Travelling amidst the cotton candy clouds when you land in Pula, a quaint town in the Istrian side of Croatia, the first thing that will instantly gratify all your senses would be the fresh sea breeze in lush surroundings. For someone like me who dreams to settle down next to a beach (someday maybe), this city topped my list during my Eurotrip.
A major part of the city is surrounded by the Adriatic sea, and hence one can also take a ferry ride from Italy (Venice) and reach here. However, we reached here from Paris and crossed the beautiful snow-covered Alps range and clear blue seas to reach one of the largest urban settlements in Croatia, which incidentally is also the administrative center of this island. There are not many “touristy” places in Pula, but there are some interesting monuments that shouldn’t be missed out.
One could explore the city by foot easily and check out the ancient Roman monuments like the Amphitheater, Pula Arena (which is like a miniature version of the Colosseum built in Rome). A little walk from the arena will take you to the temple of Rome and Augustus after you cross a huge gate called the Arch of the Sergii. Both these monuments are dated way back in history and they lit up beautifully after sunset. Another place of tourist interest in this city would be the old churches (church of St. Francis and Church of St. Nicholas), and a naval cemetery. Most of these monuments are spread across the central part of the city and can be explored in one day.
The markets of Pula offer a vivid variety of souvenirs that are mainly inspired by the Istrian culture. While walking on the cobbled pathway we saw some very interesting road side cafes, accessory and apparel stores. There were a few small perfume shops that sold distilled potions of almost all high-end perfume bands, which got our attention instantly. Though we were skeptical about the authenticity of these solutions, we purchased a few bottles and they weren’t a bad deal at all.
The night life of the city was very unique — in the evenings, many young people in Pula gather at the park area near the sea and have a quick drinking round before entering the nightclubs. On a fine Saturday night our lovely host and her boyfriend took us for club hopping spree, and we saw some buzzing night spots. I remember club Uljanik (Supposedly, is one of the biggest night clubs in the city). The crowd was pretty decent and most of the young girls and boys were dressed up in typical 90s fashion, in terms of fashion the city is still very laid back, very much like India. In fact, Pula was so much like a small Indian town, we even spotted a lot of common brands in the supermarket. As compared to other European nations, the local currency Croatian kuna was a lot cheaper than Euro, so quite a relief for budget travellers.
Anyhow, the best part about Pula is the sea side area. The coastline with shipyards and fishing areas is perhaps the biggest economy booster, but the awesome beaches in this city are beyond comparison. The beautiful white marble rocky beaches surround the green Pula city, which glitters like a gem stone among the turquoise blue sea water. The best time to be there is from July to September, however any time of the year is an ideal time to visit these lovely sea side areas.
(The writer is an independent travel journalist, reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org)