages, they held jousting events and fairs here, too.
Today, they organise sports events, film festivals as well as cultural and musical performances in the arena. One of the most famous events is the Spectacula Gladiatoria. It is also worth visiting the basement – gladiators used to wait here before fighting, and today it serves as an exhibition area.
Arch of the Sergii (Golden Gate)
They erected it in the honour of the three siblings in the rich Sergius family in 27 B.C., representing their important role in the Roman Empire. The arch used to be part of the city walls, which unfortunately had to be demolished in the 19th century for transportation reasons.
Temple of Augustus
The temple can be found on the main square or “Forum”. Pula was most glorious during the reign of Caesar Augustus. They honoured him with this building, designed based on the Temple of Mars Ultor. Its functions changed during the centuries following the Roman period; it was a Catholic church and later was used as a barn. Today, it is a museum.
The Twin Gate / Porta Gemina
The Twin Gate was built-in the 2nd century. It used to be part of the city wall together with 9 other gates. Despite its age, the gate is in a great condition; it is located near the oldest gate in the town named after Hercules. The Hercules Gate is standing between two towers, and it was named after the patron saint of Pula.
Things to do in Pula: Explore the miracles of the peninsula!
The town is not only rich in history: its geographic attributes attract just as many tourists every year. The town is located among 7 hills, together with a wide and protected bay and a port. It is a perfect starting point when exploring the smaller islands and towns on the Adriatic Sea. There are also great opportunities to get to know Pula and its neighbourhood. The activities and trips listed here are tourists’ favourite way of exploring the natural gems in the area, both on the sea and the land.
This is a popular sport on the calm waters around Pula. There are many different kayaking trips to choose from, all offering wonderful experiences. Dozens of hidden treasures and caves can be found in the hidden spots of the Istrian peninsula that we cannot see from the land.
Let’s hop on a bicycle!
Cycling trips are among the best ways to explore the treasure of the land in this region. There are many nature reserves here, such as the Kamenjak peninsula. It is a good idea to go around these parts by bicycle so that you have the opportunity to see as many places as possible. At the end of the trip, we can get refreshed during a nice wine-tasting, as there are several wine cellars along the way.
The sunset at Verudela is breathtaking, and luckily for tourists, locals know exactly how to make the experience even more unforgettable. There are different kayaking trips offered, and having a romantic dinner is also a good idea. There is also a unique programme to try: stand up paddle surfing. It is an app. 2-hour-long experience, which is among the most special opportunities to admire the sunset.
What to do: Ideal for kids as well
The aquarium – located only 3 kilometres from downtown Pula in the Verudela Fortress – is one of the best programmes for families. It is definitely the number one choice for kids. Visitors can admire the marine life of the Adriatic Sea with app. 200 animals. The entry fee is 100 kunas for adults, 70 kunas for kids between the ages of 7 and 17 and 50 kunas for kids between 3 and 7 years old.
If you like active recreation, you will definitely love this park. You can choose from over 30 entertainment opportunities. There are different obstacles, rock climbing, suspension bridges and four ziplines. Children will definitely love it, but you can also participate in exciting activities with your friends or partner. After this all-day-long adventure, it is a good idea to go on a pleasant walk on the Lungomare boardwalk. Fortunately, Valsaline Beach can be found at the end of this boardwalk, so we can also have a nice swim.
Gastronomy and festivals
The Croatian cuisine does not belong to any particular category, as due to the country’s history and the geographical situation there are different flavours and methods in the regions. Thanks to the coastal location, the Istrian peninsula’s cuisine may remind us of Mediterranean dishes. Typical meals include fish and fish soup, accompanied by Dalmatian red wine.
The restaurant Konoba Vatelina, located 5 kilometres from downtown Pula, has a great reputation. They always offer perfect and fresh frutti di mare to their guests.
Those who love pizza and pasta will not remain hungry either, as the restaurant Tivoli in downtown welcomes every fan of the Italian cuisine. The service is rapid and is just perfect. Gluten intolerants will also find something that they will love on the menu.
Those with a sweet tooth must try the Pulacinka pancake place. It is exciting to choose what we would like in our pancake, and the result is always perfect; the flavours and the spectacle itself are both amazing. The place is located only a few minutes from the amphitheatre and has fair prices.
Film festival in the arena
The oldest film festival in Croatia is organised in one of the oldest structures, the amphitheatre every summer. It is a pleasant programme and an important national event as well. They show and rate all the short movies made during the year. At the end of the festival, they present the Golden Arena awards.
This is one of the most frequently visited music festivals in Pula. Fans of house, drum&bass and dubstep will all love it! Artists not only perform on the stage; there are also unique boat parties where we can enjoy the waves of the music and the sea.
In this article, we listed some of the must-visit programmes in Pula and its neighbourhood. As you can see, the Istrian peninsula is perfect for those seeking adventure! Explore it yourself! Read more if you plan Pula sailing or boat rental in Pula.