Updated: Jul 24
After a short, forty-five minute flight from Zagreb, I arrived at the small airport of Pula on the southernmost Istria peninsula. Istria is the largest peninsula on the Adriatic Sea in Croatia and Pula is the largest town there. Known for it's delicious food, wine and beaches, I thought it would be a great place to start my vacation. I had decided for the summer I would travel to the northern part of Croatia and work my way south to the islands, ending up in Cavtat next to Dubrovnik.
Pula is near the border of Italy and Slovinia. The architecture, customs, food and art are strongly influenced by the Roman Empire and the Venetians who inhabited the town in the 1st century. There is a mix of Italian and Croatian spoken here. Venice is so close you can take a ferry for the day from Pula harbor taking only 3 hours.
Fish, seafood, truffles, smoked ham, cheese, pastas, risottos, and pizza are everyday cusine here. With the food and the Roman ruins everywhere you can imagine you are in Italy instead of Croatia.
They white wine, Malvazjia is very refreshing and delicious coming from the surrounding wine regions. All the wines here are delicious and very affordable.
The most famous monument in the city is the Pula Arena, one of the 6 surviving Roman amphitheaters in the world.
This arena is now the site for summer music festivals, concerts and the upcoming film festival. I have a ticket for the opening night of the film festival and I'm excited to watch in the open air of the arena. I've read that this film festival is similar to our Academy Awards in the states with their awards called "Golden Arenas" handed out to the winners.
Built in the same period of the arena is the Temple of Augustus in the main square of town honoring the Roman Emperor, Augustus.
The impressive Arch of Sergii, also known as the Arch of Triumph, stands at the entrance to the old city.
( I found a great little cafe called Aisian Street Food next to this arch)!
They say that Pula is less touristy then most of the towns in Istria because it's mostly known for it's fishing and shipbuilding. Judging from the crowds in the streets and also the crowded beaches, I would have to disagree! The restaurants are filled at night and there are long lines for the many gelato shops in town.
I think two weeks in Pula is a long visit. Four to five days would be enough. I prefer to be walking distance to a beach and here in Pula you need to take a bus to most of them. The bus is only $1.50 US and only takes 20 minutes to reach them. I haven't found the perfect beach yet but there are many and I try a new one every day.
They are very crowded which is to be expected for the summer. I think the majority of beach towns in Europe this summe will be crowded with tourists because everyone is so ready to travel after Covid. Although, I have been reading in the US, Covid is starting another nasty rise in cases.
I do have to say my Air B&B here in Pula is one of the nicest I have ever stayed in. It is a very central location close to the main square, 5 minutes to the fruit and vegetable farmers markets
and the bus stop is just down the street.
The apartment is very large with high ceilings and many modern touches, including AC and a dishwasher. It has a great shower, plenty of hot water and a very comfortable bed. The best part for me is the large terrace outside where I spend the majority of my time. I highly recommend this property if staying in the area.
The owner Maya is so nice and readily available for any questions, responding in minutes.
I am off to try another beach and eat a huge plate of delicious pasta for lunch! I will see how the day unfolds and will update accordingly.