Pula (Italian: Pola, Slovene: Pulj) is a nice town at the tip of the Istria peninsula in northwestern Croatia.
Most tourists visit in the summer months, with most attractions and restaurants closing between October and May.
ClimateThe climate of Pula is warm to hot during the summer months, and cool to cold during winter. Average temperatures during July, the hottest month range from 18° to 29°, while in January, the coldest month, temperatures range from an average low of 1° to 10° Spring and autumn are generally mild in comparison
Pula AirportPula has its own international airport with daily flights to Zagreb, and direct services from many European cities including Amsterdam, Edinburgh, London, Manchester, Oslo, Vienna and Zurich. Ryanair operates direct flights from London three times a week. Many flights to Pula are charter rather than scheduled, while other flights are seasonal (summer only).
There is a scheduled bus service from the bus station in town to the airport. Buses are operated by Brioni and connect to most major flights. The cost of a one-way ticket is 25 kn. A taxi from the bus station to the city should be around 85 kn in the low season and much higher in the summer.
It is possible to also consider Rijeka Airport on the island of Krk and Trieste Airport in nearby Italy to access Pula as they are close by and offer flights to different destinations.
Buses from the Pula bus station to Pula airport leave at the following times. The cost is 30 kn. (last updated 6-Apr-2014)
By landThe large and modern bus station is on the edge of the 'old town' district and is the hub of local, domestic and international bus routes. There are direct buses from Zagreb, Rijeka, Split, Trieste, Ljubljana, Belgrade and Venice. Online timetables are listed at Brioni and Pula Info.
There is also a train station near the waterfront with services serving Istria and into Slovenia due to historical circumstance rather than back towards the rest of Croatia (though a connecting coach service operates for services to Rijeka and Zagreb). Ticket prices, timetables and other information are on the Croatian Railways website.
Hitchhiking from Zagreb works very well. In Zagreb start from the petrol station after the "Billa" supermarket on the southside of the Sava river. In Rijeka ask people to drop you off at the little SOS stop after a pretty sharp right bend of the motor way around Rijeka.
By seaHydrofoil services operate from the wharf both around the Croatian coastline, and across to Venice. These are pricey, though provide a quick journey and provide some great views.
Venezia Lines ferry connects Pula with Venice. It runs five times a week, travel time is around 3 hr.
Buses are expensive (11 kn per card, per person, per ride), however, if you plan on using the Pulapromet only, you should make yourself a BusCard. The BusCard is a electromagnetic ticket that you can fill with money and then use cheaper bus rides. The price of a buscard is 30 kn but they usually sell them for 70 kn which includes 40 kn credit you can use on the bus. The BusCard reduces drastically the price of the ride making it a 6 kn per hour on the city lines (lines 1 to 9). Also, up to 5 people can use the same BusCard at the same moment, for the same bus. Also, the money on the BusCard is forever, meaning you can save it for the next time you come to Pula without fearing money loss.
If you want to take a small backpack with you on an Autotrans bus, first ask the driver if this is OK before buying the ticket. Otherwise you might be refused entry on the bus and your ticket will not be refunded, even if you have bought it from the driver just 2 minutes earlier (the Brioni company seems OK -onboard small backpacks are allowed, but you have to insist.)
All buses have a luggage area. The service is charged separately from the ticket and it usually costs 7 kn. Every ticket can be refunded at the ticket office (a fee will be charged). There should be no problem taking a small backpack or a small suitcase on the bus as long as you can fit it in the overhead compartment (which is rather small) or under your seat/legs.
ArenaThe 6th largest surviving Roman amphitheatre. Towering over the nearby buildings this huge structure was barely saved from destruction several times during its life, mostly by various Venetians with plans to take it to Venice stone by stone as demonstration of the might of the Venetian empire. Many stones were taken to build houses and other structures around Pula, but fortunately this practice was stopped before the whole structure was destroyed. Entry gives you access to wander the inside of the Colosseum and visit the caverns beneath. The audio tour is very worthwhile.
The ForumThe "Forum" is the main square in the centre of the city. The square is built on the site of the ancient Roman forum. On the square there is a city hall that was built in the 10th century (parts of an old temple were used for the building as it can be seen on the rear side of the hall) and the Temple of August, from the first century.
- Zlatna vrata (Triumphal arch, 1st century BC), Dvojna vrata (Twin gate, 2-3rd century), Herkulova vrata (Hercules gate, 1st century BC).
- St. Francis church and monastery, 14th century
- Orthodox church, 6th century
- Kaštel, a Castle from the 17th century features Istrian history museum
- Malo rimsko kazalište, Little Roman theatre behind the Archeology museum
- Mornaričko groblje, Sailors' cemetery (1866 - about 150,000 soldiers of Austro-Hungarian nations were buried there) and Mornarička crkva, Sailors' Church
- Visit Brijuni. Group of islands famous for their scenic beauty. They are a holiday resort and a Croatian National Park. They were also settled in Roman times and were part of Republic of Venice. There is also the famous residence of Josip Broz Tito (leader of former Yugoslavia). Boats go from small town near Pula named Fažana.
- Go on Fish picnic. You can take a walk through local marina and check out timetables and prices. Prices are usually around 250 kn per person.
- Walk down the Sergijevaca street where are many small shops, souvenir shops, bars and even sweet shops.
- Spend a whole day on beaches of Kamenjak , near Premantura (8 km from Pula). This peninsula is southernmost point of Istria, and features stunning landscapes and protected nature.
- Discover abandoned Austro-Hungarian fortresses , constructed just before World War I, when Pula was most fortified city in Europe. Some of those fortresses are hidden in the forests, and some are now occupied by Pula residents for different purposes, including Punta Christo, which operates as a summer club and music festival venue.
- Visit Pula Film Festival takes place yearly in the Arena in the second half of July.
- Truffles — Istria is famous for its truffles and various truffle products.
- Malvazija and Teran — Istrian wine varieties.
- Medica — a honey rakija.
- Biska — a rakija with mistletoe.
- Restaurant Farabuto. Excellent light and delicious slow food.
- Restaurant Galeb, Osječka 37, Monterizzi, Stoja. You won't find this one in any tourist guide, but everyone in the city knows the place: they serve best "chevapchichi" (minced meat, 5 cm x 1½ cm) in the city.
- Restaurant Gina . Excellent food in a unique setting that combines elegance with history.
- Restaurant Asterix. The best pizza in town. You should try the Asterix pizza, which means you can have a pizza divided into thirds, with a different set of toppings (kinds of pizza) on each one.
- Pizzeria Jupiter. Near Arena, the Roman amphitheatre - very good pizza.
- Restaurant El Pulari. A Mexican restaurant.
- Restaurant Biska.
phone: +385 91 223-0769address: Flaciusova 6 (na Rivi)In the centre of Pula, close to the main town square forum. The rooms are individual mini art galleries and the whole hostel is a design project bursting with spirit.
phone: +385 95 846-6517address: Marulićeva 41Small, family-run, refurbished art hostel in the centre of Pula. This hostel offers 2 fully equipped kitchens and beds for couples; grill on terrace; free Wi-Fi; 24-hr access; cable TV.
phone: +385 52 391 133address: Zaljev Valsaline 4And youth camp. Not such a nice looking place, but it is 10 meters from the beach, so you can almost jump directly from your bedroom right into the sea. (To get there, take bus 2a from the city (3a to return) and get off at Zlatne Stijene then follow the signs.)
- Hotel Riviera (1-star). Fabulous looking hotel built in 1907 for the high-ranking officers in the Austro-Hungarian army. Never properly refurbished since then it is now showing its age, but structurally it is impressive and looks oh-so-grand from the outside. The rooms are decked out with 1960s/70s fittings (orange bed covers, brown wooden panelling, lime green phone), with the sparseness showing the lack of funds for upkeep. Having said all that, it's clean, tidy, and comfortable. No doubt within a few years someone will make the investment to bring it back to its former glory. Quite expensive for its facilities.
Villa Mihaela3 apartments for 2-4 persons. Each of the apartments has a parking lot, and is equipped with air conditioner, SAT TV, and all other appliances that will make your stay pleasant.
phone: +385 52 223505address: Kozada 12/a, Štinjan, PulaAttractive apartments in the proximity of the well-known Brijuni Islands national park. A quiet place in a family house, built in 2004. in Štinjan only a few kilometres away from the centre of Pula. Air-con, SAT TV, fridge with freezer, kitchen with all the accessories, cooking stove (electricity+gas), washing machine, balcony.
address: Samagher 173 modern fully equipped apartments for 2-6 persons in a calm part of Pula 150 m from the sea and 3 km from the beach. The spacious swimming pool in situated in the garden (over 1500 m²). The apartments feature: Satellite TV, microwave owen, coffee machine, and two apartments also offer a washing machine and air condition. Free use of grill, bikes and lockers.
phone: +385 52375600address: AmfiteatarskaSmall modern hotel with en suite, flat screen TV, A/C, free Wi-Fi and a top class restaurant. Close to bus, rail and ferry, 12 minutes from the airport.
- National Park Brijuni - The beautiful Brijuni islands (also referred to as Brioni) stretch alongside the south-west coast of the Istrian peninsula. The national park offers too many attractions for all of them to be described here (dinosaur footprints, archaeological finds and sites, a little zoo, extremely rich flora and fauna, beautiful beaches, a former resort for European royals) so visit their website for more information.
- Rovinj, Rovigno
- Poreč, Parenzo
- Grožnjan, Grisignana
- Motovun, Montona