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Europe > Iberia > Spain > Northern Spain > Navarre > Pamplona

Pamplona

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For other places with the same name, see Pamplona (disambiguation).
Pamplona Cathedral

Pamplona (Basque: Iruña) is a city in Navarra, Spain. It is most famous world-wide for its San Fermín festival, held each year from July 6-14. San Fermín festival includes the legendary "Running of the Bulls", which features the daily bullrun or "Encierro" in Spanish. Pamplona is a beautiful green city and ranks the highest in environment and recycling cities in Spain & Europe. There are many interesting things to do and explore in Pamplona for a traveler as it is the first main city on the route of St. James (Camino de Santiago). It is a city with beautiful parks, historical buildings, medieval city walls and a river running through it too. The city is home of two universities: the public Universidad Pública de Navarra, and the private Universidad de Navarra, and two campuses in different but close parts of the city.

Understand[edit]

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

  • Pamplona Airport (PNA IATA, Noain Airport). A little airport connected with several Spanish cities (Iberia flies several times a day from Madrid and Barcelona). Nearby, there are international airports like Bilbao (156 km), Zaragoza (170 km), or Biarritz, France (115 km) with international flights from the UK, Ireland, Germany, etc.

By train[edit]

Daily trains from and to Madrid, Barcelona, Vitoria, Galicia, Asturias, Zaragoza, Burgos. Also routes to other towns in the region of Navara like Tafalla or Tudela are available. Urban buses connect the train station and the city centre.

By car[edit]

Hire a car and drive from Madrid 4 hr, Barcelona 4 hr, Biarritz 1.5 hr, San Sebastián 1 hr, Bilbao 2 hr, Zaragoza 2 hr, Logroño 1 hr.

Underground parking is widely available.

By bus[edit]

The cheapest way to get in Pamplona. Several daily services from Madrid, Barcelona, San Sebastián, Bilbao, Vitoria, Zaragoza, Logroño and many other cities. Almost all towns and villages of the region are daily connected to its Capital City, Pamplona, by bus. This is a very good option if you don't have a car but want to visit places like the Castle in Olite, the Romanesque art of Estella or the old streets and Cathedral of Tudela, just for instance.

Get around[edit]

Pamplona offers to very different faces to the visitor: while in San Fermín festival, the city is driven by music, drinking and the incredible amount of people celebrating and packing the streets. People from all over the World "pay tribute" to San Fermín by having fun, and for the more adventurous, run in front of six bulls at 08:00. If you want to see the bullrun from the street, you must be in the spot at least two hours in advance to secure yourself some good sights of the event.

The rest of the year, Pamplona is a tranquile and yet vibrant place full things to do. It is indeed a great place to walk the streets and parks. Food and wine is also a big part of the navarrese culture, so make sure you taste some local especialities.

See[edit]

Aside from the evening bullfights, at 11:00 some mornings during San Fermin, there is a chance to enter the bullring for free, and watch student bullfighters hone their craft. Pamplona's bullring is the second largest in Spain.

July 5 is becoming an extra day of fun, as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has a "running of the nudes" to protest the bullfights. Sadly though no one is totally naked, it's against the law.

To gain free access to tha main event in the bullring after the bullrun is to run at the last segment of the bullrun to gain access to the bullring for free.

  • Museo de Navarra, Cuesta de Santa Domingo, +34 94 842 64 92. Tu-Sa 09:30-14:00 and 17:00-19:00, Su 11:00-14:00. This major museum of Pamplona is in a 16th-century hospital. Includes rich collections of Roman artifacts including 2nd-century mosaics. Also has Romanesque art and an important Goya portrait. Gothic and Renaissance paintings, and murals from the 13th-century are another must see here. Adults €2, students/seniors €1, under 15 free.

Do[edit]

Running of the bulls
  • Sanfermines, Festival of San Fermín [1], city-wide. July 6 - July 14. The city festival of Pamplona. The festival begins with the txupinazo: a rocket fired from the city council's balcony at 12PM of the 6th. A large street party ensues that night and for the rest of the week. The best-known feature is the encierro (running of the bulls), which is done every day at 08:00. 6 bulls run through the town center towards the plaza de toros (bull ring); the adventurous and foolhardy run in front of them. On July 6 there is not encierro as allegedly the festival starts at 12:00.

If you are wanting to run with the bulls, then arrive at the track at about 07:30. You will form up behind a line of police that will be glad to take you out of the crowd if you are drunk. Also having a camera when you run is not allowed.

Pamplona Cathedral Pamplona's gothic cathedral was constructed during the 14th and 15th centuries. The church also has a neoclassical façade which was completed by famous architect Ventura Rodriguez in 1783. The cathedral is listed as one of the most important religious buildings in Spain. There is a museum located next to the cathedral which has more interesting information on the history and architecture of the building. Definitely worth stopping by if your in Pamplona.

Plaza de Toros is a bullring in Pamplona which is still used for bullfights. The stadium was built in 1922, and holds over 19,000 people. Most notably Plaza de Toros is the ending point for the annual Running of the Bulls at the festival of San Fermin.

Learn[edit]

San Fermin has a nightly fireworks show. Each night a different company (many international) competes for a prize. This happens nightly near the ciudadela or fortress, former citadel to defend the city and nowadays the biggest park of all.

Pamplona has many old palaces, most of them in the heart of the city. One of them, on the outskirts of town in Gorraiz used to belong to Sir Lancelot (of King Arthur fame). He received this palace upon marrying a Spaniard. The palace has a nice upper class bar and restaurant, and an excellent wine cellar below.

Work[edit]

English teaching is the main source of income for many tourists who come and eventually fall in love with Pamplona. In Sanfermines, many tourists end p working for some hostels to get free lodging. They may be soliciting fellow tourists to get a room in the hostel where they are lodged or giving out pamphlets to tourists.

Buy[edit]

You can buy good wine, Patxaran, ham, and tins of peppers the best are from Lodosa, and of course asparagus from Navarra. Presents can be bought on every corner, like small bulls, red & white clothes, festival T-shirts, etc. also you can find the Shop of Kukuxumusu, the shop situated at the beginning of Estafeta Street.

In Old Town you will find kiosks throughout selling Navarrese handicrafts.

  • Echeve, Calle Mercaderes 29, +34 94 822 42 15. Sells handcrafted items including vests, ceramics, hats, woodcarvings, and botas(wineskins used by locals to squirt wine into their open mouths.)
  • Las Tres ZZZ, Calle Comedias 7, +34 94 822 44 38. Las Tres ZZZ sells wineskins, neckerchiefs, and a type of belt known as a gerriko commonly used by weight lifters and sports enthusiasts to support their backs while performing heavy-duty lifting.
  • Zara, Av. Carlos 3 no. 7, +34 94 822 75 04. Ideal place for finding the latest in fashion, and accessories.

Eat[edit]

Outside Sanfermines day, many eateries close at 15:30. Dinner is served up from 21:00 There is plenty of restaurants in the old city, from budget menús del día for lunch to more expensive and renown venues. Navarra's cuisine stands out for the quality of its vegetables, e.g. asparagus, artichokes, piquillo red peppers. Plus, visitors can always try typical Spanish dishes.

In Pamplona, tapas are called "pintxos", and in contrast with other places in the south of Spain do not come free of charge with drinks. However, most of these "pintxos" are small-sized nouvelle cuisine dishes, so it is really worth to try. Remember that going out to a bar to have a drink and some "pintxos" is pretty much a social event, and there is not a settled time for it. Normally, the same bars that offer "pintxos" prepare menús del día and dinner at Spanish lunch and dinner time.

  • San Nicolas bar, San Nicolas 13, +34 948 221319. Several tables of the restaurant are hidden in the depths, behind a door after the bar. Tried and recommended: coffee. Not recommended: fish soup, grilled salmon, flan (all from menu del dia). Same owners as Cafe Ciudadela. menu del dia: €15.
  • Bar La Bodeguica, Aldapa 4, +34 948 227969. In the old town near central market (Burgo de Navarreria) . Tried and recommended: lasagna vegetable, cider. (all from menu del dia). Small, quite and nice place. menu del dia: €12.
  • Casa Otano (San Nicolas 5), +34 94 822 70 36. Daily 13:00-16:00, M-Sa 21:00-23:30. Located in the oldest part of town a very popular tavern-styled restaurant. Three large dining rooms Casa Otano is known by many for feeding generations of Pamplona residents since the 1950s. The restaurant specializes in serving its own traditional dishes and succulent meats. Mid- high.
  • Europa, Calle Espoz y Mina 11, Pamplona, +34 94 822 18 00. M-Sa 13:00-15:30 and 21:00-23:30. In the center of pamplona near plaza del Castillo Europa is regarded among the best restaurants in the region. The chef and culinary artist Pilar Idoate is a native of Pamplona. He prepares a menu seasonally which always includes some of the finest cuisine the town has to offer. Main courses €20-28, fixed price menu €44-62.
  • Meson Pirineo, Estafeta 41, Pamplona, +34 94 820 77 02. Daily 13:00-16:00, M-Sa 20:00-22:30. Great for big appetites, huge portions of Basque specialties. They offer many of the areas specialties, and specialize in a hearty bean stew that is very filling. Main courses €8-32.
  • Sarasate, Calle San Nicolas 19, +34 94 822 57 27. Daily 13:00-16:00; F Sa 20:30. Specializes in having some of the best vegetarian platters in town. Serving vegan and gluten-free offerings, and using the freshest vegetables from the country side. Fixed price dinner €18.

Drink[edit]

In Pamplona you can find good wine from Navarra, try it! it's really good. You can order it in every bar as "tinto" (red wine) or as "clarete" or "rosado" (rose wine). Besides there's a liquor called "Patxaran" that should be tried.

You should also make sure you try the Sangria. It's a red wine punch, usually with some fruit, red wine, and some honey to sweeten. The alcoholic content can vary greatly from place to place.

Calle San Nicolas, Calle Estafeta, and Calle de Jarauta are all lined with different bars, pubs, and bodegas. Most do not have signs so feel free to wander around in and out of these places.

  • Alhambra, Bergamin 7, +34 948 245007. 13:00-15:00, 21:00-23:00. One of the best and most stable restaurants in Pamplona. Dating back to the end of World War II. Alhambra is only about 15 minutes walking from the cathedral. Features local wines, regional specialties, and many eqsquisite dishes. high.
  • Marengo, Av. Bayona 2, +34 94 826 55 42. Th-Sa 23:00-06:00. Marengo is the most popular club in town. Hosts a crowd primarily in their 20s and 30s who like to dance the entire night away. Recorded music is played, and dress nice because you won't get in without the bouncer's approval of dress code. €15 at the door.
  • Reverendos, Monasterio de Velate 5, +34 94 826 15 93. Pamplona's most popular disco a great place to dance and let off some steam. Many people in their 20s and 30s come here to do some dancing, have some drinks, and meet people of the opposite sex. Reverendos operates all hours of the night. €10 (includes drinks).
  • Cafe Iruña, Plaza del Castillo 44, +34 94 822 20 64. 09:90-21:30. During the cold months many people can be found gathered around the bar ordering plates of food along with drinks. The places does very well as a cafe/bar, but becomes more like a restaurant during the lunch hour. Daily Menu €13; Full Lunch (13:00-15:30): €10-12.

Sleep[edit]

Budget[edit]

  • Many sleep in the open for free in the parks throughout Pamplona.
  • The El Molino campground is nearby Pamplona. It has campsites, cabins and rooms. Definitely requires booking during San Fermín festival. Is about 25 min from the center of Pamplona and there are standard €40 per shuttle rides, and there are always others around keen to share.
  • A good camp close to Pamplona is Lizarra at Estella. Approx. 1/2 away by coach. Has bar, restaurant, shop, showers, & pool.
  • Camp in Tali Mendi, Zarautz (on the coast) Approx. 1hr 15 minutes away by coach. Few hundred metres from the beach.
  • A good option is to have a room in one of the makeshift hostals on Calle Estafeta (a segment where the bulls run and where the fun is located). Always bargain for a terrace when asking for the price. Price range between €30 to €100 per night.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Avenida, Zaragoza 5, +34 94 824 54 54. Established in 1989. Midsize guest rooms have sleek and modern furnishings, watercolors add a warm touch. Single: €89; double: €145.
  • Hotel Eslava, Plaza Virgen de la O 7, +34 94 822 22 70. This hotel contains 28 units and is a 10 minute walk from the bus station. This recently renovated hotel manages to combine old and new spirits of Spain. Rooms are tastefully decorated, and many contain balconies with views of the city. Single: €69; double: €145.
  • Hotel Tres Reyes, Jardines de la Taconera 1, +34 94 822 66 00. One of the finest hotels in Pamplona is just a short walk west of Old Town and close by to the ancient citadel. All rooms provide tasteful furnishings, plenty of sunlight, and many have balconies. Hotel also has a restaurant/ bar, outdoor pool, sauna, exercise room, and babysitting service. The only hotel considered to be nicer is Iruna Park. Double: €170-599; suite: €471-790.

Splurge[edit]

  • NH Iruna Park Hotel, Arcadio Maria Larraona 1, +34 94 819 71 19. Guest rooms are comfortable and bathrooms come well equipped. Located near the University of Pamplona. Includes a restaurant, bar, babysitting service, and room service. Double: €129-391; suite: €212-576.
  • La Perla,, +1 800 238 0767. Plaza De Castillo, De 1, is regarded as one of the classiest hotels in Pamplona. The average nightly stay varies from €162-1,485 per night.This hotel has its own restaurant and bar, beautiful furnishings, and beautiful views of the central plaza.

Stay safe[edit]

Caution Note: Fifteen people have been killed in bull runs in Pamplona since 1911.
  • Watch out for the bulls!
  • There is quite a lot of pickpockets at sanfermines time, experts at spotting visitors, so try to be careful, do not leave things unattended. Suspect from those gypsies that just want to talk to you or do palm reading.
  • At sanfermines do not wear flip-flops or sandals, as streets are quite filthy and there can be broken glass pieces on the ground. Traditionally locals wear white t's and pants, a red neckerchief and some kind of red scarf round their waist. You can buy this outfit at street shops and mingle with the crowd.

Connect[edit]

Cope[edit]

Go next[edit]

This city travel guide to Pamplona is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.