Difference between revisions of "Pamplona"
Revision as of 12:13, 9 May 2013
Pamplona (Basque: Iruña)  is a city in Navarra, Spain. With a population of nearly 200,000 inhabitants, and an overall metropolitan population of 320,000 is the capital city of the region of Navarra. It is most famous world-wide for its San Fermín festival each year from July 6th to 14th and "The Running of the Bulls", which features a daily bullrun or "Encierro" in Spanish. This festival was depicted in the writtings of nobel-price author Ernest Hemingway. Pamplona is a green city and ranks the highest in enviroment and recycling cities in Spain & Europe. There are many interesting things to do and explore in Pamplona for the traveler since it is the first main city on the route of St. James (Camino de Santiago). Furthermore, Pamplona has a beautiful medieval city centre, several museums, an impresive citadel, great gastronomy and wines and also is a city with lots of parks and the Arga river running through it. There city has two universities, Public: Universidad Pública de Navarra & Private: Universidad de Navarra, and two different campuses.
Pamplona has a little airport (Pamplona-Noain Airport) connected with several cities (Iberia fly several times a day from/to Madrid and Barcelona). Nearby, there are international airports: Bilbao (156 km), Zaragoza (170 km), or Biarritz, France (115 km) with flights to several international destinations. From Biarritz Airport to Pamplona use Biarritz Airport Transfers 
Daily trains from and to Madrid, Barcelona, Vitoria, Galicia, Asturias and Zaragoza, among other Spanish cities. Urban buses conect the train station and Pamplona's city centre.
Hire a car and drive from/to Madrid in 4 hrs., Barcelona 4 hrs., Biarritz 1.5 hrs., Bilbao 2 hrs., San Sebastián 1hr.
Underground parking is widely available.
The cheapest way to get in Pamplona. Several daily services from Madrid, Barcelona, San Sebastián, Bilbao, Vitoria, Zaragoza, Oviedo, etc. Same bus station links Pamplona with all the localities in Navarra (e.g. Estella, Tafalla, Tudela, Sangüesa, Olite, etc.)
A great place to walk the streets, with live music and wonderful people. You won't need to take public transportation or car to visit the most remarkable places in Pamplona as most touristy spots lie within the city centre/old town. During Sanfermines, from July 6th until 14th, lots of alcohol, music and dancing in the streets all night long and, by 6AM, you'd better go get a good place to watch the running of the bulls, which starts at 8AM and attracts lots of spectators and media. After that, a good breakfast or "almuerzo" and time to go to sleep after an incredibly long night.
Pamplona offers two very different faces to the visitor. During Sanfermines the city is driven by music, bulls, drinking and general madness. Alternatively, the rest of the year is a charming little place with great food, friendly people, lovely walks in the green parks and stone paved streets and great cafés and bars everywhere you go.
At midnight, get ready for Concerts of any type of music in places like Plaza del Castillo, Plaza de los Fueros or Antoniutti. At 11PM there's a fireworks display every night near the citadel or "Vuelta del Castillo". This is a great place to lay down, relax and enjoy the fireworks before going out to bars and concerts.
Visitors can also see other medieval churches within a short walking distance from the cathedral. The most important would be San Nicolas and San Saturnino, a former fortress and christian temple. You should visit San Lorenzo church too, where a chapel with the image of San Fermín -the saint giving name to its well reknown festival- is kept.
Pamplona, a city confined in its medieval walls during the middle ages and modern times, finally decided to open up in the early 20th century. Some walls were demolished to make space for new broad avenues and neighbourhoods, like Avenida Carlos III, nowadays a major shopping street. However, Pamplona has made a great effort to keep the vast majority of its walls and history. There is even a museum centered in the history of Pamplona's undisputedly fortificated nature. You can find it in the "Fortín de San Bartolomé", near the bullring.
If you are wanting to run with the bulls, then arrive at the track at about 7:30AM. 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.
Many people are surprised to learn that 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, an excellent wine cellar below and is sorrounded by a golf camp.
You can buy good wine, Patxaran, ham, and tins of red peppers the best are from Lodosa, and of course asparragus from Navarra. Presents can be bought on every corner, like small bulls, red & white clothes, festival T-shirts, etc. also you can find Kukuxumusu, a famous shop situated at the beginning of Estafeta Street.
In Old Town you will find kiosks throughout selling Navarrese handicrafts, antiques and souvenirs.
Outside Sanfermines day, many eateries close at 3:30PM. Dinner is served up from 9 P.M. There are 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. asparragus, artichokes, piquillo red peppers. Plus, visitors can always try typical spanish dishes.
Pamplona, as other cities in northern Spain, holds a reputation for its gastronomy. Moreover, local wine is served in every establishment. You can enjoy homemade-style food in many restaurants serving "menú del día" (11 to 14 euros aprox.), a traditional basque beefsteak or txuletón accompanied by fresh cider (sidra) or more elaborated menus in some of the finest restaurants for a splurge price.
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 dinners at spanish lunch and dinner time. In the last years a little event called juevintxo has become very popular. This event offers every thursday a drink (usually wine or beer) plus a "pintxo" for a reduced price of 2 euros. Many bars in the old city have joined this campaign, particularly those located in Estafeta street.
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", made with wild berries and anisette, 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 San Antón, Calle Estafeta, Calle Navarrería 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. And if you see a good bunch of locals enjoying their "pintxos" it is usually a good sign!
Accomodation for all budgets can be found easily. Note that during Sanfermines, due to the great demand, prices rise up alarmly, so make sure you book a place in advance. Otherwise it will be very difficult or almost impossile to find a room in a mid-range hotel.
For those in a low budget, there is a camping site located a few kilometers from the city, as well as some hostels and guesthouses.
Most Hotels can be found within the city centre or near the Hospitals and University Campus, in a half-an-hour walk distance from the old city and tourist attractions.
For pilgrims doing the Camino de Santiago there is a public "albergue", called Jesús y María, in Calle Compañía 4. 
Recently, a parking space for caravans has been built in the neighbouring town of Berriozar.
Tourist Office: Avda. Roncesvalles 4. Phone no. +0034 848420420 
Turismo de Pamplona 
Bus Station 
Emergencies Phone no. 112
Booking for accomodation in the region of Navarra 
Navarra News, Navarra's first online newspaper in English