Living in Pamplona
Pamplona, the capital of Navarre, covers an extension of 500 square kilometres and houses about 350.000 inhabitants.This is a quiet town full of emblematic places such as Estafeta Street which transmits all the excitement of the running of the bulls and the ancient Romanesque Bridge of La Magdalena which is the first in welcoming the pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela.
Pamplona invites you to enjoy its parks and stroll through the old historic centre.
Local gastronomy will seduce you with its typical ‘pinchos’ accompanied with excellent wines from the Denomination of Origin Navarra.
As the city itself, the district of Pamplona is pleasant with little villages placed in a stream of landscapes between the more mountainous Pyrenees and La Ribera where fertile soils live together with semi desertic areas like the Bardenas Reales.
There are plenty of appealing places you can easily visit from Pamplona.
País Vasco: San Sebastian (at 1 hour drive), Zarautz, Fuenterrabia, and Bilbao (at 2 hours drive).
La Rioja: a region well known for its famous wines (at 1 hour drive).
Sur de Francia: Biarritz, Bayonne, Saint-Jean-de-Luz (at 1 hour drive).
Barcelona: At 4 hours by train.
Madrid: At 3,5 hours by train.
You may reach all these wonderful cities either by train, bus or plane.
“The Universal FIESTA”
Every year from 6 to 14 July the word FIESTA (PARTY) is capitalised all around Pamplona, the capital of Navarre. SAN FERMIN is held then. When the rocket is launched the city becomes an explosion of life.
Thousands of people from all around the world come to the city dressed in red and white.The city radiates friendship and joy to the rhythm of the music of brass bands and ‘peñas’.
Everyday at 8:00 am the PARTY stops. This is the time of the Running of the Bulls.After chanting to the Saint on the Cuesta de Santo Domingo, the runners cover together some parts of the itinerary which separate the bulls’ yards from the bullring (848m in all). Emotions reach their highest level at the end of the running.The party goes on having broth (caldico), hot chocolate and churros, dancing with the Gigantes (giant human-shaped structures made of cardboard and wood carried by an specialist who makes them dance in an amazing way)and ‘cabezudos’ (persons with a detachable big head who chase children and hit them with a kind of ball made of foam attached to a stick with a rope).Then taste a delicious aperitif before lunch to go to the bullfight and finally enjoy the astonishing fireworks. After this the fiesta goes on all through the night.
In the XX century the Sanfermines reached a peak in popularity. The novel ‘Fiesta’ written by Ernest Hemingway in 1926 prompted people from all around the world to visit and participate in this festival. Besides during the last century new events have been being added to the festival such as the Riau-Riau, the so famous Launch of the Rocket and the wide cultural programme.
“NAVARRA, Vegetables World Centre!”
The farmland of Navarra is one of the biggest stores in the country and is proud to have achieved 6 Denominations of Origin, 6 Protected Geographical Indications and 4 Certificates of Quality.
The quality of its prime matter is not mere chance. The Ebro, which flows traversing the south of Navarra, generates along its banks extremely fertile land known as ‘La Mejana’ which together with the climatology and a mix of cultural traditions such as Jewish, Arabian and Christian, allow the growing of singular and unique vegetables like artichokes, asparagus, borage, thistles and the ‘Piquillo’ peppers, also known as ‘Red Gold’, among others. These products have always been present in the gastronomy of Navarre offering its people healthy and balanced daily recipes thanks to its diuretic, antioxidant and disease preventive properties.
“Wines with Denomination of Origin Navarra”
Denomination of Origin is a kind of geographical indication applied to a certain product whose quality and characteristics are due to the geographical area where it is grown and elaborated. Wine is one of these products in Navarre and because of its border with La Rioja, the wines of Navarre have two Denominations of Origin; D.O Navarra and D.O. La Rioja.
The wide diversity of landscapes and climas which can be appreciated along the around 150 kms which separate the north and south extremes of the region is one of the main characteristics of the Denomination of Origin Navarra. Something exceptional happens here, this is the only region in the Iberian Peninsula in which three climates meet; the atlantic, the continental and the mediterranean. The proximity of the Cantabrian Sea, the influence of the Pyrenees and the bonanza of the Ebro Valley make this situation possible.
All these circumstances affect deeply the landscape of Navarra, where over 11.000 hectares of the Denomination of Origin Navarra are placed, causing the various ecosystems in which our products are risen suchs as slopes, river banks, plateaus and plains to exist. This fact results in 5 different production areas; Low-mountain region, Valdizarbe, Tierra Estella, Ribera Alta and Ribera Baja.
All in a nutshell, you will be able to find your own wine style among a wide range of possibilities; from the very famous rosés to juicy young red wines, from delicious white Chardonnay to fabulous vintage and reserve red wines without forgetting the tempting sweet white muscatel wines.
Let’s have some ‘Pinchos’!
Navarra’s Pinchos are a synonym of tradition, quality and good atmosphere. They are placed at the summit of thumbnail Haute Cuisine not only for their culinary value, based on the excellent prime matter they are made of, but also for their exquisite cutting-edge presentations.
One of the best plans to do in Pamplona is going with your friends and have some ‘pinchos’.This has become a Custom all through the years an provokes the characteristic ambient in the streets of Pamplona, mainly in the iconic Plaza del Castillo (Castle Square), the streets Estafeta, San Nicolás and their surroundings. People from Pamplona follow the Route with their group of friends or family before lunch or dinner.The perfect reason for meeting friends, chat and walk around what has been called ‘ir de pinchos’, ‘ir de potes’ or ‘txikiteo’.
Related to this, a proposal which has been inspiring the thursday evenings is the ‘Juevintxo’, a chance to try less elaborated ‘pinchos’ in some of the bars of the historic centre offered at a reasonable price with a beer, a good cup of wine or a refreshment at your choice.
“A Land of contrast and climatic diversity”
From the cantabric valleys in the north of Navarre to the Ribera del Ebro most climates of the peninsula happen. The Cantabric valleys enjoy a warm damp cloudy climate with heavy rains.On the other hand in the meridional region appears the arid and dry mediterranean-continental climate of the Ribera of navarre which becomes nearly desertic in the Bardenas Reales. In between both borders a great variety of combinations occur. To the south of the dividing line Belate-Azpiroz some characteristics of the oceanic climate still persist in the humid meridional valleys (Basaburua, Ultzama, Juslapeña). In the area of Pamplona and Lumbier-Aoiz the suboceanic and sub-mediterranean climates come together with the Navarra Media, to the south of the outer mountain ranges. It shows mediterranean characteristics but with heavier rains than in the Ribera of Navarre. Such varied climatic framework is completed with the subalpine climate of the pyrenean valleys with more extreme thermal conditions and heavy snow.
Navarre is a Kingdom of Diversity which goes a long way….Its contrasting landscapes offer us from extensive forests to amazing deserts. From the snowy peaks in the Pyrenees to the extremely arid plains of Bardenas Reales go and discover the well preserved richness of this wonderful region. The climatic diversity of Navarre, which is amazing for such a small region like ours, has offered us everlasting green valleys, beautiful and colourful forests,spectacular gorges designed by water erosion, lakes and impoundments, legendary caves and many other protected sites, three natural parks among them. If you are a nature lover, get ready for enjoyment!
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