Pamplona — made famous by Ernest Hemmingway in 'The Sun Also Rises.' It hosts the festival of San Fermin, with the running of the bulls (el encierro). The festival is celebrated every year for a week beginning on July 7.
Tudela — the second largest city in Navarra with a population not higher than 40,000 people. Tudela is 94 km (60 miles) far from Pamplona, it's linked by a good highway and there are good connections by bus and train. It's used to be a big center of vegetables production although industry has been developed in the city. It has a beautiful cathedral from the Romanic and Gothic period.
The regions of Navarre
Pirineos de Navarra (Pyrenees of Navarre) and Montaña (Mountain zone): The north part of Navarra where there is a lot of mountains, like "Mesa de los Tres Reyes" (2.424 m.) and "Pico de Ory" (2.104 m.). This is the "Basque" and "green" Navarra where in many villages and small towns Basque is spoken and there is continental weather. It is bordered by France and Basque Country.
Comarca de Pamplona (Pamplona metropolitan area): The most populous area of Navarre (half of the people of Navarra live here), with Pamplona, Barañáin or Burlada. It is a urban area. It's in the centre of the region.
Tierra Estella (Estella Land): The historic part of Navarre with many medieval monuments and towns. The way to Santiago is here. The most important towns are Estella, Puente La Reina and Viana.
Zona Media (Centre Area): It is a transition area between mountain zone and south zone, with important historic towns like Olite (which was the capital of the Kingdom of Navarre, with a wonderful Palace-Castle), Tafalla, Ujue, Andosilla and San Martín de Unx.
Ribera de Navarra (South of Navarre): The south part of Navarre, the only area that was occupied by the Muslims who founded Tudela, the capital of this zone and the second city of Navarre. It is one of the most important areas of agriculture in Navarre and Spain.
Both Spanish and Basque (Español and Euskera) are official languages in Navarra. Spanish is more spread than Basque in Navarra, and everybody can speak Spanish in this land, but Basque is also spoken by a wide part of the population specially in the north of Navarra and Pamplona as a native language.
Pamplona has an airport that connects it with Madrid and Barcelona by regular flights. There are also connections with some other cities like Lisbon.
Pamplona has quite good railway system, although high speed trains won't be working until 2012, it has several trains every day to Madrid (3h), Barcelona (4h), Zaragoza (2h) and so on.
Navarra is called "Land of diversity". From Pamplona, in 50 miles around, you can enjoy forests (as Irati Forest), caves (Mendukilo, Zugarramurdi, Urdax, ...), Pyrenees Mountains, River Springs (as Urederra river), Castles (Javier, Olite, ...), Monasteries (Leire, Urdax, Oliva,...), desertic landscapes (Bardenas Reales), Natural Areas (Urbasa, Arbayun and Lumbier Gorges...), ...
Anyway, most of tourist who arrive to Navarra do it for two main reasons: St James Way (El camino de Santiago), and the running of the bulls festival in July (San Fermín).
To visit and enjoy so many interesting places, the best option is to rent a car, because public transportation is not so available, with few services and usually don´t arrive to the best places (as Irati Forest or Bardenas Reales).
Also, if not speaking Spanish is a bit complicated in some areas, as only in a few tourist attractions English guides are available (as I remember only at Olite Castle and Roncesvalles with audioguides).
Another easy option to visit this areas without worrying about renting a car or language problems it's to do a tour with some local tour agency.
- TRIP NAVARRA (www.tripnavarra.com). Agency tour who offers 6 different tours in small groups of maximum 8 people, full day, including all entrance tickets, insurance, lunch at a local restaurant, and an English speaker guide. Prices from 40-60 euro.
Navarra has a very good reputation for its food and restaurants sharing it mostly with the Basque cook.
These are some of the most typical products of Navarre:
Sparragus eaten with mayonaise.
Alcachofas vegetable typical from Tudela.
Piquillo peppers in the village of Lodosa, really tasty!
Txistorra/Chistorra is a kind of red sausage(made with pork meat), delicious.
Patxaran is the most typical alcoholic drink of Navarra. It's destilled with blackthrons and it has an intense red colour. It has 30º approximately.
Wines are also very famous in this region producing wines with Rioja label, and also with their own certification label (D.O. Navarra).