After touring the sites around San Sabastian, we next headed inland to see Pamplona. I wish I could recommend Pamplona as a city full of sites that any tourist would want to see. Unfortunately, unless you are going during the Running of the Bulls, there is really not much to see site wise. However, there is a cute old town, a FABULOUS bakery called Pastas Beatriz, and a great pedestrian street for shopping.
Old Town of Pamplona
The Old Town of Pamplona has the all the winding, cobbled streets, cute little cafes, and grand plazas you could want. Also, you can follow the trail of the Running of the Bulls to the bullfighting arena but without the excitement of the bulls it’s more of a casual stroll. Ultimately, the only building that really stood out to me in Old Town was the colorful Ayuntamiento (Town Hall).
Eating in Pamplona
When I think of Pamplona, the absolute first thing that comes to me is the bakery Pastas Beatriz off the Plaza de Castillos. This place was so amazing that we made it a point to swing back by Pamplona just to eat there again. This place is hugely popular, especially with the locals, so be prepared to see a line even before they open. But don’t worry, the line moves fast and the pastries are totally worth it. (Tip: If you are not comfortable just pointing at your selection say “English?’ when it’s your turn and you can wait until someone who speaks English finishes up with someone else and can help you.)
Pastas Beatriz is renowned for their garritkos which are these divine little croissant-like pastries filled with chocolate, apple, pumpkin, squash, etc. Just get some of all them but make sure you get more of the chocolate ones. After the garritikos, if you see apple mini loaf cakes, buy them! Buy them now! Buy them all! So good. We bought a smorgasbord of items and it was only about 20 euros.
If you are an adventurous eater, get the pork filled sweet pastry (kinda like crunchy pork skin inside a crumbly cake?). I wouldn’t get it again but it was well worth the buy and try. (Tip: There isn’t a place to eat your pastries at Pastas Beatriz. However, if you take a left out of the shop, go a few hundred feet to the end of the street and take another left, there is a little coffee shop that is great. We ordered cafe con leches and just ate our pastries straight out of the bags.)
Where to Shop in Pamplona
As there wasn’t much to see tourist wise in Pamplona, we strolled south of the plaza de toros and found streets chock full of clothing stores that just aren’t available in the US (C&A, Bershka, Pull & Bear, RKS Shoes, etc.). We spent way too much money on shoes. However, I still think about that one pair of boots I didn’t buy . . . (Tip: Park at the Plaza de Castillo for a central place to see everything to offer including the shops. See the bottom left corner of the photo below for the parking exit.)
Where to Stay in Pamplona
We thought Pamplona would be an all day event so we scheduled two nights in at the AC Hotel Cuidad de Pamplona and hadn’t checked out that morning. As we had already been on the road for a week changing hotels every night, this turned out to be a welcome respite. We chose the Hotel Cuidad de Pamplona as it was within walking distance to the sites in Pamplona, is part of the Marriott group, and was cheap at <$100 a night including parking. Fortunately, this hotel was one of the hits, rather than misses, for AC Hotels in Spain. It could have been the upgrade to a suite, the speedy internet, or free mini bar but we liked it enough to stay there again later on during our circuitous road trip. (You can use my Marriott referral link to get a jump start free nights with up to 10,000 points.)
For the Day Before See Travel Tips for Butron Castle, the Hermitage of San Juan, & San Sabastian, Spain
For the Next Day See Travel Tips for a Day in Olite & Zaragoza, Spain.