15 Reasons to Visit Pula, Croatia

Pula Amphitheatre | © Peter Collins/Flickr
Pula Amphitheatre | © Peter Collins/Flickr
Photo of Peterjon Cresswell
14 August 2017

The main city of Istria, Pula is known for the near-intact Roman monuments that are still the main features of its city centre. The Amphitheatre hosts major concerts and festivals in summer, while a short drive or bus ride away lie the beach destinations of Verudela and Medulin.

For Rojc

Set in a former military school and barracks, Rojc was converted in the late 1990s and now plays a vital role in the cultural life of the city. An arts and community centre, Rojc is the main outlet in town for alternative artists, staging exhibitions, workshops, DJ sessions or live shows.

Društveni centar Rojc, Ljudevita Gaja 3, Pula, Croatia

Ass-eaters twerkin' at #monteparadiso_festival on Doom. 🍑 #ComeBundaTeam #MonteParadiso #MonteParadiso17

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For Pula Market

Market, Food Stall, Food Stand, Croatian, Vegetarian
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Pula Market
Pula Market | © Chris Yunker/Flickr
Pula Market has been at the centre of the commercial life of the city since 1903, when it opened. Completely reconstructed in 1997, it now houses some 60 fixed outlets, with sections for fish and meat traders. Outside, fruit and vegetable stalls are piled high with produce from nearby gardens and orchards.

For the Milan restaurant

Restaurant, Hotel Restaurant, Croatian
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For that final, formal, holiday blow-out, head to the Milan, a top-notch hotel and restaurant set near the Naval Cemetery. Shellfish is the speciality, as your waiter will indicate as he shows you the impressive display case. A full range of Istrian wines is also available, though it a quality bottle might push the bill from reasonable to pricy.

For Outlook

Occupying two key locations around Pula, Outlook is a celebration of underground dance music that takes place every September. The main site is the abandoned fort of Punta Christo, its surrounding beach and substantial greenery on a headland a short drive from the centre. The other is the Roman amphitheatre right in town, providing a historic backdrop to the house, techno and dubstep.

Outlook | © Mark Sethi/Courtesy of bigbox.london

For Pula Fortress

Set on the hilltop vantage point of the Roman citadel, the star-shaped fortress built by the Venetians in the 1600s commands views over the city centre and gaggle of cranes dotted around the Uljanik shipyard. On the lower slope nearest the Amphitheatre stands the Archaeological Museum of Istria.

Pula Fortress, Pula, Croatia

For Verudela

With no real beaches in Pula itself, many take the city bus to the peninsula of Verudela, where shingle beaches fill with holidaymakers. Should the heat become too much, you can entertain the kids for a while at the Aquarium, set in a former Habsburg fortress.

Verudela, Croatia

For the Forum

Still the city’s main square, the Forum was laid out by the Romans in the first century BC and still contains the wonderfully preserved Temple of Augustus. A collection of Roman finds is on display inside. Alongside, the Communal Palace dates back to the 1200s, its arcaded Renaissance façade added some three centuries later. A table on the terrace of the Cvajner café provides the perfect view of the historical scene.

Forum, Pula, Croatia

For the Archaeological Museum

Much of this impressive collection was housed in the original Museum of Antiquities that stood near the Arch of the Sergii in the early 1900s. Constantly replenished with new finds, today’s Archaeological Museum is divided into Prehistoric (stone implements, pottery and jewellery), Roman (statuary, coins and kitchenware) and medieval sections (floor mosaics, items engraved with vernacular Glagolitic script).

For Medulin

A short drive south-west of Pula city centre, Medulin is the best equipped resort in Istria for active recreation, most notably watersports. Diving, parasailing, jet-skiing, sailing, windsurfing and many more, they’re all available here. With plenty of cycling, horse-riding and court sports too, plus the long sandy beach of Bijeca, it’s no surprise that the coast here is one of the busiest in the region.

Medulin, Croatia

For the Enoteca Istriana

Right on the Forum, the Enoteca Istriana is the ideal spot to sample the products for which Istria is best known for: prosciutto, cheese, olives and wine. With a dozen available by the glass, there’s also the handy option of tasting three types and seeing which one suits. Staff will talk you through the menu. There’s also a selection of cakes if you’re here mid-morning or late afternoon.

Enoteca Istriana, Forum 11, Pula, Croatia, +385 95 414 4441

For the Cathedral

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Pula Cathedral
Pula Cathedral | © Christoph Sammer/Flickr
First built in the sixth century, Pula Katedrala, officially Katedrala Uznesenja Blažene Djevice Marije, has been added to, destroyed, rebuilt then added to over the centuries. You can still make out Romanesque and Byzantine features that have survived the various onslaughts.

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