A prosperous city of just under 200,000, PAMPLONA (Iruña) is a robust, visceral place, with a rough-hewn edge and a strong streak of macho self-confidence. Having started out as a powerful fortress town defending the northern approaches to Spain at the foothills of the Pyrenees (the city takes its name from the Roman general Pompey), it later became capital of Navarra – often a semi-autonomous state – and an important stop on the Camino de Santiago. With plenty to offer around its Casco Antiguo – enticing churches, a beautiful park and the massive citadel – Pamplona makes an appealing year-round destination, though for anyone who has been here during the thrilling week of the Fiestas de San Fermín a visit at any other time can only be an anticlimax.

Everything you’re likely to want to see in Pamplona lies within its remarkably compact Casco Antiguo. Centring on the Plaza del Castillo, ringed with fashionable cafés, it’s a glorious and very much lived-in jumble of buildings from all eras, where every twisting stone lane is worth exploring and intriguingly tatty old shops and bars lie concealed behind medieval shutters.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Spain features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Solo travel can be one of the most rewarding ways to explore the world. Whether you'd rather spend it on a desert island or in a frenetic new city, here are th…

21 Dec 2016 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
Beyond tapas: the Spanish food and drink you need to devour

Beyond tapas: the Spanish food and drink you need to devour

Spain is known throughout the world for its Mediterranean diet, heavily featuring seafood, meat and fresh vegetables, all splashed with a healthy dose of olive …

15 Aug 2016 • Esme Fox insert_drive_file Article
A day-by-day itinerary for the perfect weekend in Madrid

A day-by-day itinerary for the perfect weekend in Madrid

One of the sunniest and liveliest capital cities in Europe, Madrid has a lot to take pride in. Indeed, its inhabitants, the Madrileños, are so proud of their …

09 Aug 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month