• Running of the Bulls, Fiesta de San Fermín, Pamplona
    Running of the Bulls, Fiesta de San Fermín


Pamplona — called "Iruña" in the Basque language — feels at once affluent and claustrophobic, with both sleek infrastructure and warren of narrow lanes, and fascinating as well, thanks to its odd traditions, rich history, and ties to Hemingway. Of course, Pamplona is best known as the host of one of Spain's (and Europe's) most famous festivals: the Running of the Bulls (held in conjunction with the Fiesta de San Fermín in July). But there's more to this town than bulls — and visiting at other times is preferable to the crowds and 24/7 party atmosphere that seize Pamplona during the festival. Contrary to the chaotic or even backward image that its famous festival might suggest, Pamplona generally feels welcoming, sane, and enjoyable.