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The beating heart of Istria

One of the Istria peninsula’s most authentic resorts, Pula is a bustling portside city. The star attraction is its impressive Roman amphitheatre, so large it looms over the harbourfront, towering above the terraced cafés and seafood restaurants. This is where the action happens over the summer, when the crumbling monument transforms into an otherworldly venue for music festivals and outdoor concerts. Pula holidays offer urban buzz, cosmopolitan dining and remote, rugged beaches.

Despite being the region’s capital, Pula has more of a small-town vibe to it, meaning you can walk at a laid-back pace as you wander around its pedestrianised Roman centre. A city of contrasts, Pula juxtaposes Renaissance architecture, Roman ruins and modernist residential blocks. Yet if you’ve come for the sunbathing and swimming, holidays to Pula won’t disappoint, as the bay offers pretty beaches, dramatic scenery and plenty of hidden coves.

Your Pula questions, answered

Crammed with architectural gems, historic monuments, relaxed restaurants and year-round nightlife, Pula is perfect for holidaying friends and history buffs alike. Families love its uncrowded beaches.
Pula is one of Istria’s most affordable resorts with plenty of budget options. That said, upmarket boutiques and villas are also dotted throughout the city.
You'll have the best weather in Pula from May to October, with temperatures around 20ºC in spring and autumn. In July and August, this goes up to 28ºC or higher and you'll find the resort a lot busier. In July, you'll encounter festivals and events in the amphitheatre, including well-known bands and singers. You can see street theatre and a film festival, and gatherings for cyclists and bikers. Musical events include electronic, heavy metal and ska, punk and the Seasplash reggae beach party. In Pula, you'll also see historical shows in the amphitheatre and forum.
Pula is known for its Roman amphitheatre, music festivals and as the one-time home of writer James Joyce, whose statue sits in the city centre.
As well as the Blue Flag beaches at Valkane, Brioni and Ambrela, you'll find another Blue Flag at Histria beach, in the Verudela area. You might notice its more relaxed vibe, making it a favourite with young adults and couples. The water is clean and protected by lifeguards, and you can join a diving school right on the beach. Aside from these Blue Flag beaches, you'll come across a beach around every corner of Pula's coastline. Most of them are pebbly and shallow with a variety of sporting and bathing facilities. Many are conveniently on bus routes.
Yes, absolutely. You'll find beaches galore around Pula, with a wide choice of water sports and bathing facilities. You can also visit an inflatable water playground or adventure park in the woods near the Lungomare seafront promenade. Children over four can try out its obstacle course, with 30 challenges and zip lines. For indoor pursuits, your kids might be interested in the interactive historical museum where you can travel back to the 1950s. You could go riding at the Ranch Istra Star, about 15 minutes’ drive away, drive 50 minutes to the Dinopark or visit the Pula aquarium.
If you're into ancient history, you'll love Pula. You can see many 2,000-year-old Roman relics, including a completely preserved Roman amphitheatre. Pula Coliseum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and still in use for concerts. The old Roman forum is now Pula's main square and, on the edge of the Roman town, you'll find a large triumphal arch. In the forum, you'll see a well-preserved Roman temple, dedicated to Rome's first emperor, Augustus. In the Historical Museum of Istria, you can also walk along the ramparts of a 17th-century Venetian fortress, with many historical and cultural exhibits inside.
You can drive from Pula to Rovinj in about 40 minutes, on a good road. You could also go by private shuttle bus, or by taxi, though that'll cost a lot more. If you feel like a change, you could also get there by ferry, but they only go once a week. Rovinj is an attractive, traditional Istrian port, with narrow cobbled streets and colourful houses. It's nice to wander around for a few hours if you want to see a different part of the Istrian Riviera.
You could fit in all the historical sites in Pula in one day if you have the energy. You'll do quite a bit of walking to take in the colosseum, forum, triumphal arch and other historic buildings. Two to three days would give you time to go to the beach, try out some local foods in the market hall and explore the city's other attractions. If you have a family, you'll definitely need at least a week. Your kids can get their sea time while you relax on the beach or enjoy some water sports.

Best things to do in Pula

Feast on seafood

Fishing boats dock at Pula’s harbour with their fresh hauls. Choose a waterfront restaurant and order grilled sardines with a glass of chilled Istrian white.

Spot Roman ruins

The amphitheatre is the greatest treasure in Pula, but also look out for the majestic arches of the Golden Gate and the well-preserved Temple of Augustus.

Dance all night

Pula and its surrounding coastal suburbs host some of the best summertime dance music festivals in Europe, meaning there’s always a hip party happening somewhere.
Beaches