Are you ready for a breathtaking Croatian adventure? Put Pula on your bucket list right now!
I recently visited Pula, located on the Istrian peninsula in the northern Adriatic Sea. Pula is an enchanting destination that combines relaxing beaches with captivating culture and history. From exploring ancient Roman ruins to indulging in local delicacies, there’s something for everyone here!
Before heading off to this stunning coastal city, it’s important to understand what makes Pula so great and learn about key things travelers should know before embarking on their journey.
By following our helpful guide, you’re sure to make stress-free holiday plans while preparing yourself for a memorable vacation, whether it’s your first time or not.
Croatia’s official currency is now the Euro
As of January 1, 2023, the Euro (€) has replaced the Croatian Kuna as the country’s official currency, making travel to Croatia more expensive for American tourists. We can now officially cross Croatia as one of the cheapest countries in Europe to visit, as of 2023. Knowing this will ensure that you budget accordingly. You can withdraw cash from any of the city’s many ATMs, but if you’d rather avoid carrying any money on you, both debit and credit cards are accepted virtually wherever you go.
I do, however, recommend withdrawing cash to use for tips in restaurants, as tips are not allowed to be placed on your card. We learned this after eating at Gaucho Steakhouse, but luckily we had some cash on hand. Also, when paying for items, you may be tempted to pay in your own currency, but always choose the local currency to save on fees.
Learn the local language so you can communicate with locals easily
Before visiting Pula, Croatia, make sure to brush up on your Croatian! While most of the people I met did speak English, knowing the local language can make your trip much more enjoyable as it can help you communicate and connect with the locals much easier.
Whenever I travel and speak a little of the local language, I’ve discovered that I can immerse myself much more in the local culture. Free resources like Duolingo make learning the language easy, but even if your trip is last-minute, like mine was, it helps to know the essentials.
Here are a few basic words in Croatian that would be good to know.
|How are you?
|I’m fine, thank you
|Ja sam dobro, hvala
|yah sahm doh-broh, hva-lah
|Nice to meet you
|Drago mi je
|dra-goh mee yeh
|What is your name?
|Kako se zovete?
|kak-koh seh zoh-ve-teh
|My name is …
|Do you speak English?
|Govorite li engleski?
|goh-voh-ree-teh lee en-glees-kee
|What time is it?
|Koliko je sati?
|KOH-lee-koh yeh sahtee?
|How much is this?
|Koliko ovo košta?
|KOH-lee-koh oh-voh koh-shtah?
|Where can I exchange money?
|Gdje mogu razmijeniti novac?
|Gdyeh MOH-goo rahz-MEE-yeh-nee-tee NOH-vahts?
Pula is extremely safe
As a solo traveler, you will feel safe in Pula. Normally, when I travel alone, I tend to get back to my hotel while the sun is going down. I feel safer when there’s light outside. However, in Pula, I was outside at 10 p.m. by myself, walking around and taking photos. I’ve never felt safer. I also did my research and learned that Croatia is a very safe country, although petty crime is on the rise with the over-tourism of the country.
Pula, though, is still fairly unknown and is one of the safer cities, but I suggest taking the necessary precautions, such as being aware of your surroundings at all times, even using a travel purse, and/or keeping your valuables somewhere safe on your body.
Plan your trip in advance
Before you head off to Pula, Croatia, it is important to plan your trip in advance so that you don’t miss out on any of the unique attractions or special events. There are many historical and cultural sites in Pula, such as temples from the 1st century BC and Roman amphitheaters that are hundreds of years old. This means that there is something for everyone.
Make sure you take time out from sightseeing to experience the local atmosphere—spend some time strolling along the waterfront or in the city center, where you’ll find vibrant cafes, shops, and restaurants. Additionally, be sure to check for seasonal events that may make your vacation even more exciting! Planning ahead will let you make the most of this amazing experience and create unforgettable memories!
If I had done this, I would have known that while many of their attractions are open in March, a lot of the activities, such as the Sailing at Sunset Dolphin Watch, are unavailable until April, when Pula’s tourist season officially begins. But I’m not entirely disappointed, as I was able to have the city to myself without all the tourists around.
Understand the climate in Pula
Before visiting Pula, it’s important to know what the weather is like so you can pack the right clothes. We were told that the winters in Pula are usually mild and the summers are hot. The average temperature during the winter months is around 50°F, which we found to be true when we visited in March.
During the summer, temperatures can range from 77 to 100°F so it’s best to wear clothing that’s light and airy such as t-shirts, shorts, skirts, skorts and even summer dresses.
Whenever you visit in spring or autumn, bring layers and something waterproof just in case rain or wind arise unexpectedly. Pack comfortable shoes so you can explore Pula and its many attractions without walking too much in uncomfortable footwear. With a bit of planning ahead, you’ll know exactly what clothing items to pack for your stay in Pula, Croatia!
Choose to visit Pula during their off-season
Not only will you find smaller crowds and cheaper prices than during the busy season, but you’ll also have the opportunity to experience the city in a different light. Take advantage of the calmer atmosphere to explore Pula’s historical and architectural sites, like the Pula Arena and the Temple of Augustus, or relax on some of its stunning beaches. Having the city almost to yourself without the tons of tourists around is an experience like no other.
Book accommodations early to get the best deals, especially during peak seasons
Speaking of cheaper prices, if you are planning a trip to Pula, Croatia, and need to make reservations for accommodations, it’s best to plan ahead and book early. During peak seasons such as summer, getting the best deals on accommodation can be competitive, so booking as soon as possible will give you an edge.
Not only that, but you’ll also have a better choice of options across different price points. Planning ahead also gives you plenty of time to do your research and decide which type of accommodation fits your needs and budget. From boutique hotels on the beach to luxury villas with private pools, there are plenty of options in Pula waiting to be explored!
Since we were traveling during the off-peak season, we scored amazing deals on our hotel accommodations. If you’re traveling on a budget, traveling right before the peak season is the best time to travel. Not only are flights cheaper during this time, but so will your hotel rate.
Look into the best places to eat in the city
The local cuisine in Pula is incredible, but in order to make the most of your trip and have that authentic experience, it pays to do some research on where to eat in the city. Of course, there are always going to be the ubiquitous tourist traps, but by digging a little deeper, you can uncover some truly special gems.
Tripadvisor is a great place to start for recommendations, but once in the city, ask around and take note of the locals’ recommendations for traditional restaurants with fresh dishes that capture the flavors of both coastal living and inner-city culture. Whether these places have been run by multi-generational families with authentic recipes or by new, trendy spots in the heart of Pula, prepare yourself for an exciting food journey!
If you need my personal recommendations, these are the ones we visited. Restorani Rustica, which served a very delicious Ćevapi (traditionally Serbian but also served in Croatia), Gaucho Steakhouse, and Jupiter Pizzeria (recommended by a local that serves more than pizza). A few other recommendations were Agrippina Street Food and Hook and Cook, which were both close during the off-season when I visited.
Activities to do in Pula
With its historical architecture, stunning beaches, and vibrant nightlife, there is something for everyone. For those feeling active and energetic, cycling around the remains of the city walls, sailing at sunset, and watching the dolphins are all choices you can make. You can even book a Croatian cruise or take a day trip to one of the nearby cities.
For some cultural activities, you can enjoy live music at the Roman ruins of the Arena, one of Croatia’s most famous historical sites, if you happen to be there while there’s a concert. Or you can simply plan your trip around a concert, or explore the numerous festivals that take place throughout the year.
After dark, how about dancing in one of the city’s many bars and clubs before retreating to your hotel for some well-earned rest? Whatever activity you choose for your visit, whether you’re looking for an action-packed holiday or a chilled-out experience, Pula offers something for everyone all year round.
Traveling to Pula, Croatia, is going to be an amazing experience that you’ll remember for years to come. It’s important to plan ahead and learn about the area before you go so that your trip is as fun and easy as possible. Research all kinds of activities to see what suits you best, or choose to visit off-season for lower prices and fewer crowds; if possible, try learning some phrases in Croatian as well.
Take some time to look at different accommodation options and book early for the best deals. Additionally, make sure to pack appropriately depending on the time of year and remember to explore all the amazing attractions this city has to offer! Bon voyage!