Guide of PULA

Pula is a small city in Istria, Croatia. The city lies on seven hills on the inner part of a wide gulf and a naturally protected port.  It is famed for its Roman architecture, the most famous of which is the Pula Arena, one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres outside of Rome. The coastline here is also fabulous, so if you are looking to combine a city break with some time on the beach, then Pula is a great option.  Pula is also the perfect base for exploring the Cape Kamenjak nature park or the Brijuni Islands National Park, to the north.

A brief history

Pula is a very old settlement, inhabited since the Neolithic period. In 177 BC, the Romans took over and Pula became an important hub. By the reign of Julius Caesar, it was a great city with a population of around 30,000 people. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire it was ruled by the Ostrogoths, Byzantines and Franks then in 1148 Venice took over. The Venetians held onto it until 1797 when Austro-Hungarians invaded and the monarchy chose Pula as the empire’s main naval centre in 1853. They constructed a port and opened a large shipyard in the late 1800s which led to massive demographic expansion, transforming the city into a military and industrial powerhouse. The Italian’s took over between 1918 to 1943 but the city fell into decline. Pula was occupied by the Germans during the war and by the end of WWII, Pula was administered by Anglo-American forces until it became part of postwar Yugoslavia in 1947. Pula’s industrial base weathered the Balkan wars relatively well and the city remains an important centre for shipbuilding, textiles, metals and glass.

What to do in Pula 

For history lovers there is plenty to do in Pula, firstly head straight for the roman amphitheatre built in the 1st century. It was designed for gladiator battles and seats up to 20,000 spectators. Today the amphitheatre, known locally as the Arena,  still hosts events for locals, but mainly concerts and film-festival screenings. In the summer, check out the Spectacvla Antiqva, an event featuring gladiator fights and Roman-style clothing, food and drinks. The Temple of Augustus should be your next stop, it was created in around 2 BC and AD 14 and has survived the test of time thanks to a brick by brick reconstruction and houses a small archaeological display. For a change of scene check out Pula aquarium, which occupies an entire 19th-century military fort. It is pretty impressive with rays, crabs, eels, starfish, anemones, seahorses, jellyfish, caimans, octopuses and an Indian python to see!

Beaches around Pula

For the best beaches head to the area of Verudela, located on a peninsula. The best beach here is probably Brioni Beach, it has rocks, pebbles and spectacularly clear water.  Seagull’s Rocks is the best place for those who like a bit of cliff jumping! 

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