As the name suggests, this comfortable hotel in the historic center of Pamplona is most recognized for its world-famous Michelin-starred restaurant, but it also happens to have one of the best locations in the entire city. The recently renovated property is just a block from the bullring and around the corner from the infamous Plaza Del Castillo: ground zero during the Festival de San Fermín. Though it no longer possesses its family-run charm since its corporate takeover, the rooms are stylish and the cuisine is as good as ever.
Make sure to book reservations in advance for the Restaurante Europa downstairs.
The 25 contemporary rooms feel a little too business-forward to match the old-world charm of old Pamplona outside, but the sleek quarters are a great alternative to the more classic hotels nearby. Guests can expect clean minimalist design and comfortable beds along with 21st century perks like nice flatscreen TVs, adjustable AC, and free Wi-Fi.
The hotel offers balcony rooms that overlook Estafeta Street, the very path that the bulls run along during Festival de San Fermín. Prices are steep during that time but it’s a great way to witness the madness firsthand while still keeping your limbs and vital organs intact.
The elegant bathrooms are a surprising treat of luxury, encased in sumptuous marble with full tubs and a generous amount of floor space.
Through the classic Pamplona façade is chic interior reception area with dark marble floors and a cozy lounge with comfortable leather furniture. There’s not too much space in the lobby but it’s a cool atmosphere to relax in as you plan your day.
Welcome to the main event, ladies and gentlemen. Ever since winning its first Michelin-star in 1993, Europa Restaurant has been the horse to beat when it comes to pushing the boundaries of Navarre gastronomy. Though there are some other contenders in town, this is still considered by many to be the best food in Pamplona.
And lest not let the restaurant completely overshadow the hotel’s wonderful buffet breakfast. A diverse spread of local hot and cold breakfast foods provide a tasty boost of energy to start the day.
The bad news: no hotel bar. The good news: all the legendary pubs of historic Pamplona are right at your doorstep.
The hotel offers parking for those arriving by car, and once here, its central location means all of the attractions of Pamplona are within easy walking distance. The bus terminal, with regular routes from Bilbao, San Sebastián, and Vitoria Gasteiz, is ten minutes by foot.
After you try the food at Europa, set a reservation at Rodero (5-minute walk) to see how it stacks up. It’s the only other Michelin-starred restaurant in town and we think these sorts of competitions are best judged firsthand.
Of course, a trip to Pamplona would not be complete without a more traditional meal. And few places in town cook up traditional Navarre and Basque dishes quite as well as La Olla (2-minute walk), located just across the way from the infamous bullfighting ring.
The hotel is a stone’s throw away from Plaza del Castillo, a sprawling neoclassic square that is party central in Pamplona. On its perimeter is Bar Iruña (5-minute walk), a century-old restaurant and bar that Hemingway fans may remember as one of his favorite places to drink the day away in the The Sun Also Rises. Its terrace is still a spectacular place to have a drink during a nice afternoon or warm evening.
Just beyond the plaza is Saint Nicholas Street (3-minute walk), a favorite street of locals and travelers alike for drinking and taking pintxos. The street leading away from the plaza is lined with dozens of bars, each as lively as the next.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The celebrated restaurant and the excellent location in town keep the Hotel Europa competitive with the more luxurious competition here while being easier on the wallet. It makes for a well-priced option for those who want to experience the history and beauty of Pamplona’s historic center while still having the comforts of a modern lodging.