21 Days in Europe: Croatia

July 4, 2018

 

Days 12-14 

 

AirBNB: Nadia’s Studio Pula ($52 per night)

 

We were so pleased with our day with Nada. She was so kind and her apartment was absolutely wonderful! It was an old building that she recently began renovating and it was so cute! She was very consistent in her communication with us and seemed to be there anytime we needed her help. She even helped hang out clothes out to dry because there are no laundromats in Pula! 

 

Pula, Croatia: An Overview

 

 

We were so pleasantly surprised by this cute little coastal town of Croatia with a lot to offer. I was excited of course to go here because my heart is always longing for the coast, and we finally made it! Croatia is actually only a short distance away by train or flight from Italy (Venice is very close), and you could easily do both countries if your main stay was in Italy. (Which we may try to do when we go to Italy one day).

The charm of Pula is through its Roman influence, and it’s laid back coastal vibe. The people in Pula were incredibly hospitable and kind, and we found ourselves having authentic conversations and laughs with the people which was so refreshing at this point in the trip where we are feeling a little homesick at times!
If you love beautiful beaches with cerulean-blue water, opportunities for water-based adventures, historical viewpoints, good food, and amazing hospitality, you HAVE to check out Pula.

Exploring the City and it’s History

 

 

Much of the Roman influence that still makes its presence in Pula comes from the reign of Augustus. Pula has its own Colloseum remains as well as an underground system that was used for oils. You can still go underground through the tunnels and housing for the pots that were once filled with olive oil today.

 

 

Other popular areas are near the arches of town that seem to welcome visitors with open arms into the shops and restaurants of the city’s center. 

 

 

Food

 


Obviously when on the coast, seafood is the way to go. I’ll admit, seeing scampi in its fresh out of the water was a little intimidating at first, but it was some of the best seafood I’ve had! You can also have some pretty large, fresh fish that comes straight from the Farmer’s Market in the center of town. The Farmer’s Market also has specialty fruits, oils, and the city’s pride- lavender.

 

 

Adventure

 

 

The most popular aspect of Pula takes you to its beaches, where you can have a variety of activities to do. We enjoy having a little more adventure in our coastal trips, so we opted for ocean kayaking, which led to the Blue Caves. This well-known to local treasure is not as well-known to visitors, but the right tour guide will get you to the spot. Yours are quickly filled ahead of time, so we rented a kayak a little farther down the coast and joined up with one of the tour guides in the water as they were paddling (he invited us to join his group, which was very useful when we got closer to the caves since the caves are dark inside and neeeded some guidance to navigate. It’s no wonder why natural light only is required though:

 

 

You can both kayak and swim through the cave, although as soon as you leave the cave’s mouth, the darkness of the cave surrounds you. You can’t even get a clear picture inside the cave due to the cold air that mixes with the warm, salty air from outside. 

 

Afterwards, we docked our kayaks on the rocky coast (be careful on these beaches because the rocks are sharp! (I cut my hand getting back onto shore after swimming). The thing most popular besides swimming into the Blue Caves is jumping off of the Blue Caves. There are various heights of cliff areas available along the caves’ top, but of course we were crazy enough to do the highest point of {safe} cliff jumping points in all of Croatia; about 45ft high. (If you don’t already know, that’s about 31/2 stories). Initially, it doesn’t look so bad until you’ve rock climbed up, and look down to realize it’s a pretty good fall. But once you’ve built up your courage, the experience is definitely once in a lifetime! (There are so many people there to watch from afar to cheer you on). 

 

(If you zoom in, enjoy my face). 

 

Once down, you can relax and enjoy the cool waters of the Istrian coast. 

 

 

Other activities on the coast include jet ski rentals, banana boat rides, water parks, and paddle boarding (although because of the water’s nature, paddle boarding is mainly only doable in the evenings when the water is calmer). Plus, who doesn’t want the upper body workout that only kayaking can provide? 😏

 

Pula Aquarium

 

 

On our last day in Pula, we had some time to kill because our train for Budapest, Hungary wasn’t due to leave until 5:40PM. The Verudela beach is highly recommended, but we were a little burned out from all the sun the day before (5 hours of kayaking and being in the water), so we decided to end our time with being on the coast but doing something a little more relaxing (and with air conditioning!) and took a trip to the Pula Aquarium. The aquarium is based out of the old Fort, Verudela, and offers sights of both salt and freshwater fish. It’s a beautiful aquarium and a great time-filler! 

 

We hope to come back to Croatia to experience other beautiful coastal towns! But for now, on to Budapest, Hungary! (Time to get some real sleep)

 

~Gal with a pal

 

 

 

 

 

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