Holidays and Pamplona Holiday Attractions by Steve Greenwood
Navarre is a region in northern
Spain that is bordered to the north by France, the Basque Country to the
west, La Rioja to the south, and Aragon to the east. Similar to other regions
of Spain, Navarre has its own parliament and government and is responsible
for its regional education, health, employment, housing and environmental
Navarre is a cultural mix
of the Basque influence from the beautiful Pyrenees Mountains and Mediterranean
influences coming from the Ebro River. The Ebro valley is fertile and rich
in nutrients making it amenable for growing wheat, vegetables, wine and
olive trees. The river eventually leads to the Parc Natural del Delta
del Ebro south of Catalonia on the Costa Blanca and offers some of the
best carp and cat fishing to be found anywhere in Europe.
Pamplona capital of Navarre
Pamplona became the region's capital city in the 10th century and it is
now home to a third of the region's population. Pamplona has played a central
role in Navarre history having been founded by the Romans, occupied by
the Moors and briefly the domination of Charlemagne.
Pamplona is a prosperous
and modern city with wide boulevards and spacious parks. It is also listed
as having one of the best standards of living in Spain. Pamplona is well
urbanised with good road access and has some excellent historical buildings
making it a pleasant tourist destination, especially in the old quarter,
with it's cobbled streets. Pamplona is also the location for the world-famous
Fiesta de San Fermín and the early morning 'Encierros' (Running
of the Bulls).
Fiesta de San Fermin (6th
-14th July) The festival of San Fermín is a deeply rooted celebration
held within the city of Pamplona. The event is known locally as Sanfermines,
held in honour of Saint Fermin who is the patron saint of Pamplona and
the Navarre region.
It is probably the most internationally
renowned festival in Spain having been central to the plot of Ernest Hemingway's
book 'The Sun Also Rises'.
The most famous event of
the fiesta is the 'Encierro' or Running of the Bulls. Thousands of participants
take their life in their hands by running in front of, alongside or preferably
behind 12 or so mature bulls with sharpened horns along a half-mile stretch
of cobbled streets in the old town. The event is not without risk and since
1924, 15 people have died. During the festival, the whole town is alive
with party events, with celebrations spilling out from the bars and restaurants
throughout the day.
The south Navarre is typically
warm and arid with a landscape typical to that of Castilla & Leon.
To the north though are the Pyrenees Mountains, where the weather is cooler
with much greater precipitation. This has resulted in a greener landscape
with vast forests and varied undergrowth that support a wide range of fauna
and flora. For walking and hiking holidays, there are two large National
Parks to be found here, the Parque Natural de Urbasa y Andía and
the Parque Natural del Señorio de Bértiz.
As one of Spain's most historic
cities, Pamplona has captured the imagination of many a visitor to Spain.
The capital city of the region of Navarre, Pamplona is traditionally also
seen as the capital of the Basque country and is thus a special place of
interest for Basque nationalists. Steeped in ancient heritage, perhaps
the most famous event in Pamplona's annual calendar is the San Fermin festival
- an event during which the running of the bulls is the main attraction
for visitors from around the world.
Celebrated every July, San
Fermin has its roots in the medieval period as both a commercial fair and
a secular fiesta. Its famous 'Encierro' - or running of the bulls - originated
in the late fourteenth century, and remains the festival's most popular
event today. It is said that at Pamplona, Saint Fermin met with his death
by being dragged around the streets of the city by bulls - although some
say that Saint Fermin was actually martyred at Amiens, France.
As the name suggests, 'Encierro'
involves people running in front of bulls down a 825 metre stretch of cobbled
streets in the older parts of Pamplona town. On the festival's largest
day, July 7th, the effigy of Saint Fermin is accompanied by thousands of
festival participants, as dancers and entertainers gather along the streets.
'Encierro' itself begins with the release of two firecrackers - one to
signal the freeing of the bulls from their corral and another once the
last bull has been released.
The dangers posed by the
running of the bulls are well-known. Since 1924, 15 people have been killed
and over 200 have been seriously injured. However, many of these injuries
have been due to inexperienced tourists taking dangerous risks when participating
in the 'Encierro'. But despite these dangers, the atmosphere in Pamplona
during San Fermin is overwhelmingly celebratory. In literature, the mood
of San Fermin has perhaps best been captured by the American writer Ernest
Hemingway, who immortalised the festival in his novel 'The Sun Also Rises'.
In commemoration, Hemingway had a street in Pamplona named after him -
Avenida de Hemingway - in order to show the city's appreciation for this
Pamplona is just over two
hours journey away from the city of Bilbao, so if you're thinking about
travelling to Pamplona for the festival of San Fermin, you'll find frequent
to Bilbao from London. Just make sure that your behaviour is responsible
and careful in order to reduce the risk of being in the firing line during
the running of the bulls.
de Olite, Olite, Navarra Parador de Olite The
Parador occupies one of the wings of the majestic 15th C. palace-castle,
declared a National Monument, on which the towers and battlements stand
out. In keeping with its medieval setting, it rises up on solid stone walls
and offers a glimpse of the numerous historical adventures it lived through
in other times, such as the holding of parliament under the government
of the Noble King. The medieval spirit is maintained on the inside, with
very beautiful stained glass windows on the staircase and in the dining
room, arcades and ornamental details such as armour, rugs, wrought iron
lamps and wooden coffered ceilings. The restaurant offers an excellent
display of local products: the fresh asparagus and 'piquillo' peppers stand
San Fermin Suites, Apartment Hotel, Pamplona These modern suite-apartments
offer functional accommodation with all the services of a hotel and innovative
and chic design, all just a 5 minute drive from the centre of Pamplona.
The welcoming suite-apartments are great for those who prefer the independence
of apartments yet do not wish to compromise of the services and facilities
of a hotel. Situated on the outskirts of Pamplona, famous for its
San Fermin festival (the running of the bulls) held in July, the accommodation
provides a great base for discovering this attractive and endearing city,
the mountain ranges that surround and of course the gastronomy the area
is renowned for. AH San Fermin Suites has 86 rooms distributed over
5 floors and each has a double/twin bedroom. Furnishings include
a sofa bed and writing-desk. The rooms are equipped with a flat screen
television with premium channels. Clients on business trips enjoy connection
to wireless and free Internet.
AC Ciudad De Pamplona This 3 star hotel was completely
renovated in the year 2000. It is very conveniently located near the historical
centre of Pamplona, and it is perfect for visiting the hospitals and university
zone of the city. AC hotels are unique establishments. This property's
refined, avant-garde design, exquisite service, and luxurious simplicity,
make it the perfect home base for both the business and leisure traveler.
The hotel incorporates the details that discerning dinners appreciate;
The design is formal, serious and expresses sobriety with its wise combination
of noble elements. The cuisine has made the classic gastronomic tradition
of Navarra its own, and the result is a spectacular menu based on seasonal
products. It is accompanied by a wine list with outstanding references
from the main Guaranteed Origin regions.
AC Zizur Mayor, Pamplona The AC Zizur Mayor is a
modern hotel located in Pamplona, Navarra, in the city's residential, hospital
and university area, three kilometres from the centre. The University of
Navarra and the University Hospital are 500 metres from the hotel.
The hotel has a restaurant that serves a buffet style breakfast and an
à la carte lunch and dinner menu of traditional Spanish dishes together
with a selection of wine from the Navarra region. Guests can workout in
the fitness centre, relax in the Turkish bath, or enjoy a drink from the
free coffee shop. Laptop users can catch up with emails or surf the web
thanks to wireless Internet, accessible throughout the building (surcharge).
Guests with children can request babysitting services and further practical
amenities include 24-hour front desk, laundry and dry cleaning services,
and 24-hour room service.
Husa Avenida, Pamplona The Hotel Husa Avenida combines
modern architecture with traditional Spanish styling, and is located in
the centre of the historic Spanish city of Pamplona. The 17th century Baroque
Town Hall is 800 metres away, and Pamplona Cathedral is one kilometre from
the hotel. The hotel's public areas have dial-up Internet connections,
room service is available round the clock, and there are also laundry facilities
and business services. The 24-hour front desk has a safe- deposit box,
and guests can relax with a drink in the hotel bar and catch up on current
events on the lobby television. Restaurant Leyre serves traditional
Spanish specialities in a contemporary setting.
Suites Mirasierra, Pamplona The Hotel Mirasierra is
a member of the Sercotel First Class Collection and has a privileged situation,
located in the hospital and university area of Pamplona. Impressively modern
in its architecture, decor, and service offerings, this flexible and unique
establishment also successfully maintains an atmosphere of warmth and homestyle
comforts in all of its completely furnished suite-apartments. Whether you
are passing through or staying for a few months, Hotel Mirasierra can offer
the best solution to meet your accommodation requirements. Make yourself
at home. Suites Mirasierra Hotel has 45 Suites (1 and 2 living rooms)
Suites of 40 m2 and 70 m2, spacious and with views. They have sitting room-cum-dining
room and a fully equipped kitchen.
Sancho Ramirez, Pamplona Tryp Sancho Ramirez is located
in Pamplona, Spain, in the residential part of town, next to the Pamplona
Planetarium, and 150 metres away from Navarra University. Pamplona Airport
is six kilometres from the hotel. The hotel lobby is decorated in
a traditional style, with floral-patterned sofas. The hotel is air-conditioned
and public areas have complimentary Internet access. The 24-hour front
desk has a safe-deposit box and complimentary newspapers are provided in
the lobby. Tryp Sancho Ramirez has a restaurant which serves Basque
and Navarra dishes. There is also a snack bar serving tapas and stews.
A buffet breakfast is available for a surcharge. Guests of Tryp Sancho
Ramirez receive complimentary use of a fitness centre, 50 metres from the
located in a very good geographic location, with the Ebro river, Lodosa,
Tauste and Imperial canals. Fast trains with two lane electrified railways
and two important freeways which join close to the city have served to
make Tudela the capital of the "Ribera" the agrictural region of lower
Navarra. Of note are the city's festivals in honor of Santa Anna
(St. Anne, mother of Mary) which begin the 24 of July at noon and continue
for approximately one week. Street music, Bullfights and the Running of
the Bulls are events which exemplify this festival.
Ciudad de Tudela Set in a restored 19th century
nobleman's mansion, the AC Ciudad de Tudela is located in the centre Tudela
in Spain's Navarra region, 100 metres from the old city. The hotel is situated
in the vicinity of Tudela's old city with its many historic buildings and
chapels, or guests can head out to the Bardenas Reales desert, which offers
hiking and mountain biking trails (10 kilometres away). Open for
breakfast, lunch and dinner, the hotel restaurant Alcazaba serves a menu
of modern dishes and regional specialities prepared with fresh, local ingredients.
After a busy day guests can relax in the sun on the patio, and unwind in
the sauna. There is a business centre and free Internet access is available.
Practical amenities include 24-hour front desk and room service.