Croatia 2023

I fell in love with Croatia last year and I am still eager to discover everything it has to offer. Are you up for a journey around the Mediterranean that blends breathtaking natural beauty, a storied past, and a dynamic present? Look no further than Croatia’s Istrian shore, where Pula, a charming city, is waiting.

Discovering Pula, Croatia’s undiscovered gem

Pula is a compelling location that guarantees a once-in-a-lifetime experience for tourists of all interests. It is nestled amid the turquoise waves of the Adriatic Sea. We’ll give you a virtual tour of Pula in this blog post and I am sure that you will fall in love with this country!

A full guide to the enchanting Istrian Coast (Part 1)

Croatia’s magnificent scenery, breathtaking seaside vistas, and rich tapestry of history and culture await anyone who take a road trip there. It’s crucial to plan ahead and be ready for your journey if you want it to go smoothly and be memorable.

Plan your itinerary

We planned our trip for months in advance pointing out some must see places. This year we were travelling with a dear friend so we wanted to give her the full Istrian coast experience. This was based of course on our previous travels to Croatia.

  • Planning an itinerary carefully is essential for a successful road trip
  • Find out more about Croatia’s must-see locations, depending on the area where you are travelling
  • Allocate enough time for exploration and relaxation, taking into account the driving distances between each place
  • Don’t forget to leave room in your schedule for unforeseen discoveries along the way.

Exploring Pula

The city of Pula, which is located in Croatia’s gorgeous Istrian Peninsula, is proof that history, culture, and the surrounding environment can coexist harmoniously. Pula, which has origins in antiquity, has developed into a thriving metropolitan hub with a variety of alluring landmarks that attract tourists from all over the world.

Pula Arena

The arena is a masterpiece of architecture that is proudly displayed in the center of the city. This enormous amphitheater, which could hold up to 23,000 people, has been flawlessly restored.

The well-preserved underground cells are open to visitors and offer an intriguing look into the daily lives of gladiators and the workings of ancient entertainment.

The Temple of Augustus

Another gem of the city is the Augustus Temple, which is devoted to Augustus, the first Roman emperor. This temple, which was constructed between 2 BC and 14 AD is a fine example of Roman architecture. It now houses a collection of antiquated statues and relics that provide a window into the city’s illustrious past.

Arch of the Sergii

This masterpiece is a monument commemorating the prominence of the Sergii family in Roman times, continuing Pula’s historical environment. It was built in the first century BC and features elaborate carvings, is a magnificent illustration of Roman architecture.

The Chapel of St Mary Formosa
The Chapel of St Mary Formosa

Cave Romane

This quarry from Roman times was used for the extraction of the building stone used for the construction of the Pula Arena on the command of the Emperor Vespasian. The quarry is near Vinkuran settlement and Pješčana Uvala.

Finding an accommodation

We chose a extremely lovely place My Little Place in Croatia, a fully equipped apartment right in Pula. You can check out the profile here.   

Patrick is an amazing host and we discussed every detail prior our arrival. It was indeed the best experience we had with an accommodation.

Choose the Right Season

Selecting the right season for your road trip is vital. Croatia’s peak tourist season is during the summer months (June to August), which means crowded roads, busy attractions, and higher prices. In June and end of August you’ll enjoy milder weather, fewer crowds, and better opportunities to connect with the local culture.

June is perfect in terms of traveling, since the high season has not yet started. However I would advise to book in advance since the high season will also have different prices. Choose wisely and you will find what you are looking for.

Travel costs

These might vary depending on the departure city. As an example, a round trip Cluj-Napoca – Pula with trips between cities meant two fills to a 50 l tank of diesel fuel. We did tank only on return, having plenty of Diesel left. Add here the highway tolls to the destination which totaled 54 Euros for round trip.

Also to be added is the vignette for Hungary, which has become significantly more expensive compared to last year and costs 15 Euros for 10 days.

Places to eat in Pula

You will be tempted to eat in the center, that is sure, but explore hidden places where you can experience a culinary delight.

Grill Restaurant Odisej is a place that you need to explore. You will taste the traditional Ćevapčići with truffles, an absolute extraordinary experience. The meat is fresh and tender and it is being served along chips, onion and a special dip with truffles, you will not taste anything similar anywhere. We highly recommend to visit this place and taste this amazing dish.

Don`t miss the Pulačinka

The best experience with pancakes is definitely here. You need to taste and experience this dessert at a completely new level.

Best Ice Cream in Pula is in the center at Gelato Fratelli

Beaches in Pula

We recommend the following places to enjoy the sun and a cocktail along:

  • Batana Beach Bar Pula
  • Hawaii Beach
  • Lighthouse Beach
  • Ambrela Beach
  • Brioni Beach

Not all of them have showers though, so make sure to check this. Batana Beach and Ambrela Beach have both showers and take it as an advice, the water is very salty.

Batana Beach

Best sunset in Pula

If you are up for a romantic evening just take your time to enjoy a beautiful sunset at Crkvica, Verudela. It will be worth and you will spend some quality time with your loved ones or with friends watching the most amazing sunset.

Despite the fact that this location is not far from the beaches that are frequently visited, it is an excellent place to spend some time alone.

Where to park

Respect the marked parking lots, don’t leave without paying for parking and don’t forget to leave your receipt in the car in plain view. The fines are stinging! There is delimitation of parking areas in Croatia as well, and the price difference is quite large.

I would suggest a 10-15 minute walk than paying a very high price for an hour of parking. The prices may vary because of the season. Just do not forget to leave the ticket visible.

The white marked parking lots are free of charge, take care regarding the lots marked with blue or the ones dedicated to people with disabilities.

Zone 1 – starting from 2.00 Euro per hour, zone 2 – from 1,50 Euro per hour and zone 3 – from 0.80 Euro per hour

Pay attention, the prices change according to season!

Not to forget

Cream with SPF 50 is a must and must be applied several times a day!
Water slippers – Croatia has a pebble beach, hence the clarity of the water because it does not mix with the sand
Beware of the jellyfish!
Depending on the season pay increased attention. Avoid contact with it, especially with those that have tentacles. They are not everywhere, but if you see them you better not get in their way and they are easy to see due to the water being very clear.

Text and pics: Yle Balaceanu, Sergiu Balaceanu

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