Pula

I had not planned much for my visit to Pula. To be honest, I had not planned anything. The only two things I knew, was that it was a very convenient starting point for my trip to Slovenia (the most important thing) and that they have a large amphitheater. If I had done just a little research, I would probably only stayed one night (I arrived late evening) and moved on as soon as possible the next day. But I obviously didn’t, so I tried to make the most of it. So here it comes; my verdict.

The amphitheater: This impressive monument was built in the 1st century AD, at the same time as the magnificent Colosseum in Rome, so make sure to see it during your visit. However, you do not need to actually enter. I did not, and concluded the views from outside is better anyway.
Amphitheatre in Pula, CroatiaOther sights: The view from the castle was a little disappointing, mostly because what you can see is the industry all around. Let’s face it; In my book an industrial harbour can never look beautiful. Even though they did do a nice try lighting up the cranes during the evening.

The industrial cranes in Pula, Croatia lit up by night

The industrial cranes lit up by night

Start by the Triumphal Arch of the Sergi, often referred to as the Golden Gate, and stroll through the old town. Make sure to do a few detours along the way to see more than just the main street.

The Triumphal Arch of the Sergi in Pula, Croatia

The Triumphal Arch of the Sergi.

Street in old town Pula, Croatia

Main square of Pula and Temple of Augustus.

Main square of Pula and Temple of Augustus.

Arriving at the main square, you will see the Temple of Augustus, constructed between the year 2 BC and AD 14 . Check. And move on. The cathedral and belfry next-door looks nice, but the two restaurants there has extremely slow service (we left the first one, that’s why we know both…).
The Cathedral and belfry
At the end of the old town is the amphitheater, so here it is again.
The Amphitheatre in Pula, Croatia
On the way back, you can actually walk the underground shelter tunnels of Pula, called Zerostrasse!  The different hallways houses exhibitions, spanning from the history of the film festival, local artwork and aviation history.

Zerostrasse, the underground shelter tunnels of Pula, Croatia

Zerostrasse, the underground shelter tunnels of Pula.

The beach: We were recommended to go to Verudelia beach. It looked nice on the photo on the back of the map, so we decided to go there. For us, it was a complete waste. It was overcrowded (we could have predicted that though), so we did not even bother to dive in, although I love swimming in the ocean. But, as we both like to walk a lot when travelling, we had stopped for a quick cooling swim at the beach by the Youth Hostel along the way, so I was not completely over boiled.

Overcrowded Verudella beach in Pula, Croatia

Overcrowded Verudella beach.

Walking just across the hill from Verudelia to the marina, we sat down at the rooftop lounge. The beer was nice and cold, the view of the boats giving a pleasant atmosphere, and they served a decent all you can eat grill buffet for 100kn.

View from the rooftop terrace by Marina Bunarina in Pula, Croatia

View from the rooftop terrace by Marina Bunarina.

If you are up for a drink in the evening, stop either at one of the places at the main square if you want to stay outside, or at the small “Old City Bar” if you are keen on going indoors.
The main square of Pula, Croatia by night. With Temple of Augustus.
Where to stay: As I was travelling alone (or at least planned to), I had booked a bed in a dorm at Riva Hostel. It was nice and centrally located, with a fantastic rooftop terrace. For solo travelers this is a great place to get to know others! They also offer private rooms if you are more people travelling together.

Rooftop terrace at Riva Hostel in Pula, Croatia

Rooftop terrace at Riva Hostel.

Epidavros

Epidavros is a very popular harbor, so in order to get a spot there, we had to be there around 14.00. From Vathi it should take approximately 2,5 hours to get there. We had a slow morning, and stopped in a nice bay close by Epidavros for a swim to cool down from the heat. The remains of an old house was supposed to be seen under the surface, but we could not find them. But at least all of us got a nice and long swim.
Epidavros harbor
Arriving in the harbor of Epidavros, we got one of the few available spots. As we were at shore at lunchtime, we decided to make it easy and just buy some gyros.

One of the great attractions nearby is the old Epidaurus Theater. It is about 30 min drive from the port, and it usually cost 40€ to have a taxi drive you and pick you up again. It is recommended to spend at least 1,5 hours there. It would have been great to see this enormous ancient theater, but the heat set us back, so we relaxed partly in the shadow at the beach, or out in the cooling water instead.

In the evening we had dinner at a great restaurant called To Perivoli, meaning under the oranges. It was a few minutes walk away from the harbor, situated in a beautiful back yard with orange trees (surprise, surprise…!) We could go to the kitchen and point out what we wanted to order, and chose some mixed grilled meat and seafood, and some chicken in lemon sauce. For starters we had Cheese Zaganaki (fried cheese) with honey and sesame seeds, and also some fried small fish. Everything was really tasty, and we certainly did not go to bed feeling hungry.
To Perivoli restaurant
The next morning we woke up to a magnificent sunrise, accompanied by the calming sound of the small fishing boats going out for today’s catch.
Sunrise
A few of us went for a walk, leading us to an old amphitheater (not to be mistaken for the big one) and further to the Church of Virgin Mary on the top of a hill.
Amphitheater
Overall Epidavros is a very pictorial harbor, with charming streets and squares, and some nice sights. I regret that we did not go to Epidaurus Theater, but if I am ever nearby again, I will definitely do that!
Overview of Epidavros