Time flies, it has been one year since we visited Croatia. So far we’ve been to Dubrovnik, Split, and Zadar, so this time it shall be the northmost city – Pula. Oh, why I always go Croatia? Because Croatia has the nicest beaches and probably also least tourists in Europe, and it has very friendly visa policy, which makes it a perfect choice.
Day 0. Jul 14 2017????
Amsterdam?? –✈️– Munich??
There is no direct flight going from Amsterdam to Pula. So we booked a flight operated by Lufthansa, from Amsterdam -> Munich -> Pula, while the return route is Zagreb -> Vienna -> Amsterdam.
The transfer in Munich turned out to be a quite expensive and inconvenient one. The outbound flight from Amsterdam to Munich was at 9pm and arrived at Munich at around 11pm. The next flight from Munich to Pula is the next morning at 6am, so we needed to book a hotel “around ” the airport. The hotels at the airport are very expensive, so we chose one at 4km away from the airport. The hotel itself is 70+ euros, and the taxi(in the night there’s not so many buses) is 25 one way, so in the end we need to pay 120 euros for the hotel but slept only four hours, which is very unpleasant.
DAY 1. Jul 15 2017??
Munich?? –✈️– Pula??
The reason I set this day as Day 1 of the journey is because this is the first day we arrived in Croatia. As expected, it’s an amazing journey.The Pula airport is quite small. There’re not many flights, so it didn’t take us long to get out the airport.
The shuttle bus in the Airport can be easily found at the exit of the airport. The bus goes to the Pula centre bus station, costs 30 HRK. The ticket can be bought here at the stand.
Taxi is also available nearby the shuttle bus, you won’t miss it.
Pula is a small city, everything here is reachable by feet. It took 15min walk from the bus station to the apartment. After we checked in at the apartment(not hotel), we went directly to the city for some sightseeing.
The first stop is the museum on the hilltop, which is a great spot for viewing the whole city and taking nice photos. The entrance to the museum is ** HRK, which is very cheap. Apparently the view here is more interesting than the museum itself (for us), but it is definitely worth to visit.
After visiting the museum (specifically the viewing spot), we went to visit the arena, which is the symbol of city. It’s a big arena, built up in the 1st century, and it’s still very well kept. It can hold 20,000 people, and is now still used for hosting major events in Pula. We were ‘lucky’ to see them setting up the stage for the Pula film festival, despite the chairs here are not in harmony with the arena air.
The Pula film festival just kicked out today, and they will have a ceremony here in the arena.
It looks gorgeous. Though the stage was occupied with the chairs for the festival, you can still feel the air of the fighting. It’s also astonishing to see buildings 2000 years ago well kept like this.
There are lots of nice spots to take photos as well.
And you will always find beautiful people in your picture.
After getting out of the arena, we went to the most popular super market Konzum for some groceries. The Konzum is quite close to the apartment, and the view on the way is very peaceful. It doesn’t have any attractions in this area, so what we saw is all the houses from local people. It’s definitely a nice place to live, the houses are old but very well organised, streets are clean, and the city centre and seasides are very easy to reach, making everything so convenient.
DAY 2. Jul 16 2017
?️Beach day in Pula
We went to a beach called **, it’s reachable by 20min bus from the centre. Check this view by dragging in this panorama and feel it by yourself.
This beach is well known (and recommended) by local people, so …
Ugh! what did I just see? Hmm, can you feel the hot? atmosphere here now? I bet you do ! ?
DAY 2. Jul 16, 2017
Verundella beach, Pula??
Pula’s closest beach Verundella is in easy reach, however we have decided to take a longer journey to a less crowded area. It was recommended by a local friend. We had taken the local bus – Pulatrans line 1- the ticket for a single journey costs 11 HRK. We got off at the last stop and walked about 10 minutes to reach “Galebove stijene” – a mostly rocky beach with fewer visitors. The water is very clear and we have encountered some jellyfishes in the water.
take a bus to Stoja, then take a 10 min walk, you will find this very pretty beach only known by local people.
Right after ordering the food, they served the bread and this beautiful cheese for free. The bread is fresh and crispy, the cheese is topped with bitroot and truffle. The truffle is very strong and it’s aroma makes the cheese very delicious.
DAY 3. Jul 17, 2017
Rovinj is a touristy city to the north of Pula. The city is very beautiful with typical Mediterranean style.
DAY 4. Jul 18, 2017
Brijuni National Park, Pula??
Day trip to Brijuni National Park- there are frequent buses from Pula city centre towards Fažana (a small village where the ferry of the park can be taken). Take nude number 21 from Pula – either from the city centre or from the bus station. The ticket costs 15 HRK (zone II ticket). The bus ride to Fažana takes 25-30 minutes. The ticket for the park can be purchased at the ticket shop of the park located just next to the docks – be aware there are millions of small boats and companies around the docks offering trips to Brijuni and the nearby islands, however the best way is to go with the boats of the park. Some of these small tours are not granting access to the park itself, they just take you a boat ride around the islands.
The ferry and the ticket to the park costs 210 HRK. This includes the two way transport and access to the island Veli Brijun – the largest island of the park. In low season the park offers several packages for lower prices, which could be a great choice for travellers visiting the area in spring or autumn.
Bikes are recommended transportation on the island. It can be rented for 110 HRK for the whole day. There are well developed bike trails around the island. Make sure to stop by the safari park, the roman ruins, the churches. It gives you a full day experience.
Stock up on water and bring along some food as well, as there are no shops on the island. There are a couple of restaurants and cafes, but they are way overpriced.
Apart from all the attractions or beaches, here in Croatia you shall also try to hang around the open Market. The open market in Pula is not so pretty as the one in Zagreb, but you may also find lots of fresh vegetables and fruits.
Attracted by the fresh mushroom, we decided that today we will not eat out, so in the morning we stock up on some fresh mushrooms, garlic, onion and parsley, and we decided to make past for the night. It was delicious!
Some tips for travel in Pula
Unlike in Zagreb, where the exchange offices normally offer better exchange rate than the banks, surprisingly all the exchange offices in Pula offer very low rate. Most of the exchange offices offer the rates of 1 Euro to 7.2 HRK, while in the bank you can get it for 7.35 HRK with euros in cash, or around 7.3 HRK to withdraw cash from ATM machines.
Another trick is that when you swipe the bank card when shopping, you will be asked if you want to pay by euro or by HRK, always try choose to pay with HRK(in the end you get a rate of 1 Euro to around 7.3 HRK), because the bank will always give much lower rate (1 Euro to 7.18 HRK) if you choose any other foreign currency. The same trick goes to when you withdraw cash from ATM. If you choose “withdraw with convention”, you will only get 6.8 HRK per Euro, while when you choose “withdraw without conversion”, you get around 7.3 HRK. What’s the difference? “Withdraw with convention” means that you exchange money directly with a low preset rate, while “withdraw without conversion” means that you withdraw cash first, and then the bank charge you by the real time rate. Still confused? No worry, me too. Anyway, choosing the right payment method will easily save you a nice seafood dinner per day.
?What to eat in Pula/Croatia
A burek is the best to kickstart the day.
The pastry from Mnilar, the one with spinach/cheese is my favourite, and the cheese flavour is another good choice. For meat lovers, there’re also chicken and beef flavours. Please be noticed that burek is very high calorie, so keep an eye on your belly.
If you like seafood, then you shall not miss the Mediterranean food. Generally the seafood is very fresh and cheap here, though the cooking level might difffer in each restaurant, so spend some time to look for a nice rated restaurant before you go.
Don’t forget to get some deserts after the meal. The local brand Ledo is another must try. There are hundreds of flavour from this brand, and you can find it everywhere. Try it and you will love it.
If you have sweet tooth, check this Muller shop. It’s a German chain store selling whole variaty of goods ranging from cosmetics, daily tools, to sweets and even pets’ food. The Muller in the city centre is very big, with 4 floors. You can find perfume or sun screen cream in the ground floor, and food and drinks in the floors above. Do remember to check this chocolate session, you can find lots of snacks and sweets here.
Oh wait, I have to highlight one special item when it comes to sweets, the Kraš chocolate. Kraš is a very famous Croatian Chocolate brand, with its superior fame on Bajadera. It is a praline enriched with almond and walnuts. The perfect combination makes it a unforgettable sweets from Croatia. This is undoubtedly one the must-buy product in Croatia.