SHARE
COPY LINK

TRAVEL

Five things to do in Pamplona which DON’T involve running with the bulls

If you thought Pamplona was all about risking your life by running in front of bulls, then think again: This beautiful city has plenty more to offer.

Five things to do in Pamplona which DON'T involve running with the bulls
Photo: VaqueroFrancis/Flickr Creative Commons.

There are plenty of reasons to visit the northern city of Pamplona besides the running of the bulls. Also called Iruña in Basque, this city is the former capital of the Kingdom of Navarra and locals take pride in that.

Brightly painted houses along narrow, cobblestone streets with balconies nearly close enough for people to reach across to one another.

READ ALSO:How to survive running with the bulls in Pamplona 

The Local looks at some of the many ways to enjoy Pamplona outside of San Fermin.

The Gothic churches

 

A photo posted by Víctor Ruiz (@elchiquillodelav) on Jan 19, 2016 at 7:37am PST

The main cathedral of Pamplona, Santa Maria, is a Gothic temple and its construction began as far back as 1394.

But there are other churches that are even older: Both the medieval San Nicolas and San Saturnino churches having histories dating back to the 1100s.

The Museo de Navarra

Photo: Joanbanjo/Wikimedia Commons.

Another great site to visit architecturally and historically speaking, this museum is located inside a 16th-century hospital. The art museum features works that are prehistoric, Roman as well as a work by Goya.

Plus it’s super cheap at just €2 for adults, and Saturday afternoons and Sundays for free.

The parks

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 

¿No me habré venido yo a vivir a la ciudad más bonita del mundo? #pamplona #iruña #navarra #nafarroa

A post shared by Ire Ψ (@irebanares) on May 22, 2019 at 7:31am PDT

Pamplona has a number of beautiful green parks and gardens, old and new, like the Taconera park, dating back to the 1800s. There are a number of aging arches, statues, fountains and more adorning the gardens, as well as a small zoo with radiant peacocks.

Another lovely patch of green to discover is the Yamaguchi park, which was designed in 1997 by Japanese landscape architects and is the most modern park in the city.

But the Parque del Mundo and the Arga park are also worth a visit.

The Ciudadela (Citadel)

 

#iruña #pamplona #ciudadelapamplona Un bonito sitio para pasear

A photo posted by @igorcamino on Mar 28, 2016 at 1:10pm PDT

This Renaissance fortification was built to protect Pamplona from attacking enemies in 1571, in particular the French.

The Citadel spans 280,000 square metres with green spaces, moats, pavilions, and much more. 

The food

And of course, you can't forget the food. Being in the north and in an area with such a strong Basque culture, you're bound to find food with names you may be unfamiliar with in the rest of the country.

When it's not crowded with wine-drunk and soaked revellers for San Fermin, the central Plaza del Castillo has a number of restaurants.

Look out for garroticos – little croissant-like pastries with chocolate inside – and try the variety of pintxos, like tapas, that restaurants will offer.

Another typical Pamplona dish is cordero en chilindrón, which is a stew of lamb, tomato and vegetables. Or if you like peppers, try pimientos del piquillo, often stuffed with meat, seafood or cheese.

The traditional sausage chistorra is another regional dish, often served with fried egg and potatoes.

 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

TRAVEL

IN IMAGES: Spain’s ‘scrap cathedral’ lives on after creator’s death

For over 60 years, former monk Justo Gallego almost single-handedly built a cathedral out of scrap materials on the outskirts of Madrid. Here is a picture-based ode to his remarkable labour of love.

IN IMAGES: Spain's 'scrap cathedral' lives on after creator's death
File photo taken on August 3, 1999 shows Justo Gallego Martinez, then 73, posing in front of his cathedral. Photo: ERIC CABANIS / AFP

The 96-year-old died over the weekend, but left the unfinished complex in Mejorada del Campo to a charity run by a priest that has vowed to complete his labour of love.

Gallego began the project in 1961 when he was in his mid-30s on land inherited from his family after a bout of tuberculosis forced him to leave an order of Trappist monks.

Today, the “Cathedral of Justo” features a crypt, two cloisters and 12 towers spread over 4,700 square metres (50,600 square feet), although the central dome still does not have a cover.

He used bricks, wood and other material scavenged from old building sites, as well as through donations that began to arrive once the project became better known.

A woman prays at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
A woman prays at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

The building’s pillars are made from stacked oil drums while windows have been cobbled and glued together from shards of coloured glass.

“Recycling is fashionable now, but he used it 60 years ago when nobody talked about it,” said Juan Carlos Arroyo, an engineer and architect with engineering firm Calter.

Men work at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021 in Mejorada del Campo, 20km east of Madrid.
Men work at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021 in Mejorada del Campo, 20km east of Madrid. Photo: (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)

The charity that is taking over the project, “Messengers of Peace”, hired the firm to assess the structural soundness of the building, which lacks a permit.

No blueprint

“The structure has withstood significant weather events throughout its construction,” Arroyo told AFP, predicting it will only need some “small surgical interventions”.

Renowned British architect Norman Foster visited the site in 2009 — when he came to Spain to collect a prize — telling Gallego that he should be the one getting the award, Arroyo added.

Religious murals on a walls of Justo's cathedral. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Religious murals on a walls of Justo’s cathedral. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

The sturdiness of the project is surprising given that Gallego had no formal training as a builder, and he worked without a blueprint.

In interviews, he repeatedly said that the details for the cathedral were “in his head” and “it all comes from above”.

Builders work on the dome of the Cathedral of Justo on November 26th. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Builders work on the dome of the Cathedral of Justo on November 26th. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

The complex stands in a street called Avenida Antoni Gaudi, named after the architect behind Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Familia basilica which has been under construction since 1883.

But unlike the Sagrada Familia, the Cathedral of Justo Gallego as it is known is not recognised by the Roman Catholic Church as a place of worship.

Visit gaze at the stained glass and busts in of the cathedral's completed sections. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Visit gaze at the stained glass and busts in of the cathedral’s completed sections. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

‘Worth visiting’

Father Angel Garcia Rodriguez, the maverick priest who heads Messengers of Peace, wants to turn Gallego’s building into an inclusive space for all faiths and one that is used to help the poor.

“There are already too many cathedrals and too many churches, that sometimes lack people,” he said.

“It will not be a typical cathedral, but a social centre where people can come to pray or if they are facing difficulties,” he added.

A photo of Justo Gallego Martinez on display at his cathedral following his passing. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
A photo of Justo Gallego Martinez on display at his cathedral following his passing. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

Father Angel is famous in Spain for running a restaurant offering meals to the homeless and for running a church in central Madrid where pets are welcome and the faithful can confess via iPad.

Inside the Cathedral of Justo, volunteers continued working on the structure while a steady stream of visitors walked around the grounds admiring the building in the nondescript suburb.

“If the means are put in, especially materials and money, to finish it, then it will be a very beautiful place of worship,” said Ramon Calvo, 74, who was visiting the grounds with friends.

FIND OUT MORE: How to get to Justo’s Cathedral and more amazing images

SHOW COMMENTS