Cruise Port Atlas | Pula, Croatia Day Trips | Attractions

Pula, Croatia Day Trips | Attractions

With limited time in port, planning is the best way to make the most of your time. Should you strike out on your own? Should you hire a local guide? Or should you book a shore excursion offered by the cruise line or an international tour company? Below we have listed the attractions and activities that many other cruisers have enjoyed. This information should help you plan.

The advantage to cruise line tours is that they are timed for your visit and give you flexibility to change your mind after your trip begins. The advantage of using a large international firm is that tours are often less expensive than cruise sponsored tours. The advantage to using a local tour company or guide is that prices can be significantly lower or you may be able to get a customized trip just to see the attractions that interest you most.

Cruise lines that visit Pula: Voyages of Discovery, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea, Viking River Cruises

Key Attractions: Pula Arena, Pula Castle, Golden Arch, Temple of Augustus, Cathedral of the Assumption, Rovinj Harbor, Rovinj Islands, St. Euphemia Church, Rovinj Aquarium, Historic Porec, Euphrasian Basilica, Pazin Castle, Pazin Chasm, Brijuni Islands National Park, Brijuni Safari Park

Pula Attractions

Pula Cruise Berth to Arena - 1.6 KM, 5 minutes, 8 minute walk
Pula Cruise Berth to Castle and Old Town - 1-1.5 KM, 3-4 minutes, 11-15 minute walk
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Pula is the home to several of the area's major Roman remains, many of which are in beautiful condition. By far. the most famous is the Arena (Amphitheater) which was built in the 1st century AD during the same era as Rome's Colosseum and for the same purpose, gladiator competitions. It could hold over 20,000 spectators, making it the 5th largest Roman amphitheater still in existence. What remains today is primarily the exterior wall made of beautiful local white limestone rock. Nearby are three important Roman era gates. Built around the time of the establishment of the Roman city (around 45 BCE) is the simple Gate of Hercules. The Golden Triumphal Arch is from just a couple of decades later and is built in a Hellenistic Corinthian style. The Twin Gates were once part of the city walls and were built in the 2nd or 3rd centuries AD. Built in the last years of 1st century BCE is the Temple of Augustus which houses a museum of bronze and stone sculptures and is adjacent to the Roman Forum. Pula's other most impressive monument is the Castle, built in the early 17th century AD by the Venetians where today the Istrian History Museum is housed. Conveniently, the historic center of the city is compact and walkable, so walking tours are the best option. Other historic buildings of the post-Roman era include the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, which has elements going back to its original 4th century structure, but mainly shows a Renaissance style today.



Photo of Pula Arena by Orlovic, Photo of Temple of Augustus by Sebb

Rovinj Attractions

Pula to Rovinj - 36 KM, 42 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Rovinj does not have the historic appeal of larger Pula, but it has the atmosphere of what it has long been - a fishing village. The old city is built on a hilly peninsula with narrow cobbled, mainly pedestrian streets that wind to the top where the St. Euphemia offers great views of the surrounding sea and islands. The city's St. Euphemia is its scenic focal point and was completed the early 18th century AD at the site of previous churches. The historic center is filled with cafes and shops. In August, Rovinj hosts an arts fair that offers local craftspeople and tourists a chance to connect. The islands just off the coast are easily accessible via local boats. The beaches are mainly rock or gravel covered, but very popular nonetheless. Be forewarned, many of the area beaches are popular with those who prefer to leave their clothing behind. The social scene in Rovinj is vibrant and if you’re there on a summer evening the noise level definitely increases.



Photo of Rovinj Marina by Spencey82, Photo of St. Euphemia by Beyond Silence

Porec and the Euphrasian Basilica

Pula to Porec - 54 KM, 48 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Porec is a small peninsula to the north Rovinj on the west Istrian coast. Its Euphrasian Basilica has been declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site. This 6th century AD building has a 16th century bell tower, but otherwise displays the lovely simplicity of early Byzantine architecture. Inside are some of the finest examples of religious mosaics of the era. The remainder of the small historic center is a network of narrow streets with restaurants and shops housed in historic buildings from Romanesque to Gothic to Venetian styles.



Photos of Euphrasian Basilica by JoJan

Pazin Chasm and Castle

Pula to Pazin - 49 KM, 39 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Pazin is a small town at the geographic center of the Istrian peninsula that was made famous by Jules Verne in his novel, Matthias Sanddorf, about a Hungarian adventurer. The most famous attractions in the town are the massive castle, now a museum, and the gorge that the castle overlooks, known as the Pazin Chasm. The chasm is impressively deep and leads to a large underwater lake which can be visited. Castle, chasm, and lake are all featured prominently in Verne's adventure novel.



Photos of Pazin Chasm by Modzzak (top) and Mijozi (above)

Brijuni Islands National Park and Lim Bay

Pula to Fazana (ferry to Brijoni Islands) - 8 KM, 13 minutes (plus ferry to islands)
Pula to Lim Bay - 33 KM, 33 minutes
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Off the coast at Fazana, a small fishing town just north of Pula, are the Brijuni Islands and their national park. Most visitors stay on the largest island, Brijuni Veliki which features many of the park's attractions. The most famous features of the island are several locations with dinosaur foot prints. While many indigenous species roam freely on the island (deer, sheep, goats, oxen), several other European species have been imported, including two species of deer and the mouflon (big-horned sheep). A safari park on the main island features large grazing animals from Asia and Africa, given as diplomatic gifts. In addition to plant and animal attractions, the island has several important archaeological and historic sites, including a Knights Templar Church and the ruins of a large Roman villa.

The Lim Bay (also sometimes known as a fjord and/or canal) is a long narrow bay a short distance north of Rovinj which offers a scenic boat tours. It is the source of the region’s best oysters and mussels.



Photo of Roman Ruins on Brijoni Island by Johann SUHM, Photo of Safari Park by Romanceor

Interests Key:

Art Architecture Beach Children Wild Animals Local Cuisine Flora Gardens-Parks Geology

Diving UNESCO Views Wine Dance Music Shopping History Hiking

Walking & Wheelchair Accessibility:

No Walking Easy Walking Normal Walking Difficult Walking Accessible Limited Not Accessible