The ancient city of Pamplona once served as the capital of the Kingdom of Navarra, and is still the most important city in this part of the country. Most people will simply know of Pamplona because of the San Fermin festival, where the tradition of sending people scampering through the streets with bulls hot on their heels draws massive crowds to enjoy this spectacle. However, there are plenty of other things to enjoy in Pamplona as well, and it is worth spending some time in the city to explore the historic sights and the culture.
The Running Of The Bulls
The San Fermin festival is held every year between 6 and 14 July, and the ‘Running of the Bulls’ is a daily event during the festival. While many visitors choose to go running ahead of the bulls, it is worth noting that this can be quite a dangerous activity, but even watching the run is also very exciting as you can see in the running of the bulls video below, and there are many spots along the route where you can watch the event. The festival atmosphere is celebrated by locals and visitors alike, and after the bull run the events continue at the stadium, where the matadors show off their skills.
Explore The Museo de Navarra
The building in which this museum is located once served as the hospital for the city in the sixteenth century, but is now filled with an excellent collection of historic artifacts. There are many different areas covered in the museum, with an interest range of Roman artifacts dating from the second century onwards, while there is also a great range of Gothic and Renaissance artworks. The museum is also inexpensive to visit, particularly when you consider the range of exhibits on offer.
Enjoy The Local Cuisine
The Navarra region is particularly recognized for its excellent range of vegetables, and enjoying local asparagus, artichokes and the distinctive piquillo red peppers is a great part of enjoying the cuisine. The Calle San Nicolas, Calle de Jarauta and Calle Estafeta are great places to start with streets lined with restaurants and bars, with the pintxos being types of local tapas that are usually served with drinks. The area is known for the local wine punch, Sangria, while Patxaran is a sloe-flavored liqueur which is also a popular digestif in this area.
Visit The Pamplona Cathedral
The building of the current cathedral here began in the fourteenth century, but there have been several other cathedrals on the location over the centuries, with archeologists proving there were buildings here at least as early as the first century. The cathedral is a wonderful example of French Gothic architecture with the cloisters being particularly attractive. The framed altarpieces in the cathedral are particularly impressive, while the sepulcher of Charles the III of Navarre is also located here.
Learn More About Bullfighting At The Plaza de Toros
While the Plaza de Toros is at its busiest and most vibrant during the bull fights when the crowd is cheering on the matador, it is an interesting place to visit even when the fights aren’t in progress. Young matadors have to learn their trade before they can perform before the audience, and visitors can watch this happening in the mornings and afternoons.