The Underground Rooms hostel is a great find if you are looking to stay comfortably while discovering Pula and its surroundings, made by people who understand backpackers.
Location & Getting There
I booked the Hostel Underground Rooms on booking.com for nominally €21/night. That is expensive. But much of Croatia’s coast is. Upon arrival, it turned out that €21 was just an approximation as accommodations cannot put in their prices in just any currency on the booking site. The “real” price per night, plus kn7 tourist tax, was 160 Kuna, which at that moment equalled about €21.30.
The Underground resides just north of the Arena, about 5 minutes on foot.
From the bus station – or “autobusni kolodvor” in Croatian – you will walk for about 15 minutes. BTW: the shuttle from the airport also stops at the bus station (operated by Fils – save €1 if you buy your ticket online: http://www.fils.hr/en/).
If you happen to arrive by train, simply turn right from the station and climb the long, steep set of stairs that will pop up to your left, turn right. The whole journey shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes provided you are reasonably fit to scale the stairs.
To get around the area to visit beaches or other villages, catch your buses, you guessed it, from the bus station or stops dotted throughout the town.
The Underground is located on the ground floor of an old concrete highrise, which makes it a bit daunting at first. But once inside, you’ll see it’s veritable home away from home.
Guests are backpackers, slightly more females than males, most of which come to Pula to soak up some sun or enjoy one of the many local festivals (while I was there, the Dimensions electronic music festival was underway).
The hostel is small: three dorms with six beds each, two of these beds are singles while the others are your standard bunks. The lower bunks offer limited headspace, so taller people should request an upper bunk or a single.
There are three showers and two toilets, one of them a bathroom with pee pot and shower. Not once in four nights did I have to wait to shower or use the bathroom.
Every little detail at Underground hostel gave me the impression that the owner knew what he was doing when setting up the place:
- The walls are decorated with old flyers announcing music gigs and alternative events in and around Pula, some of the furniture is made from palettes. The colors are red, blue, white with a splash of green. Everything looks fresh and modern, yet homely.
- There is a kitchenette with fridge, microwave, two hobs, enough cookware, and bar-style seating. It’s not enough space to create elaborate meals but plenty for the budget traveler to cook pasta or whip up a stir-fry.
- Every morning at nine a pot of fresh coffee is brewed and as long as it lasts it’s free for all.
- There is a couch in the small common space that also comprises the kitchenette. A great place to meet other guests you don’t share a dorm with.
- Smokers can hang out on a small balcony in the back, which is otherwise due to the surroundings a bit smelly.
- The Internet, albeit not super-fast, is free and works throughout the property.
- The rooms offer plenty of space to pack/unpack, store luggage, hang, charge devices…
- There is a big locker (big enough to fit my 60l and my 35l backpacks and still have space) with a key for every guest.
- Beds are fitted with sheets and proper duvets, comfy mattresses, plugs, no night lights (but that’s what mobiles are for, I guess), and a small shelf to store a book, water, keys, etc.
- Upon arrival, Guests are also provided with a fresh towel.
- There are modern, manually controlled air conditioning units in all rooms plus the common area. You just might have to fight your roommates to be allowed to use them.
When I was there, the Underground was already in its second season. But from the cleanliness and spotlessness, I would have guessed that they had just opened. Châpeau!
The staff is super-friendly and accommodating. They run a three-shift system. So there will be somebody on-site almost all the time to help.
There is no (!!!) charge for printing tickets and doing your laundry.
Payment is possible in cash (Croatian Kuna) or via credit card.
Food & Drinks
While there is no food available at the Underground Hostel, there is a pot of fresh coffee freely available every morning after nine.
To shop groceries, the easiest stop is the small supermarket with a fruit and vegetable stall outside about two minutes from the hostel walking towards the arena.
There is a Kaufland hypermarket about 3km from the hostel, and plenty of small supermarkets dotted around the old town. For more fresh stuff, head over to the other side of the old town, to the covered market “Ribarnica” – inside, you will find a large meat and a large fish section, outside, local merchants sell fresh produce and local Istrian delicacies like honey and oil.
If you don’t want to cook, you will find dozens of restaurants around the old town. They all offer pretty much the same fare: pizza, fish, meat. I gave the Pizzeria Jupiter a shot, according to TripAdvisor the sixth best restaurant in town, and was utterly disgusted with my Frutti del Mare pizza, which cost me 53 Kuna (about €7) but was soaking in tuna brine plus had only tinned or frozen ingredients on it.
Want to do your own thing, go somewhere else? Find a different accommodation on Booking.com!*
*While I am not paid in any way by Booking.com for this review I am a member of their affiliate program and any booking you make on the site via the link provided by me earns me a small commission. So it could be a win-win: you find their booking platform as excellent as I do, and I get paid because I helped you discover it. Thanks!