Pula Travel Guide
Pula was a major colonial city in Roman times. A stone’s throw from the motherland, it was home to a fantastic arena, temples, and other wonders. Despite the passage of millennia, they remain today in excellent condition.
Along with its museums, beaches, and other attractions, Pula is a must-visit on your Croatian holiday.
Come check out our Pula travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Pula, Croatia.
Start your visit to this charming Croatian city by visiting Pula Amphitheatre. It is nearly impossible to miss this attraction – standing 100 feet high, it dominates the skyline. With all four walls present and its exceptional condition, it is the most intact Roman arena outside Italy.
The scale of this place will strike you upon entering, though. When its original builders opened it in the 1st century AD, it had room for over 23,000 spectators. It still serves as a centre for cultural events today, with seating for 7,000 people.
As amazing as it is to walk down those passages, that isn’t the only surprise this place has. It also had two cisterns that contained scented water, which attendants sprinkled on spectators. The foyer below the seats contained shops, just like we do today. And there was rigging on the top of the enclosure walls where arena workers attached a large “sail.” Historians believed they used it to protect spectators from rain or the sun.
Despite being in incredible shape, UNESCO has yet to recognize this amphitheatre as a World Heritage Site. It is, however, featured on the back of Croatia’s 10 Kuna note. The entrance fee is 50 Kuna, or about 7.50 USD. You can also get an English audio guide for an extra charge. We recommend getting one, as it will expand your understanding of this historic site.
Its amphitheatre isn’t the only piece of Roman heritage that Pula has. It is also home to a well-preserved Temple of Augustus. Its impressive facade, with its broad, tall columns, defines this ancient wonder.
The Temple of Augustus stands 46 feet tall and is named after the legendary 1st-century Roman emperor. The building survived the ages remarkably intact until the 20th century. During the Second World War, it sustained severe damage in an air raid. By 1947, locals completely rebuilt the structure, keeping true to ancient building techniques.
Within the structure, you’ll find many amazing examples of Roman sculpture and reliefs. There is a small entrance fee of about 2 USD. All in all, it’s a low price to pay to see some ancient history.
After the Dark Ages, Pula became significant again during the 15th century. At that time, the Venetians built Pula Castle to defend the region. With sweeping views of the harbour, city, and Adriatic, it became an important defensive point.
Local regiments used it until after First World War, when advances in armaments rendered it obsolete. Today, it is known for its historical displays, cannons, and fantastic views of the area. It is a bit of a climb to get here from the town, but it is worth it.
Want to learn about Croatian olive oil? Learn about how farmers make this commodity at Museum Olei Histriae. Here, you’ll hear about how locals have grown this crop since the times of the Romans.
In contrast, you’ll see how farms produce this oil today, with modern techniques. At the end of your tour, your guide will lead you through an olive oil tasting. If you wish, you can purchase local oils in the shop before leaving.
Complete your tour of Roman sights in Pula by visiting the Arch of the Sergii. The Romans built this war memorial to honour the Sergii family. They sent three sons to fight in the Battle of Actium, a naval confrontation between Rome and Egypt.
Built in the 1st century BC, it remains in excellent condition to this day. It blends into the Old City of Pula, with cafes and restaurants surrounding it.
Ever wonder what life was like in Croatia during the mid-20th century? Find out by checking out MEMO Museum Pula. In this small but fun attraction, you’ll get to see how Croatians led their lives from the 1950s to the 1980s.
There are eight galleries in total – areas covered include cars, music, food, and fashion. Admission is 4 Euro – a modest amount for a fun rainy day activity. Note that outside high season, this museum closes on Sundays.
If you are travelling as a family, make time to visit the Aquarium Pula. This place is unique, as its builders housed it in what used to be a centuries-old fortress. In its tanks, you see marine life like small sharks, octopuses, and rescued sea turtles. Don’t take umbrage at the presence of the latter residents. They are actively rehabilitated and released back into the wild promptly.