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A coastal city, Pula sits at the very tip of Croatia’s Istrian Peninsula. It is famous for its sheltered harbour, gorgeous beaches and the Roman ruins that populate it. The city itself is fairly large, with a population of around 60,000, making it ideal for people who want both fun and relaxing holidays. Pula, is built around the iconic amphitheatre that lies close to the harbour and defines the city’s skyline.
The weather in Pula is pleasant and the yearly climate is especially good during the months of June, July and August, where the temperature regularly sits above 24 degrees. The best month for swimming is August, when the sun has heated the sea to a delightful 25 degrees, which makes it both refreshing and warm. Pula also enjoys pleasant springs, although the weather tends to get a bit wetter in the late autumn/winter.
The town rose to prominence in the 11th century BC, when it became a major settlement of the Histri, an Illyrian tribe. It was conquered by the Romans in 177 BC and rapidly expanded under their rule, becoming an important economic centre. Upon the fall of the Roman Empire Pula, switched between multiple groups, including the Eastern Goths, Byzantines and the Slavs. It was conquered by the Venetians in 1331, suffering a series of tragedies including attacks from the Habsburgs, plagues and environmental disasters, meaning that by the 16th century its population had dwindled to just 1000. This changed when it came under the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the town was proclaimed chief port in 1853, meaning that workers from Italy, Germany and other places flocked to it. It briefly became part of Italy after the second world war, joining Yugoslavia in 1947 and Croatia in 1991.
Often nicknamed as the new Tuscany, a lofty honour, which it more than deserves, it has many culinary influences, including Italian, Austro-Hungarian and Venetian. Things like wild asparagus, herbs, olive oil and wine abound, guaranteeing a great local meal, cooked using seasonal ingredients pretty much everywhere. Prsut, a cured ham, fairly similar to the Italian Prosciutto is a must eat; as are the many black and white truffles that can be found in the area, often sprinkled on pasta, steak or salad. Cevapici a seasoned minced sausage is also exceedingly popular, while classic dished like scampi and black risotto can also be enjoyed. The area is also famous for the quality of its local wine, with both reds and whites made using indigenous grapes, common in the area.
It is a great place to enjoy time with the family, with a host of educational activities at your fingertips, including the Pula Aquarium, the largest in all of Croatia, the historical museum of Istria, which offers a wonderful insight into the history of the region and the contemporary art museum. It is also a great place to explore, with plenty of hikes, walks and strolls down the waterfront available. Finally, the Brijoni National Park is a must visit for families, offering fourteen idyllic islands that both children and adults will enjoy exploring on their family holiday.
There are a host of great attractions in Pula that visitors are bound to enjoy. Foremost of them is the gorgeous limestone amphitheatre that was built by the Romans and is one of the best-preserved example of a Roman arena in the entire world. Combined with this is the Temple of Augustus, a Corinthian style temple that is ideal for people who are interested in history or culture. The Brijuni National Park is a must for nature lovers, encompassing 14 idyllic islands, there are boat trips that leave the harbour to them on a daily basis.
Considered to have the best nightlife in the Istria region, it has many restaurants and bars, although it is not quite as vibrant as some of the really big cities. Unlike most places in Croatia, the nightlife does not tend to centre around the main town, with only a few small restaurants and cosy bars being present in the oldtown. Most of the clubs and trendy bars are located in the Verudela or Premantura areas.