If you’re looking to uncover one of Europe’s best kept secrets on your 2018 holiday, head to the beautiful town of Pula. Packed full of culture, great food and activities - with the added bonus of some fantastic beaches - a cheap holiday to Pula comes pre-packaged with a wealth of fun and entertainment. The town effortlessly combines the ancient culture and architecture of the Roman empire with modern Croatian city life, to create an unforgettable escape on Croatia’s Istrian coastline. The 20,000 capacity Roman amphitheatre in Pula’s city centre regularly hosts concerts of every kind, from classical to pop and everything in between. Away from the town you’ll discover dinosaur footprints in the nearby national park and sandy sunbathing retreats dotted along a rugged and captivating coastline.
A visit to the nearby, family-friendly resort of Medulin offers a quiet beach and harbour to explore at a slower pace. Drive north of Pula and you will uncover a rural retreat away from the bustling city and busy beaches. Take a coastal sightseeing boat trip to see the magic of the nearby Brijuni islands or relax on a terrace with a cocktail in one of Pula’s many excellent hotels and bars along the coast.
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Holidays in Pula offer something to keep everyone entertained. From the impressive and superbly preserved ancient Roman Amphitheatre to the well-stocked aquarium on Pula’s coastline, the city has plenty to see and do. Explorers and nature lovers will love Cape Kamenjak National Park. This protected area of Croatia’s coastline offers a great day out - full of activity options. There’s a bus which heads to the park direct from Pula or you can drive there in under 20 minutes. Keep an eye out for dolphins and seals swimming off the coast or smaller creatures closer to shore. Hike or bike your way through the park and see some of Croatia’s unspoiled countryside. If you’re keen to find see shade and see a different side to Pula, head to the city’s underground tunnels. Built during WWI to protect people living in the city, you can explore the passageways from three entrances dotted around Pula.
Croatia’s cuisine is varied and delicious. Influenced by its neighbours and the different nations that have ruled Croatia, menus are well stocked with familiar dishes and ingredients from Turkey, Austria, Italy and Hungary. On the coast you can expect to tuck into seafood dishes, using the freshest fish from the day’s catch. Brudet, a fish stew, is a common sight on many Pula restaurant menus. Usually served with polenta, the fish is slowly cooked for several hours in a spicy sauce of tomatoes, onions and chilli pepper. Don’t forget to leave room for dessert on a Pula holiday. Donut fans will want to try the Fritule. Zesty and round, the ingredients of these deep-fried delicacies include lemon zest, schnapps and raisins. Krostule are crunchy, fried knots of pastry, sprinkled in sugar. Two simple, but indulgent sweets you can’t fail to be tempted by.
With over 180-kilometres of sandy and pebbled beaches on the Verudela Peninsula, there are plenty of places for families to spend long days at the beach. When you’re done with sand-castle building, water-sports, swimming and snorkelling, Pula’s Old Town is a fun place to explore. Set imaginations young and old running wild in the gladiatorial amphitheatre before heading to one of the many family-friendly restaurants and cafes. Get your heads together to take part in the ‘escape the room’ game at the Escape Room Enigmarium or race to the go-karting track for a speedy afternoon of fun. Kids will love learning about the local marine life at Pula’s aquarium and sporty families can explore the adventure park or take a cycle tour of the city. In the rural north of Pula there are horse riding trails to trot along and the nearby national park is just waiting for inquisitive families to discover the preserved dinosaur footprints found in the area. There’s a wealth of fun just waiting to be uncovered for families on a Pula holiday.
Pula holidays and the surrounding coastline offer the chance to experience some truly spectacular bike trails. Bike tours regularly take visitors from Pula to the Cape Kamenjak National Park, guiding cyclists through the bustling city to the orchid filled landscape of the park. Pula’s first adventure park is open and welcoming explorers of all ages. Climb high up into the trees and explore a network of hanging bridges, rope walks and zip lines, picnic among the tall pine trees and finish the day with a walk along the nearby promenade. Further afield you can head out to Brijuni National Park. A network of islands, once home to the infamous Josip Broz Tito - many of the islands can now be explored.
If a boat trip to the islands sounds a little too sedate,hire a jet ski to explore Pula’s coast at top speed. Thrill seekers can ride the waves between the islands or check out Pula’s impressive cityscape from the water.
Away from central Pula’s cityscape, there are a choice of beaches on Pula’s coast just waiting to welcome beach-lovers. Relax on the mix of pebbles and soft sand or launch yourself into the refreshing waters for a cooling dip. Sun-kissed and clean, Pula’s beaches also come with the Blue Flag seal of approval. If you’re keen to find your own little slice of beach bliss, there are plenty of hideaway coves to relax in.
The sparkling, crystal clear Adriatic waters on this coastline make it a great place for snorkelling and diving. Float on the sea’s surface with your snorkel and take a glimpse into the undersea world of the creatures living on Croatia’s coast. Spend the morning relaxing and soaking up the Croatian sun, grab a bite to eat from one of the nearby restaurants and bars for lunch and enjoy an afternoon on the water. Sea kayaks are available to hire if you’re feeling sporty, while boat trips are an ideal way to carry on relaxing and exploring Pula’s coastline.
Thumping bass, hip hop, techno and house music are all on the menu in Pula’s varied club scene. From Club Uljanik, a staple in Pula’s city centre since the 60s to the newly renovated Ambrela - a beach bar on the Verudela peninsula - there’s a late night party vibe buzzing throughout the Pula and beyond. You’ll even find DJs entertaining the crows in Pula’s historic navel forts. Fort Punta Christo plays host to festivals and Fort Bourguignon is home to DJ events throughout the summer. For an evening of sumptuous views and cocktails on the terrace, E&D’s Bistro Lounge in Verudela’s stunning setting is the ideal place for a chilled out evening. Travel at the right time and you may well find yourself catching a concert in the 20,000 capacity Roman amphitheatre. Big name stars regularly sell out this magnificent arena.
Pula holidays offer couples the chance to wander the old town’s streets hand in hand, sip cocktails watching the sunset and spend lazy days nestled in secluded, coastal, idyllic sunbathing spots. The quintessential romantic getaway, yet still with plenty of activities to keep active couples busy. Pula’s bustling city can get quite busy in the summer, but couples can join a boat trip to the quieter nearby Brijuni islands to explore at their own pace. Discover the ancient Roman ruins, take a dip in the Adriatic Sea or book a candlelit dinner in one of Pula’s many excellent restaurants. The laziest days by the pool or busiest days in the city will all combine to make a holiday to remember.
A holiday in Pula wouldn’t be complete without visiting the imposing Roman Amphitheatre. Overlooking the nearby harbour, the huge structure used to host gladiator contests watched by audiences of over 20,000 people. Now mainly a tourist attraction, Pula’s amphitheatre is still entertaining - concerts, plays and festivals are held over the summer months. Away from this Roman relic there are plenty more historical sites dotted around Pula to discover. A Roman sarcophagus in the Cathedral, the Temple of Augustus and a beautiful Roman floor mosaic in Sergijevaca. Pula’s also bringing beauty to its modern cityscape with a new art project. ‘Lighting Giants’ sees the towering cranes in Pula’s working shipyard lit up at night. The colourful lights can be illuminated in 16,000 different combinations. Reflecting on the water, at night the cranes come alive - lighting every night on the hour.
The month of July sees several cultural events taking place on Pula’s streets. From the film and theatre festivals to classical concerts in the amphitheatre and a hardcore punk and ska festival - the range is diverse. The Seasplash Reggae Festival sees the party spill out onto the coast in a whirlwind of colour, music and dancing on Croatia’s beautiful coastline.