If you love to see ancient history right before your eyes yet set in a modern city with distinct, Croatian flavored Italian food, local wines that are out of this world flavorful, an inviting “Cannes, French Riviera” landscape, friendly and fun festivals, plus the blue waters of the Adriatic, with fantastic swimming in 70 degree water, look no further than Pula, Croatia.
A modern city with a historic past
Pula is a bustling and romantic city of around 57,000 people, that cheerfully embraces the modern and the past.
The city was an active part of the Roman Empire, and somewhere between 27 BC and up to 68 AD, the Romans constructed a great, round amphitheater, so large, it is still used today for concerts that host 20,000 people, and Pula’s amphitheater is the only Roman amphitheater still standing with a complete, circular wall.
Pula still has Roman ruins scattered among the city, and it is an utterly fascinating place to visit.
A City of Festivals
Whether Croatians just love to frolic, whether they do so for the tourist dollars they bring in, or for some other hidden reason, Pula is a city of festivals. For example:
- International Theatre Festival
- The Pula Film Festival
- Biker Days
- Monte Paradiso, celebrating many different types of music
- Seasplash Reggae Festival
- Dimensions Festival, featuring fantastic electronic music
- Outlook Festival, another multidimensional music festival,
- Multiple concerts and shows in the amphitheater
- A lighted crane celebration, featuring 5 gaily decorated, large cranes,
towering over the city.
Plenty to do
Besides the festivals, music, and Roman ruins, there is plenty of things to do in Pula. Nearby to the north is Brijuni National Park, which is a connection of densely forested island, and to the south is Cape Kamenjak, a craggy coastline that has many places to swim, cliff-dive, scuba, or kayak. And while the beaches are small and scattered, chances are you may be the only one around.
There are archeological tours to show you the best ruins, Segway tours at night, numerous guided walking tours, wineries, kayak rentals, snorkeling, an aquarium, dolphin watching, and several museums.
A taste of Italy with a Croatian touch
Pula was actually part of Italy until 1947 so naturally, Italian food is preferred. For a town of 57,000, there are 60 seafood restaurants alone, 29 Italian Restaurants and 77 Mediterranean restaurants. And if you are on a budget, or just want a light meal, there are two dozen barbecue and burger joints, and not a single “Golden Arches” in sight.
While some people do a simple day trip to Pula, taking the early morning ferry, many tourists find that 2 or 3 days is the minimum to explore the wealth of sites and attractions that make up Pula and naturally need accommodations.
There are over 500 accommodations in Pula, with everything from 5-star resorts, stately villas to single apartments, similar to an Air B&B.
The most difficult thing, of course, is choosing the ideal hotel or apartment for your budget and needs, but this is one city where you don’t have to worry about finding a great place to call home for a couple of days.
The ferry from Venice to Pula runs approximately 8 times a week, four from each of the two ferry carriers. The trip takes a little over 3 hours, and the one-way fare is typically around 63 Euros.
Although primarily a summer destination, Pula has a lot to offer the traveler, and if you are going to be in Venice anyway, you really should consider visiting Pula