By far the largest city in the Istria region in northern Croatia, Pula is also the most important city in Istria, which annually draws countless aficionados to its sunny shores to experience what the Romans considered one of the best portions of the Mediterranean.
With a history stretching for 3000 years, the town has managed to accumulate a wealth of cultures, traditions and important landmarks, a testament to its tumultuous past. Today, during the summer months, the locals share the beaches and the city streets with lots of visitors from all over the world. Travel & Arrival
Such a big city is dependent on having its own airport, which is why the Pula international Airport is one of the biggest air terminals in this part of the country, handling planes as big as the Boeing 747. There are internal flights from Zagreb, but there are also regular flights from Amsterdam, London, Manchester, Oslo, Vienna or Zurich. The airport is 6km away from the city but has regular buses servicing it, aiding the groups reach town.
The local bus routes reach Pula from other corners of the country, but also other destinations on the Dalmatian coast such as Rijeka or Split as well as international runs from Trieste, Belgrade or Venice.
When arriving by water, the hydrofoils are a rather pricy but very quick and comfortable ride which come from other places along the Craotian coast, as well as from across the Adriatic, from Venice. These runs last around 3 hours and arrive in Pula 5 times a week, and still they tend to get rather crowded between July and August, when the most numerous population heads to these shores. Avant & Apres Sail
There are lots of Roman ruins to be seen, but any self-respecting traveler should start off with the Arena, among the largest Roman constructions still standing in the world today. Then, a visit by the Forum in the main city square is obligatory. Optional attractions are the Archeology Museum, the St. Francis church and monastery from the 14th century, the Kastel (castle) and the Sailors’ cemetery and Sailors’ Church.
The central market is very popular with locals and tourists alike for the bargains you can find here. Fish, mussels, traditional handicrafts, souvenirs and many other trinkets can be bought here at decent prices. For wines, olive oil and truffles (a local specialty) head to Zigante. More modern shopping can be found at the Mercator mall outside of town heading to the airport, with items such as clothing or electronics, something for the more modern sailor.
The cuisine in Pula can be described in two words: fresh and sophisticated. The olives here are said to have a special aroma due to the soil, which is also why the region is famous for its truffles. Many Italian dishes find their way into the menus of most restaurants and thus on the tables of the masses which revel in dishes such as sea bass, sole, mussels, clams and prawns cooked, baked or fried with different sauces, vegetables or spices.
The party life in and around the city center suffers a bit due to a restriction that closes most bars after midnight, but the ones in the Veruda area make up for that , while in the north eastern part of the city, the regular will find some of the bigger clubs. Events & Actions
Looking over the list of events throughout the year in Pula, one would realize that most of them happen during summer, such as the Seasplash Raggae Festival in July, the Pula Film Festival also in July, the Histria Festival from July to August. But there are also things happening outside the tourist season, like the International Music Festival in November.
One-Week Sailing Itinerary from Pula, Croatia: Uncovering the Adriatic Sea's Hidden Treasures
Day 1: Pula to Rovinj
Begin your yacht charter adventure on Saturday evening from the vibrant port of Pula. Set sail towards the enchanting town of Rovinj, located about 18 nautical miles away. As you traverse the glistening Adriatic Sea, marvel at the captivating views of the Istrian coastline. Upon arrival in Rovinj, find a snug spot in the marina or anchor in the nearby bay, and indulge in a delectable dinner at a local seaside restaurant.
Day 2: Rovinj to Poreč
Wave goodbye to Rovinj and head towards the delightful town of Poreč, situated approximately 20 nautical miles away. En route, make a pit stop at the picturesque Lim Fjord for a refreshing swim in its crystal-clear waters, and perhaps even a chance to spot some cheeky dolphins. Continue to Poreč, secure your yacht charter in the bustling harbor, and explore the town's rich history, admiring its well-preserved Roman architecture.
Day 3: Poreč to Umag
Set sail from Poreč and embark on a 25-nautical-mile journey to the charming town of Umag. Along the way, drop anchor at the scenic Vrsar Archipelago for a relaxing swim and a leisurely lunch in a chic waterfront restaurant. Upon arrival at Umag, dock your yacht charter in the lively marina, and immerse yourself in the town's vibrant nightlife, rubbing shoulders with fellow yacht enthusiasts.
Day 4: Umag to Novigrad
Leave Umag behind and navigate towards the quaint town of Novigrad, about 15 nautical miles away. En route, stop at the beautiful Savudrija Bay for a swim in its azure waters and some sunbathing on its golden sands. Once you reach Novigrad, find a perfect spot in the marina or a nearby anchorage, and explore the town's charming streets, savoring delightful local wines and culinary delights.
Day 5: Novigrad to Brijuni Islands National Park
Depart from Novigrad and set sail for the captivating Brijuni Islands National Park, located approximately 20 nautical miles away. On the way, take a break in the pristine Veli Brijun Bay, where you can enjoy a leisurely swim, snorkel among the colorful marine life, or simply bask in the sun. Continue to Brijuni Islands, drop anchor in the designated area, and delve into the park's rich history and natural beauty, visiting ancient sites and observing the unique wildlife.
Day 6: Brijuni Islands to Fažana
Leave the Brijuni Islands behind and sail towards the charming village of Fažana, situated about 5 nautical miles away. On the way, drop anchor at the serene Veliki Kozjak Bay, where you can take a leisurely swim, admire the stunning surroundings, and perhaps even spot some playful sea creatures. Upon arrival at Fažana, secure your yacht charter in the cozy marina, and explore the village's picturesque streets, enjoying delicious local cuisine.
Day 7: Fažana to Pula
On the final day of your yacht charter adventure, set sail from Fažana and make your way back to Pula, a journey of approximately 5 nautical miles. Before returning to your starting point, take the time to explore the serene Cape Kamenjak, where you can enjoy a last swim or sunbathing session in the idyllic surroundings of its crystal-clear waters.
Arrive back in Pula on Friday evening, ready to return your yacht charter to the base. As you disembark, bid farewell to your yacht and crew, taking with you unforgettable memories of your Istrian Coast sailing adventure.
|Distance (Nautical Miles)
|Brijuni Islands National Park
What are the top sailing destinations around Pula?
Pula serves as an excellent starting point to explore the northern part of the Adriatic Sea. The Brijuni Islands, a national park known for its beautiful landscape and rich history, is an absolute must-visit. Sailing south, you can reach the charming towns of Rovinj and Poreč. You should also explore the islands of Cres, Lošinj, and Krk.
What are some must-visit anchor bays nearby?
There are many delightful bays and coves in the vicinity of Pula. Verudela Bay, located south of the city, is an excellent anchorage with beautiful scenery. Medulin Bay is known for its sandy beaches and calm waters, making it another excellent anchorage spot. Around the Brijuni Islands, there are several good anchorages, including Veli Brijun and Sv. Jerolim.
Can you recommend any other marinas near Pula?
Definitely. ACI Marina Pula, located in the city itself, offers top-notch facilities. Marina Veruda, located south of Pula, is a well-equipped and modern marina. Other nearby marinas include ACI Marina Rovinj, ACI Marina Pomer, and Marina Nautica in Novigrad. Each provides excellent facilities and services for yachts of various sizes.
What can I explore in and around Pula while on a sailing vacation?
Pula is rich in historical and cultural sites. Don't miss the iconic Roman amphitheatre, the Temple of Augustus, and the Arch of the Sergii. A boat trip to the Brijuni Islands will reward you with archaeological sites, a safari park, and botanical gardens. The nearby town of Rovinj, with its colorful buildings and cobblestone streets, is also worth a visit.
What water activities can I engage in while sailing?
The waters around Pula are perfect for a wide range of activities. Scuba diving is particularly popular due to the many underwater caves, reefs, and sunken ships in the area. Kayaking, windsurfing, and paddleboarding are other popular water sports. Anglers can enjoy a day of fishing, with a variety of fish species in these waters.
What are some of the gastronomic specialties of Pula that I can try during my sailing vacation?
The Istrian cuisine, to which Pula belongs, is a unique blend of Italian and Croatian influences. Try truffles, a regional delicacy, in pasta or with meat. The region is also known for its excellent seafood dishes, such as buzara (stewed shellfish) and grilled fish. Pair your meal with local wines, such as Malvazija or Teran, or try rakija, a traditional fruit brandy.
Are there any local events or festivals at this south point of Istria that coincide with the sailing season?
Pula is known for its vibrant summer events. The most notable is the Pula Film Festival, held in the ancient amphitheater. The city also hosts numerous concerts, theatrical performances, and exhibitions during the summer. The Night of the Full Moon, a unique sea and gastronomy festival, takes place in August, and is definitely worth attending.
What local customs should I be aware of?
When greeting locals in Pula, a simple 'Dobar dan' (Good day) is appreciated. When dining, you might be offered a complimentary glass of rakija - it's customary to accept. Respect the local culture and environment, especially when visiting historical sites or natural parks. Modest dress is expected when visiting churches and religious sites.