PamplonaSome while back I had the opportunity to wander around the centre of Pamplona, the city made famous by the annual "running of the bulls". Although I didn't find a little hotel there suitable for Little Hotels (yes I know, I'm fussy!), that's no reason not to pass on a little of what I learned. Anyway, it's only a short drive from Hotel Iribarnia, set out in the Navarra countryside.

Just like in nearly every city, it's the old quarter that is the most interesting bit. In Pamplona, that's the little maze of streets radiating out from the Plaza Del Castillo. I sat there a while in the centre of the square and decided that I really must pay a visit to Café Iruña.

Café Iruna is a lovely building right at the head of the plaza. I suppose the French would describe it as "belle epoque", a highly decorated late 19th century interior full of mirrors and marble, dark wood and elaborate cast iron. They serve an excellent “menu del día” there at lunchtime, or you could just pop in for a coffee or a glass of wine.

The narrow streets of the old quarter make for an interesting stroll and the opportunity for a bit of shopping, or you might want to visit the Navarra museum. I visited a couple of weeks before San Fermin, so many shops were selling the traditional white and red outfits worn by the"mozos" for the running of the bulls.

San Fermin is the big fiesta in Pamplona, lasting from 6th to 14th of July. The running of the bulls takes place early each morning as the bulls are herded from their corral to the bull ring. Choose a vantage point where other streets meet the "encierro", and get there early: it’s all over for the day in just a few minutes.

For a good meal in Pamplona I can recommend the Restaurante Otano, in Calle de San Nicolas, just off the Plaza Del Castillo. It also has a nice bar downstairs, perfect for a quick drink and a "pincho", the northern Spanish equivalent of tapas.

16 Feb 2016, 17:26

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