The Fiesta de San Fermin is one of the world’s most famous festivals, and it’s held each year in Pamplona, Spain. The highlight is the running of the bulls, otherwise known as the encierro, but the week-long party involves a host of other traditional, cultural, and folkloric activities. More than one million people travel to Spain each year for the Fiesta de San Fermin, and if you want to join the festivities in style, here are the top things to see and do.
Hotels and Resorts
The Gran Hotel La Perla is one of Pamplona’s top luxury hotels and it goes the extra mile to accommodate guests during the Fiesta de San Fermin. Aside from the gorgeous suites and excellent service, the 19th century property is located just minutes from some of the city’s most famous sights and it overlooks the Plaza.
Those who want to stay in a hotel that’s both lavish and modern should consider the Alma Pamplona Muga de Beloso. Rooms with mountain views, a swanky on-site bar, designer toiletries, and an industrial-chic fitness center are just some of the perks of staying there. It’s also a top choice for those who want peace and quiet, as the windows of the AlmaPamplona Muga de Beloso are all soundproof.
For a side of golf during your stay in Pamplona for the Fiesta de San Fermin, there’s Castillo Gorraiz Hotel Golf & Spa. The opulent boutique property is near museums and historical sites, and staying there will put you close to the festivities. In addition to its lush golf course, this hotel has a world class spa, relaxing lounge, and a contemporary gastropub.
Touring Pamplona for the festival and taking part in the celebration will surely cause you to work up an appetite. If you have discriminating tastes and want exquisite service, Rodero is one of the best restaurants you can go to. It’s beautifully decorated, serves authentic Spanish cuisine, and is just a short walk from the square where much of the Fiesta de San Fermin takes place.
Another great eatery in Pamplona is Abaco — this restaurant is a must try if you feel ambiance makes or breaks a gourmet dining experience. The menu at Abaco is fabulous, but it’s the interior that truly makes eating there come alive. The restaurant is set inside one of Pamplona’s best museums and was very thoughtfully designed to satisfy all of the senses.
The majority of the cuisine in Pamplona is healthful and made of fresh ingredients, but if you start craving grilled traditional dishes or you’re a health conscious traveler, Anttonenea is a good pick. The restaurant not only has delicious, authentic offerings but its menu includes a selection of excellently prepared gluten free entrees. Order Anttonenea’s tasting menu if you want a sampling of several of its most popular dishes.
Basque influenced cuisine and a friendly atmosphere can be found at Alhambra. This restaurant will hit the spot when you’re looking for a place to eat late in the evening during the Fiesta de San Fermin. Not only is the food there delectable, but the restaurant’s wine list is impressive and full of quality vintages.
Pamplona has a score of must-see sights, and one that you’ll inevitably run into at the Fiesta de San Fermin is Hemingway Trail, also known as Paseo de Hemingway. Spain’s famous Monumento al Encierro, a large bull statue, is located there, and so is the Plaza de Toros bullring, which is the most well-known bullring in the world.
If you want to see some of the city’s attractions close to the Fiesta de San Fermin, there are several museums and sights nearby. The Museo de Navarra is a beautiful art museum full of murals and fascinating pieces. It contains four stories of chronologically arranged exhibits that date from prehistoric times to the 20th century.
Pablo Sarasate Museum is dedicated to the legacy of Pamplona-born composer and violinist Pablo Sarasate. The personal possessions of his on display provide a very interesting insight into his life, his muses, and what inspired him to become the great musician that he was.
Another site that you’ll more likely than not come across is Pamplona Cathedral. It’s very difficult to miss spotting the huge Gothic temple, and if you have any time at all while in Pamplona you should absolutely tour the inside. If you’re a lover of history or architecture, you’re in for a treat because Pamplona Cathedral has plenty of both. Its history dates back to the 1st century BC and the temple has been rebuilt many times since then. Its latest neoclassical facade was designed by Ventura Rodriguez in 1783.
The Fortress and Walls of Pamplona provide an even closer look at the city’s rich history and have stood since Medieval times. It’s over three miles long and is now one of the most visited historical sites in the city.
Wine is a significant part of the Fiesta de San Fermin, and that’s because Pamplona sits in Spain’s Navarra wine region. The country’s famed Rioja, Garnacha, and Tempranillo wines can be found here, and taking an exclusive winery tour is a great way to experience them all. Cellar Tours’ Northern Spain itinerary will take you to the best that Pamplona and the region has to offer, and you’ll also get to enjoy several plates of skillfully prepared bites that marry perfectly with the wines.
Outdoor adventurers will thoroughly enjoy spending a day at the Parque Natural Urbasa Andia, a natural park that has a wealth of stunning natural beauty. The waterfalls, lush greenery, and majestic formations there are the definition of picturesque, and you’ll find plenty to see and do. If you like to hike, there are many trails that are suitable for all experience levels, as well as some more challenging routes that are ideal for advanced hikers. Amid the mountain scenery, beautiful flora, and wildlife you’ll find an ancient road that dates back to the Roman times. This natural site a wonderful place to go if you want a short break from the excitement of the Fiesta de San Fermin.
Gran Hotel La Perla – http://www.granhotellaperla.com/EN/hotel.html
Castillo Gorraiz Hotel – https://www.cghotel.es/index.asp
AlmaPamplona Muga de Beloso – http://www.almapamplona.com/
Alhambra Restaurant – http://www.restaurantealhambra.es/
Rodero Restaurant – http://restauranterodero.com/
Restaurante Abaco – http://www.abacorestaurante.com/
Restaurante Anttonenea – http://www.restauranteanttonenea.com/