How To Choose Between Pula Or Rovinj

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

Should you visit Pula or Rovinj? This guide shares detailed information about weighing up Rovinj vs. Pula. 

In a rush and just want to know how to choose between Pula or Rovinj? Here is what we think you should know:

Pula Rovinj
Historical Roman architecture Picturesque, enchanting Old Town
History buffs & culture seekers Outdoor & water enthusiasts
Vibrant nightlife Relatively less crowded

Pula and Rovinj are two popular tourist destinations on Croatia’s stunning Istrian Peninsula. Choosing between Pula and Rovinj for a vacation can be difficult as both destinations offer a unique blend of history, culture, natural beauty, and vibrant Mediterranean vibes.

In this guide, we will explore the key attractions, advantages, and disadvantages to help you weigh up Pula vs. Rovinj, assisting you in making an informed decision for your Croatian vacation.

The following sections will delve deeper into what each destination offers, highlighting their attractions, advantages, and disadvantages, ultimately helping you make an informed decision based on your travel preferences.

Keep reading below for our in-depth analysis on weighing up Pula vs. Rovinj

Pula Vs. Rovinj

Croatia Travel Blog_Pula Vs. Rovinj_Which To Visit

Pula, the largest city in Istria, is renowned for its rich Roman heritage and remarkable architectural landmarks. The city’s crown jewel is the Pula Arena, an incredibly well-preserved Roman amphitheater that stands as a testament to its ancient past.

The Temple of Augustus, a beautifully preserved Roman temple, and the Pula Cathedral, with its Byzantine architecture, are among the city’s other notable attractions. Pula’s vibrant atmosphere comes to life with a bustling nightlife scene, offering a range of bars, clubs, and events to entertain visitors.


Rovinj Vs. Pula

On the other hand, Rovinj is a picturesque coastal town that exudes romance and tranquility. Its most captivating feature is the enchanting Rovinj Old Town, characterized by narrow cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and a plethora of charming shops and cafes.

St. Euphemia’s Basilica, perched on a hilltop, offers breathtaking views of the town and the sea. Rovinj is renowned for its stunning beaches, clear turquoise waters, and coastal landscapes. The Punta Corrente Forest Park provides a haven for nature lovers with its lush greenery, walking trails, and captivating beaches.


What To See In Pula

1. Pula Arena

Pula, Istria. Driving Zagreb to Dubrovnik
The Pula Arena is the city’s most iconic landmark and one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world. Built in the 1st century AD, it once hosted gladiator contests and other spectacles. Today, visitors can explore the amphitheater, marvel at its impressive architecture, and even attend concerts and events held within its walls.

2. Temple of Augustus

Located in the heart of Pula’s old town, the Temple of Augustus is a well-preserved Roman temple dedicated to Emperor Augustus. Built between 2 BC and 14 AD, it features beautiful Corinthian columns and intricate details. Inside, you’ll find a collection of ancient sculptures and artifacts.

3. Pula Cathedral

Pula Cathedral is a magnificent example of Byzantine architecture, also known as the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The cathedral dates back to the 6th century, and its interior is adorned with stunning mosaics and frescoes. Climb the bell tower for panoramic views of the city.

4. Archaeological Museum Of Istria

A visit to the Archaeological Museum of Istria is a must for history enthusiasts. Housed in a former Franciscan monastery, the museum displays many artifacts from the region’s prehistoric, Roman, and medieval periods. Explore ancient pottery, sculptures, and jewelry, and learn about Istria’s fascinating history.

5. Sergius Arch

The Sergius Arch, also known as the Golden Gate, is a triumphal arch that once marked the entrance to the Roman colony of Pula. Built in the 1st century BC, it is a testament to the city’s Roman past. Take a stroll through the arch and imagine the grandeur of the ancient city.

6. Brijuni National Park

Aerial view of Brijuni Islands
While not located directly in Pula, Brijuni National Park is easily accessible by boat from the city. This group of fourteen islands offers a unique blend of natural beauty and historical sites. Explore the diverse flora and fauna, visit the safari park with exotic animals, and discover ancient Roman ruins and prehistoric artifacts.

7. Lungomare Promenade

For a leisurely walk along the coast, head to the Lungomare Promenade. Stretching for several kilometers, this scenic pathway offers stunning views of the Adriatic Sea, passing by beautiful beaches, pine forests, and charming cafes. It’s the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the coastal atmosphere.

These are just a few of the many attractions that Pula has to offer. The city’s rich history, Roman ruins, and architectural wonders make it a captivating destination for history buffs and culture seekers alike. Take your time to explore these sites and immerse yourself in the fascinating story of Pula’s past.

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Pros And Cons Of Visiting Pula

Old town square of Pula, Croatia

Like any travel destination, Pula has both pros and cons. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of Pula:



  • Rich historical and cultural heritage
  • Impressive Roman architecture and landmarks
  • Proximity to Brijuni National Park
  • The vibrant atmosphere and lively nightlife. 



What To See In Rovinj

Old Istrian town in Rovinj, Croatia.
Rovinj is a picturesque coastal town known for its charming old town, scenic views, and pristine beaches. Here are some must-see attractions in Rovinj:

1. Rovinj Old Town

Things To Do In Rovinj - Croatia Travel Blog
The heart and soul of Rovinj is its enchanting Old Town. Wander through narrow cobblestone streets lined with colorful buildings and quaint shops. Explore the artistic atmosphere, visit art galleries, and discover local handicrafts. Don’t miss a climb up the bell tower of St. Euphemia’s Basilica for panoramic views of the town and the sparkling Adriatic Sea.

2. St. Euphemia’s Basilica

Dominating the skyline of Rovinj, St. Euphemia’s Basilica is a magnificent Baroque church dedicated to the town’s patron saint. The interior features stunning frescoes, intricate details, and a breathtaking altarpiece. Explore the church and learn about its fascinating history, or simply enjoy the serene atmosphere and stunning views from its grounds.

3. Balbi’s Arch

Located at the entrance to the Old Town, Balbi’s Arch is an impressive stone archway that serves as a symbol of Rovinj. Built in the 17th century, it is adorned with the winged lion, the symbol of the Venetian Republic. Pass through the arch and enter the charming streets of the Old Town.

4. Punta Corrente Forest Park

Nature lovers will appreciate the beauty of Punta Corrente Forest Park, also known as Zlatni Rt (Golden Cape). This verdant park offers a peaceful escape from the bustling town. Explore the walking trails, rent a bike, or find a secluded spot along the coast to relax and enjoy the pristine nature.

5. Lone Bay

For a beach experience in Rovinj, head to Lone Bay. This beautiful pebble beach is located near Punta Corrente Forest Park and offers crystal-clear waters for swimming and sunbathing. The beach is surrounded by pine trees, providing shade on hot summer days. It’s a perfect spot to unwind and enjoy the area’s natural beauty.

6. Batana Eco-Museum

Immerse yourself in Rovinj’s maritime heritage at the Batana Eco-Museum. Discover the traditional wooden boats called “batanas” that were once used by local fishermen. Learn about the history, techniques, and stories behind this important aspect of Rovinj’s cultural identity.

7. Rovinj Aquarium

A visit to the Rovinj Aquarium is a must for those interested in marine life. Located in a historic building, the aquarium showcases a variety of local Adriatic species. Explore the diverse underwater world, learn about the marine ecosystems, and enjoy interactive exhibits for both children and adults.

These attractions highlight the charm and beauty of Rovinj. Whether you’re strolling through the romantic streets of the Old Town, enjoying the coastal views, or immersing yourself in the town’s cultural heritage, Rovinj offers a delightful mix of history, nature, and coastal beauty. Take your time to explore these sights and savor the unique atmosphere that Rovinj has to offer.

Pros And Cons Of Visiting Rovinj

Rovinj has both benefits and drawbacks, like any other travel destination. Here are some of the pros and cons of Rovinj:



  • The charming and picturesque old town
  • Beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters
  • Excellent opportunities for outdoor activities like swimming, sailing, and hiking
  • Relatively less crowded compared to Pula.


  • Limited historical and cultural attractions compared to Pula
  • It can get crowded during the peak tourist season

Rovinj Vs. Pula – A Comparison Of The Two

Expat in Croatia - Boys riding Rovinj

To help you decide between Pula and Rovinj, consider the following factors:

  • Historical and cultural attractions: Pula offers more in terms of ancient Roman ruins and landmarks, while Rovinj has a charming old town with a relaxed atmosphere
  • Natural beauty and beaches: Rovinj boasts beautiful beaches and scenic coastal landscapes, whereas Pula’s natural beauty lies mainly in its proximity to Brijuni National Park
  • Nightlife and vibrancy: Pula offers a more vibrant nightlife scene, with numerous bars, clubs, and events, while Rovinj has a quieter and more laid-back ambiance
  • Crowds and tourist popularity: Pula can get crowded during peak tourist season, while Rovinj tends to be relatively less crowded

Ultimately, deciding on Pula or Rovinj for your vacation requires considering your preferences, whether immersing yourself in history and vibrant city life or indulging in the coastal charm, beaches, and a more relaxed atmosphere. 
If we had to choose – we wouldn’t, we’d go to both!

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