10 Best Things To Do in Pula, Croatia 10 Best Things To Do in Pula, Croatia

10 Best Things To Do in Pula, Croatia

Welcome to Pula, one of the more undiscovered cities in Croatia, home to a tranquil old town and some of the most well-preserved Roman architecture outside of Italy! The world-famous Pula Arena is the icon of the city and can be seen for miles, sitting at the center of a maze of cobbled streets fringed by stunning coastline. A day trip is perfect for discovering all the top things to do in Pula, including exploring the caves, canyons, storybook villages, and vibrant sea life in the area.

Things to do in Pula

Off-the-beaten-path Pula has so much to do, from perusing the local farmer’s market and the interconnecting streets of the Old Town to exploring the industrial fishing harbor. Once a former Roman colony, there is plenty of intact Roman architecture to discover. This includes the famous Pula Arena, one of Croatia’s most famous landmarks! 

Did you know? Pula is the principal city of the northern province of Istria: a beautiful wine region filled with vineyards and farms.

1. Pula Arena

The Pula Arena is the top thing to do in Pula and one of the most iconic landmarks in all of Croatia! Comparable to the Colosseum in Rome, the arena is one of the biggest amphitheaters in the world, built in 1AD by the Romans as a place for gladiator and animal fights. These days, the site is still used for festivals and concerts, including the famous Pula Film Festival. 

things to do in pula croatia arena

The immense size of this structure is hard to put into words; best visited in the morning or late afternoon when you’ll find soft light that’s perfect for photos. There’s even a small park and viewing point on one side, where you can relax after sightseeing. 

things to do in pula croatia - inside pula arena

Opening Times & Entrance Fee: There are tours organized on the inside, or you can visit by yourself for 10 EUR. You can also just walk around it from the outside for free. Opening times vary depending on the season. However, during the summer months, it is open 8 AM – 10 PM. 

Our Croatia tips in your Google Maps? We made it easier for you! All our tips: favourite to do's, restaurants, hikes, secret spots & more in Google Maps!
Shop our maps
google maps phone

Getting there: A large car park is on one side of Pula Arena. We recommend this as an excellent place to start before looping through the city’s main sights.

2. Church and Monastery of St. Francis

No trip to any town in Croatia would be complete without visiting one of the beautiful churches at the center. The Church and Monastery of St. Francis is no exception, dating back to the 1300s and crafted in a detailed Romanesque architectural style. Inside, you’ll find a calming atmosphere. Plus, when we were there, we were lucky enough to see someone playing piano in the church — making our visit even more memorable!

things to do in pula church and monastery of St. Francis croatia

The monastery garden is especially beautiful. Inside this inner garden, surrounded by shadowed cloisters, you’ll even find tiny tortoises enjoying the grass courtyard. This is really something special to see on your trip to Pula, Croatia. 

Opening Times & Entrance Fee: 1 EUR donation fee. Open every day from 10 AM – 6 PM.

tortoise pula croatia church and monastery of St. Francis

3. Temple of Augustus

The Temple of Augustus is an unexpected building to find in Croatia: a white, Italian-style temple that stands alone, surrounded by traditional Croatian townhouses. It’s hard to fathom that this temple is 2000 years old, built in honor of the very first Roman Emporer Augustus. In fact, it’s thought to be one of the most well-preserved Roman temples outside of Italy itself!

things to do in pula croatia Temple of Augustus

Although the temple is beautiful from the outside, there’s not much to see inside, just a small museum with some sculptures, statues, and ancient artifacts. 

Temple of Augustus pula croatia

4. Verudela Canyon

One of the best things about Pula, Croatia, is the incredible nature that sits on the fringes of the city. One of those beautiful spots is Verudela Canyon, which is only a 10-minute drive away from Pula Arena; it’s the perfect spot for swimming on a hot summer’s day. 

swim in Verudela Canyon pula croatia

To reach the canyon, you’ll need to take a steep trail down, which can be slippery because of the sand and small rocks. Make sure to take care as you walk, particularly as you’re going down the steps into the water itself. Afterward, simply enjoy the tranquility of this tucked-away canyon and bathe in the clear water surrounded by beautiful trees. 

No time to read now?
No worries! Save on Pinterest to read it later.
Save to Pinterest
10 Best Things To Do in Pula, Croatia

Getting to Verudela

You can park at one of the free car parks located in this area, which will situate you close to Verudela Canyon and the neighboring beaches. 

croatia things to do in pula Verudela Canyon

Hawaii Beach

After swimming at the canyon, enjoy more swimming and relaxation at the nearby Hawaii Beach. Much like its name, you’ll find a paradise-island-style beach with a white pebbled shore and the most incredibly blue, crystalline water. It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon with a picnic! 

things to do in pula croatia Hawaii Beach

5. Pula Castle

One of the top things to do in Pula is to visit the imposing Pula Castle. This French-style military fortress was built in the 1600s by the Venetians as a defensive point for the city. As it’s built up high, on a small hilltop overlooking the town, you’ll find spectacular views of the city’s oldest buildings and the surrounding coastline.

For an even better view, you can climb to the top of the watchtower, best visited at sunset.

Interior church and monastery of St. Francis pula croatia

6. Arch of the Sergii

Acting as a small but perfectly formed version of the Arc de Triomf, the Arch of the Sergii is a stunning historical monument in the city and a top thing to do in Pula! Like many of Pula’s Roman buildings, this structure was built over 2000 years ago. This particular building was erected in honor of the Sergii family, a powerful family within the Roman colony at the time. 

things to do in pula Croatia Arch of the Sergii

These days, it still serves as a gateway to the city, separating the more modern Pula from the rustic old town. Follow the road through the archway, and you’ll find yourself right outside the temple plaza and the arena. 

The Arch of the Sergii is a central meeting point in the town, so you’ll see lots of friends and families here gathering around to decide where to go next. Plus, plenty of street artists congregate here; it’s the perfect spot for people-watching in Pula!

street performer arch of the Sergio pula croatia

7. Visit Rovinj

Rovinj is a charming coastal town that’s an easy day trip from Pula, as it’s only a 45-minute car ride away. As this coastline faces directly onto Italy, you’ll notice a distinctly Italian feel with primary-colored townhouses facing out onto azure blue waters. You could almost be forgiven for thinking you were in the Cinque Terre

best things to do pula croatia day trip rovinj istria

Spend a day here relaxing on the beaches, and taking in the authentic atmosphere of Rovinj. There are very fewer tourists here, so time your visit right, and you can have the small winding streets almost to yourself! 

coastline Rovinj things to do in pula Croatia

Did you know? Rovinj is located so close to Italy (1.5 hour drive) that you’ll hear locals speaking a mix of both Croatian and Italian. Make the most of this and dine at one of the many delicious Pizzerias in town.

things to do in pula Croatia Rovinj old town

8. Visit Kamenjak National Park

At the southern tip of Istria, discover the stunning Kamenjak National Park — an absolute top thing to do in Pula! This luscious area, also known as Cape Kamenjek, is covered in green vegetation and packed with picturesque bays, coves, and beaches. Plus, the clear waters and steep cliffs make it a haven for cliff jumpers and snorkeling enthusiasts. 

things to do in pula kamenjak National Park croatia

We recommend visiting for the day from Pula to relax on the rocky beaches and enjoy this slice of paradise. However, if you’re only visiting Pula on a day trip, spend the morning in town and then head to Kamenjek National Park after lunch. Spend the afternoon here until sunset, when you can see the low-lying sun touching the water — magic! 

kamenjek national park pula croatia

Where to Eat

There are a few beach bars in the park to get some refreshing drinks and nice food. Safari Bar is the most popular, with tables covered by trees and bamboo huts that blend in with the surrounding nature. They serve a variety of food, such as tasty calamari, sardines, and gyros. Or order a homemade lemonade or iced tea, and your energy battery will be loaded in no time!

Some great beach bars in Kamenjek:

  • Safari Bar
  • Debeljak beach bar
  • Beach bar Skoljic
Find all locations in our Google MapsFind in our Google Maps
interior safari bar kamenjak national park pula croatia

How to Visit Kamenjek National Park

It’s a 30-minute drive from Pula to the national park, which is easy if you have a rental car. Alternatively, you can take a bus to Premantura (30 minutes). From here, it is a couple of kilometers to the park on foot (30-40 minutes).

island kamenjek national park pula croatia

Please note, if you’re driving, only a certain amount of motorized vehicles are allowed in the park daily. Because of this, it’s good to book your entrance ticket in advance (this doesn’t necessarily have to be far in advance, just a day or two before your trip). Check the price list and book tickets online.

beach kamenjak national park croatia

9. Visit Bale

For a charming half-day visit, head for one of the cutest villages we’ve ever seen: Bale! This little village (close to Pula, Croatia) looks straight out of a French fairytale, with beautiful stone houses, cobbled streets, and painted shutters. Surrounding the village is pretty farmland, olive groves, and vineyards where you can try local products. 

things to do in pula Croatia sunset Bale restaurant

Bale is the perfect place to wander and enjoy the scenery, especially during the late afternoon/evening. Book a terrace table for sunset at Restaurant La Grisa and overlook the village; this setting is pure bliss! 

Our Croatia tips in your Google Maps? We made it easier for you! All our tips: favourite to do's, restaurants, hikes, secret spots & more in Google Maps!
Shop our maps
google maps phone

Alternatively, another lovely spot to have a little aperitif or after-dinner drink is Kamene Price. Just like La Grisa, it has a beautiful outside terrace in the middle of the old town streets. However, it’s also a jazz cafe, so you’ll have music accompanying your dinner.

Getting there: Bale is a 30-minute drive from Pula. Buses are also an option if you don’t have a rental car.

church bale croatia things to do in pula

10. Visit the Baredine Cave

For a totally unique thing to do in Pula, explore the incredible Baredine Cave (Jama-Grotta Baredine). Walk down the small opening in the ground and discover a whole new world! This mammoth karst cave sits 60 meters under the ground and is made up of 5 different chambers, which you can visit on a guided tour.

things to do in pula Baredine Cave

Not only will you be able to see stalactites and stalagmites, but you can also see living creatures among the rock formations and glistening lakes.

Another bonus is the cool temperatures you’ll find down here; the cave stays at 14 degrees Celsius all year round, giving you respite from the hot summer temperatures.

Opening Times & Entrance Fee

The entrance was 11 EUR, and you’ll be assigned to a tour group. We waited for 20 minutes, and the tour took 40 minutes, with various language options. Open daily, 10 AM – 6 PM (times can vary throughout the year, so we recommend checking the website before visiting).

Please note there is also a restaurant located just outside the cave if you need refreshments. 

best restaurants pula croatia

Best Cafes & Restaurants in Pula

Because of Pula’s proximity to Italy, you’ll find some incredible restaurants in the town serving delicious pizza, fresh pasta, and the typical Croatian fare. Some of our favorite restaurants are:

  • Veritas Food&Wine
  • Pizzeria Amore
  • Agrippina Street Food
  • Pizzeria Jupiter
  • Piazza Nove
  • Cvajner Gallery
  • Street food two
  • Fresh Sandwiches & Salads
Find all locations in our Google MapsFind in our Google Maps

Moreover, bakeries are everywhere, meaning as you wander the town, you’ll never be far from the fantastic smells of fresh bread and sweet pastries.

pastry pula croatia

Where to Stay in Pula, Croatia

The town itself is relatively small, so wherever you choose, you won’t be too far from all the top things to do in Pula. The city center is best for first-timers as it’s close to all the landmarks and has many bars and restaurants. Plus, there are many small hotels and B&Bs here. 

Tip: Verudela is the best area for beaches and is where most of the big resorts are located. 

where to stay pula istria croatia

How Many Days in Pula?

Pula is the perfect place for a half-day trip; we recommend visiting the city in the morning and then heading to Kamenjak National Park in the afternoon.

We wouldn’t necessarily recommend Pula as a place to stay. However, if you want to explore the surrounding countryside, it’s an excellent base to discover the rest of Istria. 

colorful houses pula croatia

How to Visit Pula, Croatia

Conveniently, there is an international airport 5km away from the old town. It’s a 10-15 minute drive from the airport, and there are also frequent buses for those who don’t want to rent a car. 

Find flights to Pula ✈️

Most people choose to visit Pula from other destinations in the country as part of their Croatia itinerary. There are numerous transportation options, for example, a rental car, bus, or a guided tour that includes your return trip.  

how to visit pula croatia

Getting Around

Pula is a small, walkable city. There’s no need for a car or public transport to reach the main things to do. However, to reach some of the surrounding nature, you’ll either need a rental car, or you can sometimes find public buses. For example, to places like Rovinj and Bale and other small towns outside the city.

piaggo with flowers croatia

How Much Does Pula Cost?

One of the best things about Pula is that it’s far less touristy than other places in Croatia. Not only does this mean it’s quieter, but it’s also considerably cheaper. Accommodation is very reasonable, and you can find delicious restaurants for a fraction of the price. Plus, it’ll be even cheaper if you time your visit out of season!

Costs of Traveling in Pula

Travel on a budget in Pula, from $450 − $320 USD weekly per person, mid-range $950 − $1930 USD, and high-end from $1880 − $2580 USD. However, costs depend on factors like accommodation, transportation, and activities. We did not include flights. Check flight prices here

* Average daily costs
Budget tip!
Traveling to a country with a different currency? Avoid ATM transaction fees and pay in local currency with a Wise Card. Having used it for over 5 years, we've saved loads on fees.
Get a Wise Card
shopping pula croatia

Best Time to Visit Pula

June and September are fantastic months to visit Pula, Croatia. During this time, it’s still lovely and warm for swimming and sightseeing. However, there are fewer tourists than in the peak summer months of July and August.


The benefit of visiting in peak season is there are concerts and festivals in Pula Arena. In fact, in the past, the city has even held world-famous music festivals like Outlook and Dimensions.

13/02/2024 https://www.saltinourhair.com/croatia/pula/
Blog comments

Looking for more travel information? Plan a chat with us for personalised travel advice or get an answer from the Salt in our Hair Travel Community on Facebook.

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    This article was about:
    Last updated: