City guide #1 : Pula, Croatia

Pula, CroatiaThis summer Croatia’s what everyone’s talking about. Rosé and I spent a fantastic 4 days in Pula in the north of the country. It’s the less touristy of Croatia’s coastal cities and maintains some good old Eastern European charm. Pula’s not a glamorous city, it’s just very laidback and perfect for a relaxing and pleasantly cheap holiday.

Pula AmphitheatreHow to get there: We got a bus from Trieste in Italy to Pula for €12 one-way. Be warned they also charge €1 per piece of luggage that they forget to tell you in advance… The trip took 3 hours but was well worth it because of the amazing views you get over the Slovenian and Croatian mountains.

Pula bus station has regular services to most big cities in Croatia and occasional ones to neighbouring countries too. Do not trust the local train system! The internet says one thing but I walked over to Pula Station to discover a near-abandoned building where the only person I could find was an angry security guard who managed to tell me “Ljubljana never!” We then resorted to taking a bus along the stunning coastline to Rijeka and a train from there to Ljubljana for a grand total of €21.

To stay: Dea Apartments booked through hostelworld.com For approx. €10 per person per night you not only get a flat to yourselves but also access to the garden and barbeque. Upon arrival owner Andrea greeted us with a map and recommendations for what to do during our stay. Her husband is equally lovely and joined some of us travellers in the garden for a glass of wine.

The flats are situated literally 50m from the beach and have supermarkets nearby so you don’t necessarily have to leave the area…

To eat: There’s not much variety in Pula but there are plenty of universal bistro-pizzerias that serve up cheap but filling meals. Avoid the tourist traps on Kandlerova Ulica where waiters will offer anything just to get your custom. Try some local favourites like grilled calamari or chevapchichi. Local wine is also highly recommended – a 3l box will set you back a mere €2.80 if you’re lucky like me and get it on sale.

To do: The beaches stretching from Stoja to Punta Verudella are all worth seeing and enjoying. My favourite is the narrow Sisplac bay just down from Hotel Pula. You’ll find most beaches have bars or cafes right by the waterfront if you get thirsty or fancy a post-swim ice-cream.

Pula Old Town is nice and compact so you can see most sights in a day. Do check out the Forum, Amphitheatre and Portarata Square. Climb up the hill to the top of the city for fine views across the bay and strangely aesthetic industrial parts of town.

Pula boat tripBoat rides are another must when in Pula. Walk along Riva to find the best deal for you. Most boat companies will offer a selection of day trips, some for a full day and others for a few hours. You might also be offered a “fish picnic” where you’ll be served dinner on the boat. Wine and soft drinks are included in the price of the ticket regardless of whether or not you choose to eat, cheers to that! Our boat also had an epic Kylie and Eurovision mixtape.

This is city guide #1. Please let me know what you think by e-mailing redandrosegirls@gmail.com or tweeting @redandrosegirls. If there’s a city you’d like to see in the list, who knows, maybe I’ve been there, loved it and have a lot to say about it 🙂 If not, I’ll be sure to visit it sometime. – Red

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