Croatia…the country that knocked us out of the 2018 World Cup, the country that heavily features in Game of Thrones (apparently) and the country that hosted our summer holiday! Our destination was Pula rather than the more obvious Dubrovnik or Split. Pula is the largest city in the region of Istria.
Where we stayed
Just slightly on the outskirts of Pula, we stayed on the Verudela peninsula at the Park Plaza Verudela resort. We chose to go self catering and required a 2 bed apartment to accommodate our needs. The apartment was split over 2 floors and was really spacious. We were lucky enough to get upgraded to a sea view which is a bonus!
Despite being a huge complex of both self catering accommodation and a hotel, it never felt particularly busy or overcrowded.
There were 2 small niggles…despite having several onsite restaurants, they all had a very similar menu. The other issue was the lack of sun beds around the pool. The pool area is not big enough for the amount of guests and this results in queuing at 8am before the gates are opened at 9am to reserve a bed. At first we thought this was an exaggeration but if you didn’t get into that culture then you didn’t have a bed.
What we did
We were only in Croatia for a week so we wanted to get a balance of some rest days and some exploration days.
In the heart of Pula sits it’s grand Arena – think along the lines of the Colosseum in Rome and you’re half way there. The Pula Film Festival was being held during our visit so it was set up with a huge screen and hundreds of seats.
There’s also the Roman Forum, overlooked by the Temple of Augustus, which is now Pula’s main square where you’ll find lots of bustling cafes charging over the odds for a beer that costs £1.50 just down the road.
As it was incredibly hot during our visit, we decided to go to ZeroStrasse. This is an extensive system of tunnels & galleries first built as war shelters in the early 1900s. there was a strange atmosphere down there and some of the rooms that fed off the tunnels were pitch black.
We didn’t make it in the evening but within the main port you can watch the amazing lighting display at Uljanik shipyard, one of the world’s oldest working docks. The shipyard cranes are lite up in 16,000 different colour schemes, which come alive on the hour for 15 minutes.
Approximately 45 minutes north of Pula lies Rovinj, known as the Little Venice of Croatia. With its cobbled winding streets and pastel coloured buildings with the 18th-century church St. Euphemia, it makes for a bloggers paradise!
We made the sensible decision to get here early at 9.30am. By the time we’d walked up to St. Euphemia and back down again, the streets were heaving with tourists.
You can get several boats to other islands or along the coast from Rovinj but despite our surname, JB isn’t keen on boats!
We can see why Croatia is becoming more and more popular. The people are friendly, the food takes inspiration from Italy plus there is a lot of fresh seafood available and the beers are cheap! The sea is crystal clear blue and with plenty of sea life it’s great for snorkelling.
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