Top 6 Things to do in Pamplona
Pamplona (Iruña in Basque) is the capital of Navarre province in northern Spain and is best known for the running of the bulls (the Feast of San Fermín) in July. Pamplona began life as a powerful fortress town defending Northern Spain, and is now an important stop on the Camino de Santiago. This city has plenty to offer from trendy cafes and bars, to shopping to historically rich churches and squares, as well as some fantastic museums; Pamplona makes an appealing year-round destination.
Whether you are passing through on our Camino trips or spending a few days in the city on our Bordeaux and Basque Country tour, there is plenty to do and see in this wonderful city! We have compiled our list of the top things to do in Pamplona, read on for more details….
1. Casco Viejo (Old Town)
Spend some time wandering the beautiful stone-paved streets of Pamplona’s Old Town, and wind your way through the historical heart of the city. You should come across the statue of Ernest Hemingway who spent a lot of time here during the Spanish Civil War and even mentions Pamplona’s famous ‘Running of the Bulls’ festival (San Fermin) in his novel ‘The Sun Also Rises’. The most famous street in Casco Viejo is the Estafeta, which is the main path that the bulls run in the San Fermin festival. Other highlights include the Cathedral of Santa Maria de Real and the Plaza del Castillo, which is the perfect place to either start or end your meander through the Old Town.
2. Navarre Museum
The Navarre Museum is one of the main museums of Pamplona city and houses an archaeological and artistic collection related to Navarre history. The museum building itself dates back to the 16th century and was first a hospital before being turned into a museum. The collection of the Navarre Museum is comprised of pieces from prehistoric times all the way through to the 20th century. Other highlights of the collection include an impressive portrait of the Marquis of San Adrián made by Francisco Goya.
3. Medieval City Wall and Interpretive Centre
Although much of Pamplona’s medieval city walls were demolished in 1915, some of it still remains. There is now a Centre of Interpretation of Fortifications, near the Fortín de San Bartolomé. You can also walk along the walls to discover more, and follow the trail from the Centre of Interpretation to the New Gate, which passes the Cathedral and the Navarre Museum.
4. Citadel & Vuelta del Castillo Park
Explore the biggest park in Pamplona! The Vuelta del Castillo Park is surrounded by the citadel, which was built by King Philip II of Spain in 1571. This particular citadel is considered the best example of military architecture in Spanish Renaissance style. The now abandoned military buildings have been repurposed into art and cultural exhibition centres and the wide open green spaces are used by locals and tourists alike to relax and enjoy. There are also several sculptures spread throughout the park to enjoy from world-renowned artists.
For something a little more contemporary, why not take a visit to Pamplona’s planetarium, which was built in 1933. Marvel at the impressive dome of the Tornamira Hall, which measures 20 meters in diameter, making it one of the largest in the world!
6. Bar Gaucho
No trip to Pamplona would be complete without a least one visit to a pintxos bar. Pinxtos are the Northern Spanish version of tapas, and are, simply put, delicious! Commonly known as the ‘best pintxos bar in Pamplona’, Bar Gaucho serves up award-winning delectable pintxos. Located just off Estafeta Street, Bar Gaucho uses local seasonal ingredients to produce a fantastic (and delicious!) menu of over 20 varieties of pintxos.
Pamplona is a city filled with culture, history and plenty to offer tourists. For more information on this destination or to book onto one of our Pamplona tours get in touch today.