As I am currently living in Slovenia, I have easy access to many European countries for little getaways. Pete and I fancied a seaside holiday so decided to take a trip down to the Istrian peninsula and stay near the city of Pula. We were planning on camping but the campsites were averaging about €35 a night so we decided to book a self catered place instead and we found the perfect apartment 2 km out of the centre. The couple who owned the apartments were extremely welcoming and full of information about things to do around Pula. In fact we spent one afternoon with them on their balcony as they ploughed us with coffee, beer and homemade cake. Apartments T&S was £93 for 4 nights, bargain!
Although we opted to self cater, we also chose to eat out around Pula and there were some excellent vegetarian friendly places to eat at. The first place we ate was Fresh sandwich and salad bar. It had a great choice of vegetarian sandwich fillings, like falafel, hummus and lovely freshly made salads, soups and vegan cakes. I had the “gluten free” salad box (I didn’t fancy any bread) which was made up of fresh salad leaves, falafels, yoghurt and tahini dressing, homemade hummus and a chickpea salad.
I am a massive pizza fan and we like to treat ourselves whilst on holiday. The couple who owned our apartment recommended Pizzeria Jupiter to us which is located in the centre of Pula, just off the main tourist street. It serves up delicious wood fired pizzas with a few options for vegetarians. I had the Mediterranean which was loaded with mozzarella, courgettes, cherry tomatoes, fresh cheese and basil. I had the medium size and I couldn’t finish it all. Two vegetarian, medium pizzas, three large beers and a bottle of mineral water cost us £20. There appeared to be a lot of locals eating here and it was very busy with it’s three outdoor terraces full.
The perfect place for a cheap snack is Mlinar bakery which is the oldest chain bakery in Croatia. They serve a range of vegetarian snacks but our favourite is the spinach and cheese rolled burek. These are filled pastries made with thin, flakey pastry with a variety of sweet or savoury fillings. In Slovenia, their spinach burek is labelled vegan, so ask in Croatia too!
Just 12 km from Pula is the quiet village of Ližnjan, we drove there one evening to visit the Cherry Blossom guesthouse. This is a very special place as it is a vegetarian hotel, yoga centre and spiritual sanctuary. We had a delicious three course vegan meal and then were shown around the guesthouse and the ‘House of Light’. This brand new building has a gorgeous yoga hall, 3 star guesthouse rooms and places to hold seminars and workshops. The views of the Adriatic sea and untouched beaches are stunning.
The food was lovely and the vegetarian chef is really talented and friendly. We had a vegetable broth soup, stuffed courgettes with veggie patties, fresh salad and banana and pecan ‘nice cream’.
Pula city itself is an interesting historic and cultural town with lots to see but the real highlight of the Istrian peninsula are it’s beaches. Just a short walk from our apartment was Ambrela beach near the Aquarium and Valsaline beach, next to Hostel Pula. The water is so clear and warm with great opportunities for snorkelling. We spent one day walking 10 km around the southernmost tip of Istria, which is called the Kamenjak peninsula. This wild and rugged coastline has fantastic hiking trails and beautiful stone beaches.
We had a great holiday in Istria and definitely recommend it to you if you are thinking of visiting!