Historic Pamplona is full of fierce and fiery Spanish passion. The capital of the autonomous province of Navarra is most famous for its summer fiesta, San Fermin, which sees the city’s streets overrun with revellers and stampeding bulls. But Pamplona has much more to offer than simply throwing one of the world’s best street parties.
Thanks to its remote northerly location at the foot of the Pyrenees, this region of Spain has its own unique feel, bringing together the best of Spanish, French and Basque culture. From the beautiful architecture of the Old Town to its mouth-watering pintxos (Navarran tapas), Pamplona certainly likes to show its visitors a good time.
Pamplona is a good-looking city surrounded by pretty villages and sweeping plains that draw the eye to the mighty mountains beyond. With majestic palaces, streets lined with tall balconied buildings and beautiful parks to explore, the city provides plenty of photo opportunities. Relax from all that sightseeing by sipping coffee in a pavement café, people-watching in a grand plaza and letting your hair down in the city’s legendary bars.
Ernest Hemingway famously fell in love with Pamplona and we can see why!
This historic city by the sea is a great spot for a Basque beach holiday, with a gorgeous golden beach and cobbled streets. San Sebastian has a thriving arts scene and some excellent cultural events, but it’s also home to some raucous neon nightlife! Spend your days on the beach and your nights touring the tapas bars to really take in the essence of San Sebastian.
The vibrant port city of Bilbao may not be the most picturesque Spanish city, but it’s fascinating place to soak up some culture. From the world-class Guggenheim Museum to the historic streets of the Basque Old Town, Bilbao has many hidden delights. It’s also a top foodie hotspot.
The iconic city of Barcelona needs little introduction but if you haven’t explored this amazing city for yourself yet, make sure it’s on your to-do list. Whether you want to shop, eat, drink, dance, sunbathe or sightsee, Barcelona has an overwhelming number of choices! Visit world-class modern art galleries, take in some of Gaudi’s iconic architecture or head to the Gothic Quarter for the best bars and clubs. And that’s all without even mentioning Messi and the rest of the footballing superstars at Camp Nou.
Catedral de Pamplona
This 15th century Gothic cathedral is an architectural gem. Admire the tall pillars, the richly gilded interior and the beautiful paintings on display. A small museum is housed within the cathedral, exhibiting some interesting religious relics and sculptures.
Fiesta de San Fermin
For this one week in July the entire city is in permanent party mode with fireworks, all-night celebrations and crowds wearing the traditional white and red fiesta outfits. This really is one of the wildest fiestas in Spain!
Jardines de la Taconera
If you’re craving green spaces, Pamplona boasts an amazing one. These large, exquisitely manicured gardens cover almost 100,000 square metres and are inspired by those at the Palace of Versailles. With wide open spaces for picnicking and sunbathing, a small zoo to amuse the children and a lively bohemian café, this is a gorgeous place to while away a sunny afternoon.
Palacio de Navarra
This grand building stands at the heart of Pamplona surrounded by palatial gardens – and the city’s tallest tree, a 150-year-old giant sequoia. The palace exterior and the gardens are a sight in themselves but it’s also worth venturing inside to admire the lavishly decorated rooms and art collection.
Museo de Navarra
With 34 different rooms to explore, this beautiful museum paints an extensive picture of Navarran history. Artefacts include archaeological findings from the ancient Roman era, medieval artworks and intricate Moorish objects. A fascinating display to appeal to history buffs of all ages.
Hike the foothills of the Pyrenees
If you’re looking for a peaceful countryside daytrip, you’ve simply got to head for the hills. The Aguero rock formations are well worth a look and there are some popular hiking trails with breath-taking mountain views. Try your hand at white water rafting along the Gallego River or explore the mighty 11th century hilltop Castillo de Loarre.
Pamplona is at the epicentre of Navarran cuisine. Being so close to the mountains, lamb and game are popular local ingredients, along with trout from the mountain rivers. Make sure you try some of the area’s popular white asparagus; it’s quite different to the usual green variety.
Local chorizo, the popular Roncal sheep’s cheese and tiny piquillo peppers should all be on your list of things to try in Pamplona. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll love the churros – a much more deliciously authentic version you’re likely to find in Britain. And to drink? Try the region’s tasty Rioja wine, sometimes mixed with Cola to make a popular concoction called kalimotxo – so good that you have to try it to believe it!
Eating out in Pamplona is an exhilarating experience, with hundreds of bustling cafes, bars and restaurants to choose from. For laid-back dining, we recommend you head to one of the pintxos bars for the Navarran version of tapas - small dishes packed with flavour that are great for sharing. Pamplona is also home to a wide selection of restaurants from cosy places serving traditional Spanish food to smart fine dining eateries with international menus.
Pamplona holidays are a chance to experience an intoxicating hit of authentic Spanish culture. From beautiful historic buildings to fiery fiestas, this vibrant city has plenty to discover. And with the rugged beauty of the Pyrenees so close by, we think Pamplona ticks all the boxes.
Book your holiday to Pamplona with easyJet holidays and take the stress out of travelling to this fascinating part of Spain. Looking for the best deals? You could save money by booking both your hotel and flights with easyJet holidays.
Pamplona not your perfect pick? Take a look at our other Spanish holidays to find destination for you.