The old town of Pamplona is full of history and deep-rooted traditions. Stone-paved streets are mainly for pedestrians winding their way through the historical heart of the city, between medieval churches, palaces and of course, plenty of bars and restaurants.
Below are some of the highlights of this historic quarter. These exerts of information are from Tourisom Navarre
The Castle Square (Plaza del Castillo) is the center of life in the Old Town. It’s an imperfect four-sided area from which the narrow streets of the old town start. The square is surrounded by a large number of colorful 18th-century houses with their eye-catching rows of balconies, turrets, attics and large windows. Today it is lined with restaurants, cafes and hotels and it was here that Ernest Hemingway, would sit and drink coffee while working on his book, “The Sun Also Rises.”
Catedral de Pamplona (Pampalona Cathedral) is situated on the edge of the Old Quarter, its a fine example of the Gothic period (14th and 15th centuries). This symbolic monument houses the largest number of historic and artistic relics in the city. Kings were crowned and Parliaments convened in the cathedral; indeed, it was the seat of the royal court for three centuries.
Situated in the heart of the city's old part is Pamplona City Hall. King Carlos III 'the Noble' declared the 'Privilege of Union' in 1423 and ordered the construction of this building in the place where the three mediaeval boroughs came together, as a symbol of the consolidation of a single city. Its colorful façade, combining baroque and neoclassical styles, is especially noteworthy. The central balcony on the second floor is the scene of the launching of the ceremonial rocket ("chupinazo") that signals the beginning of the San Fermín festival.
Museum of Navarre is a converted old hospital. It is an essential stop-off for anyone who wishes to learn more about the art and history of Navarre from prehistoric times to today. Inside the museum you will be able to admire items as important as the Mozarabic chest from the Monastery of Leire or Goya's portrait of the Marquis of San Adrián. Guided tours are available for both the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions.
Mediaeval walls once surrounded the city of Pampalona. The 3 miles of walls, bastions, gates, demilunes, ravelins and forts provide this defensive feature and is considered one of the most interesting and best-conserved defensive complexes in Spain. Today you are able to walk around the city walls, where you will discover some of the most outstanding monuments and green spaces of the city.
Rincón del Caballo Blanco and Plazuela de San José: at a corner of the city walls, this is a place full of charm and mediaeval atmosphere. The terrace of the bar located here is popular when the warm weather arrives. As well as enjoying the views over north and east Pamplona, you can also be entertained by open-air concerts. Walk from here underneath a "hanging house" to reach the coquettish San José square (which gets its name from the side façade of the Cathedral that opens out onto this small square), where you will be able to see the city's oldest house, search for the way out through a street called Salsipuedes (translated as "get out if you can") or admire Pamplona's only fountain that doubles up as a street light.
The Ciudadela (citadel), the city's fortress and largest open space: considered to be the best example of military architecture from the Spanish Renaissance, on the inside it contains other fortresses and smaller buildings - el Polvorín, el Horno, la Sala de Armas - which are used for cultural and leisure activities and exhibitions. Both inside and around the enclosure, meadows and trees fill moats and glacis, areas that the people of Pamplona use for walking, playing football or jogging.