My Experience in Pula – Should you visit Croatia? Travel Review

When you think of Croatia, you think of beaches, blue seas, blue skies, Split or Dubrovnik. The ultimate holiday getaway in Europe. We decided to change from the typical city life destination and opted for the seaside. Pula was the city we decided to visit. A cheaper alternative to bigger touristy cities like Split or Dubrovnik. But is Pula worth it? Or should you go to those cities instead or just avoid Croatia? Let’s dive in.

Small city a lot of history

Pula is the largest city in the Istria County of Croatia and the eighth largest city in the country. It’s situated at the southern tip of the Istria peninsula, north of Croatia. With a population of 57,460, Pula is Istria’s most populous city. It’s situated in the valley of seven hills, with extraordinary Adriatic views. It’s pretty awesome to walk around and experience. You’ve got narrow cobbled streets and magnificent Roman buildings – including a huge, spectacular amphitheatre in the centre that stands out. 

When you’re there, you’ll notice that while Pula is a big city in Croatia, it isn’t a big city in person. You could even go as far as calling it a town. You can easily get to places on foot or get an Uber or the public bus to visit magnificent landmarks in suburban areas. What makes Pula, Pula not your average small city is the Roman influence and history and the beautiful blue seaside. That’s what Pula is all about when you want to break down the overall experience in the city. Being in Pula makes it easy to take day trips to other gorgeous towns and cities in Istria. This makes Pula a perfect destination if you’re planning to visit other places too and don’t want to stay in one city.

Things to do

The Pula Arena

The Pula Arena is the 6th largest amphitheatre in the world. It is also the only remaining Roman amphitheatre to have a four-sided tower. It was constructed in 27 BC – 68 AD and was an arena of gladiator fights as the famous Colosseum in Rome. You can walk around the monument or go inside it and see the caverns beneath. It’s an amazing sight, especially if you haven’t been to Rome yet and seen the Colosseum; the Pula arena is the next best thing.

Arch of the Sergii

A slightly older Roman monument is this triumphal arch built to commemorate the powerful Sergii family’s participation in the pivotal Battle of Actium in France. It dates to about 30 BC and is still in great shape after all these years. When it was built, the arch was a city gate leading up from the naval port. You’ll notice that carved into the stone are friezes depicting cupids and garlands, and just beneath this, you can still make out a relief of a horse-drawn battle chariot.

Pula hop on-hop off bus tour

The Pula hop-on hop-off bus tour is a quick way to see awesome landmarks in the city from the comfort of a double-decker bus while getting to choose when to get off and see them at your own pace. It was my first hop-on-hop-off bus tour in a city, and it was pretty awesome. You get onboard commentary that’s available in 13 languages, as well as visiting 7 of the famous locations across Pula. Makes the whole exploration of the city easier.

The House of Istrian Olive Oil

The House of Istrian Olive Oil is a museum pretty much about olive oil. It gives you a detailed insight into how olives grew in Istria in the past up until the present day. You also find out how the ancient Romans processed olive oil and how it is produced today. You learn all the aromas and tastes of olive oil, as well as the chemical composition of Istrian extra virgin olive oil and learn how olive oil, combined with the Mediterranean diet, affects our health. When you visit, you’re taught by an expert how to recognize top-quality extra virgin olive oil. The House of Istrian Olive Oil gives you an unforgettable experience and knowledge you won’t forget (believe me).

Walk along the sea/harbour

The seaside along Pula is very beautiful and peaceful. Pula is right along the Adriatic Sea. It never gets crowded or busy, which lets you take in and appreciate the views. If you really want to get the most out of walking along the sea, go during sunset. I promise you won’t regret it.

Cinema Visit to Kino Valli

The Kino Valli cinema is located in the city centre, and it dates back to the early 20th century. It has 209 seats and a yearly record of 80,000 viewers. The cinema is spacious with comfortable seats, decent legroom, great sound, and a great screen. If you’re in Pula and want to watch a movie just released with family or a partner, this is a great place to check out.


Pula is a small quiet city. It’s not flocked with tourists or polluted with city noise. You can walk around the city with peace of mind and not worry about your safety. It’s quite peaceful there. The city has different atmospheres depending on where you go. The centre is a lot more rugged and rich with history and old buildings and ruins of a civilization that once lived there. Then you have the seaside, a vibrant, gorgeous city side that will immediately capture your attention and take your breath away.

Who is Pula for?

Pula is for those who are not expecting much. Those who just want a nice simple place to go to without the flock of tourists and people around the summertime. A cheaper alternative to staying in as opposed to the touristy expensive seaside cities in Croatia. There isn’t much to do compared to bigger cities on the seaside. If you love shopping, you may be disappointed. There is a shopping centre on the outskirts of the city centre but certain shops like Zara are missing. If you love shopping at Zara, that’s a bummer.

Is Pula worth it?

Apart from the gorgeous seaside and the historic Roman heritage scattered around the city, there isn’t much that will blow your mind. But whatever your idea of a good time is, Pula gives you what other bigger cities near the seaside give you for a cheaper price and fewer distractions. You’re also put in a unique spot that allows you to take day trips and check out other nearby towns in Istria that are also gorgeous. For us, Pula is worth it.

Pula - Travel Review
  • 9.5/10
    Walkability - 9.5/10
  • 9/10
    Safety - 9/10
  • 6/10
    Fun - 6/10
  • 8/10
    Friendliness to tourists - 8/10
  • 7.5/10
    English Speaking - 7.5/10
  • 9/10
    Cost - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Cleanliness - 8/10
  • 7.5/10
    Worth revisiting - 7.5/10


Pula is a small, less crowded cheaper alternative to bigger touristy cities in Croatia. It’s culturally and historically rich with gorgeous seaside and that’s pretty much it. There isn’t much that will blow your mind so we don’t recommend being there longer than a weekend. But if you ever want to take day trips and check out other nearby towns in Istria Pula is in the perfect vicinity to allow that. If you’re someone who likes historically and culturally rich cities and also enjoy the seaside, this is the perfect combo that is definitely worthy of visiting.


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