Exploring Pula, Croatia: My Travel Experience

Written by owenzajac May 30, 2024

Nestled on the Istrian Peninsula, Pula, Croatia, is a hidden gem with ancient history, a beautiful coastline, and vibrant culture. Whether you love history, are a nature enthusiast, or are a beach lover, Pula offers an array of unique experiences and day trips that cater to everyone.


For History Lovers

Pula’s rich history is anchored by the gigantic Roman Amphitheatre, also known as the Pula Arena. This well-preserved structure, dating back to 27 BC, once hosted gladiatorial battles and today serves as a venue for concerts and festivals. Pula Arena is the only remaining Roman Amphitheatre in the world to have all four of its sides preserved. The town has been taken over in wartime by almost every major European Empire including the Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, French Empire, Austria-Hungary(WWI), and Italy (WW2). However, Pula residents embrace the history of the town and the influences that came before them. 
Other Recommendations for History Lovers:
The Archaeological Museum of Istria, which houses a remarkable collection of artifacts that narrate Pula’s storied past.


Sun, Sea, and Rocks

Pula’s coastline is a paradise for beachgoers. Head to Verudela Peninsula, where you’ll find a string of beautiful beaches like Histria Beach and Ambrela Beach. These spots are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, or soaking up the sun. Umbrella Beach also offers a water playscape, where you can play with your friends on a blown-up playground on the ocean. The best part of all the beaches? All Croatian beaches are public, meaning they are all open for tourists to see free of charge! For a more secluded experience, explore the hidden coves and crystal-clear waters of Kamenjak National Park, located just a short taxi from the city. Kamenjak National Park offers cliff jumping and kayaking for those who like to get adventurous.
Other Recommendations for Beachgoers:
Lungo Beach boardwalk, set in between some secluded beach coves and a thick pine forest.


Nature and Adventure

For nature lovers, a day trip to the Brijuni Islands is a must. This national park, accessible by boat from the Pula Harbor, offers a blend of stunning landscapes, archaeological sites, and wildlife. You can explore the islands on foot or a guided boat tour. My friends and I got to explore St. Jerome Island on a boat tour. The island is home to a hilly landscape, with 3 main areas including a secluded beach on one side of the island, a forest on another, and a bar restaurant on the other. This island offers everything from climbing, relaxing, snorkeling, and great photo opportunities. The island is also home to exotic animals, including many peacocks that wander around. Whether you like to explore, hike, swim, or enjoy a glass of wine, St. Jerome Island offers many ways to enjoy its beauty.
Other Recommendations for Adventurists:
Baredine Cave, an underground world adorned with stalactites and stalagmites. The guided tour will take you through the cave’s formations and underground lakes, offering a unique look into the natural wonders of Istria.


Culinary Delights

Pula’s culinary scene is a fusion of Italian and Croatian flavors. Treat yourself to fresh seafood, homemade pasta, and truffles — a local specialty. Visit the local stores to sample local produce, cheeses, and Istrian wine and spirits. Enjoy a dinner with one of the coastal restaurants and enjoy a meal with a view of the Adriatic Sea. For a memorable dining experience, head to Forum Square and eat dinner with a reenactment of the Roman Empire by the locals on the weekends.
Other Recommendations for Foodies:
One food item Pula is unique to having is their Ćevapi or Balkan grilled meat sticks.


Vibrant Nightlife

As the sun sets, Pula comes alive with its vibrant nightlife. The city offers a range of bars, clubs, and live music venues. During the summer, the Pula Film Festival transforms the amphitheater into an open-air cinema, offering a setting to enjoy international films under the stars in a piece of history. Pula is also home to many bars and clubs, like Pietas Julia, a colorful Nightclub. For a more relaxed setting, enjoy music and a pint at Old City Bar.
Other Recommendations for Nightlife:
Shipyard Pub, home to an outdoor open yard with a live DJ and a town square setting.



Pula, with its blend of ancient history, natural beauty, and a unique atmosphere, offers something for every traveler. Whether you’re exploring the Roman ruins, basking on the beaches, or savoring local cuisine, your time in Pula will be filled with unforgettable moments and journeys that will surely have you planning your return. Pack your bags and get ready to discover the many charms of this Istrian gem.