Pamplona Navarra Spain
City of Pamplona
Pamplona Cathedral Spain

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One day in Pamplona city

Discover what you can see in a one-day tour in Pamplona, the capital city of  Navarra that inspired Ernest Hemingway’s stories.

Spain has a great cultural diversity. All its provinces treasure pieces of history that fascinate anyone who visits them. From north to south, there are places that seem straight out of a story book. In previous articles we’ve written about Segovia and Granada. This time, we’ll talk to you about Pamplona, a jewel in the Community of Navarra.

Where is the City of Pamplona?

Pamplona is located north of the Iberian country. It belongs to the Community of Navarra and it’s an important part of the Camino de Santiago, another recommended destination for your next trip to Spain.

How to Get to the City of Pamplona?

The railway network of Spain offers several routes that connect Navarra with cities like Barcelona, ​​Burgos, León, Madrid and Oviedo, among others. The station is located in the neighborhood of San Jorge, very close to the city center.

If you travel by bus, DINKtravelers, your world travel guide, recommends you take the line that runs from Madrid to Pamplona, passing through Soria. You can also take the line that connects Barcelona with Pamplona.  Pamplona Bus Station is located in the city center, just a few meters away from Plaza del Castillo.

What to See in Pamplona?

This city of Navarra was an old Basque town called Iruña. It became a small city during the times of the Roman Empire. In the Middle Ages, the city of Pamplona was consolidated as a Christian kingdom. Later, it became the Kingdom of Pamplona and finally the Kingdom of Navarre. Nowadays, Pamplona is a very attractive city for those who love history. It has beautiful historical monuments and hosts some of the most popular festivities in the world.

Pamplona Cathedral Occidens

Visit the Cathedral of Santa María la Real, a magnificent building that combines architectural styles such as Gothic and Neoclassical. It’s one of the best preserved cathedrals in Spain and a real historical and architectural jewel. In its central nave you’ll find the beautiful sepulchre of Charles III of Navarre”the Noble” and his wife Eleanor of the House of Trastámara. Download your map of the interior of the cathedral here.

City Hall

Continue the tour visiting the City  Hall. Its location was chosen in the fifteenth century by King Charles III of Navarre in the Privilege of the Union. With it, he ordered the construction of the building where the boroughs of Navarrería, San Nicolás and San Saturnino met. The City Hall has undergone several modifications throughout time, but it  maintains its beauty. Every year, on July 6th, a large group of people gathers outside the building to wait for the chupinazo that marks the beginning of the festivities of San Fermín or Sanfermines.

Monument to the Fueros of Navarra

Opposite the building of the Provincial Council you’ll find the Monumento a los Fueros de Navarra, one of the most representative monuments of Navarra and a beautiful work of the twentieth century. Observe the five statues that represent the arts, history, industry, peace and work. Above them, you’ll see the Coat of Arms of the jurisdictions of Estella, Olite, Pamplona Sangüesa and Tudela. The monument is crowned by a midwife carrying the Ley Paccionada (Treaty Law) and the Coat of Arms of Navarre.

Ernest Hemingway in Pamplona

Plaza del Castillo, the main square of the city, is one of the most important sights of Pamplona. It is surrounded by beautiful houses and traditional businesses such as the Café Iruña or the Hotel La Perla. These two became emblematic places thanks to the writer Ernest Hemingway.

Ernest Hemingway was an important American writer and journalist in the twentieth century. He traveled to this cityof Navarra for the first time in the second decade of the last century. However, that wasn’t the last time he visited it. Ernest Hemingway’s third visit to the city of Pamplona in 1925 inspired his work The Sun Also Rises. This novel gave a lot of publicity to San Fermín Celebrations, also known as Sanfermines. It also had and important role in its internationalization. The Nobel Prize winner visited Navarra nine times, and Café Iruña was his favorite spot. During his last visits to Pamplona, ​​he stayed in room number 217 (currently 201) of Hotel La Perla. However, in his visit from 1924 to 1929 and 1931, the writer stayed at the former Hotel Quintana. This place inspired the Hotel Montoya you can read about in his work.

Opposite to the Bull Ring, there is a monument dedicated to this foreign adventurer and writer who appreciated and valued Navarra city, its people, its festivals and traditions. It was inaugurated in 1968.

What to Eat in Pamplona?

The Spanish food is one of our favorites because it includes delicious dishes from different regions such as Iberico ham, marzipan from Toledo or the Andalusian Gazpacho​​. Pamplona is not an exception. Like in the rest of Navarra, the gastromony of Pamplona includes a great variety of ingredients such as vegetables, legumes and meats of all kinds. The typical dish of Pamplona city is the ajoarriero, whose main ingredient is cod. However, there are other traditional dishes. One of them is the lamb chilindrón, with a sauce of peppers and white wine, served with potatoes. You can also try magras with tomatoes, another typical dish of the region. It consists of meat bathed in tomato sauce, sometimes served with eggs. Desserts and cheeses are another great option. You can try the curd, curdled milk to which you can add sugar or honey.

Whether  you call it Pamplona or Iruña, plan your next trip to this city of Navarra that inspired Hemingway. Tell us about your experience and don’t forget to share your best photos of Pamplona with us.