Travel Guide Europe Croatia Istria Pula

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Introduction

Three thousand year old city Pula is situated in the south of the Istrian peninsula. The town has beautiful beaches spread over beautiful and indented coastline. In Pula you will enjoy excellent restaurants, and on the most beautiful stage in the world, in the Arena under the stars, during the summer you can listen to some of the most famous names from the world of music. The most renowned event is the International film festival, one of the most spectacular in Europe, which is held in the open air.

Its history started about 3000 years ago when it was built by Illyrians. Romans occupied Istria in 177 BC. After the destruction of Western Roman empire, Istrian peninsula was devastated by Ostrogoths. Slavs came in Istria during migration period in 7th century but mostly lived on countryside. At that time Pula was still inhabited mostly by Italians. Landlords in Pula changed quite frequently in middle ages from republic of Venice to Genoa to Illyrian Provinces to Austria–Hungary and many others. After second world war it has been part of Croatia. In that time Italians fled to mother Italy and Pula was inhabited by Croats. Although most of the population still consists of Croats there are lots of quite big minorities in Pula such as Serbs, Italians, Bosniaks and Slovenes.

Most tourists visit in the summer months, with most attractions and restaurants closing between October and May.

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Sights and Activities

  • Arena (Roman amphitheatre). The 6th largest surviving Roman amphitheatre. Towering over the nearby buildings this huge structure was barely saved from destruction several times during its life, mostly by various Venetians with plans to take it to Venice stone by stone as demonstration of the might of the Venetian empire. Many stones were taken to build houses and other structures around Pula, but fortunately this practice was stopped before the whole structure was destroyed. Entry gives you access to wander the inside of the Colosseum and visit the caverns beneath. The audio tour is very worthwhile. 50 kn regular, 25 kn for pupils and students.
  • The Forum. The "Forum" is the main square in the centre of the city. The square is built on the site of the ancient Roman forum. On the square there is a city hall that was built in the 10th century (parts of an old temple were used for the building as it can be seen on the rear side of the hall) and the Temple of August, from the first century.
  • Archeological Museum of Istria
  • Zlatna vrata (Triumphal arch, 1st century BC), Dvojna vrata (Twin gate, 2-3rd century), Herkulova vrata (Hercules gate, 1st century BC).
  • St. Francis church and monastery, 14th century
  • Orthodox church, 6th century
  • Kaštel, a Castle from the 17th century features Istrian history museum
  • Malo rimsko kazalište, Little Roman theatre behind the Archeology museum
  • Mornaričko groblje, Sailors' cemetery (1866 - about 150,000 soldiers of Austro-Hungarian nations were buried there) and Mornarička crkva, Sailors' Church

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Weather

Protected from the north by the mountain chain of Alps as well the inner highland, the climate is humid subtropical, very pleasant, with the highest air temperature averaging 24 °C during August and lowest averaging 6 °C, in January. Summers are usually warm during the day and cooler near the evening, although some strange heat wave patterns are also common.

Normally, it is humid. Temperatures above 10 °C last for more than 240 days a year. There are two different kinds of winds here – the bora brings cold and clear weather from the north in winter, and the southern Sirocco bringing rain in summer. The 'Maestral' is a summer breeze blowing from the inland to the sea.

Like the rest of the region Pula – Pola is known for its mild climate, tame sea, and unspoiled nature with an average of sunny days of 2,316 hours per year or 6.3 hours a day, with an average air temperature of 13.7 °C (6.1 °C in February to 26.4 °C in July and August) and sea temperature from 7 °C to 26 °C.

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Getting There

By Plane

Pula has its own international airport with daily flights to Zagreb, and direct services from many European cities including Amsterdam, Edinburgh, London, Manchester, Oslo, Vienna and Zurich. Ryanair operates direct flights from London three times a week. Many flights to Pula are charter rather than scheduled, while other flights are seasonal (summer only).

There is a scheduled bus service from the bus station in town to the airport. Buses are operated by Brioni and connect to most major flights. The cost of a one-way ticket is 25 kn. A taxi from the bus station to the city should be around 85 kn in the low season and much higher in the summer.

It is possible to also consider Rijeka Airport on the island of Krk and Trieste Airport in nearby Italy to access Pula as they are close by and offer flights to different destinations.

By Train

There is a train station near the waterfront with services serving Istria and into Slovenia due to historical circumstance rather than back towards the rest of Croatia (though a connecting coach service operates for services to Rijeka and Zagreb).

By Bus

The large and modern bus station is on the edge of the 'old town' district and is the hub of local, domestic and international bus routes. There are direct buses from Zagreb, Rijeka, Split, Trieste, Ljubljana, Belgrade and Venice.

By Boat

Venezia lines ferries connects Pula and Venice. During summer there is catamaran line connecting Pula, Mali Losinj and Zadar.

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Getting Around

For local transport you can use the taxi service. There's a company offering taxi services now for 15-20 kn/5 km. Search for Taxi Cammeo on every phonebook, or hail one of their vehicles down. Local, owner-operated taxis are more expensive.

Buses are known to be expensive (11 kn per card, per person, per ride), however, if you plan on using the Pulapromet only, you should make yourself a BusCard. The BusCard is a electromagnetic ticket that you can fill with money and then use cheaper bus rides. The price of a buscard is 30 kn but they usually sell them for 70 kn which includes 40 kn credit you can use on the bus. The BusCard reduces drastically the price of the ride making it a 6 kn per hour on the city lines (lines 1 to 9). Also, up to 5 people can use the same BusCard at the same moment, for the same bus. Also, the money on the BusCard is forever, meaning you can save it for the next time you come to Pula without fearing money loss.

If you want to take a small backpack with you on an Autotrans bus, first ask the driver if this is OK before buying the ticket. Otherwise you might be refused entry on the bus and your ticket will not be refunded, even if you have bought it off the driver just 2 minutes earlier (the Brioni company seems OK -onboard small backpacks are allowed, but you have to insist.)

All buses have a luggage area. The service is charged separately from the ticket and it usually costs 7 kn. Every ticket can be refunded at the ticket office (a fee will be charged). There should be no problem taking a small backpack or a small suitcase on the bus as long as you can fit it in the overhead compartment (which is rather small) or under your seat/legs.

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Sleep

View our map of accommodation in Pula or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafés are available in all major cities. They are relatively cheap and reliable. A free Wi-Fi signal can be found virtually in every city and can be found in cafés, restaurants, hotels, some libraries, schools, colleges etc. Mostly it's free, but sometimes a fee is required or you can use it for a limited time only. Internet connections with unlimited downloads costs 178 kn (€24) per month via T-Com and just 99 kn with some other providers like Metronet or Iskon.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Croatia is: 385. To make an international call from Croatia, the code is: 00.

Croatia uses the GSM 900/1800 system for mobile phones. There are three providers, T-Mobile (also operates the Bonbon prepaid brand), Vip (also operates the Tomato prepaid brand) and Tele2. Over 98% of the country's area is covered. If you have an unlocked phone, you can buy a prepaid SIM card for 20 kn. There have been promotions in which SIM cards were given avay for free with newspapers (7 kn) and sometimes even literally handed out on the street. GSM phones bundled with T-Mobile or Vip prepaid SIM cards can be found in post offices, grocery stores and kiosks at varying prices.

An alternative to using a mobile phone is Calling Cards which can be found in postal offices and kiosks, there are two providers, Dencall and Hitme. You can buy cards from 25 kn.

Post

Hrvatska Posta is the national postal service of Croatia and has pretty fast and reliable service throughout the country and internationally. It takes several days by airmail to other countries in Europe, but over a week to the US for example. They have a direct link to the pricelist, where you can see the prices of sending postcards, letters and parcels both domestically as well as to other countries. Post boxes are yellow in Croatia and the times of collections are indicated on the box. The opening times of post offices vary, but mostly they are open from 8:00am to 7:00pm Monday to Friday and until 2:00pm on Saturdays, though some might keep shorter or even a longer hours, just ask around. You can buy stamps here, or at newsstands. Prices start at around 10Kn for sending a letter or postcard to neighbouring countries, a few more further away. If you want to send packages internationally, it might be better to check companies like FedEx, TNT, DHL or UPS. They are reliable, fast and usually not much more expensive than Croatia's postal service.

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Accommodation in Pula

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Pula searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Pula and areas nearby.

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This is version 13. Last edited at 9:15 on Nov 5, 18 by Utrecht. 9 articles link to this page.

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