Pamplona in Northern Spain
Pamplona is a beautiful haven situated in Spain’s northern Navarra Region
Pamplona is located on the snow-capped foothills of the Pyrenees Range which is more than an ideal setting for skiing, mountaineering, hiking, wildlife and breathtaking scenery. The city boasts a laid-back atmosphere with a very local touch. It is the perfect destination for those who want savour the calm and cosmopolitan Spain, or for those who wish to include San Sebastian and the Basque Region in their travel (only a 45-minute drive away).
The Region of Navarra is a long-time survivor – it has thrived throughout Spain’s history, avoiding Moorish intervention, French invasion and Castilian occupation. Its capital of Pamplona offers a quality of life higher than the national average – this, of course, is a treat for travellers; the best of Spain’s culinary delights, traditions and sights can all be found here.
Don’t forget to wander down the Old City, and enjoy some of the fantastic tapas bars whilst enjoying the magnificent legacy of the past. Pamplona’s architecture is among the most sophisticated and majestic, ideal for those holiday snapshots, a visit to the city’s Taconera Park is well worth it to see an original array of artistic surprises.
The top things to do in Pamplona include visiting the impressive cathedral, the historic parks and the great city walls. Eating out in Pamplona is a real treat and great fun if you plan to sample every tapas bar you can find.
Pamplona is most famous for its running of the bulls, or San Fermines, celebrated every July between the 6th and the 14th. This worldwide admired event is what really distinguishes this city from all the rest in Spain and, indeed, the world. The atmosphere during this time enlightens the city and refreshes any traveller. Plus, Pamplona’s most prestigious restaurants spring up into life, hoping to attract the tradition-seeking visitor. As with Ernest Hemmingway all those years ago, you too are sure to find your inspiration right here in Pamplona.
If you are looking to enjoy a romantic getaway in Pamplona there is a nice choice of charming romantic hotels to suit every couple.
Pamplona is the historical capital of the Navarre Kingdom. However, its history dates further back to about 75 B.C. when a Roman general known as Pompey set up a military base in the area as he waged war against Sertorius. In fact, Pamplona was at first named Pompaelo before the people adopted Pamplona as the Spanish translation of Pompey. Travelling to Pamplona will reveal much more about its rich historical heritage and here are some of the most popular sites that are well worth visiting.
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The Palace of Navarra
This is the most visible piece of Pamplona’s heritage. José de Nagusia designed the building in 1840. It is now an administrative center, although visits to the palace can be scheduled by appointment. The exterior of the building is home to two great sculptures representing the King Sancho the Great and King Sancho VII the Strong. There is also a sculpture of Navarre’s coat of arms flanked by one man from the north of Navarre and another man from Navarre’s mountain region. The interior of the building is just as exquisite. Here, you will find the Throne Room, the Session Room, the Chapel, and the President’s office.
The Museum of Navarra
This is the crown jewel in terms of Pamplona’s museums and stands opposite the Royal Palace. This fine museum houses the greatest art collections and archaeological findings in Navarra. Some of these collections date back to pre-historical periods while most of them fall within Roman, Medieval, and Renaissance and Baroque periods. The most prized works of art at this museum include the Mosaic of Theseus, Goya’s portrait of the Marqués de San Adrián, and the Chest from Leyre.
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The Church of Saint Nicholas
Built in the twelfth century, this church had both religious and military functions. Its purpose was to dissuade opposing forces from attacking Pamplona. This is why the church has unusually thick walls, three watchtowers, and wrought iron nails. The interior of the church is Gothic. It also has a Baroque organ considered to be the most important in Pamplona.
As you can see visiting Pamplona is definitely worth the journey and no place offers you as much richness in historical heritage as this excellent ancient city.
Eating Out in Pamplona
Eating Out in Pamplona Travelers come from all over the world to see and marvel at the city of Pamplona, since it offers some incredible cultural and historic sites. It is widely known though for its San Fermin festivals, which draw in visitors, old and new, to see the famous Running of the Bulls.
However Pamplona offers enormous diversity for travelers to consider when they come to this city. Eating out in Pamplona is a must as the cuisine is one the best ways to experience the types of food enjoyed by locals in the area.
Some of the best restaurants in the area include the one of Hemmingway’s old haunts, the Café Iruña, a great place to enjoy good coffee and a quick tapa. The Restaurant Besseri is a popular restaurant offering excellent tapas and local dishes. The Restaurant Jostexo is a family run eatery offering traditional recipes creatively served. Another one named after the famous patron saint of Pamplona is the Restaurant San Fermin which serves a variety of dishes from the Navarra region. And last but not least is the very famous La Nuez Restaurant which serves old famous recipes of the famous French chef Georges-Auguste Escoffier with a modern twist.
If you do plan to eat out at any of the above restaurants during your stay in Pamplona then it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
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Enjoy the local cusine
If you do visit Pamplona then try the local fair on offer, good wholesome traditional cuisine served in authentic restaurants and eateries from the area. There are recipes that have been passed down through the generations by local families here, which have been preserved by many of the family-operated restaurants. Many people will also be impressed by the inclusion of a variety of vegetables that have been locally cultivated and harvested. These include asparagus and the famous Piquillo red peppers. The north of Spain is world famous for its cuts of meet and enjoying a large beefsteak cooked on the grill or using traditional techniques is a culinary must do!.
Don’t Miss Out on the variety
There are actually many different eclectic meal options that visitors may want to try out for themselves. Most people will be familiar with tapas, which are a very popular method of preparing appetizers in Spain. But there are also many restaurants that serve up some classic drinks that will appeal to many. The region has become well known for its production of red wine, as well as its take on Sangria. Eating out in the smaller tapas bars in Pamplona is fun and fulfilling and may be the best way to combine all of the elements of the traditional local cooking in one place without breaking the bank.