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© holbox/Shutterstock
© holbox/Shutterstock

10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Pamplona, Spain

Picture of Esme Fox
Updated: 11 May 2017

Pamplona is the capital of Spain’s Navarre, running south from the border with France and located in between the Basque Country and Aragón, with the wine region of La Rioja to the south. Whether you’re visiting to take part in the thrill of the San Fermin festival, stopping off on your pilgrimage to Santiago or just wanting to check out some of the best restaurants and bars, here’s a list of the things you shouldn’t miss out on if you’re visiting the city.

It’s home to one of Spain’s craziest festivals

The San Fermin festival, also known as ‘The Running of the Bulls’ is one of Spain’s biggest and craziest events, where participants run through the city streets alongside Fighting Bulls. As well as the adrenaline-fuelled bull runs, there’s also feasting, dancing, market stalls and traditional music.

It’s a popular stop along the Camino de Santiago

The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage trail that spans 790 kilometres (491 miles) across the top of Spain, from the village of Saint Jean Pied de Port in France to the city of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. Pamplona, along with places such as Burgos and León, is one of the top cities along the trail, meaning it attracts travellers from all over.

It’s home to some excellent bars and restaurants

A great city to visit if you’re a foodie, Pamplona has a lot of influence from the Basque Country, so of course has some excellent cuisine. Besides its delicious pintxos bars, its restaurants serve up a range of traditional and modern fusion dishes.

The city is filled with historic sights

Pamplona’s old town is surrounded by medieval city walls, and visitors can find out all about them at the Interpretation Centre. Inside, travellers can explore the old citadel, which was built by Philip II of Spain in 1571, and the Vuelta del Castillo Park. Other historic attractions include La Catedral de Santa María la Real de Pamplona and the Church of Saint Lawrence, originally built as a church-fortress in the 14th century.

It has a vibrant nightlife

Pamplona has a lively night life, a key feature of many Spanish cities. Once you’ve had your fill of food at one of the local restaurants, you’ll be able to take your pick of wine bars, live music venues and night clubs.

It’s the capital of Spain’s unique Navarre region

Pamplona is the capital of what was previously known as the Kingdom of Navarre, now called the Navarre region. With the Pyrenees to the north, this area has a rich history and is home to many small historic towns. It’s also home to plenty of green valleys, rivers and forests, as well as three natural parks – the Bertiz Natural Park, the Urbasa-Andia Natural Park and the Bardenas Reales Natural Park.

You can visit some of its excellent museums

Pamplona may be fairly small, but it has its fair share of fascinating museums. Among the best is the Museo de Navarra, housing an both archaeological and artistic collections that showcase pieces from prehistoric times up until the 20th century. Other museums in include the Museum of the University of Navarra and the Cathedral Museum.

It’s a great city for shopping

There are plenty of places for shopping in Pamplona, from international fashion stores along Avenida Carlos III to independent boutiques and souvenir shops in the Old Quarter, where you can pick up traditional products as well as touristy treasures.

The city makes for an ideal family break

Pamplona is a great city to take the kids, as they can make the most of all the parks and fun attractions. The Museum of Natural Sciences and the Pamplona Planetarium are just two of the places ideal for a family day out.

The city lies within easy reach of many great day-trip locations

Pamplona is situated at a short distance from celebrated cities and vibrant locations. It’s just a one-hour train ride to the foodie city of San Sebastián, a two-hour journey to the wine region of La Rioja and just one-hour and 45 minutes away from the French border. There are also lots of quaint towns and villages nearby, such as the historic village of Puente La Reina.