We will make a bus tour of the city first and then a walking tour in the Old Town.
Pamplona is located on top of a natural terrace which lies in a basin crossed by the Arga river and completely surrounded by a range of mountains. Its history dates back to the Iron Age although it didn’t gain fame until the year 75 B.C., when the Roman general Pompey the Great conquered it and established a turning point for the city. Pamplona was for a long time the capital city of the kingdom of Navarre and after the conquest and annexation by the Kingdom of Castille it became a strongly defended border settlement with magnificent walls protecting it. The Old Town still preserves the medieval design of its streets. Already in the 20th century – and thanks to a strong urban development – the city was modernized. But it still keeps most part of its walls and the military citadel, which has nowadays become a beautiful and extensive park.
Our visit starts with a BUS TOUR which will show you the modern city: our Japanese-inspired Yamaguchi Park, the Planetarium, the Hospitals area, the University of Navarre, and the city expansion. The bus will also take us round the citadel: a fortress built by order of the King Philip II of Spain in the 16th century. It is a great military structure with the shape of a five-pointed star which has been transformed into a green space in the heart of the city.
During the WALKING TOUR to the Old Town we will talk about the three main aspects that have played a vital role in the history of Pamplona-Iruña: its defensive city walls, the pilgrimage of the Way of Saint James and the festivals of San Fermín.
We will start our walk in Castel Square, right in the centre of the Old Town and a popular meeting point for local people. We will then go into the streets of the world-wide known running of the bulls: starting in the bullring and through the famous street of Estafeta. We will soon arrive to the highest part of the city, where the cathedral stands. The temple was built in a Gothic style by order of the king Charles III (“The Noble”) and it shows a surprising neoclassical façade from the 18th century.
We will also walk along the walls, visiting the northern bastion of Redin. You will be told at this point about the city’s ancient history, from its Roman foundation in 75 B.C. to its golden period as the capital city of the former kingdom of Navarre and its conquest by the Castilian Crown in 1512.
We will also see the Door of France, former gate of the city walls. It is the access point to Pamplona of the Way of Saint James which continues its way along the Rúa de los Peregrinos (Pilgrim’s street). Following the steps of the pilgrims, we arrive to the Town Hall. The building has a picturesque Baroque façade built in 1756. This building is also famous for being the place from where the initial rocket is fired on the opening ceremony of the festivals of San Fermín every year on July, 6th. You will also learn here about the story of the three burghs that formed the city in the Middle Ages.
Close by stands the church of Saint Saturnin, a beautiful example of the 13th century Gothic style with a great Baroque chapel inside in honor of the Virgin of the Way. Both the former and the latter are the patron saints of the city.
Finally, we will stroll down the Calle Mayor (Main Street) to visit the chapel of Saint Fermín in Saint Lawrence church. We will end our visit in the Taconera Gardens.
More tours: Pamplona Walking Tour, Sanfermin Festival and the Running of the Bulls, Saint James Way – A medieval pilgrimage, School Visits, Taconera Gardens, City Walls of Pamplona, Citadel and Vuelta del Castillo Park, Age of Enlightenment in Pamplona, Gothic style in Pamplona.