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Pamplona Travel Guide

Pamplona (Spain)
Coat of Arms Pamplona (Spain)

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Coordinates: 42.816667°, -1.65°

Population: 203,418 inhabitants (2022)

Pamplona is a magical and historical city located at the northern end of the Iberian Peninsula. It is the capital of the Foral Community of Navarra, also known as the Kingdom of Navarra. Pamplona is world-famous for the Sanfermines festival and its mythical running of the bulls, a unique celebration that dates back to ancient times.

However, Pamplona is much more than this happy festival. It is a traditional, green, safe and modern city. Each square and street is cosy and quiet, making the city admired for its majesty and beauty.

The history of this city dates back to the time of the Roman Empire. Its founding is attributed to General Gnaeus Pompey the Great, who gave it his name and turned it into an urban model of that time for being surrounded by mountains and located in the centre of an important basin. These characteristics made the Pamplona territory strategic throughout history for connecting Spain with all of Europe.

From those times until modernity, Pamplona has greatly expanded, with significant economic, technological, industrial and urban growth. Today, many of its spaces are intended for healthy fun and family training.

Pamplona perfectly combines the medieval with the modern. It is among the top cities in Spain and all of Europe with a high quality of life index for its residents.

Top 10 places to visit in Pamplona

Following is our selection of the most important places to visit:

Cathedral of Pamplona

Cathedral of Pamplona (Spain)
Its official name is Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Mary the Royal and it is the main seat of the Archdiocese of Pamplona and Tudela.

It is located in the old town of this city.

This temple is an important place of faith, history and art, as it is one of the most majestic ecclesiastical architectural works in Spain. In fact, it is considered the most complete cathedral complex in Spain.
As a whole, the cathedral complex has a church, sacristies, a cloister, a refectory, a bedroom, stalls and a chapter house.

Notably, the cloister of this cathedral is considered an artistic marvel of the Gothic style, built between 1280 and 1360. Its impressive main façade is one of the most representative works of Spanish Neoclassicism.
Likewise, the temple is the main meeting point for pilgrims who visit Pamplona during the Way of Saint James.

Citadel of Pamplona

Citadel of Pamplona (Spain)
Declared a National Historic-Artistic Monument, this Renaissance-style fortification was built between the 16th and 17th centuries to protect Pamplona from any attempted French invasion during the time of Philip V.

Today, it is a beautiful public park of 280,000 square meters, with impressive vegetation. In addition to being full of paths and having a central square, it maintains a dedicated children's area for the little ones.
Also inside, one can find “El Polvorín”, “La Sala de Armas” and the “Pabellón de los Mixtos”, which in their time were military buildings but which today are used for sports activities, artistic exhibitions and open-air shows.

The Citadel of Pamplona is an ideal place to connect with the tranquillity of nature and enjoy a walk full of pure, fresh air. It is a perfect place to visit with one's family at any time of the year.

Castle Square

Castle Square (Pamplona - Spain)
Considered the centre of the social life of the residents of this city, Castle Square is one of the most recognized and referenced places in Pamplona.

It was the scene of important events that occurred throughout the city's history.

Castle Square is an open porticoed complex surrounded by beautiful vegetation. In the middle is an impressive bandstand approximately 18 meters high with a dome supported by Ionic-style columns.
The square is historic and at the same time enigmatic. It is the main link between the old area of Pamplona and the “Segundo Ensanche”, which is the remodelled sector of the city.

Castle Square is a must-see stop due to its impressive beauty and importance in the daily life of Pamplona.

Bull Run Monument

Bull Run Monument (Pamplona - Spain)
This sculptural group has become the main example of the identity of Pamplona and its people, as this Spanish entity is known worldwide for the Saint Fermin Festival.

This monument is a harmonious and spectacular artistic composition 11 meters long and composed of 19 figures immortalized in bronze. It conveys the fast and dramatic race of 10 participants in the running of the bulls, being chased by a herd of beasts that gallop in their path.
This work perfectly transforms an ephemeral moment into something eternal and unmatched. It wonderfully captures the emotion experienced in the mythical bull runs, expressed through great displays of realism, dynamism and tension from each of the participants.

The Monument to the Running of the Bulls is the work of the sculptor Rafael Huerta Celaya and is located on Roncesvalles Avenue, in the direction of the Pamplona Bullring.

Navarra University Museum

Main entrance Museo Universidad de Navarra
The Navarra University Museum is the centre of visual culture in Pamplona.

It was created to concentrate and expand the cultural, artistic and academic expressions of this beautiful land.

Opened in 2015, this facility is located in the heart of the university campus, in a majestic architectural work designed by the prestigious Navarrese artist Rafael Moneo.
It houses an impressive collection of artistic works by prominent artists such as Pablo Picasso, Antoni Tàpies, Eduardo Chillida and Vasili Kandinsky, among many others.
It also has exclusive material comprising almost 15,000 photographs and 100,000 negatives of the most prominent artists of the 19th century and the most outstanding representatives of the 20th century such as Robert Capa, Pere Català Pic and Agustí Centelles.

Church of Saint Saturninus

Church of Saint Saturninus (Pamplona - Spain)
A few meters from the Town Hall and Castle Square, in the old town of Pamplona, is the church of Saint Saturninus, also known as the Church of Saint Cernin.

It is a religious temple that is one of the most outstanding ecclesiastical architectural jewels of Pamplona.

This beautiful building was built in the 13th century. It has a marked Gothic style and its appearance resembles that of a fortress due to its wall and two giant towers.
This church was built in honour of Saint Saturninus, patron saint of Pamplona. Its clock has the particularity of being responsible for announcing the start of the Saint Fermin running of the bulls.

Taconera Gardens

Taconera Gardens (Pamplona - Spain)
This is a beautiful French-style garden park located in the heart of Pamplona.

Its construction dates back to the 17th century and today it retains its original romantic and unique splendour.

A tour through this orchard will leave visitors dazzled by its vast vegetation, composed of beech trees, magnolias, ginkgo biloba and laurels, as well as a giant sequoia approximately 40 meters high.
Likewise, in this impressive garden one can see the central flower walk, the small zoo where species such as peacocks, pheasants, ducks, geese, swans and fish coexist, and an authentic open-air museum with various sculptures related to the history of Pamplona.

Pamplona Bullring

Pamplona Bullring (Spain)
Without a doubt, attending a bullfight in Pamplona is a distinctive experience.

The atmosphere in the bullring is so unique that it cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

This bullring, built in 1920 by architect Francisco Urcola, is a first-class bullring that can hold more than 19,000 spectators.

This makes it the fifth-largest in the world.
When attending a bullfighting event in Pamplona, remember that there are two immensely different worlds distinguished from each other by location; there are stalls lying in the shade and stalls exposed to the sun.

Pamplona Planetarium

Pamplona - Planetario 08
Opened in 1993, the Pamplona Planetarium has become the main cultural centre dedicated to technological and scientific dissemination. It is a unique place in Europe.

Strategically integrated with Yamaguchi Park (another beautiful place that one should visit in Pamplona) it has a modern and classic style. Its centre has the world's largest dome, which houses the star projector.

It also has a large exhibition hall and a conference room with an approximate capacity of 250 attendees.
In its spaces, there is also a garden called “Galaxy”, made up of 500 bushes that symbolize a small-scale plant replica of the Milky Way. Each bush represents a region of the galaxy with all its components.
Every year, this planetarium projects around 20 different programs, with the purpose of transmitting the most relevant astronomical discoveries.

Liberty Square

Liberty Square (Pamplona - Spain)
Liberty Square, once known as Conde Rodezno Square, is home to the Monument to the Fallen, an imposing building that commemorates the more than 4,500 Navarrese who died during the Spanish Civil War.

There is also the beautiful Paseo de Carlos III, a majestic boulevard extending to Castle Square, in the Historic Centre.
This site has been converted into a fortress for artistic and cultural expressions. It is part of the municipal circuit for these activities, which makes it an ideal place to learn about this beautiful city.

How to get around Pamplona

The best way to visit the main tourist sites in Pamplona is to walk, as its Old Town is home to the places most frequented by tourists. Note that there are restrictions on vehicle traffic in the city centre.

The second most-recommended transportation option is bicycle, as Pamplona has approximately 60 kilometres of bike lanes.
Likewise, Pamplona has an excellent taxi service available at all hours, with official stops in various parts of the city. It also has an efficient network of urban buses that connect the population of the metropolitan area with the city centre.

This network has 25 lines with daytime services and 10 night lines. During the festivities, this service is augmented, with modifications made to the lines and routes.


On the other hand, one can get to Pamplona in different ways. The two main means are through a modern bus station located in the city centre and a train station located in the San Jorge neighbourhood.

Both means of transport have routes that connect this city with the rest of Spain. Its airport is located six kilometres from Pamplona, in the municipality of Noáin.

Accommodation in Pamplona

Without a doubt, the best area in which to stay in this city is Old Town. No other area in Pamplona offers such a variety of options while accommodating all types of budgets.
If one is travelling with one's family, an excellent option is an apartment in this area of the city. Most of the accommodations offer basic services such as a kitchen, a washing machine, bathrooms, one or two bedrooms and balconies with views of the city.

If one is looking for a cheaper alternative in Pamplona, one can choose among the various hostels, which offer a bed in a room with a shared bathroom, common areas for all guests, breakfast and Wi-Fi service. This is a favourite option among young people and couples on a limited budget who like to share with other travellers.

Note that Pamplona has several areas authorized for motor homes, which have a determined economic value and established regulations. One of these places is located in the Trinitarios area.

Gastronomy in Pamplona

Directly influenced by the cuisine of the surrounding regions, the gastronomy of Pamplona strives to achieve its own identity. In doing so, it takes advantage of its crops to offer a variety of dishes, which include:

Asparagus of Navarre

Asparagus of Navarre
Asparagus from Navarra is the most popular delicacy in Pamplona.

It has its own designation of origin, and one can find it in any local restaurant in this city.

The best time of year to enjoy it is between March and June, as the asparagus is fresh for preparation. One can also take advantage of its multiple vitamins.
It is truly delicious in the company of mayonnaise and a hard-boiled egg, or with vinaigrette sauce, olive oil, etc.

Cod “al Ajoarriero”

Served in a clay pot to preserve its heat, cod al ajorriero is prepared with shredded cod, snails and crabs, as well as a good base of tomato, garlic, onion, olive oil, pepper and a touch of bay leaf.

It is a unique delicacy that must be tried in Pamplona.

Stuffed Piquillo Peppers

Stuffed Piquillo Peppers
In Pamplona and many surrounding places, the stuffed piquillo pepper is a typical dish.

As its name indicates, it is a pepper stuffed with a blood sausage-based cream made with pork bacon, lamb bait, rice, egg, garlic, onion, parsley and a touch of saffron. It is accompanied by a divine tomato sauce.

A variant of this dish uses cod as a filling.

Pochas with Chistorra

This is a dish for those who prefer meals full of flavour. This Pamplona delicacy is prepared with a particular round, white and tender beans accompanied with “chistorra”, leeks, carrots, peppers, tomato and a lot of garlic.

One can have pochas at any time of the year, but they are widely recommended in the months of August and September. This dish has the peculiarity of being able to be purchased packaged.

Oxtail Stew

Oxtail Stew
For meat lovers, Pamplona's gastronomy has a majestic oxtail stew, which is a succulent stew accompanied with vegetables and potatoes.

To obtain the perfect flavour, the oxtail meat must be macerated with wine for a full day.

The consumption of this delicacy is very common during the San Fermin Festival, as it has a direct link to this traditional festival.

Other information of interest

The Saint Fermin Festival is possibly one of the most colourful and famous celebrations worldwide. It is celebrated with great joy in Pamplona.
Running of the bulls in San Fermin (Pamplona - Spain)
Attending it is an unforgettable experience due to its intensity and the enjoyment contained from July 7 to July 14 each year.

The running of the bulls is a race of less than a kilometre that takes place in front of six bulls travelling in a herd.

It lasts between two and three minutes and culminates in the Pamplona Bullring.
While the running of the bulls is the best-known activity with the greatest global relevance, this celebration goes beyond that. Many people in Pamplona enjoy the festival without participating in this event.

These festivities are held in honour of Saint Fermin, a Catholic saint who was martyred after baptizing thousands of people. The first tribute that takes place the day before the race is paid to him, in addition to celebrating a huge procession through the old town of Pamplona.

After this religious act, a party begins. It is common to dance, sing and share in the streets of the city.

Another event carried out in this celebration is the traditional chupinazo, which takes place on July 6 at noon. The rocket explosion begins the Saint Fermin Festival.