Pula & Brijuni

Pula, Croatia. By Packing my Suitcase.

You never forget your first time in Croatia. Yes, I just made that up, but it is a true sentence based on my own true story, which I am just about to tell you…

It was the year 2012, the month of August. No plans made. No accommodation booked. A car. Some suitcases. 2 people in love, recently married. And a dog. On a budget. The good part: Croatia is an amazing and cheap country to travel to. The odd part: it was the first and only time I ever traveled without a plan.

On our way from Munich to “somewhere in Croatia”, we made an overnight stop in Ljubljana (it was that time I mentioned here that didn’t actually work out). On the following day we woke up and started making an online search for a little house or apartment to rent somewhere between Rovinj and Pula. As the title of this post suggests, we ended up in Pula, in the Istria region.

Source: Google Maps

Source: Google Maps

Pula had a lot of Roman influence, as many other cities if Croatia, and that is why in the city it is possible to find many buildings inspired on the Roman architecture. One of the most famous ones is the Amphitheater, which certainly reminds me of the Coliseum of Rome.

Pula, Croatia. By Packing my Suitcase.

On the first 2 nights we stayed at a nice and very welcoming bed & breakfast. It allowed us enough time to visit the center city and look for an agency to help us finding a cheap apartment for our one-week stay. Even though it was high season, we managed to find a place faster than we expected.

Our apartment was not luxurious, but had everything we needed to have a great time by the sea. The landlords were above sweet, they didn’t speak a word of English, but always made sure that we were happy during our stay. And we certainly were.

Everyday we would have breakfast at the small terrace of our little apartment. Then we would head straight to the beach, where Enzzo enjoyed his time jumping into the water and swimming non-stop, just the way he likes it. After hours by the beach, we would either cook lunch for us or go to the center city and eat in one of the delicious restaurants around. At night we also enjoyed the busy downtown, had ice cream, ate seafood and tried the local white wine.

Being in Croatia in August you can expect every beach to be packed, especially with German tourists. It wasn’t different where we were, but even so we had a blast. It was in Pula where I saw one of the most amazing sunrises of my life, sitting on the stones by the beach, hearing the sound of the small waves crashing.

One of the days we were walking in the center city and saw the possibility of visiting Brijuni, a tiny beautiful island just a few minutes by boat from Pula. Passionate about islands as I am, I didn’t hesitate to join the tour the next day, though we had only one question: could Enzzo come along?! Well, the answer was a yes! My traveling dog traveled in a boat for the first time…

My traveling dog in Croatia, by Packing my Suitcase

Brijuni is in fact an archipelago of 14 islands, a national park under protection, and only one of these islands are open for tourists, Veli Brijuni. Here is also where many famous artists have residencies, and where the former president of Yugoslavia, Tito had his favourite residency.

Source: Google Maps

Source: Google Maps

Our tour in Brijuni was very short, we had around 2-3 hours to walk the island and enjoy its beautiful clear waters. The island is so small that you can manage to see it all in less than half an hour, but not doubt that this place is amazing, a little piece of paradise.

The fact that I didn’t plan any detail of this trip was scary at first. I was mainly worried if we would find a place to stay with a dog… what if we had to sleep in the car? The truth is, the trip was perfect, fun and with great memories made. The food, the people, the scenery, the ocean… Croatia conquered my heart, and I never forgot my first time there. It is a country that I am always happy to return to.

Tips and Information

  • Croatia is a cheap country, and depending on your budget and how long you plan to stay, it is even cheaper to rent a small flat than staying at a B&B/Hotel.
  • Enjoy your time in Pula to make day tours like the one I did to Brijuni, or you can visit nearby cities such as Rovjni and even Venice, Italy, by boat.
  • The water temperature is warm between July and September, exactly during the high season.
  • Driving in Croatia is very simple and the highways are great.
  • There are many beaches that don’t allow dogs; meanwhile there are nude beaches.
  • The food is delicious and very cheap.

Brijuni, Croatia. By Packing my Suitcase.

Anyone planning to go to Croatia this year?

About Allane

A Brazilian living in Germany. Married to W. mommy to a baby girl and a Golden Retriever. Traveler, writer, aspiring photographer, diver, wine appreciator, Formula 1 fan, avid reader of historical and young adult fictions books. City girl, nature lover, believer of a better world, one little change at a time.

  • Yes! o/
    It’s so close to home, I’m desperate to see a beach this year! Back at home there’s one 1 hour away my hometown with the perfect water temperature all year (something that I didn’t know could not happen, people here DO check water sea temperature, lol) You added more to my wanderlust!

    • yesss is very close to you… its great for a weekend get away, and the beaches in Croatia are so beautiful!!
      hahaha and yes here I learned how important it is to check the water temperature, otherwise you will freeze when you jump into the water! πŸ˜€ I also began to check more often because I dive, and when you dive its even colder, so I always need to know the water temperature in order to wear the right suit πŸ˜€

      I am happy to have added something to your list! I hope you visit it this summer, Croatia is lovely πŸ˜€

  • Croatia is cheap and the food is amazing ! We did a road trip over there during summer 2012 and we had a great time ! The calamari were delicious ! πŸ™‚

    • yessss exactly, I find the same too!! Plus the people are very friendly, I am always happy to go to Croatia!
      Where did you?

      • Split, Dubrovnik, Maraska and Biokovo, Krka, Plitvice lake, Trogir, Sibenik… along the coast for 3 weeks πŸ™‚

        • WOW!!!!!! Just perfect…amazing!!!! 3 week is a wonderful length of time to spend in Croatia… you get to relax and enjoy your time! πŸ˜€

  • Yes, I would love to go! I’m hoping to fit it in this summer, especially after seeing those photos!

    • Yaaay, happy that you liked it and that I inspired you to go this year! I hope you do, Im sure you will love it πŸ˜€
      Thank you so much for the visit!

  • My grandma did a tour in Croatia a couple of years ago and she keeps telling me to go. It looks absolutely gorgeous and I would love to visit asap. Unfortunately it’s not so easy to get there for me. πŸ™

    • Ohhh I didn’t know it wasn’t easy to get there from Bucharest! Are the roads bad or what?
      I always wondered why you never went there, because its not far form you and its an amazing country… I can only imagine how many amazing pictures you would take in Croatia πŸ˜€ I hope you get to go sometime, trust me its worth it, your Grandma is right!!

      • The roads are fine I guess, but that’s my only option to get there. The planes are super expensive and it’s not worth going by bus. So yeah… πŸ™

        • Ohhh noo πŸ™ its not fair that the plane is expensive!!
          And by bus Im guessing it will take ages!! Maybe you can rent a car someday and go there!! πŸ˜€

  • I totally agree with your first sentence haha!
    Croatia is my number 1 travel destination and I would love to go back any time!
    First time I was a little bit North from Pula, in Porec. We also visited Rovinj, Vrsar and Lim Fjord, all of them amazing!
    The second time I was on Hvar island…it was the best holiday of my life.
    I could go back a million times to Croatia and would still find new and amazing places πŸ™‚
    Nice post!

    • hahaha awesome!! Another fan of Croatia o/
      Your trip must have been amazing… I really want to visit Hvar island, Split and Dubrovnik, next time I go to Croatia these are the next places I want to visit!!
      As you I also think that there is always an awesome place to visit in Croatia, I could go there every year πŸ˜€
      Thank you for the compliment, I am happy that you liked my post πŸ˜‰

  • Love Istria – your post brought our trip right back! We stayed in Rovinj (loved it) but also visited Brijuni and Pula, the whole area is just gorgeous, I would go back tomorrow.

    • How awesome that you also went there πŸ˜€ I didnt go to Rovinj yet, but I really want to!!
      I also would go back tomorrow, I am always happy to be back in Croatia!! πŸ˜€

  • so glad to read this blog. Sometimes spontaneously created memories are the best one. I had one recently on a similar trip to Scottish Highlands.

    I am pllaning a trip to Croatia in October. Do you think it’s a good time? Also how is the country when it comes to expenses?

    xx
    Aanchal

    • Hi Aanchal!! Thank you so much for the comment. Wow the Scottish Highlands are on my bucketlist…it must have been an amazing trip!!

      Croatia in October isnt packed, so this is already good… but the water temperature is around 20C. Regarding expenses, food in Croatia is very cheap and delicious, accommodation is also cheap, especially if you are going off season like in October. Every time I go I am impressed how cheaper things are there in comparison to Germany. Where are you planning to go in Croatia? πŸ˜€

      • HI Allane

        Please do visit Highlands, it is one of my favourite place, your eyes can never have enough of Scottish Highlands It was love at first sight for me πŸ™‚ You can check out my journey (earlier visits)- http://travelfunfoodpictures.com/category/united-kingdom/scotland/

        Thank you so much for information on Croatia. I have not really decided on any place yet, I am a bit confused on where to go. Could you suggest some places for my itinerary, we might be going for 4-5 days. So your guidance will be appreciated.I have a lot of expenses coming this year, so really need to invest in budgeted trips πŸ˜€

        xx
        Aanchal

        • Hi Aanchal!! That sounds lovely, say no more… I will take a look now πŸ˜€ thank you!!

          You are most welcome, its my pleasure!!
          If you have 4-5 days I would recommend Dubrovnik or Split… I still haven’t been to both of them, but I know many people who went there and I am planning to go there myself this year. I can also recommend avoiding the months of July and August, its packed! So June, September and October would be better, even though in October it can be a bit colder, but not so much that you can’t enjoy. πŸ˜€

          Do let me know if you need any further information, I will try my best to help you πŸ˜€

          • Thank you so much Allane for the information. I will use this to begin with in some direction and will definitely going to knock at your door in later months for more details. Your enthusiasm is definitely telling me go for it, October good too πŸ™‚ I just hope it’s not cold as it is in the UK. Do not want to end up sitting inside a hotel πŸ™‚

            Much Love xx

          • My pleasure!! Please do come back for more anytime you need πŸ˜€ I just looked at the average temperature in Dubrovnik for October and is is around 18 degrees! I think it will be a bit cold to get into the water!! But surely it wont be cold as the UK!! πŸ˜‰

  • Kan

    Sounds lovely, Allane! I’ve found that some of my most memorable trips have been where we’ve not made too many plans, but took it as it comes. There are downsides to that for sure, but many, many upsides too! πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Kan πŸ˜€
      It is true isn’t it? There are always the good and bad things about not planning a trip. Sometimes I like to be surprised by things, or challenged… but sometimes I want to plan because I want to make sure to visit the most important things, or check out a restaurant that someone recommended. Planning too much also has its downsides hahaha the truth is, its good to change sometimes πŸ˜€

  • I loved Croatia so much! I went in April 2014 with two girlfriends and we saw Dubrovnik, Split, and Hvar. There weren’t many tourists so it was just a perfect bonding trip. Figa restaurant in Split was our favorite!

    http://www.danikamaia.com

    • Sounds lovely Danika!! On my next trip to Croatia I plan to visit the same places you did! I am dying to go to Dubrovnik! Which one of the tree was your favourite?

      Ohhh and thank you so much for the restaurant recommendation, it is always very much welcome πŸ˜€ Im a food. I will save this name so I can go there πŸ˜‰
      Thank you πŸ˜€

      • I think Dubrovnik was the most beautiful but we had the most fun in Split. Hvar was dead that time of year but it’s hard to say because I hear they are all packed during tourist season!

        • That is great to know Danika!! I am planning to go this year… and I will try to avoid July and August because Croatia is always packed during these months. I can only imagine how amazing Dubrovnik might be… I am dreaming about it πŸ˜€
          Thank you for sharing your experience!

  • Tim

    I have been recently thinking of a trip to Europe but wanted to go somewhere I had never been. I love the images you created via your writing and am guessing if it’s good enough for Enzzo it’s good enough for me; looks gorgeous.

    • Hi Tim πŸ™‚ Well, if you never have been to Croatia and I highly recommend a visit there! It is a wonderful country, the people are very nice, the food is amazing and its very cheap.
      For Enzzo it was paradise, he loves the sea πŸ˜€ I hope you go!!

  • Thanks for the tips! Croatia is definitely a place I would LOVE to visit one day. Hopefully sooner rather than later πŸ™‚

    • Hi Michelle πŸ˜€
      I hope you go soon!! Trust me you won’t regret, this country is amazing and there are many wonderful places to visit, from North to South! πŸ˜€

  • Anna

    Never been to Croatia but would love to, as I’ve heard so much about it. Dubrovnik used to be a famous resort in the past and I know a couple of people who went sailing in Croatia!

    • Hi Anna!! I hope you visit Croatia sometime soon, it is a stunning country, and I am sure you will love it! I still have to go to Dubrovnik, and I plan to do that on my next trip to the country.
      Sailing in Croatia is definitely beautiful! I went diving there and it was already wonderful πŸ˜€

  • Not sure if you know Sarah Jane at Chasing The Donkey. She is always looking for guest posts on Croatia. I did one this fall on Cycling in Hvar. We loved Croatia. Thanks for a trip down memory lane. πŸ™‚

    • Hi Sue!! Yes I know her, I love her blog… it always make me want to go back to Croatia πŸ˜€
      Ohh I want to visit Hvar next time, must be amazing!!
      Thank you for reading πŸ˜€

  • Another great post, Allane! I also love Croatia, it is such a beautiful country. I was very lucky that one of my best friends in Norway is from there, so I got to know almost the whole country with her as a guide and stayed for free with her family all the time. And it is true what you say: You never forget your first time to Croatia.
    I also think it is so cute that you brought your dog on the trip πŸ™‚ Seeing the picture of his, I just want to give him a big hug!!!

    • Thank you Hanne πŸ˜€
      Wooow how amazing!!! You are so lucky!! There is nothing better than getting to know a country with a local!!
      I also have a great friend from Croatia, he lives here in Germany but still owns a house somewhere near Split… so maybe I will stay at his house next time I go πŸ˜€

      hahah you are so sweet!! Enzzo loves hugs πŸ˜€ He loves Croatia too, he has been there 2 times with us… and hopefully next time he will be along too πŸ˜€

  • Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

    I’d love to go to Croatia – I’m wondering whether I might even be able to make a short trip there this year and Pula looks so pretty πŸ™‚ I didn’t realise it’s quite a cheap place to visit – that’s always good to hear!

    • Hi Shikha! Yes Croatia is a very cheap country to visit, not to mention how beautiful it is!! I hope you do go this year… there are amazing options there… Rovinj, Pula, Krk Island, Hvar, Split, Dubrovnik, Brac Island… ohhh I could go there every year πŸ˜€

  • What a wonderful narration of the unplanned trip and it is tempting, we have many times planned for vacation or a trip, and it has not happened…and there many occasions where the decision was sudden and nothing was planned, we have ventured out…it has been really exciting and group has always enjoyed such quick decision, in fact unplanned and sudden trips are more fun than the planned and extensively organised trip…it becomes very routine and mechanical, almost everything is on the itinerary and all your moves are predictable…life joy lies in its unpredictability and uncertainties, we should know how the embrace this pleasant surprises though it comes with its own set of riders but are fun to be with it.

    Your’s this trip mirrors that unplanned and exciting trip…having the dog is more assuring and at the same time there are challenges which are unexpected and could be awkward to handle, but you have the art of managing such challenges and making a real fun trip…kudos to you.

    We all think of such unplanned trip and expect to get the best out of the trip, not necessarily it happens all the time, yours was a lovely trip, we are definitely envious of missing out such exploration which we keep postponing for one reason or the other…

    Looking forward to hear more such exciting and beautiful journeys from you…great beginning to the New Year…

    Happy Travelling!!!

    • Sometimes I wish I didn love planning so much hahaha. It is very nice to do unplanned trip, but as I love planning so much much I can’t help it! But, the good thing is that at least I dont plan every step we should take, so even with a planned trip I still get some surprises πŸ˜€ and I like surprises…good one of course!

      I do hope you dont postpone your trip Nihar, I hope this year you can travel to somewhere you like and enjoy your time πŸ˜€

      Thank you once again for reading and sharing your thoughts!
      Happy travels πŸ˜€

      • I agree, planned trips are always good, we don’t miss out anything and we focus on our exploration and enjoyment…but it so happens that we get pleasant surprises when we venture on an unplanned trip…perhaps the theory of risk and reward gets applied; that if we take higher risk we get higher reward…

        I also do lot of planning before take a plunge to a trip, I make sure everything is taken care of so that I don’t have to worry on the stay and travel…I should have a worry free mind to observe and absorb the beauty and charm of each place…we have limited time at each place and if we keep our mind free our body enjoys the voyage of exploring the unexplored…

        My pleasure always, yes, Happy Travelling….
        πŸ˜€

        • That is right, I never stopped to think that the higher the risk the the higher the reward!! So true… I always feel like this when Im diving hahaha πŸ˜€

          And its true that unplanned trips bring us surprises… and that is what I like about not planning a trip. Sometimes we just need to relax and not worry to make it on time for a restaurant reservation for example hahaha πŸ˜€

          Thank you for the thoughts Nihar! πŸ˜€ have a great weekend!

  • Gorgeous, what amazing memories. I love, love, love that Ennzo went along, he looks like he’s having lots of fun on the boat!
    It really does look like paradise.

    • Thank you so much for your words πŸ˜€ <3
      Whenever is possible Enzzo comes along, I hate leaving him behind πŸ˜€ he did love the boat! He is crazy about water and he wanted to jump into the water all the time, I had to watch out for him hahaha πŸ˜€

  • It sounds like not having a plan made it possible for you to have an idyllic time in Croatia.

    • hahaha luckily yes!!!! It was an amazing time! Have you been to Croatia before?

      • No, I have not. It seems rich in Roman history, which is intriguing. One forgets how far their empire once stretched.

        • Yes!! Croatia had a lot of Roman influence… pretty interesting!! πŸ˜€ I hope you visit the country sometime, its amazing!

  • You are right, you never forget your first trip to Croatia… and in our case, hope it won’t be the last! πŸ˜‰ We visited Dubrovnik, and Split, but spent most of our time on Korcula Island. The water was so amazingly clear and beautiful… I still dream about swimming in them again. πŸ™‚

    • That sounds like a wonderful trip!! I am dying to go to Dubrovnik and I am hoping it will happen this year πŸ˜€
      I also hope you go back to Croatia… there is so much to see and explore in this country, its amazing!! πŸ˜‰

  • Croatia looks so lovely! All the beaches and the quaint little towns. All looks very charming and good to hear the people were very welcoming. You used an agent to help you find a place? I usually am careful of them because I’m afraid they will charge me hidden fees, but it seems like all worked out well for you! Haha, since the landlords couldn’t speak English I think you guys all did many crazy hand gestures! πŸ˜€

    I must say Enzzo looks very chilled, absolutely enjoying the ocean and the sea breeze. You know what, maybe you might want to get him doggie sunglasses. He looks like he’s squinting from the bright sunshine πŸ˜€ <3

    • It is a lovely country Mabel! I hope you get to visit it someday πŸ˜€
      Normally using online real state agencies is more expensive than when you do it in person once you are there… so we didnt actually payed a lot πŸ˜€ but I know what you mean… in Switzerland is also veeeery expensive, no matter which agency you go to!!

      hahaha yes Enzzo enjoyed a lot… he loves swimming, so for him he would spend the whole day in the water!! I might have trouble finding a sunglass for him ahahah

      • Okay, but sounds like the agencies are good so I will keep them in mind for European trips!

        Looking forward to see more of Enzzo in your future travels. I am sure he will come along for many more trips! πŸ˜€ <3

        • Yes yes, it helps a lot! And there is also AirBnB πŸ˜€

          hahaha yes, this year he will travel with us again πŸ˜‰

  • I love Croatia. Four years ago I was in Dubrovnik – beautiful city. We also visited surrounding villages and beaches… There is an amazing nature – the azure sea and the mountains in the same place.
    Now, after reading your post, Pula will be the next place to visited by me in Croatia in the future. I love cities like this – inspired by Roman architecture.

    Not planned trips, very often, are the best remembered πŸ™‚

    • Ohh how awesome!! Dubrovnik is my next destination in Croatia πŸ˜€ I am crazy to visit this city!! I can imagine how much fun you had there.
      I also love this landscape of mountains and the sea together…it is amazing in Croatia!!
      If you love Roman architecture you will love Pula and Rovinj πŸ˜€

      You are right, the unplanned trips are often the best remembered πŸ˜€ thank you for reading!

  • I have read a lot about Croatia lately, it seems a very nice place to visit and after your post I’d like to go there even more! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    • Yaay, happy to have inspired you!! I hope you do go to Croatia sometime.. it is a lovely country! I am always happy to go there again, and there is a lot so see!
      Thank you for reading!!

  • I’ve visited Croatia many times (as my mums family is Croatian) and they are super friendly and every one is so welcoming. Sunsets are definitely the best in Europe and the food….I always gain half a stone of weight when I’m in Croatia as everything is so tasty! Great to see you loved your time in Croatia xx

    • How awesome!!! You might be as nice as the Croatian people since you have roots from there πŸ˜€ how cool!!!

      Ohh dont tell me… I also come back with a few kilos more! I love the food in Croatia, it seems to me that every restaurant had good food πŸ˜€ and its cheap!

      I did have an amazing time in Croatia, and I am hopping to go back soon for more πŸ˜€ thank you very much for stopping by!!

  • Love this post. I love finding a proper adventure when you go to a different county. Your photos make me dream of going to a beach now! I have only every heard such great things about Croatia. I think that might have to be on the 2016 list! πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Ting πŸ˜€ happy that you liked it!!
      From what I know of you and your family, I have no doubt you would have a wonderful time there… with amazing food and drink, welcoming people, amazing beaches and so many amazing thins to do there πŸ˜€ I hope you go next year!!

      I am curious to see where you are going this year πŸ˜€

      • Oooh really? Did you see my Travel Plans post for 2015? πŸ™‚

        • Now I have πŸ˜€ and I looove your plans!!! It seems that 2015 is going to be veeery exciting πŸ˜€

  • I visited inland Croatia this year and enjoyed it but it doesnt come close to the gorgeous sea-side. I cannot wait to come back for that – though probably not for a couple of years πŸ™

    • I still need to visit the inland… I have never been to Zagreb! But yes, I think you are right that the sea side is the best!
      I hope you go again, sooner than later πŸ˜‰

  • So lovely, Croatia looks an interesting country to visit! Nice post!

    My works are all related to its past πŸ™‚ someday I will tour Croatia as a tourist πŸ˜‰

    • Ohh Indah you will love it there! Its great for a little sunny break here in Europe. I am sure you would love it there, I dont know anyone who doesn’t! I am already looking forward to my next time there πŸ˜€