Pamplona

Pamplona City Guide

Most people only visit Pamplona for San Fermín Festival and the Running of the Bulls, but this traditional and historic Spanish town actually has some really cool shit to do.

Population: 190-something thousand
Language: Spanish, duh. Oh and Basque
Nationalities: Pretty small town, so mostly those sexy Spaniards
Surf report: Surf’s up in San Sebastian and Zarautz – only an hour away from Pamps

Cookie-cutter must see’s: feeling serious? Here’s the serious sights

Pamplona is historic and this stuff is pretty cool. Take the pretty photos and move on to the next list.

Pamplona Cathedral – Despite being at the top of the tourist list, this cathedral is definitely worth a visit. Take an hour or so to take some pictures you can actually send back home to your mum. This is one of the best European cathedrals you’ll ever lay your pretty eyes on.
Walk through the walled city – This one is pretty hard to miss, seeing as it encompasses all of Pamplona. Unless you’re blind drunk, which is certainly a possibility. The massive walls are full of history – you could spend up to a couple of hours wandering around and the view from the top is great.
Sip a coffee with Hemingway at Café Iruna – THE Ernest Hemingway (who just so happened to make Running of the Bulls famous with his classic novel The Sun Also Rises) frequented this place back in the day. As a tribute, you’ll find a statue of him at the bar. The café also has a freaking beautiful interior and is located right in the center of town. Pose with the big guy and a café con leche.
Plaza de Torros – The fourth largest bullring in the world, Plaza de Torros, is where the bull runs end and countless bull fights occur. Now even though you probably don’t want to be there for a bullfight (shudder), this ring is eerily cool and pretty damn beautifully built.
Encierro Monument – If you’re not in Pamps during the running of the bulls, this majestic statue is the next best thing.
Museo de Navarra – Spend a couple of hours indulging yourself in some Navarre history.

The alternative cool shit: feeling avant-garde? Get your local on and enjoy these

City’s best tapas at Bar Gaucho – This tip comes straight from the locals and is not to be missed. The best tapas you’ll find in Pamplona, plus you get to feel fancy for dinner before you get so drunk you pass out in a gutter.
Get a churro from La Manueta Churreria – This place has been open since 1872 and is run by a little ol’ grandma named Amatxi. If you’re lucky enough to be there when she opens up shop (she’s elderly and isn’t very reliable), this churro will build some definite sexual tension between you and the old girl.
Picnic at Park Taconera – Grab a wheel of Manchego cheese, some delicious Spanish chorizo, and a bottle of Viura de Azul y Garanza. Pull out your picnic blanket (stolen hostel towel), your wine glasses (plastic cups from the corner store), and head to Park Taconera where you can watch the sunset amongst Spanish lovers and families enjoying the park.
The Running of the Bus – While San Fermín officially ends on July 14th, the locals will do whatever they can to prolong the dreaded end. So on the morning of the 15th, they a line the streets to run with the city bus. A little safer than running with the bulls, yeah?

Under no circumstances does Stoke recommend…

(Kidding, totally do it…)

Running of the Bulls – This is definitely one to cross off the bucket list. The city hosts the San Fermín festival where the infamous bull runs happen. Pamplona is turned into one freaking huge party for an entire week.
Go to the shot bar Espit Chupitos and order a Monica Lewinsky – Part of me wants to describe this delicacy to you and part of me wants you to experience this ‘shot’ with a beautiful innocence. Screw it, I’m too excited and selfish to control myself. The Monica Lewinsky shot involves the blindfolded participant licking whipped cream off of a beer that has a dildo cover on it. Beer is then squirted through the dildo into the unknowing participants mouth. Tell your friend it’s the most delicious shot you’ve ever tasted, order them one.

No seriously, Stoke does not recommend: tourist traps

Run with the bulls in flip flops – Too many tourists don’t take running of the bulls seriously. Don’t be that guy/gal.
Sit on the grass outside the bus station during bulls – It’s hard enough to take a step in this area without landing your foot in a pile of vom or piss, let alone sit your bum down.
Watch a bullfight – These are actually really terrifying. Big muscly manly men have ended up calling their mothers for a quick ‘I love you’ after witnessing the horror. Plus it’s cruel and we just can’t support it.

young travellers enjoying Pamplona's running of the bulls
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