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Escape to Croatia

Neil Sowerby discovers just why the beautiful Croatian resort of Pula is known as the Magic Land...

Published on September 14th 2011.


Escape to Croatia

THE new Jet2.com route to Pula from Manchester is now on sale for Summer 2012. Flights are priced from £41.99* (Jet2.com), and package holidays from £379 per person with Jet2holidays†. Pula joins Split and Dubrovnik to form an attractive trio of Jet2.com Croatian destinations from Manchester. So what are you going to do when you get to Pula?

Img1Croatia is one of the hottest destinations for 2012 – and Pula a jewel among resorts along its breathtaking Adriatic coast. Combining fantastic beaches with a rich historical legacy, it is a refreshingly laidback destination.

Its position on the southern tip of the Istrian Peninsula guarantees a blessedly mild climate with over 2,350 hours of sunshine a year, tame seas and an unspoilt pastoral landscape. No wonder it is known as Terra Magica – the Magic Land.

The Romans recognised its advantages when they colonised it over 2,000 years ago and their footprint is all over Pula, giving it great advantages for sight-seeing. Two must-see Roman sites are:

The Arena, a stunningly well preserved Roman amphitheatre – sixth largest in the world and an atmospheric concert venue.

The Temple of Augustus, which was built for the first Roman Emperor and now houses a collection of Roman sculptures in a harmonious setting.

Img2At one time or another the city has been ruled by Germanic tribes, the Venetians, the French, the Italians, and the Austrians. All have left their mark on a cosmopolitan town.

Visit the Hercules Gate, the Cathedral of Assumption and the Archaeological Museum of Istria, too, to get a flavour of Pula’s fascinating past.

Not that Pula is all historic remains. Far from it. The town (population 90,000) has the liveliest nightlife in Istria. That sleepy café you sipped a beer at after visiting the Arena might well transform itself after dark into an all-night dancing venue.

In common, though, will be the reasonable prices – a major plus point for Croatia against its holiday competitors. That’s what makes shopping in its quaint streets such fun. There are some real bargains to be had among the hand-crafted souvenirs.

Captivating though the old town is, it is hard to resist a boat trip. Highly recommended is a day excursion to the beautiful Brijuni Islands, a 16-strong archipelago that is now a national park. Or you could simply hire a car and explore Istria’s unspoilt interior and other beaches down the coast.

Img3If you prefer to stay close to your base, Pula itself has enough sandy beaches to satisfy the most ardent sun-worshipper and the crystal-clear Adriatic sea here is perfect for swimming. The esplanade at Stoha, where the woods come down to the sea, is particularly attractive.

We’d recommend sampling the local Istrian white wines, which are surprisingly good. Aromatic, golden-coloured malvazija accompanies local seafood well, while the muskat is rumoured to be asphrodisiac (Casanova lived in Istria).

A sturdy red called Teran is also a good match for the local cuisine, a fusion of Italian and Istrian, featuring mainly pasta and accompanying meat sauces. A typical menu would consist of many different dishes of pasta, pizza, lasagna and gnocchi.

The new Jet2.com weekly Saturday service from Manchester Airport starts from 19 May 2012. Flights start from £41.99* (www.Jet2.com), ATOL protected package holidays from £379 per person with Jet2holidays†. And on a Jet2holiday you get all the amazing advantages Jet2.com offers as standard, such as friendly flight times, allocated seats and 22kg baggage allowance, plus resort transfers, ATOL protection, a £60 deposit offer per person and a part payment scheme. And right now, you can save an extra £100 per booking on all holidays and city breaks with Jet2holidays quoting 100SAVE before 31st October 2011.

Visit http://www.jet2holidays.com/100save.aspx for details.

*One way including taxes
†Includes flights, accommodation, 22kg baggage allowance and transfers.

Click here to find out more information about Jet2.com’s flight prices

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