Pula: top 5 things to do in Croatia’s ancient beach town

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The town of Pula is over three millennia old, and the history of the place is evident everywhere you look. From the wonderfully preserved Roman Amphitheater and Temple of Augustus to the Arch of the Sergii and 17th-century baroque castle, the old town is the perfect place for a lazy stroll.

As Pula is also a coastal town, there are beautiful swimming spots nearby. In summer this means the town becomes incredibly busy with tourists, so I’d definitely recommend visiting in shoulder season (late April to May) when the weather is lovely and the crowds are yet to arrive.

 

Here are five unmissable things to do in Pula

 

1. Swim at Uvala Valovine and Cyclon’s Beach

Perfectly clear blue/green water accessed by large rocks or pebble beaches. There’s also a camping ground here and shops with ice cream, bakery items and a seafood restaurant.

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2. Sunset Drinks at the Amphitheater

There’s a perfect little local bar on the northern side of the amphitheater that serves local Istra Bitters for 1.5€ and has outdoor seats looking out to the ruins and sea beyond.

3. Walk the Foreshore and Explore Abandoned Areas

To the north-west of the train station a patchwork bridge leads over the river to a path along the foreshore where abandoned buildings, jetties and boats abound. My favourite kind of place to explore.

4. Enjoy a Seafood Dinner in the Old Town

For 20€ at one of the many restaurants near the Forum area of the old town you can get a whole grilled fish with vegetables, a glass of wine, delicious tiramisu and espresso to finish off the meal.

5. Take a Day Trip or Evening Cruise to Brijun National Park

In the end I didn’t visit this island but it’s something I’d love to do on a return trip. You can take a local bus to Fazana for around 2€ and then a boat to the island (around 20€ for the boat and entrance fee) or take one of the many excursion boats directly from Pula. I saw a 3 hour evening cruise around the national park from 5-8pm where they point out the main sites and hope to see dolphins. The cruise is around 25€ including all the wine and beer you can drink in 3 hours.