Things to do and see

Things to do and see

A guide to some of the things to do and places to see in Croatia whilst you are here.

Pula is one of Istria’s most beautiful and authentic cities, speckled with Roman ruins, centred around the magnificent Amphitheatre – The Arena. Like the Colosseum in Rome? – Well this was built at the same time, during the reign of Emperor Vespasian, during the 1st Century AD.

With stone tiers all the way around, an estimated 20,000 blood-thirsty spectators could watch the Gladiators fighting to the death below in the central flat arena. The core of cultural activities in times gone by, from gladiator tournaments to medieval markets in the Middle Ages, this phenomenal architectural feat is still at the hub of Pula’s vibrancy. Host to a wide range of events, including the Pula Film Festival, the Arena also holds many music concerts, with a capacity for around 5,000 spectators. Artists such as Manu Chau, Buena Vista Social Club, Sting, Jamiroquai, Stereo MCs and Crazy Couzins have all graced the Arena with their presence.

More info on the Croatian National Tourist Board.

Photo courtesy of the Croatian National Tourist Board

Photo courtesy of the Croatian National Tourist Board

This stunning archipelago consists of two main pine-covered islands and thirteen smaller islets, situated just northwest of Pula, off the Istrian Coast. Fancy a natural ‘trip’ – then this is your thing! Don’t be surprised if you bump into the odd free-roaming giraffe or bear! I’m afraid you won’t be hallucinating – this is Brujini – thanks to Tito – an extravagant Yugoslav leader who turned it into a private retreat, introducing crazy subtropical species and creating a safari park to house exotic animals gifted to him by world leaders – eg. Somali sheep from Ethiopa and water-buck from a Zambian leader! Many world famous leaders and celebrities visit Tito’s paradise, the first official states person being Ethiopan Emporor Haile Selassie in 1954 who gave an Ethiopian elephant!

More info on the Croatian National Tourist Board.

Photo courtesy of the Croatian National Tourist Board

Photo courtesy of the Croatian National Tourist Board

Like the sepia setting on your camera?! Well you don’t need it to photograph Pag! Home to Outlook 2009, the island has its own mysterious, ancient atmosphere, like a setting out of an 1950s Italian film, with dramatic barren, rocky landscapes, spotted with patches of shrubs and around a dozen small villages.But the islanders still farm the land and produce Sutica – a decent domestic white wine, and Paski Sir – delicious Pag cheese, salty and sharp, soaked in olive oil and aged in stone. Despite its aging feel, Novalja northern port is a carefree, vibrant resort near the clubbing mecca of Zree beach! So go check it out!

Just catch a bus from Pula to Rijeka, (around 80KN, 2hrs), then hop on a boat from Rijeka to Pag’s northern port Novalja (40KN, 2.5hrs).

More info on the Croatian National Tourist Board.

Photo courtesy of the Croatian National Tourist Board

Photo courtesy of the Croatian National Tourist Board

Croatia’s second-largest city, Split’s atmosphere perfectly balances historic tradition with a modern buzz,epitomised by the wealth of thriving bars, restaurants and shops nestled inside the charming old walls of Roman emperor Doicletian’s retirement palace, one of the world’s most wow-worthy Roman monuments (built AD 295-305) which gave Split it’s fame and is now a Unesco World Heritage sight.

The turquoise Adriatic lulls behind the dramatic coastal mountains, and the vibrant and beautiful city is also a great diving board to the hip islands nearby! – taste the culinary delicacies and stunning beaches of Vis (car ferry from Split, 54KN, 2.5hrs), laze on the sexy beach of Zlatni Rat, party all night and absorb the glamour at Hvar Town’s seafront bars, or visit the impeccable ancient architecture of tiny Togir, Central Dalmatia’s World Heritage Sight.Buses from Pula to Split run three times daily (387-392KN, 10hrs), or bus it to Rijeka and get a ferry to Split. Once there, visit Jadrolinija in the large ferry terminal opposite the bus station for most coastal ferry and catamaran boats to the islands.

More info on the Croatian National Tourist Board.

Photo courtesy of the Croatian National Tourist Board

Photo courtesy of the Croatian National Tourist Board

If you have time to roam even further south, then Dubrovnik is worth the trip. The ‘jewel of the Adriatic’ according to Lord Byron and ‘paradise on Earth’ for George Bernard Shaw, the stunning city does not disappoint. Take a relaxing stroll around the old town, marvel at its magnificent walls and beautiful baroque architecture which transport you back in time.

Dubrovnik is also a fantastic place from which to explore the gorgeous coastline and the lush neighbouring islands: Lokrum, Korcula (with its fantastic white wined and citadel), Mljet National Park, mountainous Peljesac Peninsula and Trsteno Gardens.

Get a bus to Rijeka, and then change onto a bus to Dubrovnik (13hrs).

More info on the Croatian National Tourist Board.

Photo courtesy of the Croatian National Tourist Board

Photo courtesy of the Croatian National Tourist Board

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