PulaJewel of the verdant peninsula of Istria, Pula is the province’s largest city and forms a dramatic gateway to the seductive, crystalline waters of the Adriatic. Situated at the southernmost tip of the area, known as ’the new Tuscany’ for its bright medieval hilltop towns and ancient ruins, Pula boasts a rich and varied cultural heritage. The city is bordered by national parks, remarkable for their astounding unspoilt natural beauty, and is celebrated for its wonderfully preserved Roman amphitheatre and forum.
The CityThe ancient town of Pula has been inhabited since 1000 BC. Roman expansion into the peninsula in the first century AD has left the city with many of its most glorious monuments, including the world-renown amphitheatre which hosts the city’s annual opera festival every summer. After the fall of Rome, Pula passed through the hands of various warring groups including the Ostrogoths and the Francs before becoming part of the Venetian republic in the 12th century, leaving the port city with an eclectic mix of cultural influences which can be seen in the architecture of the city today. Pula has a certain literary fame as well, mentioned in Dante’s 14th century classic, "The Divine Comedy," and as the home of Irish author, James Joyce, who taught at the Berlitz School in 1905. 21st-century Pula nestles snugly at the cusp of seven hills that open out into a wide natural harbour, which has been the bustling commercial hub of the city since the mid-19th century. The centre of the city can easily be explored on foot and many of Pula’s most exciting museums, restaurants and parks are within 10 minutes’ walk of each other. If you have time, venture beyond the city and into the surrounding area where Roman ruins lie buried in the fertile farmland and numerous tiny picturesque villages cling to the glittering coastline. It is a great area to walk in and the exquisite beauty of the nearby national parks is not to be missed.
Do & See
Pula offers a mixture of attractions for those interested in culture and history. Here you can see beautiful attractions like the Roman Amphitheatre, Ancient Cathedral, Old Town and the Temple of Augustus. Pula also offers fun family entertainment like the Aquarium with open tank with all kind of sea life. A great tourist asset is Pula’s 190 kilometre of coastline with crystal clear sea and beaches that suit everyone´s needs. If you would like to go for a short trip then Brijuni National Park is a great choose, located in an island close to Pula.
As a result of its proximity to Italy and its wealth of glorious coastline, Istria has a varied, fresh and sophisticated cuisine which draws on influences from across the Mediterranean and the Adriatic coasts. As the largest town in the region, Pula has a wide range of restaurants serving a refreshing selection of fresh products. The fertile soil of the region gives a distinctive flavour to the olives and grapes which grow near to the sea and the vineyards which give the area its name for great wine and some of the finest olive oil in the country. Istrian cooking takes advantage of many Italian techniques so expect to find an interesting mix of Mediterranean. Along the coast, restaurants serve brancin (sea bass), list (sole), dagnje (mussels), vongole (clams) and kozice-racici (prawns). According to local lore, the seafood tastes better here than elsewhere in the Adriatic and Mediterranean because the waters around Istria are so rich in nutrients.
Relax in one of the places and enjoy coffee or tea after a full day of historical sightseeing. You will find many coffee shops on the street Forum, where the Temple of Augustus stands, a square described as a bustling piazza with many nice venues.
Bars & Nightlife
Laws in Pula restrict bar opening hours, meaning that most venues are closed by midnight and nightlife is limited to a number of bars in the Veruda area of the city as well as a few larger clubs northeast of the centre. Although local law forbid city-centre bars from opening beyond midnight, Pula does have a number of sociable and picturesque venues just outside the middle of town.
Pula’s bustling central market is built in the heart of the city and is home to a wide range of modern and traditional shops. Under the glass arches of the 19th century iron framed covered market, you will find the area’s largest fish market, which is best visited early in the morning when the brackish catch of a truly vast range of seafood is at its freshest. Look out for Brancin (sea perch) and fresh Dagnje (mussels), which are specialities of the region. Traditional handicrafts can be bought from a number of souvenir shops near the Arch of the Sergeii, and there is an annual handicrafts festival held in the Portarata square every summer. For excellent wines, olive oil and the region´s most precious fungus, the truffle, visit Zigante on the edge of the market place. Outside of town on the way to the airport, Konzum mall is home to a wide range of affordable, ready to wear international brands and electronics stores.