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Pamplona is famous for the week-long Fiesta de San Fermín, including the Running of the Bulls; but there are plenty of other reasons to visit the capital of Spain’s Navarre province. The attractive city, with a charming old town and unhurried pace, came to global attention through Ernest Hemingway’s novel, The Sun Also Rises. You can follow in the writer’s footsteps with a drink in the bars surrounding the Plaza del Castillo, the town's main square, or take a walk along the remains of the wall that once surrounded the city, followed by a plate of pintxo tapas.
You can expect to find Pamplona hostels in the heart of the city centre, within easy reach of the bus station and key old town attractions. Wake up to a free breakfast, prepare dinner in a communal kitchen or spend the evening chatting on the garden terrace. Look for a Pamplona hostel with soundproofed rooms with balconies and free Wi-Fi or get back to nature at a campsite on the banks of the River Ulzama.
Most travellers spend their time in the well-preserved medieval city centre. The Plaza del Castillo (Castle Square) is the city’s main meeting place, surrounded by bars and restaurants. You can wander through the cobblestone streets of the Casco Viejo (old town), discovering sights such as the Portal de Francia, one of the ancient city gates. Pamplona is among Spain’s greenest cities and there are several large parks to unwind in, from the French-style Jardines de la Taconera to Parque Yamaguchi, designed like a traditional Japanese garden.
The week-long Fiesta de San Fermín in July attracts over a million visitors with parades, exhibitions of traditional Basque sports and a nightly fireworks displays. Just outside the old town, you can shop for local produce at Mercado del Ensanche, the city's largest market. Check out the Museum of Navarre and the mixed architectural styles at Pamplona Cathedral for an insight into the history of the city and region.
Most of the main sights are within the old town, making Pamplona a pleasant place to navigate on foot. Pamplona Airport is about 7km away, and a bus or taxi into the city will take about 20 minutes. The main bus station, Estación de Autobuses de Pamplona, is right in the old town and has regular services to other Spanish cities. Pamplona train station is just outside the centre with frequent local bus links to the heart of the city.