Type : Provincial
Best Date : July
Expense : Cheap normally, Expensive when San Fermin Festival is on
Things to do : Cultural, Watch Bull fight, San Fermin Festival
Points of Interest: Pamplona Cathedral, San Nicolas, Plaza del Castillo, Museum of Navarre, Palacio de Navarre, Pamplona Park ect
Pamplona or Iruna is the largest and most prolific city of the Spanish province of Navarre. Most noted for being the host of the ‘San Fermin’ festival (famous for the Encierro, bull run) which is said to be the most exciting cultural event with huge turnouts each year. Apart from the San Fermin there is plenty of other reasons people visit the city, having a huge religious and historic up bringing, many pilgrims visit the city all year round.
Once you arrive in Pamplona ( I arrived through Pamplona/ Iruna train station) you can feel the difference, the age and strong preserved culture of this city. Pamplona is small and it is possible to walk around the city and getaway without using public transport, as I didn’t need one at all. However I do want to stress one thing and that is the approachability of many locals is very bad, helping is not something they are familiar with and it seems they are just fed up of tourists, that’s my experience anyway but I do not believe all Pamplona residents are like that. Apart from its people Pamplona as a city is superb and although difficult to find your way around, all points of interest is very close to each other.
Pamplona’s old town is a spectacle in itself, the bricked floor and concrete layout is something special and people who visit always love it. One thing that is definitely popular in the city is balconies, and it seems that every household has one. The city can be best described as a gothic medieval town with roman influence.
If you like visiting religious buildings, Pamplona has plenty of them. Firstly the city is heavily catholic as of most of Spain and its patron saint is ‘Saint Fermin’ who the main festival here is named after. Pamplona Cathedral, San Nicolas, Church of San Saturnino, Iglesia de San Lorenzo and many other churches cover the city and has many history towards them. The city is a huge haven for many pilgrimage hence the large turnout throughout the year.
Other touristic places to visit in Pamplona are those heavily linked to the Bull fighting, the ‘running of the bulls monument’ is situated just outside of the old town and in the more modern high street. This monument is a sight to see and there are plenty of tourists who flock this monument to take pictures. ‘Plaza de Toros de Pamplona’ which is the bull ring, is not too visually pleasing from the outside but is a spectacle to see on the inside, the ring which is still active, welcomes many visitors each year.
Beautiful parks are also available throughout Pamplona one of which the river Argo runs through making excellent scenery with the surrounding nature.
Overall Pamplona is a pleasure to visit, the town and buildings are just one of a kind and every step is a photo opportunity. The only huge downer is many (but not all) of its people as they can be aggressive, arrogant and very unhelpful towards tourists. However although my experiences with people haven’t been positive, not all were bad and there are some that are friendly. When the San Fermin festival is on the city can get very expensive and crowded, and at any other time of the year is a bit more laid back. Pamplona is for everyone with families of all ages visit here. If you love a little walkathon through a city full of history then Pamplona is for you.