This mountain-flanked city in the Navarre region of northern Spain is known for its wine, cheese and annual bull run…
Ernest Hemingway set up camp in Pamplona in 1923 to cover the San Fermín festival, where men of the city run through the streets with some bulls hot on their heels each July, and liked it so much he came back time and time again. Known as Iruña in Basque, you can expect the best pintxos (tapas-like bar snacks) this side of San Sebastián. The old town is a beautifully preserved cobbled haven of churches and plazas, with the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route passing through the middle. The ancient city walls remain in place, though the population has long since extended beyond them. A river runs through it: the Arga, on its way from the border with France. The best bit? The sun-baked, sandy mountains that rise up all around you, the Navarran Pyrenées.
If you don’t like crowds, don’t go between 7 and 14 July, when they come in their droves for the annual bull runs. Summer can get hot and busy, so May and June or September and October are best for clear, sunny days. It’s cold and often wet from late October until April.