Bull runners, pilgrims, and nature seekers all converge is this relatively small, yet diverse region of northern Spain. For such a small region, Navarre has huge changes in geography, allowing for lots of varied vistas. From the soft green Pyrenees Mountains in the north, to the arid plains in the south, this region is the intersection of several Spains. Navarre is based around the capital of Pamplona, which is the host of the most famous annual Running of the Bulls. Scattered among the landscape are charming little towns which beg to be explored. Experience Navarre like a local by staying at a Wimdu accommodation. Navarre vacation rentals range from apartments in the heart of Pamplona to villas and holiday homes in the countryside.
Where to Stay
No matter what type of trip you are looking for, Wimdu has you covered, offering a variety of rental options across Navarre. Find an apartment to lay your head after a full night of revelry and a morning of taking in the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. Apartment and holiday home rentals are available in towns throughout the region, including those among the Pyrenees and those along the Way of St. James.
- Pamplona is host to the most famous Running of the Bulls in the world.
- Navarre is the European leader in renewable energy with over 75% of its energy coming from renewable sources.
- Ernest Hemingway visited Pamplona several times, and set his book The Sun Also Rises there.
- Due to its varied geography, Navarre is also known as the “Land of Diversity”.
- The local drink is called Patxaran, a liqueur flavored with sloe (blackthorn berries).
Things to See and Do
Pamplona is the largest - really the only - major city in Navarre. Depending on when you visit, you might have 2 very different experiences. Most of the year, the city is a relatively quiet and charming place, laid back and green. Visit the sites at your own pace, such as the Citadel, one of the best preserved examples of Renaissance fortifications. See the Museo de Navarra for some great Roman artifacts. Of course, as in most other European cities, a visit to the cathedral is worth while. In Pamplona, that means heading to the Catedral de Santa María la Real y Museo Diocesano (Pamplona Cathedral). Learn about its rich history and walk in its stunning cloister.Of course, if you are visiting during the Festival of San Fermin (Sanfermines, July 7-14), you will experience a rather different Pamplona. During this week-long festival, over one million visitors pack the city for the festivities, which include fireworks, parades, concerts, lots of drinking, and the (in)famous Running of the Bulls.
The Running of the Bulls
“Nobody ever lives their life all the way up except bullfighters.” - Ernest Hemingway
What makes Navarre famous is what happens daily as part of Sanfermines in Pamplona. Every day at 8:00 am, 6 bulls and 6 steers are set free from their corral in front of a crowd of participants to run the half mile stretch of Old Town streets towards the bullring. Later in the evening, spectators gather for the bullfights, where the steers will be fought and slaughtered. Attracting enormous crowds every year, the event dates back as far as 1215.
Head out of the city to many beautiful and friendly villages throughout the region. One of the most historic Christian pilgrimages, the Way of St. James runs from France across the south of Navarre towards Santiago de Compostela on the Atlantic Coast. The entire way has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its historic significance to Christianity as well as its role in encouraging cross-cultural exchanges in Europe. Towns like Estella, Puente la Reina, and Los Arcos lie along the route. Rent an apartment or holiday home on this famous route, or even wander part of it, to experience what devotees have experienced for a thousand years.
If flying in, you will most likely arrive at Pamplona-Noain Airport, which welcomes flights from Barcelona, Madrid. International airports are available in Bilbao, Zaragoza, and Biarritz, France. Trains and buses run throughout the day to the capital. Once in Navarre, some train lines can take you around the region, but probably the best way to get around is by bus or by car. The area is small, so distances are very manageable. Of course, to experience Navarre like so many have across the centuries, ditch the vehicles for a good pair of shoes and follow the pilgrimage route, if you have the time.