Istria is a peninsula and the most popular tourist region in Croatia. Pula is a city on the far south of Istria and the biggest one. Like other cities and towns in our region, it abounds in many great beaches.
Whether you come with your family to some of our camps, stay in one of the many hotels Pula has, or you come to attend a music festival, it’s always good to know which beaches are worth visiting. In fact, why not visit them all?
Here’s our overview of best Pula beaches…
Ambrela Beach, Verudela, Pula
Ambrela (pronounced Umbrella) is a common name for St John Cove beach, and it is one of the most attractive beaches in Pula. Locals rated it as the best city beach. It’s at the entry to the tourist zone and small peninsula Verudela.
Ambrela is very accessible by road as the public parking lot is just a few meters away. Due to Verudela’s popularity, this big parking space becomes full at the peak of the summer.
However, the city bus stop is right in front of the parking lot and makes an alternative solution. (Line 2a Šijana-City Center-Verudela)
The walking trail above the beach leads to other nearby beaches, and it goes both ways. Following the promenade, you’ll get to the Brioni beach on the left, and Saccorgiana beach on the right.
Ambrela is a pebble beach that earned a blue flag due to its cleanliness and maintenance. Pebbles and a mild incline make the sea entry simple and easy. The water is shallow in the beginning, so it is suitable for families with small children.
The youth loves this beach for another feature – inflatable aqua park.
To keep the swimmers safe, the buoy border prevents jet skis and boats coming too close, and educated lifeguards monitor the situation from their tower from 11 am to 7 pm. That way you can relax and enjoy the beach experience care free.
Beach facilities include outdoor fresh water showers, changing rooms, and public toilette. For Dining options, Ambrela restaurant and caffé bar is right at the beach. About fifty meters away, lounge bar and restaurant E&D offers cocktails, food, and desserts with a view of the beach itself.
Here is the stuff you can rent on the beach:
- pedal boats
Since Ambrela is one of the top beaches in Pula, keep in mind you won’t have much space or privacy during July and August here. If you want to swim here but seek solitude, I suggest you put your towels further in the shades of pine trees above the beach.
Brioni Beach, Verudela, Pula
In the southeast direction, near to Ambrela, there is a beach Brioni. You can guess, it’s named after the hotel Brioni above the beach. Like its neighbor, this beach also has a blue flag, as a recognition of excellence.
This beach is rocky, with paved sunbathing areas.
A restaurant, coffee bar, and a food stand are all in the beach proximity. Other facilities include changing rooms, public toilets, and freshwater showers.
Brioni beach has diverse rental options, from loungers and umbrellas to jet skis. For a different water activity, you can also try parasailing, a banana ride, or sea trekking. Sea trekking may be the most interesting feature because it allows you to explore the nearby shipwrecks.
All these options make Brioni beach a favorite one amongst the youth and entertainment and sports enthusiasts.
Beach Saccorgiana, Verudela, Pula
Saccorgiana beach is another top spot for local beachgoers and tourists. The beach is settled between Ambrela beach and Zlatne Stijene (Golden Rocks) beach, and you can take the same road to Verudela to get here, but make a first turn right before you reach Verudela.
The turn is easy to spot, you’ll see the Zeppelin beach bar road sign, and I’ll explain the connection to the beach later.
Although in Pula parking spaces are few, this beach has enough space for you to drive here. Alternatively, you can take the same bus line from the city that goes to Verudela (Lines 2a or 3a).
This beach is a natural cove and has a calm sea with a pleasant temperature – that makes it perfect for kids and elderly. Saccorgiana is a pebbly beach, with rocky shores on the sides and grass areas in the shade. Low pine forest provides enough natural sun protection for everyone.
As in the rest of the city, the sea is here of exceptional quality, with crystalline waters that become emerald-ish during the hot day.
The bay has a marked border which prevents swimmers from drifting or kids going too far while they play on the water park. You can rent diving gear straight off the beach, like the other usual stuff (sunbeds, pedal boats, jet skis, small boats).
You’ll see whole families on this beach, loads of kids and dogs. Everyone loves Saccorgiana because it offers diverse activities even if you don’t plan to dip in the sea.
Kids have their own playground and trampolines above the cove, and adults have a football field.
Getting back to the origin of the Beach Bar name-Zeppelin, it doesn’t have to do anything with the band, unfortunately. In 1915, Italian airship Città di Lessi with a six-man crew crashed near to the bay which now holds a photo of the crash. That’s the story behind the name of Zeppelin, which is opened and visited all year round.
Its terrace spreads over the whole area and offers a superb view of the sea. There are a lot of shady areas which makes Zeppelin a perfect place to relax after swimming and sunbathing. Chill out zone, with not too loud house music and popular hits complete the great vibe of Zeppelin.
Besides cocktails, coffee and other drinks, Zeppelin recently added a fast food area to their offering. Now you can have a burger menu, fries, salads or ice cream in your bikinis or shorts.
We had bambus (wine and coke – loved by locals) and tried the cheeseburger. We weren’t disappointed.
Saccorgiana isn’t a spacious beach, but it has a lot of additional facilities, far more than some other, bigger beaches.
Hawaii Beach, Verudela, Pula
Beach with the most lucrative name is also found in Verudela zone, right below the Park Plaza Arena hotel. It’s somewhat further from the parking lot and the bus station, so you must walk about 400 meters to get there.
Strolling around Verudela while getting here is amazing because of the maintained walking routes and outstanding views.
I don’t know who named this beach Havajsko (Hawaii) and made the name recognizable, but everyone can realize why when they see it. It is understandably popular amongst the people, both resident, and guests.
A clear water and white pebbles in the heart of the cove make the waters light blue-green and remind us of some remote tropical island. When there are no waves, an easy entrance to the sea and mild incline make Hawaii beach good for families with younger children. The beach is reachable by the stairs leading to the central area.
Crystal clear water makes Hawaii beach ideal for snorkeling.
High rocks circling the beach protect the cove, but the sea can be wavy when the winds rise. That makes it attractive for adventure seekers, and you can often watch cliff jumpers have fun around the bay.
When the beach gets overcrowded, look for sunbathing spots around the rocks, you’ll find many flat areas. It shouldn’t be a problem to find a place for towels, even in the shades. Hotel guests have an advantage as they can rest on the big sized sunbeds on the grass above the coast and have the perfect overview of the area.
Hawaii beach has no safety nets in the sea, but lifeguards are here during the day to look after the visitors.
Fun fact: Hawaii beach is so beautiful many newlyweds take their official photos here.
Compared to other beaches we’ve covered so far, Hawaii doesn’t have restaurants or amenities, just plain nature, but Pula’s aquarium is within a walking distance, so you can head there on your way back.
Lighthouse Beach, Verudela, Pula
Following the coastal walk through Verudela, on the left from Hawaii beach there is a beach called Lighthouse. The beach is named after a small lighthouse nearby. This lighthouse was built in 1877.
The legend says the Roman emperor Vespasian owed money to the builders of Pula’s amphitheater. To escape the curse, he ordered his subjects to bury the gold coins in front of the lighthouse so descendants of the builders would find the treasure.
The road to this beach is paved, easily accessible, and the parking lot is only 300 meters away.
Lighthouse beach is very unusual and not for everyone’s taste, it is more attractive to adventure seekers or those who like to enjoy the waves. The entrance is challenging, and it can be slippery, so I wouldn’t say it’s suitable for children and the elderly. That’s why it is very interesting for adventurers, and the reason my friends and I enjoyed coming to this beach when we were younger.
The beach is made of flat rocks, ideal for sunbathing. Above the beach, there is a restaurant where you can have lunch with a beautiful view of the sea.
An exciting attraction of this beach is a small reef in the sea is about 30 meters from the shore which locals call the Apple. It’s tiny, barely fits a few people, but it’s neat for taking a short break from swimming and jumping.
Verudela Beach, Verudela, Pula
Named after the peninsula, Verudela beach is easy to reach by car or by bus. The beach is made of pebbles, but it also has paved parts, ideal for sunbathing and taking a nap (personal preference ).
Pebbles make the sea entry easy, and the sea is calm and clear. Everyone can enjoy a beach like this. It is well arranged and has additional amenities. You can wash off the salt and shower or change from the wet bathing suit before you head home.
Maybe pebbles and pavement are not your favorites and you want to upgrade your beach game, then rent a lounger or a sunbed and umbrella and unwind.
When you get hungry or need a refreshing drink, the beach bar offers snacks. If you get a sweet tooth – grab an ice cream.
Verudela beach works well for families with children because it also has an inflatable water park, and a pool with a water slide nearby. This outdoor pool near the beach is a great alternative if the water becomes wavy.
Rentals are also available, from pedal boats, kayaks, even Segways and Segway tours.
You can rent a board for stand up paddling (SUP), or join the Metta float crew on a SUPing tour. For instance, sunrise tour starts at 7 am and lets you sun gaze and soak in the first morning sun rays. Night tours are even more impressive because the SUP boards have lights on and they illuminate the water. This effect creates amazing scenery and makes Glow night tours a magical paddling adventure.
Glow tours last hour and a half in calm waters and start about a half hour after the sun sets. Another option is a SUP island tour where you paddle to the nearby islands – Fratarski and Fraškerić.
Verudela beach offers even a relaxing massage in a beach hut. You can choose between an active vacation or a total pamper day.
Above the beach is a restaurant Olive, offering a rich Istrian cuisine menu, plus it has a terrace with a view looking over to Fratarski island across Verudela.
My friends and I used to swim from Verudela to Fratarski and back, but be careful if you do that, nowadays the traffic in the sea is much denser.
If you get bored with the beach life, a sports center with various possibilities is right above the beach. You can choose between tennis, table tennis, volleyball on the sand, mini golf, even real golfing.
As you can see, Punta Verudela has countless possibilities and its considered for a most equipped beach for a reason.
Beach Histria, Verudela, Pula
Histria beach is right below the luxury hotel Park Plaza Histria. It has a relaxed vibe, so appeals to couples and young adults. Blue flag guarantees its cleanliness, and lifeguards its safety. Shore has a blend of concrete and pebbles, with sunbeds to ensure maximum comfort.
Shady areas from pine trees make sure you don’t get sunburned unless you want to.
Sea entrance is smooth and gradual, and the water has safety barriers that protect the swimmers. To explore what’s below the sea, diving school is accessible right on the beach.
Regarding dining, beach-side restaurant Yacht serves good food with a view.
Beach Stoja, Stoja, Pula
Now we’ve covered all beaches on Verudela peninsula, and we can switch to others. In Camp Stoja, there is a beach of the same name. Stoja beach is only 3 kilometers far from the city center. You can get here with public transportation, using the bus line 1.
Drivers won’t find a huge parking lot in front of the camp, but there is usually parking space around the nearby road.
This beach has pebbles with additional concrete parts. Stoja is one of the oldest man-made beaches in Pula, originating from 1936. Her age is noticeable, and pavement areas could use a renovation. Space isn’t an issue here, those who love laying in the sun or relax in the shade should find their spot with ease.
We recommend the pebbly area for swimming. The entry is plain and you won’t have any problems getting into the water. Lifeguards will keep an eye on you during the day nevertheless.
If you don’t mind the rocks, you have the possibility to swim anywhere on the Stoja peninsula and find more secluded areas if you need it.
Since the beach is within the camp, there are several facilities, such as restaurants, beach bars, even a supermarket and a newsstand. Sports fields are also close, so you can play basketball, volleyball, tennis, mini golf or badminton.
You can find the inevitable rentals on this beach – pedal boats, jet skis, small boats, and bananas, of course.
What is a vacation if you don’t go bananas?
Campsite diving center will rent you equipment or give you a lesson, and you can opt for a shipwreck tour to explore old sunken ships and submarines.
Talking about history remains, Stoja peninsula is a home of an old fortress you can see. A lot of walking and bike trails intertwine through the area and make it interesting to explore. A short walking trail leads to Valsaline bay where you can watch a beautiful sunset.
On a road to the city, 700 meters from the beach, the construction of the biggest shopping mall in this part of the country is slowly ending. Max Stoja shopping center should open its doors in October 2018. Next time you visit Stoja, there will be an abundance of clothing shops, movie theaters, bars, restaurants, and fast foods.
For now, you can drop by at the fast food Stoja for a quick bite or an ice cream cone.
If you’re not camping in Stoja, we wouldn’t recommend this beach as the best place for an everyday swim, but when you consider the whole experience and the additional amenities that come with it, it’s worth taking one day to visit Stoja beach.
Beach Valkane, Lungomare, Pula
If you came to Pula before, you might have heard of Valkane Summer Beach festival. It was organized in Valkane beach, in Zelenika bay.
This beach settles halfway between Stoja and Verudela, just before the spectacular coastal promenade in Pula begins. Lungomare is the most popular walkway in the city, four kilometers long, where you’ll see strollers, joggers, and dog walkers.
It’s a great walkway for the whole year, and there are plenty of benches and resting areas to take a break.
Valkane beach is close to the city center, and it’s reachable by bus lines 4 and 6. It’s paved, with a pebbly area in the middle, and a key ideal for jumping.
The sea is calm here in Zelenika bay, so it’s a great choice for kids and families.
Valkane and Hydrobase beach (the newest beach in Pula) are the only two places fit for the disabled. There are a wheelchair ramp and a lift that enable a safe access to water.
This beach is flagged as clean, and it has rentals – sunbeds and umbrellas. Freshwater showers, changing rooms and toilets are also available.
Pine trees circle the beach and provide enough shade to cool off from the sun. Another way to refresh is to grab a drink or ice cream. The area is spacious and the beach bar on Valkane has a nice open terrace where you can relax, all while keeping an eye on kids running around their designated playground.
Valkane is a desirable beach to visit even offseason, and you’ll notice a lot of locals chilling around the bay.
The sports center is close, where you can get a pedal boat, kayak, or play sports. Tennis courts are many, and there is a small football field.
Dining includes a restaurant within a sports center and a renovated beach bar on the shore that serves ice cream and fries.
Valkane beach is often crowded during the day, also at night.
A hundred meters above the beach, in the former stone pit that is developing into a new shopping center we mentioned earlier. It will be the biggest shopping mall in this part of the country, 5 stories high, so the offering will raise the demand for this beach and its neighboring area.
Gortan’s Bay & Beach, Lungomare, Pula
In the midst of the Lungomare promenade, you will reach Gortan’s bay and beach. Pass Valkane beach to get here as Lungomare is a one-way route. You can drive and try to find a parking spot beside the road, but keep in mind this area is packed even offseason, so you’ll be better off coming by foot (bus station is at Valkane beach)
This bay is called after an Istrian born freedom fighter and anti-fascist, Vladimir Gortan. Even though the whole Lungomare area has enough cliffs to find the spot for swimming and sunbathing, Gortanova beach remains attractive.
Cliffs around Gortanova (called Škrape) are flat enough for sunbathing or getting in the water, and the beach is pebbly and has a nice entry to the sea. It is not huge, but additional paved and stone surfaces above the cove help accommodate all beachgoers and offer shade.
The inline of the bay makes the sea warm and calm while cliff jumping can quench your passion for adrenaline. Romantics and adventurers love coming here at night for a dip because it’s safe and the streets are lit up. However, the lifeguards work only during the day, until 7 pm.
With all that said, Gortanova beach is a preference for kids and families too and having a beach and snack bar above doesn’t hurt either. Beach bar Pomidor (Tomato in Italian) is a place for a break and bites – they serve ice creams and burgers.
And they have good coffee!
Croatians are a football loving people, so Pomidor made sure you can get a beer and catch a game above the sea after the swim. If that’s not your style, you can come to hear live music in the evening or bring your kids to engage in some organized activities during the day. The toilets are outside the bar and are available for everyone.
Lungomare is a sporty area, the walkway a jogging track with a great view (especially sunsets). Above the road, there are several outdoor fitness stations spread over the wood, like racks and bars, and you’ll come to an adrenaline park at the end of the path.
Hotel Pula is close to Gortan’s bay, and guests can use the short passage through the wood to come to the waterfront.
Valsaline Beach, Pula
I wouldn’t say Lungomare saved the best for last, but Gortan’s is not the last beach on the menu.
At the end of the promenade, there is a beach called Valsaline. This name comes from a street above, but Valsaline is called differently amongst the residents. You’ll hear the name Mornar (Croatian for Sailor) or Ferijalno (that would be Youth) after the youth hostel located on the shore. These are common names for this area, even though they describe the exterior parts of this beach.
To get here, take the Verudela bus line 2a or 3a, and get out on the Villa Idola stop. We switch routes with seasons, so these are summer lines. When winter comes, they become 2 and 3, which is good to know if you are arriving at the hostel.
This beach has a nice, mild incline to the sea, and the sunbathing areas alternate from gravel to concrete and meadow.
Families come here because there is something for everyone. Adults have a beach bar and a restaurant, kids have an aqua park and swimming lessons. A diving school is also an option.
This beach is a bit wild, so there’s ample parking space around. Many backpackers stay at this hostel, waking up with a beach under their nose.
Valsaline beach will give you a break of the crowd and tight packed shores while it’s still close to alternative areas like Lungomare and Golden Rocks on the other side. The road to Golden Rocks passes quickly through the woods and goes on as a nice walkway all the way to Verudela.
If you want to explore further, go to the deserted fortress Fort Bourguignon – a notorious techno party destination.
Beach Ville, Štinjan, Pula
Pula’s suburban part Štinjan has another beach worth visiting, located inside the Puntižela Camp. It’s called beach Ville (or Puntižela).
You can get there by bus 5 that goes to Štinjan, or drive to the camp. In the latter case, you will have to walk about five hundred meters to the beach, as cars have to park outside the entrance for non-guests.
Ville is a clean, pebble beach that has a nice view of the Brioni islands across. The sea entry is suitable for kids, and the water delightfully turquoise. You can find shade in the pine trees or lay in the sun to get a tan.
This beach is popular amongst families and young people.
Because it belongs to the camp, it has a lot of additional facilities around. You can try various sports, play volleyball on the sand or enroll in a diving school. You can get a sunbed or rent other equipment. Likewise, showers and changing rooms are near the beach. The inflatable aqua park is in high demand for kids, so beach Ville accommodates their needs, too.
Not far, a restaurant serves food on a terrace with a stunning sea view. Beach Ville is also a home of one of the most popular local beach bars-Pacino. Lots of cocktails, daylong parties with DJs, dancers and hostesses can sometimes go long into the night. Trendy beats and laid-back vibe make this place heaven on earth for young people to come and forget the humdrum of their life.
Štinjan didn’t become a known party destination for no reason. Nearby on the peninsula (everything’s a peninsula, I told you the coast is well indented), there is an iconic Fort Punta Christo. It is a fortress built in the 19th century that once was the biggest and strongest coastal stronghold serving the artillery of the Austro Hungarian monarchy.
Punta Christo is at 45 meters above sea level and extends over ten thousand square meters. This fort comes alive during summer, especially in September when some of the biggest electronic music festivals, Dimensions, and Outlook take place.
This has been their base for the last decade.
We’d like to mention another beach in Puntižela zone that is new – Hydro base.
Hidrobaza, Puntižela, Pula
If you follow the seaside walk near Puntižela camp, you will get to Hidrobaza beach (Hydro base). It is easy to reach by car or by bus. Štinjan bus line 5 will take you here. This area has a huge plateau that was one a part of a hydro base. The same plateau now serves as a spacious parking lot.
Driving here means you will hit the road to Fažana but need to turn left on a right crossroad (by the Vilson bakery). You could drive through Štinjan to reach Hydro base beach, but that would be a more complicated path.
This is a brand new beach that had a lot of investments over the last couple of years and organized further upgrades in the upcoming period, so this shore may soon be the best one in Pula.
The beach is gravel, and it has stone jetties that prevent the erosion and divide the beach into a few smaller coves. The sea entry in the main area is simple and gradual.
You will find plenty of sitting areas and trash bins as the beach is clean and maintained. While the changing rooms and lifeguard posts are set, showers and toilets are still in a development phase. Activity-wise, sand courts for volleyball and football will be finished soon. And of course, kids can play in the water park, it’s an 80 kuna/hour activity.
Beach bar Baza (Base) is right there by the beach, with a lot of shade out on the open. When the temperatures go above 36 degrees Celsius, you will not want to leave the shade. That’s why putting an ATM beside the bar was a smart idea. We tried to get cash from it but it wasn’t working. It is a Euronet’s machine powered by Croatian PBZ bank and it will probably work only in the peak season, as someone needs to refill and monitor it all the time.
Along with Valkane, this beach is the only place adapted for the handicapped, it has ramps that allow getting in the water on each jetty.
Stone benches beside the water make an interesting feature. The promenade by the beach leads from Camp Puntižela to Valbandon. If you want a long walk or a nice bike ride, you can follow this trail through Valbandon, all the way to Fažana and more. The walkway is ten kilometers long, and it continues to Peroj. When you pass Fažana and its older Camp Pineta along the way, you will reach a new gorgeous walking trail that will lead you to Peroj’s bay Portić.
Our tip: Sunsets here are amazing so don’t forget to bring your camera!
Hydro base has not yet come to full glory because of the ongoing construction work on the beach, but when skatepark, climbing walls, picnic areas, and other planned stuff become a reality, this beach has the potential to become the best and most popular one in Pula.
Wrapping it Up
Pula used to be a military and industrial city, but its beautiful nature and historical heritage made tourism a vital part. Now it is already far from its former perception and it progressively develops into a top tourist destination. Its beaches evolve in parallel.
Beaches in Pula now offer countless diverse activities, from jet skis, diving, seaside walks, to glowing stand up paddling tours. Most of them have lifeguards and safety nets, so they are fit for families, but we also have a lot of wild beaches for adrenaline hunters and cliff diving.
This city is a perfect destination if you want to enjoy swimming on diverse beaches throughout the day and the stunning heritage of the 3000-year-old town in the evening.