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Pula

Culture & history

Our most recommended Pula Culture & History

Pula: Arena Entrance Ticket

1. Pula: Arena Entrance Ticket

Visit the ancient amphitheater of Pula, where the inhabitants of the city once gathered to be entertained by gladiators and animal hunts. Beat the crowds and explore this magnificent ancient site with your pre-paid entrance ticket. See an amphitheater that has become the symbol of Pula one of the most popular and beautiful venues in Croatia for events, like concerts, festivals, and even recreation of gladiatorial tournaments in the summer months.  Get access to the permanent exhibition entitled "Istrian Olive and Viticulture in Antiquity" located in the underground area used by the gladiators during their tournaments.  See reproductions of tools and equipment for oil and wine production, such as mills, presses, and sedimentation tanks, as well as amphorae, which were used as packaging for oil and wine transportation.

From Istria: Venice Day Trip with High Speed Catamaran

2. From Istria: Venice Day Trip with High Speed Catamaran

Get a taste of Venice in a hassle-free manner on this full-day tour. Marvel at the city's museums, churches, and palaces, take a gondola ride in the canals, or sit back and soak up the city in a cafe, bar, or restaurant.  Start your day with check-in at the port of departure. Choose from either Porec, Rovinj, Pula, and Umag in Croatia, or Piran in Slovenia. Once you finish the check-in and passport control, begin your Venice experience. On the vessel, choose any seat you like and relax in comfort. While crossing the Adriatic Sea, receive an interesting explanation of Venice, its history, all the dos and don'ts in the city, what to expect, and any optional extras you can opt to take once there with your guides. Upon arrival in Venice at San Basilio, make your way through passport control. Then, walk to the center with your guides, or embark on an optional guided transfer to St. Mark's Square. Hear special stories of the city while avoiding the hot summer sun. Gather at Saint Marcus Square for your free guided tour of the square to help you appreciate Venice even more. After this, enjoy ample free time to explore the city, shop for souvenirs, take a walk in one of the many alleys, or sip a Bellini in one of the beautiful piazzas (squares). Alternatively, visit one of the many museums, churches or palazzos; your Venice experience is for you to create. Choose to join an optional gondola ride or have your guides organize a lunch for you to make your experience even more hassle-free. Later, head back to the port. Walk with the guides or take an optional water taxi ride through the Grand Canal and see the Rialto Bridge and all the palazzos en route. Embark upon your return journey aboard the catamaran, and sit back, relax, and reflect upon a wonderful day in Venice.

Pula: Old Town Food Tasting Tour

3. Pula: Old Town Food Tasting Tour

For all the foodies who love to explore local cuisines! During a 3-hour tour, you will enjoy a variety of dishes from all parts of Istria, ranging from traditional to modern classics, and find out more about local customs. It's a fun and informative tasting tour to the food market, but also local restaurants, and food shops in the very city center of Pula. Part of the tour will take place at the green market. It's a place where you will feel the local vibe while strolling through domestic food, a variety of fish and seafood, fruits, vegetables, meat, and traditional goat cheeses. Explore the market building that is not only a delight for the stomach but also an architectural masterpiece. Pula is the city on the sea, so when in Pula, you shouldn't miss all the variety of daily fresh fish and seafood that it has to offer. Alongside your seafood dish sip some of the best Istrian wines. Hear the story about the importance of goats in Istria, why there is a goat on the flag of Istria, and try different goat cheeses. Istria is best known for its (holy trinity) wine, olive oil, and truffles. You really shouldn't leave this area without trying them, luckily, on this tour, we will cover the tasting of all of these products. You will taste a range of different olive oils, and learn that Istria produces the best olive oils in the world. Hear the stories about different types of truffles and how to hunt them. Try different types of local brandy and decide on your favorite. Not to reveal all the details, you can expect some great seafood and cheese, a glass of local soda drink or wine, some Croatian chocolates for those with a sweet tooth, and much more. Our suggestion is – come hungry!

Pula: Historic Walking Tour with Local Guide & City Views

4. Pula: Historic Walking Tour with Local Guide & City Views

My name is Marina, I've been working as a licensed tour guide in Istria for over 15 years and am specialized in guiding german-speaking guests. Experience Pula's highlights in a personalized way through a individualized city tour. We can focus on any topic that may be of interest to you – the local lifestyle, culture, nature or food, whatever it may be, I'm sure we'll have something to talk about. We'll meet up in front of my city's main attaction, an undeniable gem on the mediterranean sea – Pula's roman Amphitheatre. You'll find out what it was built and used for, which goes way beyond the gladiator games. The path will naturally lead us to other antique parts of the city. Besides the Amphitheatre, Pula can proudly count three roman city gates that are still standing up to this day. The Twin, Hercules and Sergii gates – the beautifully preserved details will allow me to reveal the story behind them. As a foodie and passionate cook when it comes to local cuisine, the tour wouldn't be complete without taking you to the Pula farmer's market. It's the place where locals buy and sell products that are native to Istrian soil. While we're already talking about trade, our next point will lead us to the Forum square. It was the roman version of our beloved farmer's market, but not only that – as the heart of every roman city, this is where you will see remains of the August temple and admire our venetian city hall which is also the perfect opportunity to explain why there is a goat on our regional flag. The tour ends with my favourite view of the city – a little higher up, as we visit the city castello. Even if you're not a romantic just joining me for the beautiful view, we're standing by a location of big military importance throughout history. With its pristine loaction it was used by the romans, venetians, austrians and many more in order to protect the city.

Istria Highlights Tour from Rijeka or Pula

5. Istria Highlights Tour from Rijeka or Pula

Hum is situated in the center of Istria with barely 20 inhabitants. Turn your trip to Hum into a beautiful story of Istrian small towns. This hidden part of Istria is extremely welcoming to visitors. According to the legend, Hum was built with the stones left over when giants were building towns in the river Mirna valley, an area in central Istria including the wonderful hill towns of Motovun, Roc, and Bale. Despite the small number of residents, Hum has preserved the ritual of Election of the Prefect for a Year. All the men from the parish gather at the Municipal Loggia (Town Hall) to elect the village superior by carving their votes into a wooden stick. Apart from being famous for being the smallest city in the world, Hum has recently become popular for Biska, which a brandy spiced with mistletoe and made according to an old recipe originating in Hum. Every year, at the end of October, the Grappa festival takes place here and hosts brandy producers from all over Istria.  In the north of Istria, located high above the Mirna River, is probably the most attractive and famous medieval town of Istria, Motovun. This fascinating site on top of a hill is a characteristic symbol of the interior of Istria. The bell tower, which is 13th-century Romanesque-Gothic, has a crown that is crenulated and dominates the center of the historic town from its position adjacent to St Stephen’s 17th-century parish church. In the center square stands the Romanesque Municipal Palace, which was Istria’s biggest secular building when it was built. Many other historical buildings surround it. Motovun’s forest which reaches down the Mirna River’s valley is particularly good for finding truffles, the alleged aphrodisiac malodorous fungus that grows underground. These white truffles of Istria, which are in season from September to December, are said to be as good as even the best French and Italian truffles. Vineyards surround the town from all sides and Istria’s finest wines including the red Teran and the white Malvasia are produced from the grapes of these vineyards. The whole locality is sprinkled with superb restaurants serving konobe. The city of Labin is an old medieval town located on a 320-meter hill with the new part of the town below. The Old Labin is the best preserved acropolis in Istria. Apart from many cultural and historical monuments, Labin is a city of artists. There are some 30 artists living and working there as well as several galleries. In nearby Dubrova, there is the Sculpture Par where International Sculptors Symposium have taken place for the past 40 years. In the summer, the old center is taken over by the Art Republic, which is a combination of music, performance, and fine arts. The town gates of St Flor, built in 1587, lead to the old town. There is also a 17th-century tower in the town offering a magnificent view. 

Pula: Historic Sites Guided Walking Tour

6. Pula: Historic Sites Guided Walking Tour

Discover the most important historical highlights of Pula on a walking tour with a local guide. Visit the Cathedral, the Roman Forum, Augustus Temple, and City Hall. Begin your tour in front of the Pula Arena, and get a brief and informative overview from your guide. Next, continue on to the Pula Castle, built by the Venetians in the 17th century. Learn about its fascinating history and previous inhabitants. From there continue on to the Cathedral, and then to the Roman Forum, including the Augustus Temple and City Hall. See Roman mosaics along the way and visit the Arch of Sergii. Explore the Pula Market, established in the early 1900s, and then head to the ancient Gate of Hercules. Learn insider information as your guide regales you with in-depth knowledge about the history, architecture, culture, and rich heritage of Pula.

From Rovinj/Bale: Istria in 1 Day Tour with Lunch & Tastings

7. From Rovinj/Bale: Istria in 1 Day Tour with Lunch & Tastings

Discover the wonders of Istria County on this multi-stop, guided tour from your choice of meeting point in Rovinj or Bale. Blend into local life as you explore the towns of Poreč, Grožnjan, and Motovun. Enjoy lunch at a local eatery and join a truffle tasting. The first stop is in Poreč. Here, you can see golden early-Christian mosaics at the Euphresian Basilica, a UNESCO world heritage site (entry fee not included). After a walking tour of Poreč, head to Grožnjan, a village that was abandoned entirely after World War II and has since been revitalized with the help of artists from all around Yugoslavia. Romantic stone-cobbled alleys and colorful workshops around every corner make the tiny town of Grožnjan a must-see location in Istria. Afterward, continue to Motovun, the mightiest hilltop town in Istria. Once in Motovun, try the most expensive mushroom in the world during a truffle tasting. Walk the panoramic city walls and admire Istria in all its glory before arriving at a konoba, the local word for trattoria (Italian-style eatery). You'll return to Rovinj or Bale in the late afternoon.

Istria Day Tour From Zagreb

8. Istria Day Tour From Zagreb

Be collected at your accommodation in Zagreb and drive for approximately three hours to Pula. This is the biggest city and the center of the Istrian peninsula. The city was founded by an ancient tribe in the 10th century B.C. and it was well known by Greek travelers and sailors so is mentioned in many Greek myths. In the 1st century, the Romans made the city strong and today the vivid remains of this era can be explored. Pula Arena is one of the best-preserved amphitheaters in the world and will take you back in time as you imagine gladiators battles. Other examples of Roman architecture to discover are the Temple of Augustus and the gates to the city including the Arch of the Sergii and the gate of Hercules.  Continue your journey for 45 minutes to Rovinj. This city was also founded by the Istrian tribes. It was built on a small island close to the mainland and in the 18th was connected to it. It was ruled for five centuries by Venice so both the Italian and Croatian languages are spoken in the city. During this period of occupation, walls were built around the city and the remains are standing still today. Rovinj is a real gem and adored because with every step you take you are compelled to take another photograph. Travel another 45 minutes to Porec. The Old Town is almost 2000 years old and is most famous for the Euphrasian Basilica, from 1997. It is on the UNESCO world heritage list and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Istria. Notice the roman influence and architecture in the city as you walk through the main streets, still preserved in their original form.

Rijeka: Pula, Rovinj, and Panoramic Istrian Coast Tour

9. Rijeka: Pula, Rovinj, and Panoramic Istrian Coast Tour

Situated near the base of the Istrian peninsula, Pula is the largest city in Istria. Its most famous attraction, the well-preserved Roman amphitheater, is one of the most famous sights in the whole of Croatia. Pula, like the rest of the region, it is known for its mild climate, smooth sea, beautiful beaches, and unspoiled nature. Throughout your tour you will come across numerous monuments of Roman architecture: the Triumphal Arch of the Sergi from the 1st century B.C., Hercules’ Gate and Twin Gates, the Temple of Augustus, and the Arena and Small Roman Theatre in the town center. Historical attractions aside, Pula is a busy commercial city on the sea that has managed to retain a friendly small-town appeal. Although marred with residential and holiday developments, the coast is dotted with fragrant pine groves, seaside cafes and a clutch of good restaurants. The main town square offers you the chance to relax in a unique atmosphere, with the square having managed to retain its role as the meeting place since the Augustan Age. Situated on the west coast of Istria, Rovinj is one of the most popular and most developed tourist resorts in Croatia. The old town is built on the island, which was only connected with the mainland in the 18th century. Known as one of the most picturesque and romantic towns on the Mediterranean, over the last few decades Rovinj attracts a large number of tourists, most of them faithfully returning year after year. Rovinj manages to combine its rich tradition with modern times in a very interesting way. As it is also an active fishing port, you can experience the atmosphere of a small fishing village. On the other hand, the town has been developing exquisite gastronomy and offers a high standard of tourist services in general. The city at the foot of the Church of St. Euphemia is the favorite gathering place of artists from around the world. Walking down its streets, you will bump into many art galleries and studios.

Istria: Guided Tour of Inner Istria with Food Tasting

10. Istria: Guided Tour of Inner Istria with Food Tasting

Discover some of Istria's most spectacular landscapes and idyllic locations on a guided tour of the peninsula. Travel in the comfort of an air-conditioned vehicle and learn about Istria's history from your knowledgeable guide. Start your day with a convenient pickup from a range of locations and get ready to see the best of what Istria has to offer. Your first stop, Lim Fjord on the western coast of Istria. Stop to take photos and capture the beauty of this striking landscape before moving on to your next destination, Groznjan. Join your driver and guide on a walking tour of this small medieval jewel known as the artist village. See the old town and wander down the romantic alleys lined with rustic cafes and konobas, the Dalmatian word for taverns. Hop back into your vehicle and head to Motovun, a scenic hilltop town dominated by Gothic and Romanesque architecture. Enjoy a tasting of some local products before joining your guide on a walking tour of the town and the ancient city walls. Make the most of some free time after the tour and sit down for lunch at one of the local restaurants. The Motovun forest is packed with truffles, making this town one of the best places to get your truffle fix. The last stop on your tour of the Istrian Peninsula is Pazin, where you'll visit the Pazin Abyss, an extraordinary natural attraction that has been declared a protected area. Enjoy a short stop here before heading back to your original starting point.

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What people are saying about Pula

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 177 reviews

Beautiful place to see. Me and my wife enjoyed the arena especially with having the water in the background of the arena. Also had a lot of great shops right next to it. Definitely recommend coming here if you’re traveling or visiting Pula, you’ll get photos of the water and Arena.

The English-speaking guide was especially nice. He spoke very interestingly and did not tire us too much with the facts. We took the full package and were very satisfied, because we got to see and experience a lot in a limited time.

Returning to this historic building after 45 years, somehow seemed smaller. So good to walk around there again and see the work that is being done to show us how life was under the Romans

We had a wonderful time :) Thanks to the German-speaking guide, we learned a lot about Venice. I can definitely recommend this trip.

Easy to book and easy to enter. A must see in Pula and Croatia.