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Pamplona is the quiet, pleasant capital of Navarra. It has a well conserved historical center and a beautiful mountainous backdrop. Pamplona is best known for the Running of Bulls, which is part of the famous festival of San Fermines. The festival takes place each year in July and draws thousands of tourists. The Running of Bulls is probably the most famous event in the whole of Spain. During the event, bulls run freely through the streets of Pamplona and anyone who dares can run in front of them. Numerous people get hurt during the event and sometimes people who get caught on one of the bull's horn don't survive to tell their story. Another interesting folkloristic event is the so-called Navarrese Carnivals with its typical Zanpantzarrak.

Places of interest

City Walls

If you don't want to participate in these events, you can always wander around Pamplona to enjoy its architecture. The medieval city boasts impressive 16th-century walls that enclose large urbanized areas even today. They are a good landmark when browsing the streets of Pamplona. Alongside them are nice parks, wide avenues and some of the oldest monuments in town.

Pamplona Taurina

Pamplona's Plaza de Toros (bullring) is situated at the end of the city walls, not far from the Arga River. It is the location of some of Spain's most important bullfights. Especially during the festival of San Fermines many events take place in and around the Plaza de Toros. Its tradition has made Pamplona world famous, not least because Hemingway has used it in many of his books.

Close to the bullring is the Plaza de Castillo (Castle Square), which was used for bullfights before the bullring was constructed in 1893. The square is the 'heart of town' and it is lined with numerous bars and cafés.


Pamplona's gothic cathedral was built between 1397 and 1530. It has an 18th-century neoclassical façade by Ventura Rodriguez and it is one of Spain's most important religious buildings. Its claustrum is the most valuable part. In the central nave is the Kings' Mausoleum of alabaster, which dates from 1415. Other interesting features are the 14th-century Barbanza chapel, the 15th-century altar, the Fuente de la Cruz with the tombs of the Counts of Gades, the 'Adoration by the Kings' and its museum, which contains the relics of Holy Sepulchre and Lignum Crucis.


There are several parks along the Arga River. Not far from Pamplona's most monumental district is the beautiful Parque de Tejera. It features several towers of the city walls, as well as the Plaza de Santa Maria la Real and the baroque Archiepiscopal Palace.

If you walk along the city walls from there, you will come to the Parque de Santo Domingo. Nearby are the Puerta de Zumalacárregui, which is one of the six original entrances to the town, the Ayuntamiento (town-hall), with its interesting baroque façade, the Seminar of San Juan Bautista, which houses the Sarrasate Museum and the Town's Archive, where the famous document known as Fuero is preserved. The document is a medieval privilege that dates from 1129. Also in the vicinity is the Iglesia de San Saturnino.

The so-called 'Burgos' Pamplona originally consisted of three small fortified towns ('burgos') that were frequently in war with each other. Charles III, then King of Navarra, decided in 1423 to unite them. The original churches of the three towns are still preserved. They are the 13th-century San Cénin, San Nicolás and Santo Domingo. A 15th-century hospital with a beautiful plateresque portal is home to the Museum of Navarra, where archaeological finds from the Neolithic period to the Goth' epoch are displayed. The building also boasts extraordinary gothic wall-paintings and a valuable 11th-century Moorish casket from the Monastery of Leyre. There is also a collection of paintings ranging from Goya to contemporary works.

If you go away from the river, you will come to La 'Taconera' (Taconera Park). There are several monuments, including Luis Paret's neoclassical Fountain of Neptune. At the end of the park is the 18th-century Iglesia de San Lorenzo.


The Citadel is a pentagonal fortification that was constructed in the 16th century. It has beautiful gardens in its interior and nowadays the building is frequently used for exhibitions and concerts.

Accommodation and food

There are numerous hotels and restaurants in Pamplona. During the festival of San Fermines, accommodation can be tight, so it is better to book in advance if you want to stay in Pamplona in July. Pamplona offers some of the most original folklore of all Spain. The area around the city is used for the production of some really fine wines.

Pamplona is 325 km northeast of Madrid. The city has good rail and road connections with the rest of Spain.


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