Hire a campervan in Pamplona
The capital city of the Spanish region of Navarra, Pamplona is best known for the spectacle of ‘the running of the bulls’. In fact, the bulls are just a small part of the Festival of San Fermin, held in July. Pamplona is a city that has a steady stream of visitors at other times of the year, charmed by its traditional old town and plaza. Including Pamplona as part of a motorhome rental adventure in Spain will give you a taste of tradition, and if you time it right, a thrill too!
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What to see and do in Pamplona
If you want to be part of the world-famous running of the bulls, you need to be in town from July 6 to July 14, for the week of the Festival of San Fermin. Each morning the bulls are run down the narrow Estafeta Street of the old town to the bullring, which is the second biggest in Spain, and the fourth largest in the world. During the week, there are parades, traditional Basque sport displays, with bullfights and fireworks in the evenings.
At other times of the year, visitors pass through the city as they walk the historical path, the ‘Camino de Santiago’. This is an important religious pilgrimage for Catholics, although people from all walks of life and nationalities complete it as a rite of passage.
In the old town, a good place to rest and people watch is the Plaza del Castillo, or Castle Square, which is lined with cafes and hotels. It is here that Ernest Hemingway would sit, drink coffee and write his book The Sun Also Rises. A statue of Hemingway can be found at one of his favourite spots, Café Iruna.
Food and Drink in Pamplona
In the Basque country, your staple is Pintxos, snack-size bar food similar to Tapas, only portions are usually a little smaller and served on a slice of bread with a tooth pick. They can be traditional, such as a potato and onion omelette, or a gastronomic delight of grilled foie gras with a cream of white beans. It is the custom to keep your servings to just a couple per venue, accompanied by a glass of Txakoli, a traditional Basque white wine, or hearty Rioja, before heading to the next bar to sample their selection. Beserri in Calle San Nicolas is a regular winner of the city’s frequent Pintxos competitions. Bar Gaucho is another local favourite if you want to park up your motorhome rental and try something different.
Where to stay in Pamplona
The nearest campsite to the city is Camping Ezcaba. This is set in a stunning wooded location, but is just 10 minutes to the city via a new cycleway. It has a swimming pool, restaurant and mini-market on-site.
Road Trips from Pamplona
Pamplona is easy to incorporate into your itinerary. It has its own airport, which only offers flights to Madrid or Barcelona. Otherwise, you can drive there from Biarritz, France in around 90 minutes, or fit it in with a trip to the Guggenheim at Bilbao around two hours of driving time away.
Safe driving in Pamplona
Spain has some of the best roads in Europe, so touring is generally enjoyable. Don’t be offended by someone flashing their lights behind you on the motorway, it means he is about to pass.