Having started out as a powerful fortress town defending the northern approaches to Spain at the foothills of the Pyrenees, Pamplona later became capital of Navarra – often a semi-autonomous state – and an important stop on the Camino de Santiago. With plenty to offer around its Casco Antiguo – enticing churches, a beautiful park and the massive citadel – Pamplona makes an appealing year-round destination. The week of the Fiestas de San Fermín is a definite annual highlight, and a must-see if you can.
Everything you’re likely to want to see in Pamplona lies within its remarkably compact Casco Antiguo. The Plaza del Castillo, ringed with fashionable cafés, is a glorious and very much lived-in jumble of buildings from all eras, where every twisting stone lane is worth exploring and intriguingly tatty old shops and bars lie concealed behind medieval shutters.
Pamplona is linked by motorways with neighbouring Zaragoza, San Sebastián, Vitoria and Logroño with buses providing public transportation. The airport schedules several flights daily to Madrid and Barcelona. There are also railway links with Madrid, Zaragoza and northern Spain, operated by Renfe.