Travel to Pamplona: Everything You Need To Plan


If you have recently been looking to complete your travel bookings to the exhilarating Running of The Bulls, you will need to figure out how to get to Pamplona.

If you are flying in from abroad, then it’s highly likely that you will be connecting in either Barcelona or Madrid.

And if you are already in Spain and don’t fancy flying and taking the longer, more scenic route, there are loads of options, from trains to busses and even ferries.

So feel free to jump straight to the route you are looking at below or keep reading for advice on the other ways you have available. 

✈️ What’s the Closest airport to Pamplona?

The closest airport to Pamplona, Spain, is Pamplona Airport, also known as Pamplona-Navarre Airport or Noain Airport (PNA). It is located approximately 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) southwest of the city centre. This airport serves domestic flights within Spain and a limited number of international destinations.

Airport Transfers

A direct bus line doesn’t connect Pamplona’s airport to the city centre. The best options are to either take a taxi or book a private transfer service. Remember that Pamplona can get pretty crowded during the San Fermin festival, so booking a transfer service in advance is highly recommended.

β›ͺ How to get to Pamplona from Barcelona?

By Air: The quickest option is to fly from Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) to Pamplona Airport (PNA). Several airlines operate flights between these two cities, and the flight duration is approximately 1 hour. From Pamplona Airport, you can take a taxi or public transportation to reach the city centre.

By Train: Renfe operates a direct train service from Barcelona to Pamplona. The journey takes 3 to 4 hours, depending on the train type. Trains depart from Barcelona Sants station, and you will arrive at Pamplona train station, located close to the city centre.

By Bus: There are bus services that connect Barcelona with Pamplona. The journey lasts approximately 5 to 6 hours, depending on the route and traffic conditions. Buses depart from Barcelona Nord bus station and arrive at Pamplona bus station, which is centrally located.

By Car: You can also drive from Barcelona to Pamplona, which takes around 4 to 5 hours, depending on the route and traffic. The most common route is to take the AP-2 and AP-68 highways. Remember to consider toll fees and parking availability in Pamplona.

πŸš† How Do I Get From Madrid to Pamplona by Train?

Depart from Madrid: The train journey starts at Madrid-Chamartin train station. You can reach this station by taking the Madrid Metro or a taxi, depending on your location in the city.

Choose a Train: Renfe, the national train operator in Spain, operates several trains between Madrid and Pamplona. The most common train type for this route is the high-speed AVE train. Check the Renfe website or a reliable train booking platform for the train schedule and ticket availability.

Select a Ticket: Once you have chosen a train, select the ticket class and fare type that suit your needs. Renfe offers different ticket categories, including Turista (Economy), Turista Plus (Economy Plus), and Preferente (First Class). It is advisable to book your ticket in advance to secure your preferred seat and fare.

Journey Duration: The train journey from Madrid to Pamplona takes approximately 3 to 3.5 hours, depending on the train and route. The AVE trains are known for their comfort and speed.

Arrive at Pamplona: The train will arrive at Pamplona train station, conveniently located close to the city centre. From there, you can take a taxi or public transportation or walk to your destination in Pamplona.

🎯 How To Get From Biarritz to Pamplona?

By Bus: There are direct bus services operated by ALSA that connect Biarritz and Pamplona. The journey takes 2 to 2.5 hours, depending on traffic and stops. Buses depart from Biarritz Airport or Biarritz city centre and arrive at Pamplona bus station. Check the ALSA website or a reliable bus booking platform for schedules and ticket information.

By Train: While there is no direct train connection between Biarritz and Pamplona, you can combine train and bus. From Biarritz, you can take a train to the border town of Hendaye, which is approximately 30 minutes away. At Hendaye, you can transfer to a regional train operated by SNCF that travels to Irun, a Spanish town just across the border. From Irun, you can take a local bus or train to Pamplona. The journey duration varies depending on connections and schedules, but it typically takes 3 to 4 hours.

By Car: You can also rent a car and drive from Biarritz to Pamplona. The driving distance is approximately 125 kilometres (78 miles), and the journey takes around 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on the route and traffic conditions. Remember to consider toll fees and check the parking options in Pamplona.

πŸ‘‘ Best way from Pamplona from the UK?

By Air: The most convenient option is to fly from the UK to Pamplona. You can search for direct flights from various UK airports to Pamplona Airport (PNA). However, direct flights might only be available from some UK cities, so you may need to consider connecting flights through major European hubs like Madrid, Barcelona, or Bilbao. The total travel time will depend on the layover duration and flight connections.

By Train: Another option is to take a train from the UK to Pamplona (although this will involve multiple transfers). You can take the Eurostar train from London St Pancras International to Paris Gare du Nord.

From there, transfer to a high-speed train to either Barcelona or Madrid. Finally, take a train from Barcelona or Madrid to Pamplona. This option offers a scenic and relaxed travel experience, but it can be time-consuming and may require overnight stays in Paris or other cities along the route.

By Ferry and Car: If you prefer a combination of ferry and driving, you can take a ferry from the UK to northern Spain, such as from Portsmouth or Plymouth to Bilbao or Santander. From there, you can rent a car and drive to Pamplona. The driving distance from Bilbao to Pamplona is approximately 160 kilometres (100 miles), which takes around 2 hours.

🚌 Public Transportation In Pamplona

Once in Pamplona, navigating the city using public transportation is quite easy. The city has an efficient network of buses that can take you to most attractions and neighbourhoods in town. 

TripAdvisor’s guide on getting around Pamplona is quite helpful for understanding the bus routes and schedules. And, when in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask the locals for help!

πŸ‚ The Unmissable Running of the Bulls

Sanfermines Festival

As someone who loves to travel, I have always been attracted to unique festivals and traditions around the world. On many travellers’ bucket lists is the San Fermin Festival in Spain’s northern region of Navarre.Β 

This incredible celebration takes place every year in July. It’s a week full of energy, excitement, and tradition, with the main event being the Running of the Bulls.

The Hemingway Connection

In addition to the adrenaline rush of watching the bulls stampede down the narrow streets, there is its connection to the great American writer Ernest Hemingway. 

Hemingway’s classic novel, The Sun Also Rises, was inspired by his own experiences at the Sanfermines Festival, and his love for the event helped bring international attention to this unique Basque tradition.

Experiencing the Event

One of the best ways to experience the Running of the Bulls was from the safety of a Pamplona balcony rental. This offers a bird’s-eye view of the action as the bulls charged down the streets below, pursued by brave (or foolhardy) runners. 

Of course, the event isn’t just about the thrilling stampede; throughout the week, Pamplona hosts various cultural events, from parades and fireworks to traditional music and dances.

Where to Stay?

Regarding accommodations, the best way to enjoy your stay in Pamplona was by booking one of the exclusive 2023 Pamplona travel packages catering to visitors attending the Running of the Bulls. 

These packages often include comfortable lodgings, prime balcony rentals for viewing the event, gourmet dinners, and guided walking tours to help you discover the city’s rich history and culture.

Your other option is to consider staying at one of these hotels for the Running of the Bulls, which have been curated based on their proximity to the action and the fact that they have balconies should you just wish to observe.