Pamplona: The Complete Guide

Pamplona, the capital of Navarra, is by far the largest and most noteworthy city of the area. The city is well known for its tourists who flock to Pamplona to experience the famous Running of the Bulls event, during the San Fermín Festival in July. Pamplona owes some of its fame to its adopted son, Ernest Hemingway, who spent a considerable amount of time in Navarra during the Spanish Civil War and wrote about the  San Fermín Festival and the “Running of the Bulls” (“Encierro” in Spanish) in his book, “The Sun Also Rises.”

However Pamplona has much more to offer with its medieval walls and architectural gems like its Gothic cathedral, 16th-century citadel, and Baroque town hall. The Old Town’s quaint, narrow streets and spacious squares, where locals gather to socialize with friends and family, have an inviting ambience with many outdoor cafés.

This charming historic town was founded by Pompey in 75-74BC, while he was fighting the against Quintus Sertorius, the leader of a revolt against Rome. The city’s first name was Pompeiopolis or Pompaelo –  the city of Pompey. In the 5th century, the Visigoths establish a bishopric here and called the city Iruña. It fell and was occupied by the Moors in 711. In 778, Charlemagne razed the walls of Pamplona, which lead to Basque forcing him to retreat at the Battle of Roncesvalles, an event interpreted as the beginnings of the small Kingdom of Pamplona. Its first king was Eneko Aritza. Pamplona was made capital of the kingdom of Navarre by Sancho III of Navarre (1000–35), and his new foundation was known as the Ciudad de la Navarrería. In 1512 the armies of King Ferdinand of Aragon-Castile entered Pamplona, and the portion of Navarre south of the Pyrenees was incorporated into Spain.  The citadel built by Philip II of Spain in 1571 made Pamplona the most strongly fortified town of the north. After the First Carlist War (1833–39), Pamplona ceased (1841) to be the capital of the Navarre kingdom but became capital of the new Navarra province.

The medieval configuration of Pamplona was made up of three neighbourhoods: the town of San Cernin, the city of Navarrería and the town of San Nicolás with each borough having its own walls. Around the year 1000AD Pamplona population was on a decline and its population the City of Navarrería was concentrated around the current Cathedral. The origins of the borough of San Cernin date back to the end of the 11th century, to the episcopate of Don Pedro de Roda, when people from France , from Cahors – says the Chronicle of the Prince of Viana – settled and built their homes in the flat area located between the episcopal city, formed around the cathedral – the city of Navarrería – and the open countryside to the west. It had its own church built according to French fashion and with a Provençal invocation, Saint Cernin, like Saint-Sernin de Tolouse (France) – Iglesia de San Saturnino.  The town of San Nicolás was built adjacent to the borough of San Cernin with the church of San Nicolás as a defensive bulwark, not only against possible external aggression from the plains, but also from the town of San Cernin. Carlos III decides to cut the problem at its roots and on September 8, 1423 dictates the Privilege of the Union, in which the three jurisdictions are united in a single town hall, with a single shield and a single income.


Visiting Pamplona for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Pamplona on the first visit. Top help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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20 Best places to See in Pamplona

This complete guide to Pamplona not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.

This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Pamplona and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

Museum Of Navarre

The Museum of Navarra is the art museum of Navarre, located  in Pamplona, Spain. The Museo de Navarra is housed in an old pilgrims’ hospital that dates to 1556. Navarre is a fascinating part of Spain with a long, complex history. The Museum of Navarre has a stunning collection of remarkable art work from the […]
Location: Calle Cuesta de Santo Domingo, Pamplona | Hours: 9.30am-2pm & 5-7pm Tue-Sat, 11am-2pm Sun | Price: Saturday afternoon: €1 Sunday: free entry Other days: €2 | Website | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting Museum Of Navarre

La Taconera

Taconera Pamplona
Public Domain / Luzaide
La Taconera is the most magnificent park located in the centre of Pamplona near the old quarter of the city. It was created in the year 1830 and occupies 90,000 sq meters. The park is rich with tree plantation, a variety of flowers and beautiful and intricate sculptures. The mini zoo comprises of deer, ducks, […]
Visiting La Taconera

Museo Universidad de Navarra

Museo Universidad de Navarra is the contemporary art museum of the University of Navarra, which has been compared to the Guggenheim in Bilbao. It was inaugurated on January 22, 2015 by King Felipe VI of Spain and Queen Letizia Ortiz. The daughter of a Spanish impresario, María Josefa Huarte, in 2008 made a generous donation […]
Location: calle Cuesta de Santo Domingo 47 | Hours: 9.30am-2pm & 5-7pm Tue-Sat, 11am-2pm Sun | Website | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting Museo Universidad de Navarra

Parroquia San Lorenzo

Iglesia De San Lorenzo, Pamplona
GNU 1.2 / José Luis Filpo Cabana
Parroquia San Lorenzo commonly known as the church of San Lorenzo is an ancient church in Pamplona located at one end of the main street of Calle Taconer. The church was a part of the defense system of Pamplona in early times. The front facade of the church was once bombed and dismantled. The highlight […]
Location: Iglesia de - San Lorenzo - Eliza, Calle Mayor, 74, 31001 Pamplona, Navarra, Spain | Distance: 0.40km
Visiting Parroquia San Lorenzo

Iglesia de San Saturnino (San Cernin)

Pamplona San Cernin O San Saturnino
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Clauuuvlc
The church of San Saturnino , more commonly called San Cernin, is a Catholic church in the Old Quarter of the city of Pamplona. The building dates from the 13th century, but archaeological work shows there were at least two other churches on the same site previously. It was not only the religious centre of […]
Location: Iglesia de San Saturnino Calle San Saturnino, S/N 31001 Pamplona Navarra Spain | Price: Free | Website | Distance: 0.50km
Visiting Iglesia de San Saturnino (San Cernin)

Royal and General Archive of Navarra (Palacio de los Virreyes)

The Royal and General Archive of Navarra (AGN) is the archive of the institutions of the Kingdom of Navarra and the province of Navarra, as well as the historical archive of the Administration of the Foral Community of Navarra. It is located in the Palacio de los Reyes de Navarra in Pamplona – Palacio de […]
Location: Royal and General Archive of Navarra Calle Dos de Mayo, s/n 31001 Pamplona Navarra Spain | Hours: Tuesday to Friday, from 11:00 to 14:00 and from 18:00 to 20:00. Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, from 11:00 to 14:00. Closed Monday. | Distance: 0.50km
Visiting Royal and General Archive of Navarra (Palacio de los Virreyes)

San Fermín de Aldapa

San Fermin De Aldapa
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Séamus McPálás
There is evidence of the existence of this church since medieval times, built in the place where, according to tradition, was the birthplace of San Fermín. It is located in the old part of Pamplonçes, between Calle Dos de Mayo and Calle Aldapa, on the esplanade that extends in front of the Palacio de los […]
Location: San Fermin De Aldapa, Calle Dos de Mayo, Pamplona, Spain | Distance: 0.50km
Visiting San Fermín de Aldapa

Ayuntamiento de Pamplona

Ayuntamiento De Pamplona, Pamplona
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Michael Newman
This ornate town hall building is located in the old town square. The iconic building built in 1423 is where a rocket gets launched every July 6th at noon, announcing the beginning of the famous San Fermin festival. The origin of the building dates to 1423 and the Privilegio de la Unión  charter that united […]
Location: Ayuntamiento de Pamplona Plaza Consistorial, s/n 31001 Pamplona Navarra Spain | Distance: 0.50km
Visiting Ayuntamiento de Pamplona

Iglesia De San Nicolas

Iglesia De San Nicolás (Pamplona)
CC BY-SA 4.0 / José Luis Filpo Cabana
Iglesia de San Nicolás de Pamplona is a Catholic church located in the Old Quarter of Pamplona. Iglesia de San Nicolas was built in the 12th century with Gothic interiors. The historic church was built in the city of Pamplona not only for the purpose of religious functions but also as a defensive bastion of […]
Visiting Iglesia De San Nicolas

Portal de Francia, Pamplona

Freanch Gate Pamplona
The gateway of France, was built in 1553 by the Viceroy of Alburquerque, is the best preserved of the six belonging to the ancient city walls. Travellers from the neighbouring country entered and exited the city through this gate, hence its name. Of the two main doors making the portal, the one on the inside […]
Location: Calle Carmen, 35, 31001 Pamplona, Navarra, Spain | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free | Website | Distance: 0.60km
Visiting Portal de Francia, Pamplona

Catedral de Pamplona

Catedral Pamplona Vista General
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Yiorsito
The Pamplona Cathedral (Santa María la Real) is  a 15th century Roman Catholic Gothic church of Pamplona, Spain. It is located in the Casco Viejo or old town near the Plaza del Castillo. The current 15th century Gothic church replaced an older Romanesque one, dating back to the 6th century and has retained the Romanesque […]
Location: Calle Dormitalería | Hours: 10.30am-7pm Mon-Sat Apr-Oct, to 5pm Nov-Mar, tower climb 11.15am | Price: Adult/child €5/3 | Website | Distance: 0.70km
Visiting Catedral de Pamplona

Plaza del Castillo

Plaza Del Castillo Pamplona
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Jean-Christophe BENOIST
The Plaza del Castillo is a public square located in the centre of the city of Pamplona. One of the best things to do in Pamplona and a must is a visit to Plaza del Castillo. It is the main square of the town and the centre of local life. The people of Pamplona affectionately […]
Location: Plaza del Castillo, Pamplona | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free | Distance: 0.70km
Visiting Plaza del Castillo

Albergue de Jesús y María

Pamplona Albergue De Peregrinos 1
CC BY-SA 1.0 / Zarateman
The Jesús y María hostel is located in the historic centre of Pamplona , next to the Cathedral. It is a public hostel for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, and also for tourists, one of the largest and most impressive of the entire French Camino de Santiago . It is an old church, the […]
Location: Calle Compañía, 4, Pamplona, Spain | Distance: 0.70km
Visiting Albergue de Jesús y María

Mirador de Caballo Blanco

Mirador De Caballo Blanco Pamplona Baluarte Del Redin
CC BY-SA 1.0 / Zarateman
Mirador de Caballo Blanco (White Horse Lookout), you’ll get incredible views of the old city walls, the Arga River, and the Great Pyrenees Mountains. It constitutes the highest part of the Bastion of Redín, where a palace formerly stood, of which only the Cruz del Mentidero remains, a place of executions dating from 1500. The […]
Visiting Mirador de Caballo Blanco

Ciudadela de Pamplona

The Walls Of Ciudadela De Pamplona
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Michael Newman
Ciudadela de Pamplona is a 16th-century fortress that was built between 1571 and 1645, during the reign of King Felipe II. It is probably one of the best examples of military architecture from the Spanish Renaissance – this is mainly because it never faced a siege and so is in a good state of preservation! […]
Location: Avenida del Ejército s/n 31002 Pamplona-Iruña, Pamplona, Navarre (Autonomous Community of Navarre) | Hours: 8am-9.30pm Mon-Sat, from 9am Sun | Website | Distance: 0.80km
Visiting Ciudadela de Pamplona

Palacio de Navarra

The Palacio de Navarra is the of the seat of the Diputación Foral (Provincial Council), the administrative offices of the regional government of Navarra. This splendid 19th-century Neoclassical palace is open to the public for guided tours. The palace dazzles visitors with its lavishly decorated Throne Room and exceptional works of art, including a portrait […]
Location: 1 Avenida Carlos III El Noble, Pamplona | Hours: 08 - 14:30 Closed Sat & Sun | Website | Distance: 0.80km
Visiting Palacio de Navarra

Monumento Al Encierro

Monumento Al Encierro
GNU 1.2 / Jorab
If you’re not in town during the running of the bulls, you can still feel a sense of the action by seeing this life-size bronze sculpture. The sculpture stretches 4m wide and 11m long, and vividly depicts the Bull Run nine bulls with 11 runners, several of whom have stumbled, with fear on their faces. […]
Location: Avenida de Roncesvalles | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free | Distance: 0.90km
Visiting Monumento Al Encierro

Plaza de Toros de Pamplona

Interior Plaza De Toros De Pamplona
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Ibanquel
The bullring of Pamplona is the bullring projected in 1920 in the Second Ensanche of Pamplona to celebrate bullfights. It has a capacity of about 19,720 spectators, after the last reform to comply with safety regulations, which makes it the largest bullring in Navarra , and the third largest in the world in terms of […]
Location: Paseo Hemingway, s/n. 31002 Pamplona - Iruña | Hours: Until July 31st: Monday to Sunday, from 10:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.From August 1st to 30th: Monday to Sunday, from 10:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (group by reservation)From September 1st to October 31st: Monday: groups only by reservation. Tuesday to Saturday, from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sundays, from 10:30 to 14:30October 12th, 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. | Website | Distance: 1.00km
Visiting Plaza de Toros de Pamplona

Magdalena Bridge (Pamplona)

Puente Medieval De La Magadalena En Pamplona
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Yiorsito
The Magdalena Bridge is the most beautiful bridge in Pamplona is the entrance to the city of Pamplona on the Camino de Santiago. The Magdalena bridge crosses the Arga river in a beautiful setting, the Parque de la Tejería. Built in the 12th century, but with Gothic details and remodeled in 1963. The name comes […]
Visiting Magdalena Bridge (Pamplona)

Centro De Interpretacion De Las Fortificaciones De Pamplona, Pamplona

Bastions Of The Ciudadela De Pamplona
Centro de Interpretacion de las Fortificaciones de Pamplona is located in the heart of Pamplona is surrounded by beautiful gardens of the Plaza de Toros. The centre is located within the barracks of the walls themselves and displays a range of drawings, short films and interactive screens. This can be followed with a 5 kilometre […]
Location: cnr Calles Arrieta & Aralar | Hours: 11am-2pm & 5-7pm Tue-Sun Apr-Oct, 10am-2pm & 4-6pm Nov-Mar | Price: adult/child €3/1.50 | Website | Distance: 1.10km
Visiting Centro De Interpretacion De Las Fortificaciones De Pamplona, Pamplona

Tours and Activities from Pamplona