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Earth : Europe : Iberia : Spain : Northern Spain : Navarre : Pamplona
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In the arena after the Running of the Bulls

Pamplona (Basque: Iruña) [2] 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.


Get in

By plane

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.

By train

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.

By car

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.

By bus

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.)

Get around

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. In 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 attracks 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.

During Sanfermines, every evening the bullring is completly sold out. Basicly the bullring, like any other in Spain, is divided into two zones, Sombra (meaning 'shadow') where experts and fans watch calmly the bullfight, and Sol (literally 'Sun') offering cheaper tickets to people ready to see the fight as well as have fun, dance, drink and eat some local cuisine. Pamplona's bullring ranks the second largest in Spain after Las Ventas in Madrid.

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.

  • Museo de Navarra, Cuesta de Santa Domingo, 94 842 64 92, [1]. Tues-Sat: 9:30-2 and 5-7; Sun: 11-2. This major museum of Pamplona is located 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 euros students/seniors: 1 euro under 15: free.
  • Catedral de Santa María la Real y Museo Diocesano. [3] Pamplona's cathedral combines a Neoclassical façade completed by arquitect Ventura Rodríguez with a gothic interior. A visit of the museum will inlcude not only the temple but also an extraordinary cloister, a chapel, the refectory and painting exhibitions. Built and re-built over the centuries, definitely worth visiting.

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.

  • Ciudadela or citadel [4]Built in the shape of a pentagon under the rule of king Phillip II with the idea of making Pamplona one of Spain's northern bastions, it is very well kept and one of the best examples of a renaissance's fortification in Europe. Surrounded by a massive park, nowadays it's interior holds some art exhibitions and occasional cultural events, specially during the summer months.

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.[5]

  • Rincón del Caballo Blanco, next to the cathedral, in the "Baluarte del Redín", a charming viewpoint in the heart of Pamplona's walls, you will find a medieval bar with a lovely terrace. To put it simple, a hidden marvelous place to sit down, have a drink and see time pass by. Little concerts every thursday evening from June to September. Great overviews of the river and the lower parts of the city.
  • Plaza del Castillo. Pamplona's main square, defined by the locals as the city's "living room". Surrounded by bars a terraces open almost all year long. Despite its name ('castillo' means castle) there is no castle in it, but a bandstand right in the middle of it. In Plaza del Castillo you will find Café Iruña, the place where Ernest Hemingway used to mingle with the locals and have a drink...or two. A statue of him can be found inside.
  • Parque de la Taconera. A park built following the French gardening fashion of the time, it was the first green area built outside the walls. It holds a mini-zoo,a café and trees and plants of all kinds.


Opening Ceremony of San Fermin celebration
  • Sanfermines,
  • Festival of San Fermín [6], 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 8AM. 6 bulls run through the town center towards the plaza de toros (bull ring); the adventurous and foolhardy run in front of them. Note that in July 6 there is not encierro as allegedly the festival starts at noon.

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. [7]

Recently, a parking space for caravans has been built in the neighbouring town of Berriozar.

Sanfermines Season

  • In Sanfermines many people sleep in the open for free in the parks throughout Pamplona.
  • The El Molino campground is near Pamplona. It has campsites, cabins and rooms. Definitely requires booking during San Fermín festival. Is about 25 min from the center of Pamplona.
  • A good camp close to Pamplona is Lizarra at Estella. Approx. 1/2 away by coach. Has bar, restaurant, shop, showers, & pool.
  • Some people rent their apartments in Sanfermines. Booking in advance is a must. Prices can vary quite a lot.
  • There are a number of Hotels/Hostels in the city, although you will need to book very early.

Stay safe

  • Watch out for the bulls!
  • There is quite a lot of pickpocketers at sanfermines time, experts at spotting visitors, so try to be careful, do not leave things unattended.
  • 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.


Tourist Office: Avda. Roncesvalles 4. Phone no. +0034 848420420 [8]

Turismo de Pamplona [9]

Bus Station [10]

Emergencies Phone no. 112

Booking for accomodation in the region of Navarra [11]


  • Luggage There is a place in the bus station where knapsacks, luggage, and items can be stored. During Sanfermines there is another place to leave your luggage, in Plaza de San Francisco.

Get out

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