Walking Pamplona's City Walls
Fortress cities abound in Europe. Sitting in a valley plain nestled between mountain ranges is the city of Pamplona, Spain. One of the nice things to do while visiting the town is to spend a day walking the city walls.
Some months ago I posted about the Walls of Pamplona and entering the city from the French side. Most people do not come here that way. They arrive usually by train or fly into the airport from Madrid. Guided wall tours are available (from your hotel and the Office of Tourism) or just set aside a day and wander at your own pace.
Self guided tourThe best way to begin your walk, is to start at the Plaza de Toros. From there you head toward Fort San Bartolomé and it's gardens. First of all you will need to get the brochure for this, it's free from the Office of Tourism or pick one up at the Fort in the office there.
Fort San Bartolomé gives you a good representation of the entire fortifications of Pamplona. There is a museum with literature and presentations you can enjoy. The fort was part of a project created by the engineer Verboom and only partly constructed in the 18th Century.
After Fort San Bartolomé, you head through the gardens or take the upper path and continue the walk. I have not gone into a lot of detail here, but am giving a basic idea of it all. There is so much to see.
In some places you will have to combine the pamphlet with the Pamplona City Map to get from one section to another. I did and will not spoil your fun by giving exact directions.
One thing you must remember, most of these fortifications are from the 15th century onwards and there are places where wheelchairs will not be able to accessbecause they did not exist then.
It is probably a good idea to schedule your walk. A guided tour is fine, if you like them, but you are moving at someone else's pace. Starting in the morning, say around 10 am at Plaza de Toros, then walking to the park area (Number 7 on the pamphlet).
Have your lunch just afterwards, you have to cross a road and there are a few places to eat toward the left. Then proceed through the park (Number 8) to the Citadel. Everything changes there.
The Citadel is huge and you could spend hours in the place. Inside is the central area and around that is battlement after battlement, some with views. We complain about airport security nowadays, that's nothing compared to here. To enter, a person had to go through a number of gates with drawbridges and checkpoints.
This is considered an impregnable fortress, even by today's standards (without air strikes and missiles). Modern special forces would have a hard time (if not impossible) taking it when fully fortified, there is just too much open space with varying levels of defense.
Once you have finished, you can head out toward the bus station and Calle Yanquas y Miranda. There are bars and restaurants on the street to grab something to eat and down some brew, then return to where you're staying.
Note: During the San Fermin Festival some sections of the walls are fenced off or closed. They reopen toward the end of July.
I offered to do a free eBook of the walls for Pamplona's Office of Tourism, but no one has gotten back to me. Too late now.
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