There's more to Croatia than just Dubrovnik and Split. At the tip of Istrian Peninsula you can find the ancient city of Pula, often overlooked by tourists. Pula is a town with a rich history and is home to the best preserved Roman ruins outside Italy. With its Roman amphitheater, rugged beaches and ancient sites all over the city, Pula is a charming town boasting both beauty and culture. Read on to discover more about what to see and do in Pula, but you've been warned: you'll instantly want to pack your bags!
Go inside the Pula Arena
Pula is home to the 6th largest surviving Roman amphitheater in the world called the Arena. It's so impressive and beautiful that it's no surprise it's often compared to famous landmarks like the Colosseum in Rome or the Arena in Verona. The Arena was used for gladiator fights and other forms of entertainment during Roman times, and it could accommodate up to 20,000 people. It's more than 2,000 years old, and it was constructed when the town of Pula was the regional center of Roman rule, known by the name of Pietas Julia. Gazing up the ancient monument while walking around it is a sight to behold, but it's also worth seeing it from the inside. For only 20 kunas you can enter the amphitheater and explore its interior.
Wander around alleys in the Old Town
The Old Town of Pula is full of narrow cobblestone alleys perfect for taking strolls and exploring the charming city. It's bursting with medieval charm, and it's been inhabited since Roman times. Grab an ice cream, explore art galleries and small boutiques, or sit at a nearby café for coffee and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of the city.
Marvel at the Triumphal Arch of Sergius
One of the most beautiful ancient monuments in Pula is the Arch of the Sergii commonly known as the Golden Gate. This well-preserved ancient Roman triumphal arch stands at the entrance to the Old Town. The imposing arch was built in honor of the three brothers of the Sergii family, a famous patrician family in ancient Rome. Today numerous musical, cultural and theatrical shows are held on the square next to the arch.
Have a drink at Uliks Bar where James Joyce used to live
Uliks Bar is located next to the majestic Triumphal Arch, featuring impressive views of the ancient monument. The bar is named after the famous novel by James Joyce who spent some of his life in Pula. The bar is located in the exact building where he used to live back in 1904. There's even an iron sculpture of a seated James Joyce on the bar's terrace. Enjoy a pint, cocktail or glass of wine while you marvel the impressive Roman Arch for a memorable evening.
Tour the main square
The Forum has been considered to be the city's main square since ancient times. It's been the central meeting point for locals since anyone living can remember. Today, it's still the administrative and legislative center of the city just as it was in Roman times. The biggest highlight of the square is the stunning Temple of Augustus.