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Pula

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Zlatna vrata

Pula (Italian Pola, Slovene Pulj) is a nice town at the tip of the Istrian peninsula, Croatia. Its history started about 3000 years ago when it was built by Illyrians. Romans occupied Istria in 177 B.C. After 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. Pula was a principal port of the Austro-Hungarian navy during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Since the end of the 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 large numbers of minorities in Pula such as Serbs, Italians, Bosniaks and Slovenes.

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

Understand[edit]

The Irish writer James Joyce lived in Pula with his wife Nora in 1904. He taught languages to Austro-Hungarian naval officers at the local Berlitz school. The Joyce's lived in Pula for only one year before moving north to Trieste.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Pula has its own international airport [1] with daily flights to Zagreb, and direct services from many European cities including Amsterdam, Dublin, 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 [2] and connect to most major flights. The cost of a one-way ticket is 25kn. A taxi from the bus station to the city should be around 85 kuna in the low season and much higher in the summer.

It is possible to also consider Rijeka Airport [3] on the island of Krk and Trieste Airport [4] in nearby Italy to access Pula as they are close by and offer flights to different destinations.

By land[edit]

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. Online timetables are listed at [5] and [6].

There is also 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). Ticket prices, timetables and other information are on the Croatian Railways [7] website.

Hitchhiking from Zagreb works very well. In Zagreb start from the petrol station after the "Billa" supermarket on the southside of the Sava river. In Rijeka ask people to drop you off at the little SOS stop after a pretty sharp right bend of the motor way around Rijeka.

By sea[edit]

Hydrofoil services operate from the wharf both around the Croatian coastline, and across to Venice. These are pricey, though provide a quick journey and provide some great views.

Venezia Lines [8] ferry connects Pula with Venice. It runs five times a week, travel time is around 3hr. Services are only during summer months.

Get around[edit]

Forum

There are four ways of getting around Pula: by foot, by car, by bus or by taxi.

Pula is a small town, so walking around is not a big problem. All the tourist points are in the historic center and require no other mean of transport than your legs.

Entering Pula with a car in the summer months may not be the best idea, more so if it rains. Being an old town, many streets are narrow, there are many bottlenecks and there is very little parking space. Use the car only if you really need to.

Traveling by bus is by far a better idea than taking the car. There are 3 main bus routes connecting the city center with the tourist cores (Verudella and Stoja) and they run on a 20 minute basis from early in the morning to early in the evening, slowing down to a 30-45 minutes routine before ending around midnight. Beware that the buses tend to get crowded and tend to be late. You might get denied entry if the bus cannot hold more passengers and support buses don't usually get dispatched. Buses are known to be expensive (11kn per card, per person, per ride), however, if you plan on using the city bus company (Pulapromet) actively, you should make yourself a BusCard. The BusCard is a electromagnetic ticket that you can fill with money and then use for cheaper bus rides. The price of a buscard is 30kn but they sell them for 70kn since they are prefilled with 40kn you can use on the bus. The BusCard reduces drastically the price of the ride making it 7kn 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. Besides, the credit on the BusCard lasts forever, meaning you can save it for the next time you come to Pula without fearing money loss. You can buy it at the main bus station in the Pulapromet booth, on newsstands that show the BusCard sticker or in the bus by the driver. Ask for a Vrijednosna. Refills are bought at the bus station or at newsstands.

Taxis are mostly reliable in Pula. The current start price is 15kn and 7kn per kilometer, Sundays and nights are 20% overcharged. Be sure to have the meter running and be sure to seat only in taxis displaying the Pula Taxi sticker with the city coat of arms and the taxi number. Alternatively, try and set up a price with the driver especially if going to the neighboring towns of Medulin, Štinjan, etc.

As for inter-town buses, Pula is well connected to other Istrian towns and Croatian destination with a few international destinations as well.Tickets and information may be found at the bus station. The Brioni booth serves as the main information desk and sells tickets for all companies besides Autotrans whose tickets have to be bought on the opposite desk. Beware that all buses have a luggage area. The service is charged separately from the ticket and it usually costs 7kn. 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. Every ticket can be refunded at the ticket office (a fee will be charged).

See[edit][add listing]

The Roman Arena
  • The Arena, 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 (20 kn) gives you access to wander the inside of the Colosseum and visit the caverns beneath. The audio tour is very worthwhile.
  • The Forum is the main square in the center of the city. The square is built on the place of the ancient Roman forum. On the square there is city hall that was built in 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.
  • Archeology Museum (12 kn).
  • 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
  • Karlo Rojc, former military school, and later barracks, built by Austro-Hungarians (1870.) They are used since 1998. as a cultural and social center. [9] Many non-government organizations have their offices here, also there are music studios and venues, and art colonies. It is worth to go and walk inside this building, because over the years walls were painted with murals and art installations. [10]

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Visit Brijuni. Group of islands famous for their scenic beauty. They are a holiday resort and a Croatian National Park. They were also setlement in roman times and were part of Republic of Venice. There is also now famous Tito (leader of former Yugoslavia) residence. Boats go from small town near Pula named Fažana [11].
  • Go on Fish picnic. You can take a walk through local marina and check out timetables and prices. Prices are usually around 30€ (250hrk)per person.
  • Visit Pula Film Festival [12] takes place in Arena and lasts from 13th to 27 july.
  • Walk down the Sergijevaca street where are many small shops, souvenir shops, bars and even sweet shops.
  • Spend a whole day on beaches of Kamenjak[13], near Premantura (8km from Pula). This peninsula is southernmost point of Istria, and features stunning landscapes and protected nature. Outside the summer season, it is very popular both with locals and visitors as a destination for hiking and mountain-biking.
  • Discover abandoned Austro-hungarian fortresses [14], constructed just before WWI, when Pula was the most fortified city in Europe. Some of those fortresses are hidden in the forests, and some are now occupied by Pula residents for different purposes, including Punta Christo, which operates as a summer club and music festival venue [15].

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Truffles. Istria is famous for its truffles and various truffle products.
  • Malvazija and Teran. Autochthonous Istrian wine sorts.
  • Medica. A honey rakija ,
  • Biska. A rakija with mistletoe.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Restaurant Farabuto[16]. Excellent light and delicious slow food.
  • Restaurant Galeb. You won't find this one in any tourist guide, but everyone in the city knows the place: they serve best "chevapchichi" (minced meat, 2in long, 1/2in wide) in the city.
  • Restaurant Gina[17]. Excellent food in a unique setting that combines elegance with history.
  • Restaurant Asterix. The best pizza in town. You should try the Asterix pizza, which means you can have a pizza divided into thirds, with a different set of toppings (kinds of pizza) on each one.
  • Pizzeria Bambino. Good quality pizza and grill.
  • Pizzeria Jupiter. Near Arena, the Roman amphitheatre - very good pizza.
  • Restaurant El Pulari. A mexican restaurant.
  • Restaurant Biska.
  • Amfiteatar restaurant, Amfiteatarska 6 (80m from Roman Arena), 00385 52 2375600. 7am-11pm. Croatian/med food from good local ingredients in a lovely indoor/outdoor setting close to the Arena. Menu has something to suit all tastes, and the food is simply prepared at affordable prices. €5-€25.  edit


Drink[edit][add listing]

Local beer is favorit or some other istrian brews. Go with karlovacko or ozujsko, cant go wrong.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Tourist information can provide you with a list of accommodation in Pula, although they will not make reservations for you.

  • Hotel Riviera (1-star). Fabulous looking hotel built in 1907 for the high-ranking officers in the Austro-Hungarian army. Never properly refurbished since then it is now showing its age, but structurally it is impressive and looks oh-so-grand from the outside. The rooms are currently decked out with 1960s/70s fittings (orange bedcovers, brown wooden panelling, lime green phone), with the sparseness showing the lack of funds for upkeep. Having said all that, it's clean, tidy, and comfortable. No doubt within a few years someone will make the investment to bring it back to its former glory. Quite expensive for its facilities.
  • Youth hostel and youth camp.[18] Not such a nice looking place, but it is situated some ten meters from the beach, so you can almost jump directly from your bedroom right into the sea. (To get there, take bus 2a from the city (3a to return) and get off at Zlatne Stijene then follow the signs.)
  • Villa Mihaela [19] 3 apartments for 2to4 persons.Each of the apartments has a parking lot, and is equipped with air conditioner, SAT TV, and all other appliances that will make your stay pleasant.


  • Apartments Alexandra & Erika, Kozada 12/a, Štinjan, Pula, +385 52 223505, [20]. Attactive apartments in the proximity of the well known Brijuni Islands national park. A quiet place in a family house, built in 2004. in Štinjan only a few kilometers away from the center of Pula. Air condition, SAT TV, fridge with freezer, kitchen with all the accessories, cooking stove (electricity+gas), washing machine, balcony.  edit
  • Pula Art Hostel, +385(0)95/846-65-17, [21]. Small, family-run, newly refurbished art hostel in the centre of Pula. The hostel offers 2 fully equipped kitchens and beds for couples; grill on terrace.  edit
  • Pula Hostel Pipištrelo, Flaciusova 6, +385 (0)52 393 568 (), [22]. Youth hostel, located in the center of Pula, all locations in Pula and its surroundings are available in a short time, historical monuments (Amphitheatre, Triumphal Arch, Twin Gates, Hercules Gate, Augustus Temple, Chapel St. Mary Formosa, Roman Theater, Pula Fortification and many others), natural sights (National Park Brijuni, Nature Park Kamenjak and amazing Adriatic Sea and undersea) , places of entertainment and a variety of restaurants and pizzerias.  edit
  • Apartments with Swimming pool Slivar (Apartments pool Pula), Samagher 17 (veli vrh, Pula North), [23]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 10:00. 3 modern fully equipped apartments for 2-6 persons in a calm part of Pula 150m from the sea and 3km from the beach. The spacious swimming pool in situated in our award winning garden (over 1500m2). Our apartments feature: SAT TV, microwave owen, coffee machine, and two apartments also offer a wash machine and air condition. We also offer free of charge the use of grill and bikes and a save place  edit
  • Amfiteatar Hotel, Amfiteatarska, 6 HR - 52100 Pula (100metre's from the Roman Amfiteatar and the Marina), 52375600, [24]. Small modern hotel with en suite, flat screen TV, A/C, free WIFI and a top class restaurant. Conveniently situated for bus, rail and ferry, just 12 minutes from the airport.  edit
  • Hotel Valsabbion, [25]. Small hotel located outside Pula center. Nice furniture. Good breakfast.  edit

Get out[edit]

  • National Park Brijuni - The beautiful Brijuni islands (also referred to as Brioni) [26] stretch alongside the south-west coast of the Istrian peninsula. The national park offers too many attractions for all of them to be described here (dinosaur footprints, archaeological finds and sites, a little zoo, extremely rich flora and fauna, beautiful beaches, a former resort for European royals) so visit their website for more information [27].
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