13 Best Places to Hit the Beaches in Pula

Written by Meagan Drillinger
Jun 23, 2023

Author Meagan Drillinger visited the beaches of Pula while exploring Croatia throughout May and June 2023.

Pula, Croatia is a fascinating city perched at the very southern tip of the Istria peninsula. Because of its strategic location, it has been an important Adriatic port city for thousands of years. (Yes, thousands — a Roman amphitheater still stands there today.)

Palapas on Batana Beach
Palapas on Batana Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

But in addition to being a historic and thriving city, its position on the coast means that it is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Croatia. The landscape around Pula is a series of smaller, carved-out peninsulas that have given way to surprise beaches, quiet coves, and gentle bays. In fact, you could spend weeks exploring the coastline near Pula and still not hit all of its beaches.

The main areas for beaches in Pula are south of the city. Quiet beaches surrounded by nature can be found near the Stoja neighborhood, while a large portion of beaches with hotels and facilities are along the Verudela Peninsula. Connecting the two areas is the scenic Lungomare drive, along which are even more lovely coves and bays to explore.

If you're ready to discover the beautiful pebbly beaches shrouded amid the green forests of Istria, read my list of the best beaches in Pula.

1. Galebove Stijene

Galebove Stijene
Galebove Stijene | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

It's a beach that goes by many names, but they all mean the same thing — the best beach in Pula. The locals know this beach as Galebove Stijene (Seagull's Rock), but you'll also see it listed as Felsen Strand. Whatever you call it, trust me when I say it is the most beautiful beach in Pula.

The word "beach" is used loosely here, as you won't find a sandy or pebbly shore, which is typical of the beaches in Istria. Instead, the beach is a platform of layered rocks with a border of thick bushy trees. At the base of the rocks is a swath of some of the bluest water I've laid eyes on. It was so bright it looked like it had gone through an Instagram filter. It's amazing how intense the blue of the water is here.

The most iconic feature of this beach is the massive cave underneath one of the shelves of rock. You can jump from the beach into the brilliant water and paddle into the cave for a look. In fact, this is one of the most popular beaches in Croatia for cliff jumping, but be sure to watch the locals to see where it's safe before you take a leap.

A free parking area is located a short walk from the beach, as well. As you can imagine, Galebove Stijene does not have any facilities so you'll have to bring everything you need with you.

2. Valovine Beach

Valovine Beach
Valovine Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

As you drive away from Galebove Stijene back down the narrow road, you'll emerge at a small bay just before a roundabout. This is Valovine (Plaza Valovine) and it's another one of the best beaches in Pula.

The bay is a mix of rock beach and white pebbles that have a gentle slope into the crystal-clear water. The outcrops that shield the bay are covered in a thick layer of greenery. Since this area is just outside of downtown it's relatively quiet and very serene.

You'll find a small restaurant at the beach called Big Mama's, but some people say that it has gotten expensive and loud in the past few years so you may want to stay on the opposite end of this restaurant.

If you like camping, you'll find the Arena Stoja Camp on the peninsula just past the beach.

Address: Stoja, 52100, Pula

3. Ambrela Beach

Ambrela Beach
Ambrela Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Ambrela Beach is yet another special beach in Pula, found on one of the many puzzle-piece-looking peninsulas that jut out from the coastline. This particular peninsula is surrounded by beautiful beaches and dotted with hotels, apartment rentals, and attractions like the Pula Aquarium.

Just at the top of Ambrela Beach is a parking lot that offers free parking. You'll know it's Ambrela Beach because an interesting sculpture park is right before you. After you walk down the paths through the sculpture park, you'll emerge at a platform that overlooks the beach and the steps that lead down to it.

Ambrela Beach is a quintessentially classic Croatian beach, with white pebbles, blue water, and leafy trees to provide shady spots. Since the peninsula that it sits on has many walking paths, attractions, and hotels, this is a beach that can fill up quickly so it's best to go early.

Address: Verudela 21, 52100, Pula

4. Histria Beach

Histria Beach
Histria Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Diagonally across the Verudela Peninsula from Ambrela Beach is Histria Beach, not far from the Pula Aquarium and the Hotel Park Plaza Histria. The beach is very popular for families because of its wide stretch of white pebble and concrete shoreline and the calm, gentle, and shallow water perfect for swimming or snorkeling.

When I visited, the beach was empty with plenty of space for everyone. But I hear that in the high season, the beach installs an inflatable Aquapark. This is really fun for families, but single travelers or couples without kids may want to find a spot that is quieter.

Address: Verudela, 52100, Pula

5. Saccorgiana Cove

Saccorgiana Cove
Saccorgiana Cove | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

As you make your way toward the Verudela Peninsula from Pula, you will wrap your way around the coastline and encounter many beautiful swimming coves. Saccorgiana Cove is one of them and it's right before you hit the land of the peninsula.

The beach is a quick drive down a bumpy road with a parking lot at the end and a slope that leads down to the cove-protected beach. The rocky shoreline is surrounded by thick, puffy green trees.

You can set yourself up on the pebbly beach or have something to eat or drink at Zeppelin, which features lounge beds, outdoor seating, a trampoline, and watersports. When I visited, the facilities at Zeppelin did not look their best, but it was early May and the beach clubs tend to undergo their seasonal upkeep right before high season kicks off in June.

Regardless, the water at Saccorgiana is impossibly clear and clean. I recommend bringing water shoes because the floor of the beach has big rocks far out into the cove.

Address: Zlatne Stijene, uvala, Saccorgiana, Verudela, 52100, Pula

6. Centinara Beach

Centinara Beach
Centinara Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

On the way out of Pula, you'll pass by a two-pronged peninsula south of the city. Like all the peninsulas near Pula, this one is wreathed in beaches and dotted with lovely campgrounds and hotels. Centinera Beach is one of them and it just happened to be my favorite.

Centinera Beach is not far from Resort Centinera. We parked in the parking lot for Centinera Beach next to the Konoba Suzi restaurant and walked through the back gate of the resort to sit at the cafe and have something to eat and drink, which I highly recommend. You'll also find bathrooms at the cafe.

I loved this beach for its solitude and tranquility, as well as the gorgeous blue-and-clear water and fine white and gray pebbles along the beach. No need to scramble early for parking. This beach is far enough removed from the main tourist areas and will stay relatively quiet throughout the day.

Address: Indije 4, 52100, Banjole

7. Banjole Beach

Banjole Beach
Banjole Beach and boats | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Just across the peninsula from Centinera is Banjole Beach, which is technically in the town of Banjole just outside of Pula. Banjole is such a pretty beach, sheltered on nearly every side creating a calm, gentle space for swimming or snorkeling.

The shoreline here is made of fine white pebbles and the water is beautifully clear. I loved sitting on the beach here watching the sailboats gently bobbing up and down in the distance.

Banjole Beach
Banjole Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

A lot of the beach area is taken up by resorts, but the beach is long and wide enough that you'll find plenty of free space to occupy even if you are not a guest of the resorts. The beach has facilities like beach restaurants and showers, as well as toilets. Adventurous beachgoers can rent jet skis and families will love the inflatable water park. This beach also has a lifeguard when the beach is in season, usually starting June 1.

8. Batana Beach

Batana Beach
Batana Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Batana Beach was the first beach I visited when I got to Pula, and what a beach to begin with. I was simply mesmerized by the sparkling white-stone beach, which truly looked as white as snow. The water popped with almost neon turquoise and stone jetties made for perfect spots to sunbathe or jump into the water.

It was early May when I visited Batana Beach, so it was almost empty. Once June rolls around, this beach definitely does get quite a few more people. During high season, a string of restaurants are open directly on the rocky shore, and bathrooms and showers are readily available, as well.

Batana Beach is not the only beach along this stretch. You'll find several beaches on either side, including one that is dog-friendly.

Address: Aleja Maslina 13, 52212, Fažana

9. Ciklonska Beach

Ciklonska Beach
Ciklonska Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

I cannot mention Galebove Stijene without also mentioning Ciklonska Beach. The two are right next to each other, and that's not always apparent when you are searching on Google. Ciklonska Beach is the beach you will hit first from the parking lot for Galebove Stijene, and while Galebove Stijene is certainly more impressive, Cikonska is not far behind.

You'll find Ciklonska Beach at the bottom of the stairs as you come out of the forested path from the parking lot. The small beach is made up of white stone pebbles. To the right are the slabs of rock that lead to Galebove Stijene.

Ciklonska Beach is small by comparison to other beaches in Pula, but it more than makes up for that with its natural beauty. The bay is perfect for kayaking and snorkeling, and it never gets as crowded as the beaches closer to town.

10. Gortan's Cove

The beach at Gortan's Cove
The beach at Gortan's Cove | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Another one of Pula's hidden little coves, Gortan's Cove surprises you as you drive around the Lungomare, the scenic road that hugs the coastline. Gortan's Cove is right before Saccorgiana Cove, for reference.

This was an interesting beach with the remnants of what looked like an amphitheater with steps that lead down to the water. People sun themselves on the stone amphitheater tiers before taking a dip in the clean, blue and emerald water.

View over Gortan's Cove
View over Gortan's Cove | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

A small restaurant is located directly behind the beach. It has restrooms but those are reserved for customers only. Other than that, the beach has no facilities so you will have to bring what you need with you for the day if you're traveling on a budget.

11. Hawaiian Beach

View over Hawaiian Beach
View over Hawaiian Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Back on the Verudela Peninsula, Hawaiian Beach takes a little bit of detective work to find, but it's a beautiful spot once you do. Surrounded by a forested park on the peninsula, the beach is actually within an apartment rental complex and you can't park there unless you are a guest.

I recommend using the parking lot up by the "Cat Home," as it is marked on Google. It's not exactly a home as it is a hangout for dozens of cats. As you walk past the cat cove and down the hill you'll reach a hilltop promenade and down underneath is Hawaiian Beach.

It's called Hawaiian Beach because, unlike other beaches in Croatia, this one beach happens to get waves. I don't think you'll be seeing any pipeline competitions here anytime soon, but a little bit of movement in the water is something to write about when compared to most lake-like beaches in Croatia.

The promenade is lovely for strolling through the wooded area of the peninsula, but you can also walk down the zig-zagging stone steps that lead to the pebbly beach below. The water here is so blue and clear. Because the beach is smaller and a little bit more difficult to access, it is far less crowded than other Pula beaches.

12. Lighthouse Beach

Restaurant overlooking Lighthouse Beach
Restaurant overlooking Lighthouse Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Perched at the very tip of the Verudela Peninsula, Lighthouse Beach has been a strategic point for ships for centuries. In fact, its namesake (said lighthouse) first started operating in 1877.

Today the beach is known for its rocky landscape and beautifully clear water, as well as the elegant Bonaca Restaurant & Lounge that overlooks the cliffs and the water. Visitors can park in the small parking lot and walk down the concrete steps that have been blended into the rock face to reach the sea. This would definitely be a beach to wear water shoes on, as the rocks are sharp and you may run into a few sea urchins.

Bonaca Restaurant & Lounge is on the expensive side but is a classic place to have a meal with one of the most spectacular views in Pula. I would save this for a fabulous sunset meal, particularly if it is a special occasion.

Address: Verudela 11, 52100, Pula

13. Valkane Beach

Valkane Beach
Valkane Beach | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Down the road from Valovine Beach, on the opposite end of Arena Stoja Campsite, Valkane Beach is a lovely cove with a concrete pier that sticks out into the center of the calm, clear water. It's from this beach that the iconic Lungomare scenic road begins.

The majority of this beach is concrete, though you'll find some pebbly and rocky parts on either side, as well. The concrete siding and the clearness of the water give this beach serious swimming pool vibes. You'll even find steps from the edge that lead down into the water. The beach has a sandy pit for beach volleyball games. Valkane Beach even has accessible ramps for entering the water.

Like many beaches in Pula, Valkane is wreathed in lush greenery. The forest-meet-sea aesthetic is very common for beaches all over the Istria peninsula. Not far from the beach are several restaurants and hotels, as well as campgrounds. Pula town is less than a five-minute drive away.

Address: Lungomare, 52100, Pula