Pamplona is the capital of the Navarra region, but visitors often overlook it in favour of its more famous neighbours in the Basque Country, such as San Sebastian and Bilbao. Here are some unique experiences to have while in the city and why it might be worth a visit.
Get chased by a bull
The most unique experience in Pamplona is, of course, to take part in the Running of the Bulls festival, known as San Fermín. During this crazy week-long event, both residents and visitors run through the narrow city streets of the Old Town, trying to get as close to the bulls as possible, without getting gored.
A traditional dessert from the Navarra region is cuajada, so there’s nowhere better to try it than the capital of the region – Pamplona. Cuajada is a curd or yoghurt made from sheep’s milk and produced by local shepherds. It is both thick and creamy and is typically served in earthenware pots and eaten sprinkled with sugar or drizzled with honey.
Have a drink with Ernest Hemingway
The author Ernest Hemingway visited Pamplona a total of nine times, and once every year between 1923 and 1927. He had a love affair with the city and often hung out in its most famous and historic bar, Café Iruña. He also supposedly wrote parts of some of his most famous novels here, including The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls. Hemingway still sits at the bar here today, immortalised in a bronze statue.
Café Iruña, Plaza del Castillo, 44, Pamplona, Navarra, Spain, +34 948 22 20 64
Travel to the stars
Exploring the universe and travelling to the stars is probably not something you’d expect to experience in historic Pamplona; however, the city is home to the excellent Pamplona Planetarium, located on the outskirts of the city, near the university. It offers three different productions as part of its full-dome experience.
Pamplona Planetarium, Calle Sancho Ramírez, Pamplona, Navarra, Spain, +34 948 26 26 28
Escape a room
Escape rooms are the latest craze to sweep Europe, and Pamplona has joined in the game. At Wayout Room Escape Pamplona, you have one hour to work with your team, using wit and skill, to solve the mystery and escape the room through a number of cleverly designed puzzles.
Walk the City Walls
The Pamplona City Walls run for five kilometres (3.1 miles) around the centre and are among some of the best-preserved military structures in Spain. Built in the Renaissance style during the 16th century, you can still walk around them today.
See the largest bell still in use in Spain
Inside Pamplona’s Santa María la Real Cathedral, visitors will find the largest bell still in use in Spain. It measures 2.5 metres (8.2 feet) in diameter by 2.25 metres (7.4 feet) in height and weighs approximately 12,000 kilos (26,456 pounds).
Santa María la Real Cathedral, Calle Curia, Pamplona, Navarra, Spain, +34 948 22 56 79