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Pula sits on Croatia's Istrian peninsula, close to the Italian border. This ancient town was mostly shaped by the Romans, who built many of its impressive landmarks, including the amphitheatre, main square and Arch of the Sergii. As well as its archaeological structures, the city has pretty beaches, clear waters for swimming and coves to explore, and the town centre has a quaintness while still operating as a functioning port. Alongside its historical charm, Pula is also known for its contemporary art installations and annual music festivals.
In a Pula hostel, you could wake up each morning to views of the sea from a building right on the water front. Or you can stay in the winding streets of the old town, steps from the main town square, Giardini, and ancient landmarks. For sociable stays, mix with other travellers in hostels with dorms and plenty of communal spaces like outdoor terraces or their own bar. If you're looking for more space, you can choose a Pula hostel with an apartment-like room with home comforts such as free Wi-Fi and free breakfasts.
The old town of Pula centres around its ancient amphitheatre, with a maze of crumbling painted villas reaching out to the working harbour. Close to downtown Pula, the neighbourhood of Stoja has an impressive stretch of coastline with shallow bays and rocky grottos. Here, you'll also find some of the most popular beaches in the region, such as Valkane and Valsaline. The Verudela Peninsula, where the coast is dotted with seaside cafés and scented with towering pine trees, is a short bus ride away.
Top of the must-see list has to be Pula's 2,000-year-old Roman Arena, thought to be the sixth largest in the world. Gladiators have long been replaced with open-air concerts and the city's annual Film Festival. After dark, head to the port and its Uljanik shipyard, where the illuminated cranes, known as Lighting Giants, become an installation of their own. Close to the harbour, you'll find some of Pula's most popular party venues, featuring some with courtyards and stages for live shows under the stars.
Flights go directly into Pula Airport from several cities across the UK and Europe, including London and Berlin. Brioni and FILS shuttle buses will take you to the town's main bus station in 15 minutes. You can also reach the city via Italy's Trieste Airport and Venice Airport, which are both a five-hour bus journey away. You can travel around the region by car or bike, although you can also walk to many places.