Posted by: Debra Kolkka | April 6, 2017

Pula, Croatia

Croatia has done an excellent job of marketing itself. It is on all kinds of travel recommendation lists. So, we thought it was time to visit.

I chose 2 towns not too far from where we live in Italy, within reasonable driving distance (about 7 hours). Pula is on several lists as one of the best places to visit in Croatia. It is at the southern tip of the Istrian peninsular. Several writers waxed lyrical about Pula’s charms. It is best known for its well preserved Roman amphitheatre.

It looks great from the air…not my photo.

Pula with Roman time arena in Pula, Croatia. UNESCO world heritage site.

We were very disappointed when our Sat Nav lady told us we had reached our destination. It was a very ugly street. We pressed on a little further and came to a slightly better location, right in front of our booked accommodation. The studio apartment was great. D&A Center Apartments.

We set off to explore the town, beginning with the amphitheatre…very impressive indeed.

Things went a bit downhill after that. There are a few other ruins scattered around the town, but they weren’t all that interesting and some were not well looked after.

The arch at the entrance of the old town was excellent.

There was a well preserved Roman tiled floor from an ancient house, but to get there we had to work our way through a ratty car park at the back of a group of houses.

There was a pretty park.

It was facing the container ship port.

Here is the best of what I found in the town.

On our second morning we found the outdoor market in the centre of the newer part of town. The produce looked good, especially the wild asparagus, peonies and local honey and olive oil.

As we left Pula we drove to the nearby coast where there were some pretty beaches and parks. The rocky beaches were clean and the water clear and sparkling blue.

I was particularly interested in an old bathing resort, probably from the 1920s. It would look amazing if it was restored.

I don’t usually write negative posts, but we drove a fair distance on the strength of several reviews which gave Pula an excellent rating. It wasn’t all bad. The apartment was great and quite inexpensive, we had a very good meal at Kantina, and everyone we met was friendly and helpful and spoke good English. (which was great because we speak no Croatian) Other people must be impressed, the car park was full of tourist buses, but I was not.

My recommendation for Pula would be to fly over it and admire it from above, then go somewhere else.

The square in front of the arch looked lovely at night.



  1. Ok Pula is off the list. Thanks Deb. Look forward to hearing where you go next x

    • Our next stop was Rovinj, which was delightful.

  2. This is a trip that we have had in mind for a long time… thank you for sharing it.

    • We were seriously disappointed with Pula. I have no idea why it rates so highly on Croatia lists.

  3. I loved Croatia, especially the Dalmation Coast, especially Dubrovnik and Hvar in the Adriatic. Another area worth visiting is Zagreb and the Plitvice Lakes National park, – such a magical place.

    • We didn’t love Pula, but Rovinj was lovely…more later. We will go to the towns further south on another trip.

  4. Maybe you needed a guide to make the place sing… Some interesting structures, and don’t forget about that good meal for a good price.

    • We covered most of the town. I am
      fairly experienced at sniffing out the good bits. I just didn’t like this place, but, as I said, it wasn’t all bad.

  5. That’s always a shame when you go somewhere with high expectations.
    Croatia is on our list of places to visit, so thanks for the heads up.

    • Our next stop in Croatia was great and we look forward to exploring further south in the future.

  6. Love the night shot of the arch!

    • Thank you. It did look very pretty at night.

  7. It’s such a shame when you see what should be wonderfully preserved and admired old buildings that are neglected. I would imagine that the Croatian economy is pretty depressed and preserving buildings is not on their ‘to do’ list – but tourist dollars also do wonders for an economy – it’s a Catch-22 situation isn’t it – but I loved the photos:)

    • It can be difficult for any country to take care of its old buildings. Pula is in the top 10 places to visit on many lists. I will be looking more carefully in the future.

  8. Interesting! I was going to say that it looked ok but not particularly appealing. My images of Croatia are more of the blue water and I think areas like Split.

    • I didn’t find Pula appealing. I don’t know why it is listed as one of the best places to visit in Croatia.

  9. The pics look awesome … yet your recommendation seems so contrary .. .nonetheless, I’ll take your word for it.

    • I tried to pick the best of Pula. It wasn’t awful, I just expected a bit more when it gets such good reviews.

  10. So nice to see Croatia in your blog. We go there quite often when the weather turns nice. So many outdoor restaurants roasting a whole pig, you can smell it from a distance, prices are good, and the scenery is awesome.

    • We didn’t see much awesome scenery or roasting pigs. Rovinj was much better than Pula, but I think we are spoiled by Italy where we have so many gorgeous places close to home.

  11. Croatia is definitely a country worth being visited. Your pictures are all gorgeous! Thanks.

    • While we didn’t like Pula much, we did enjoy our next Croatian stop in Rovinj.

  12. Debra I think it is great that you tell it like it is. Otherwise how would we know? Too many people paint such unrealistic images. I haven’t yet been anywhere that I really disliked yet. But I find the more touristy places not fun anymore.

    • I usually don’t write negative posts. If I don’t like a place I don’t write about it, but Pula was given such good reviews that we were very disappointed when we arrived. It is a reasonable town and probably quite a nice one to live in, but it does not, I believe, deserve to be in the top 10 places to visit in Croatia.

      • I think it is great that you wrote an honest review. Looking forward to reading more on Croatia.

  13. Amazing pictures beautiful place…

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